Left Without A Home: Swimming Federation Hampered By Unavailability Of Pool

The 25-meter pool at the Antigua Athletic Club.
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By Neto Baptiste

The unavailability of the 25-meter pool located at the Antigua Athletic Club has severely hampered the national programme being managed by the Antigua and Barbuda Swimming Federation (ABSF).

During an interview on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, President of the local body Dr Derek Marshall revealed that swimmers have not had access to the pool since May after the business closed its doors April.

“We have three of our major clubs that practice there, and some of our biggest swimmers that’s their training ground. Samantha Roberts, for example, she used to train there and she had to go overseas to Miami in order to prepare to go to Tokyo and she almost didn’t go. Also, we got a FINA scholarship for one of our swimmers to attend the same camp so he could train for Tokyo as well, so it’s just been an ongoing battle and we are trying to prepare for Abu Dhabi [Short Course Swimming World Championships],” he said.

President of the Antigua Athletic Club, Dr. Derek Marshall (right) accepts a plaque during a National Awards Ceremony.

“We had waited for them [CWI] and they had indicated they were not in a position to do that at this point in time in terms of the $100,000. We then went to them and said that if we get the monies and repair the pool, will we have access? That’s where we are right now,” he added.

A leak was reportedly discovered in the pool following a routine inspection after the swimming federation and the management at Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) had reached an agreement that would have allowed the federation to continue using the facility.

According to Marshall, however, the facility has been off limits since then, stating that estimates are that the pool was losing close to a foot of water ever couple of days.

“We are actually doing it right now in terms of negotiations and trying to get information from the engineers in terms of the way forward. We are talking with two engineers discussing what we are going to do in terms of going forward with it and the plans. They submitted itemised reports in terms of what it would cost and how long it would take. Those reports need to go to the board and then have discussions with the board in terms of which one we are going forward with because we had some discrepancies in terms of discussing how we would approach it so we are actually doing that this week before we go back to the Ministry of Sports and also the NOC,” the president said. 

The repair work, Mashall said, will not come cheap and brings no real guarantee.

“At first we were looking at in excess of $100,000 but since then we have had discussions and we have been trying to mitigate in terms of which way we can go, how much it would cost, how long it would take and what kind of guarantee we have in terms of how long it would last in terms of the repairs,” he said.

The National Olympic Committee (NOC) this week, revealed that the swimming federation was forced to turn down two qualifying spots and two wildcard or solidarity slots for this year’s games due to a number of factors ranging from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic to travel logistics.

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