By Sean Devers
The Pools at the Aquatic Centre reopened last week and the Swimmers are back in the water after returning from Suriname and Trinidad last month and are busy preparing for the Mashramani Meet;
Guyana Amateur Swimming Association’s (GASA) first local competition for the year.
“This is the only qualifier before Carifta 2019 which will be held be in Barbados over the Easter weekend so the swimmers are presently preparing for this,” informed President of GASA Ivan Persaud.
The Mash meet is set for March 1 to 3 and a number of swimmers are training to qualify for the Carifta Games.
The GSA top man said the Association has big plans for this year and is very confident of winning Medals at the 2019 Carifta Games in Barbados.
The objective is developing the swimmers and Carifta is the level just after the Goodwill Games and GASA is preparing the swimmers for higher level meets.
“We are working towards earning medals at this level from swimmers trained and living in Guyana. It’s a big year for swimming and exposure is important for our swimmers so we plan to have representation at all of the overseas Events as possible,” Persaud said.
“This year we will participate at the World Championship in Korea, the Pan Am Games in Peru, the South American Games in Chile, the Carifta Games in Barbados and the Goodwill Games in Suriname,” the long severing GASA Head revealed.
GASA is also having a training session for officials on the February 8.
Persaud noted that 2018 was a very good year for Guyana’s swimming as Guyana competed at every overseas Meet and completed all of their local competitions.
“We got funding from FIBA to purchase equipment, set up our web site and travel to the South American Games, while Andrew Fowler received a Scholarship to swim and study in Tennessee, USA and should be leaving Guyana very soon for the US,” Persaud informed.
Dorado, Silver Sharks, Dolphins, Orca, Torpedo and Sea Otters are the six clubs currently under the GASA Umbrella but Persaud disclosed the GDF and Police have requested to join GASA as clubs in 2019.
Some of the swimmers are experiencing difficulties getting to the Pool at Liliendaal due to traffic congestion caused by the meeting of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (CRIC 17) at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre which is obliquely opposite the Aquatic Centre.
Persaud informed these swimmers have been involved in land training in the National Park from yesterday and feels this might be a blessing in disguise since their fitness should improve after their three sessions in the National Park which ends tomorrow.
Persaud disclosed that the 22-year-old Fowler, Guyana’s fastest swimmer, will participate in the World Championship and will travel directly from the US to Korea.
When asked about Hannibal Gaskin, Goodwill Games 100m butterfly Men’s gold medallist and grandson of President David Granger, who is in England and National School’s Swimming Championships’ best female swimmer Amy Grant, the GASA Boss informed that that GASA wants both swimmers to qualify to represent their Country.
“We hope he makes himself available to represent Guyana this year since he is very talented and if he is still swimming he could medal at the Goodwill Games,” Persaud said.
Persaud said Grant seems reluctant to represent Guyana and only competes in the National School’s Championships but added that, “Amy is a member of a GASA club and we would love for her to come and prove her worth at the Mash tournament and qualify for the Carifta Games in Barbados,” Persaud added.
Persaud said he expects good things this year from Leon Seaton, Patrice and Paul Mahaica, Alika Persaud, Ethan Gonsalves, Amber DeGoeas, Monique Watson, Vladimir Woodruff and Noel Raekwon.
Persaud thanked the sponsors who supported swimming during 2018 and hoped for continued support from the business community and the Government.
“We are hoping for Government’s support for the Goodwill Games in Suriname in August when we are sending a 48-member team…40 swimmers and eight support staff including Coaches,” Persaud concluded.
All Swimmers who attend the Carifta Games are debarred from participating in the Goodwill games in Suriname.
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