The Full Story
Minister of State with responsibility for coordinating special projects and major developments in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Hon. Homer Davis, says Jamaica’s dominance at the recent CARIFTA Swimming and Watersport Championships shows that the country can be a powerhouse in swimming.
The State Minister, who was speaking at a welcome reception to honour Montego Bay’s medal-winning quartet of Leanna Wainwright, Leah Chin, Talon Longmore and Benjamin Davis at the Sea Garden Beach Resort, St. James, on April 25, said that it is against this background that a lot more emphasis and resources should be put towards giving “our swimmers” the best opportunity to compete.
“When I watched our swimmers competing at the CARIFTA Swimming and Watersport Championships in Barbados, I said to myself that we could one day [dominate] in this discipline as [we do in track and field],” State Minister Davis said.
“It is for this very reason, especially here in Montego Bay, that we have to find ways to create the necessary infrastructure where our swimmers can be comfortably trained, so as to continue to compete at an even higher level,” he added.
Mr. Davis said it was quite a sight to see Jamaica competing and outdueling the traditional regional swimming juggernauts, such as The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Barbados, adding that the only thing that was missing was the Jamaica “support delegation”.
“We had the most medals [64 actually]. The four Montego Bay swimmers collectively had 19 of those medals,” the State Minister noted.
“This is why we must give them all the support that is required… . Therefore, we have to get larger pools built for them where they can properly practise. I have spoken to Minister [of Sports, Hon. Olivia Grange] and I know, along with assistance from corporate Jamaica, some things will be done,” he added.
Team Jamaica recorded its largest medal haul at the 35th CARIFTA Swimming and Water Championships held in Barbados from April 16 to 19, 2022, with a total of 64 medals – 17 gold, 25 silver and 22 bronze, finishing second in the overall point standing with a total of 833.75 points behind The Bahamas, which claimed the championship with 975 points. While Jamaica led in the overall medal tally, The Bahamas had the most gold.
For her part, President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Janet Silvera, said that despite the absence of a proper swimming pool in the western region, swimmers from the Second City continue to exceed expectations.
She said the Montego Bay Chamber will continue to lobby for corporate hands to assist, noting that for the four [Montego Bay] swimmers to garner nearly a third of the medal haul, speaks volume to their potential and testament as to what “commitment to one’s craft can do”.
Cuba-born head coach, Adolfo Morales, also expressed satisfaction with the west’s involvement and congratulated the swimmers for their hard work and dedication.
“To be able to represent Jamaica at an international level is a great honour and accomplishment and they should be very proud,” said Coach Morales.