Bahamas Aquatics Federation (BAF) President Algernon Cargill said swimming nationals will likely not be held this year. At this time, the meet is not officially canceled as yet. FILE
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas continues to rise, planned local sporting events are looking less likely to happen this year as the days and months pass by. One such sporting event is the Bahamas Aquatics Federation’s (BAF) REV National Swimming Championships that were originally slated for June before being pushed back to a later date because of the new coronavirus pandemic. Now, it is unlikely that it will be held this year.
BAF President Algernon Cargill said that they wanted to stage a competitive and exciting competition later this year, but that is very unlikely with the surge in confirmed cases locally.
“As you know, our nationals were moved down to later in the year but if it (surge) continues at this rate, particularly The Bahamas being in the second wave of the coronavirus, I doubt that we will have a nationals at all this year,” Cargill said. “The health and safety of our athletes, their families and the extended swimming community, is much more important than putting on a swim meet. We have not yet worked out what the new norm, in terms of competition, will look like, but there is certainly nothing that I will ever support that will compromise the health of the athletes or the extended swimming community.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, The Bahamas had 380 active cases and 484 confirmed cases of COVID-19 along with 11 related deaths.
The Betty Kelly-Kenning National Aquatics Center comes to life for the four-day nationals. Swimmers from eight-and-under to seniors look forward to the meet that also attracts international swimmers who look to qualify for FINA (International Swimming Federation) sanctioned meets.
Last year, the Mako Aquatics Swim Club repeated as champions. This year, other clubs were looking to stop a three-peat. It has been a rough season for the swimming community which was looking to take part in several regional and international meets this year.
“The current season didn’t go anywhere near planned,” Cargill said. “Our season here was reflective on what the entire world is experiencing, particularly the CARIFTA region and the Americas and even FINA. We had to cancel all of the regional meets this year because with all of the uncertainties there is no confirmation that any of those meets can be held.”
He noted that the CARIFTA team was already selected and the cancelation was a bit depressing for those athletes.
“That was disappointing for the athletes who train so hard at the beginning of the year, and we went through the process of selecting the CARIFTA team. The team was unable to travel because that was when the pandemic first started and it has pretty much been downhill since then,” Cargill stated.
The Bahamas was looking to secure a fourth straight CARIFTA Swimming Championship title, and sixth in the last seven years, this year.
FINA has canceled all of its meets this year, inclusive of the short course world championships that were scheduled to be in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, in December. The Olympic Games were postponed until next year.