THE Rodney Heights Aquatic Center (RHAC) opens today for competitive swimming after being closed for seven months as a result of COVID-19.
On stage will be a Development Swim Meet lasting 180 minutes featuring somw of the island’s finest swimmers.
The last competitive event held at the RHAC was the Independence Day Classic on Sunday 1st Match, 2020.
Today’s event is open to participants 8 and under and 9 and over, to include swimmers in basic learn to swim programmes.
Under 8 swimmers will compete in the 25 meters freestyle; breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly.
There are four events in the Open category: 50 metres freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly.
The 9 and Over will do battle in the 100 metres freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly respectively.
Ziv Reynolds will lead Sharks campaign along with Zaina and Maya Brathwaite, Tammy Pultie, Allandre Cross, Nyeem Rosemond, Jasmine Stiede and Katelin Samuel.
Tristan Dorville will lead Seajays challenge along with James Sylvester, Noah Dorville, Omar Gabriel, Caitlin Polius, Nathan and D’Andre Vigier.
Southern Flying Fish squad includes – Krishna Surapaneni, Anyka Holder, Kaitlyn Holder, Isabel Anius, Sarah Anuis and Tristan Mondesir.
Lightning Aquatic will see Amara Reece, Elizabeth and Michael Philbert, Daniel and Sebastian Ambler, Liam Emmanuel, Naima and Ethan Hazell, Naekeisha Louis, Janick Clement, Marcus Paul, Jahson Felix and Karic Charles
Also on show will be seven out of the 10 debutants who represented Saint Lucia at the 29th edition of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OCES) Swim Championship in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in November of 2019: Helen Kabiye (Sharks), Maliyah Henry (Southern Flying Fish), Damari Maxwell, D’ Andre Vigier (Seajays), Hannah Christopher (RR Aquatic), Courtney Paul and Aaron Charles (Lightning Aquatics).
The VOICE spoke to the Director of the RHAC, Dr. Diana Worrell about the day’s event.
“This is not the big RHAC Caribbean Invitational that we do in April. That one is postponed until 2021 and that is due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the various protocols that’s in place”.
She added, “Today’s event is a one off afternoon showpiece to kick-start training and to give our new developing swimmers a chance to get times. Likewise the competitive swimmers will be able to see how well their training in our new normal has been doing”.
Dr. Worrell said, “The swimmers will be excited to see other swimmers they have competed against in the past, the various clubs have been in training but at different times, they will be back in with the new protocols for running a swim meet”.
In terms of times, Dr Worrell said, “They have been out of the water for a long time, so it’s a wait and see as to best times. I don’t know how hard they have been training, but one expects a good showing by all of the participants”.
According to Dr.Worrell, “To date Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was the only team that trained right through the Covid-19 and I understand why. We are looking to find out the various times, but a close eye will be on as to how far the swimmers are and where they were on March 1st when we hosted the Independence meet”