Swimming at the Aquatic Centre
Age Group Swimming
In 1985, before the Centre was opened the Association had a registered number of approximately 100 age group swimmers. At the opening of the Centre with several of the age group swimmers present, Mr Maurice Foster, one of the main driving forces behind the building of the Centre, shared his vision on how the opening of the Centre would impact on the success of the sport: "When at some future Olympics", he stated, "we hear the starter say 'swimmers take your marks', and we see one of these young swimmers standing on the starting blocks, we will watch with excitement and pride, knowing we have played some part in making it happen." In 1966 at the Atlanta Olympics, Leah Martindale became that person and Barbados watched with great excitement and pride as Leah became the first Barbadian swimmer to reach a final at the Olympic Games. Leah placed 5th in the 50 metres freestyle. Olympians Nicholas Neckles, Damian Alleyne, Bradley Ally, Terrance Haynes are all products of this venture.
The age group swimmers tally doubled after the opening of the Centre. The Centre facilitated a high level of training which enabled its many swimmers to make the national cut for higher level competitions. Barbados has been represented at the following international meets since 1990: Carifta Swimming Championships, The Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships, The Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships, the PanAmerican, Central American and Caribbean, Pan Pacific and Olympic Games, The World Swimming Championships -Short and long course. From among our top swimmers have come a number of Barbados and Exibition Scholars, proving that competitive sport and academic excellence can go hand in hand.
Perhaps the Aquatic Centre’s greatest achievement is its contribution to the youth of this Country. Presently, more than 40 schools use the pool every week where almost 1000 young children are taught how to swim through the National Sports Council Sports programme. Interschool swimming competition and house sports is also among the activities taking place at the Aquatic Centre. Approximately 20 schools now participate in the Purity Bakery Primary Inter-School meet and the Secondary Inter-School Competition attracts over 18 schools. Over 450 children now take part in these events.
The Aquatic Centre is home to approximately 300 swimmers and waterpolo players from across 8 clubs. These swim clubs have been involved in the development of swimming for many years and have contributed admirably to the positive outlook of the sport: The Pine Hill Alpha Sharks Swim Club-40 years; Sagicor/Sprite Pirates swim Club-30 years; Stingrays Swim Club-20 years; Sunsplash Splash Swim Club (formerly Combined Schools) -19 years; Silver Fins Swim Club-16 years; Heatwave Aquatics-13 years; Atlantis Seafoods Dolphins -6 years.
Waterpolo was returned to vibrancy in the year 2002 with synchronised swimming now in the embryonic stages of its rebirth. The Synchronised Swimmers achieved a bronze medal competing at the CISC Championships during the time it was at its peak. Masters Swimming is alive and healthy at the Centre.