The Bahamas CARIFTA swim team will be in action in less than a week in Willemstad, Curacao, looking to win a fifth straight title. President of the Bahamas Aquatics Federation Algernon Cargill said that it is an expensive mission and although Corporate Bahamas has done a good job, the federation is still in need of funds. The team is set to leave on Tuesday.
According to Cargill, the trip exceeds $200,000 and they were able to raise $65,000 through individual sponsors as well as support from the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) and the Government of The Bahamas. He said he is grateful for them stepping up and supporting the team, but added that there is still a shortfall of about $80,000.
“We will find a way, even if we have to use reserve funding for other trips to pay for the trip to CARIFTA. It’s so important to be able to represent The Bahamas and go to defend our CARIFTA title that we have won for four consecutive championships,” Cargill said.
It is not going to be an easy road for The Bahamas, as Guadeloupe will be returning to action and all of the other countries will be looking to dethrone The Bahamas. Cargill knows that they will have to put their best effort forward in the pool.
Although they have been winning championships, six of the last seven, Cargill said that they have not been getting the support that they should be getting. He chalks it up to a misconception that swimming has been historically viewed as an elitist sport.
“It’s so unfortunate and so far from the truth,” Cargill said. “I agree that back in the day, maybe the early 70’s, swimming was made up of upper middle-class Bahamians, but now we have swimmers from all cross sections of life involving both swimming and water polo in the Bahamas Aquatics Federation. As a matter of fact, we have every socioeconomic status here in Bahamas Aquatics, but we are still branded with that label from years ago of being an elitist sport and we are seeking to dispel that label, because we are not.”
Cargill added that swimming parents also make sacrifices like the other sports like track and field and they sacrifice to create opportunities for their children. The swimmers’ day usually starts around 4:30 a.m. and they’re in the water by 6 a.m. Then they go to school, find time for their homework, then back in the water and then repeat itself, Cargill said. He said that there are some 160 swimmers with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or above.
Cargill commended the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the 50th Oaktree CARIFTA Games for raising the amount of funds that they did for CARIFTA track and field but added that they in swimming have gotten the short end of the stick.
“Yes, we’re disappointed. Yes, we don’t understand why Corporate Bahamas continues to see this sport as an elite sport,” Cargill said. “Don’t get me wrong, we’re happy that they’re able to raise nearly $2,000,000 or so in support of hosting the CARIFTA Games, but we are not happy that while they’re able to raise that amount, we were able to raise $65,000 despite a lot of effort going into that exercise. We will demonstrate to Corporate Bahamas that although the support is small, the result will be substantially big and we will continue to put The Bahamas on the map as a very strong swimming country. Our goal is to fight for every single point in Curacao and to retain the CARIFTA title.”
It is not too late to support the CARIFTA swimming team, Cargill said. He said any financial support is greatly appreciated and welcomed.
“It is important to note that we are very transparent with our fundraising and we are very transparent with our financial statements. We’re very accountable for the funds for Bahamas Aquatics. We have financial statements that are available for review. We are reviewed by a reputable accounting firm. It is not as if we have funding that goes in the black hole. We’re transparent with the funds and we will demonstrate what the costs were, how much was raised and where the shortfall is, and where it came from among other things,” Cargill said.
Persons looking to sponsor the team can contact Bahamas Aquatics at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bahamas will be hosting CARIFTA Aquatics next year and will hopefully be looking to win a sixth straight title in front of the home fans.