Georgette is first Bahamian female
Former CARIFTA swim team manager and local swimming enthusiast Georgette Albury is the first Bahamian female to become a FINA (International Swimming Federation) certified open water official, obtaining that certification when she passed a course at the FINA Technical School for Open Water Officials in Toronto, Canada, this past weekend.
Georgette’s husband Kendric Albury also received his certification, becoming a FINA certified open water official. Bahamas Aquatics Federation President Algernon Cargill recertified for a third consecutive time. Mancer Roberts was the fourth Bahamian to receive certification this past weekend. Both Cargill and Roberts were officials at the 2022 CARIFTA Open Water Championships that was held at Carlisle Bay, Barbados, in April.
Cargill and Roberts are both also on the approved FINA Open Water Officials list. Kendric and Georgette Albury will be approved to that FINA list at a later date, based on their experiences, which according to Cargill can be as early as next year. Georgette said she is looking forward to assisting in the growth of the open water arm of aquatics.
“I am elated to be the first female in The Bahamas to be FINA certified,” Albury said. “To become FINA certified as an open water official means that I can now work along with other FINA qualified officials to promote the growth of open water and aquatics overall. Before this weekend, we only had two FINA certified open water officials and now we have four.”
As officials, Kendric and Georgette Albury will be able to serve as chief referees, referees, starters, turn judges or safety officers to name a few. Cargill said he is proud to have Georgette as the first Bahamian female taking up the mantle as a FINA certified open water official.
“We are excited that Georgette Albury is the first Bahamian female to be a FINA certified open water official. It shows equality in our sport and shows that we are promoting females as they have every right and opportunity to become certified officials in the federation. She did well in the class in Toronto and I am outright happy with her performance. It shows that the
federation is indeed evolving. We are evolving not only in the number of referees but we are including females in the overall development of the sport,” Cargill said.
Georgette Albury hopes to see more persons involved, not just in open water, but other aspects of aquatics as well.
Open water swimming is different from pool swimming as the races are for longer distances. The CARIFTA and CCCAN (Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation) distances for open water swimming are five and 10 kilometers while the World Open Water Swimming Championships distances are five, 10 and 25 kilometers. Swimmers are also met by outdoor elements such as jellyfish, seaweed and waves from the sea.
The Bahamas did not compete at this year’s CARIFTA Open Water Championships but Georgette Albury hopes that The Bahamas can compete at future meets especially with more FINA certified officials here. She anticipates that there will be more open water meets locally.
There has not been open water swimming in The Bahamas since the COVID-19 pandemic forced a stoppage of sports locally in March 2020. Cargill is hopeful that The Bahamas can be a stop on the Pan Am Aquatics Tour for open water swimming in the not-too-distant future.