‘Learn to swim’ programme to widen federation’s pool

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Students from two primary schools located in St. John’s stand to benefit from a new FINA (Federation of International Swimming) programme set to start this term.
This is according to technical director of the Antigua and Barbuda Swimming Federation (ABSF), Edith Clashing, who said the sport’s international governing body recently approved funding for the programme.
“We just got a project approved from our international federation, FINA, whereby they are going to be funding a project in the schools. We were hoping that this could have been kicked off at the beginning of the year but we are even trying to see if we can start it in some minimal capacity this term. We are looking at two schools to kick-start this programme in and then expand it by the next term. We are going to be starting with some primary schools in terms of a learn to swim programme,” Clashing said. 
Clashing revealed that the Potters Primary School and the TN Kirnon Primary School have been earmarked to pilot the programme, with the intentions of adding other schools to the list in the not too distant future.
“In the initial stages, we were looking at targeting, for the pilot programme, 20 kids from each school to start with because the whole idea is to build on this number as we build capacity. We can’t start too great and not have enough resources, so we are actually starting with some of our club instructors or coaches who have flexible time. We are looking at expanding it and doing the training programmes to train PE [physical education] teachers and other persons there who have that time,” the TD said.
The federation, Clashing added, will also benefit from funding allotted for the training of both instructors and coaches.
“We now have some funding available whereby we can start looking at training individuals who are interested in becoming learn-to-swim instructors and from there it becomes a matter of training persons to become coaches so that we can now man a programme within the schools,” she said. 
Antigua and Barbuda recently returned from the Carifta Swimming Championships in Jamaica. Hailey Derrick won the country’s lone medal at the meet when she captured bronze in the 400 metres butterfly with a time of four minutes and 55 seconds (4:55.96).

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