Olympic-size pool to be completed for next year’s event
By Edison Jefford at Albion In association
with Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club
North Georgetown orchestrated a clinical performance Tuesday at the Albion Community Centre Pool that emphatically landed them the National Schools’ Swimming Championships on the first day of the nationwide three-tiered competition.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony told an enormous crowd at the Opening Ceremony that next year’s schools’ swimming competition will be held at the Olympic-size pool that is currently under construction at Lilliendaal. “Next year’s swimming competition will be held at the Olympic-size pool when it’s completed,” Anthony said at the Ceremony Tuesday night. It was the third public occasion that a promise was made to complete the controversial facility.
The pool was to be completed last year but works on its foundation was halted reportedly owing to a lack of piles, then the Ministry said that the pool will be completed this year but that is not possibly given the current infancy of its primary infrastructure.
With the initial two deadlines for the pool’s completion not met, Minister Anthony has given a third: before the 2010 National Schools’ Championship. Journalist Rawle Welch had criticised the construction of the pool, stating that it should not have been primary on the priority list of Government’s construction of facilities.
With that aside, authoritative performances from District 11’s Sarah King, Onika George, Travis Henry, Britany Van Lange, Athena Foo, Sernano Gonsalves, Athena Gaskin and Noelle Smith ensured that there were no challenges for the coveted swim title.
North Georgetown won with a combined score of 373 in the competition while East Georgetown took second with 216 points. Defending overall schools’ champions, Upper Demerara/Kwakwani had to settle for third with a total tally of 209 points.
Cuyuni/Mazaruni finished fourth with 198 points while Pomeroon Supernaam was fifth with 149 points; South Georgetown was sixth with 108 points; Potaro/Siparuni seventh with 78 points; Rupununi eighth with 49 points; West Demerara ninth with 43 points; East Coast Demerara tenth with 32 points; New Amsterdam/Canje 11th with 31 points; East Bank Demerara 12th with eight points and Essequibo Islands occupying the final spot of the competing Districts with two points.
Smith got North Georgetown off to an excellent start when she won the Under-19 Girls 100 Yard Butterfly in 51.83 seconds ahead of East Georgetown’s Ashley Layne and Cuyuni/Mazaruni’s Alira Rupert in 1:06.14 and 1:23.36 respectively.
Smith then returned for her second win in the 50 Yard Butterfly in 23.48 with East Georgetown’s Steffi DeNobrega second in 31.44 as Upper Demerara/Kwakwani’s Lyn Cornelius finished third in 32.57. Smith also won the 50 Yard Freestyle ahead of Upper Demerara’s Danetta Duggan and Essequibo Coast’s Michelle Jeffrey to complete an unblemished record that resulted in a joint Under-19 Female Champion Athlete Award with teammate, Athena Gaskin, who also had a tally of 30 individual points from three wins.
Gaskin won the 50 Yard Breaststroke in 29.62 seconds, restricting DeNobreiga into second place with 30.61 and Upper Demerara’s Cornelius to third with 31.70. The seasoned swimmer returned in 100 Yard Freestyle to win in a time of 49.67 seconds in front of Duggan (55.67) and Jeffrey (55.89). Gaskin’s final win came in the 100 Yard Breaststroke. She won that race in 1:05.12 as DeNobreiga notched up her third silver medal in 1:05.81. Rupert was disqualified from this event because her leg movements were not always simultaneous and in a horizontal plane, as a result, only two competitors were awarded in the race.
Gonsalves was declared winner of the Under-19 Male Champion Athlete Award with wins in the 100 Yard Butterfly; 100 Yard Breaststroke and 50 Yard Backstroke. He defeated Upper Demerara’s Omali Dare (51.48) and South Georgetown’s Xavier Troyer (1:02.60) with a time of 50.34 in the Butterfly; Upper Demerara’s Dameon Williams and South Georgetown’s Dewene Griffith in the Breaststroke and Cuyuni/Mazaruni’s Donovan Washington and Pomeroon’s Orin Brummell in the Backstroke.
Rupununi’s Antonio Carter won the Male Champion Swimmer in the Under-8 category while King got the Female Champion award in the same category. Cuyuni’s Andrew Simmons got the male prize in the Under-12 group along with female, George.
North Georgetown swept both awards in the under-14 category when Travis Henry was adjudged male winner and Britany Van Lange the female winner. Both athletes won three races each and tallied 30 individual points as a result. South Georgetown’s Joseph Sequina and Athena Foo from North Georgetown got the male and female Champion Swimmer awards in the Under-16 group respectively after they both finished with 26 points.
However, there was a major oversight when most of the swimmers abandoned the Swimming Presentation Ceremony at the Albion Ground Tuesday night leaving officials from the respective Districts to collect the awards that were presented before Guyana’s Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds, Minister Anthony, Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh, Minister within the Ministry of Education, Dr. Desrey Fox, Regional Chairman for Region Six, Zulfikar Mustapha and Regional Education Officer, Shafiran Bhajan, who waited for the Presentation Ceremony.
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