The Aquatic Centre: A premier facility for swimmers
DPI, GUYANA, Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Local swimming officials and athletes said the National Aquatic Centre has had a huge impact on the talent of Guyana’s local swimmers.
The swimming facility located at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara, which was opened on November 4, 2011, boasts an Olympic size 50 metre pool and is one of the few located in the Caribbean. President of the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association Ivan Persaud in an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI) said that it the best thing that could have happened for swimming in Guyana.
Persaud explained that, “it allows the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association to really extend good faith to all of our clubs who are affiliated to us because through the association the clubs get the opportunity to train up here free of cost. We do not pay any charges and thanks to (the) government of Guyana, (and)National Sports Commission
that we are able to utilise this facility in the mornings and in the evenings.”
Since its opening, a number of prestigious swim meets were hosted at the swimming facility. These include the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) games and the Goodwill Games. Haresh Bhagwan a swimming coach attached to the Aquatic Centre said that the facility has tremendously supported the performance of athletes when they participate in events.
Bhagwan said that he wished he had such a facility to train when he used to compete in competitions in his younger days.
“Back when I used to train we did not have this facility, we had 25 metres but now we have a 50 metre pool up here. Now most of the training for all championships worldwide, because most of the events are long course as we call it, which is the 50 metres. So, most of the training goes on up here in terms of preparations for competition internationally and locally,” he stated.
Fifteen-year-old Alex Winter who attends the St. Stanislaus College has been utilising the facility for the last five years. Winter has represented Guyana at numerous swim meets which include the Subway Maracas Open Water Classic, CARIFTA games and the Goodwill Games.
Winter noted that since he has begun training at the Aquatic Centre he has improved his performances at swim meets tremendously. The young man explained that, “It has helped us a lot because, before when we were training at the two smaller pools and we went overseas we were not prepared at all for the climate of the pool and the distance because most times when swimmers go overseas and they see big pools they would just have a panic attack all of a sudden”.
Additionally, aside from aiding athletes in preparing for local and international events, the facility is also open to the public. The pool can be utilized on Thursdays from 10:00hrs to 15:00hrs and on Sundays from 10:00hrs to 17:00hrs at a minimal cost of $1 000 per person 15 years and older.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite