Swimming is one of the few sporting disciplines in Grenada that has evolved over the years, holding its own on the regional and international stages of competition.
This sport recently boasted two participants in the Rio Olympics and Grenada is the defending OECS champion but sad to say, many are of the view that swimming never gets the attention it deserves from the people who hold the power to help.
Despite its fabulous run of success in regional competition, and putting on display some of the most promising swimmers in the region, Grenada’s twenty-five yard, three lane swimming pool that has been the nursery for most of the country’s star swimmers, is now at its lowest; to the point where it has been prevented from hosting the 2016 OECS Swim Championship, a decision that has resulted in tremendous loss for Grenada not just financially, but the opportunity to expose more swimmers to regional viewing.
The call for help for Grenada’s swimmers has resonated throughout many circles and despite recent claims by government officials that a new swimming pool is in the pipeline for Grenada, many believe it’s mere lips service, as similar promises were made numerous times in the past.
Weighing in on the matter recently was Grenada Olympian Corey Ollivierre, one of two swimmers who recently represented Grenada at the Rio Olympics.
Addressing members of the media and Grenfin officials at the Good Hope poolside at the launch of the Grenfin invitational swim meet some two weeks ago, Ollivierre said he regrets that in order for him to get ahead in the sport, he can no longer remain in Grenada. In making a clarion call for help, the young swimmer said talks about a new pool has been around as long as he can remember and he has been swimming for the past twelve years.
George Cherebin the father of Grenada’s other 2016 swimming Olympian, Oreoluwa Cherebin further echoed Ollivierre’s call for help. Although his presence at that function was in a different capacity, he took the opportunity to vent his frustration with what the dubbed the laid-back approach towards swimming in Grenada.
In his brief discourse at the podium Cherebin said he would be very disappointed in any organisation that chose to host another major swim event in the present condition of the Good Hope swimming pool, and called on those involved in hosting events at the facility to demand their fair share for swimmers in Grenada from those in authority.
Grenfin Secretary Reyan Neckles also had her say and according to her; a proper facility for swimmers is one of the biggest hurdles faced by the sport in Grenada. She described the Good Hope facility as a 25-yard falling pool, with lanes sized smaller than those used for warm down at international meets. Neckles said at any major meet, over three hundred swimmers would be present on any given day and here they are served by one toilet and no changing facility, utilizing stands that are crumbling thereby endangering the lives of the swimmers.
The secretary took the opportunity to applaud the determination of the swimmers who look beyond these negatives and give full participation and effort when in the pool.
In response to comments about the new pool as mentioned by the government Neckles said “I would like to say I am confident but I know we’ve been talking about the pool for a number of years,” she went on “we would really, really like some firm commitments that the facility would at least be improved, I can’t say that I am one hundred percent confident but I’m hoping that our appeals won’t land on deaf ears, and that the work of the swimmers at regional and international levels would drive some action.”
Grenfin’s Public Relation Officer Rolf Hoschtialek described the Grenada swimming pool as one of the worst in the Caribbean, and this he noted is despite the many successes Grenada has had in swimming over the years, rated third in the Caribbean.
Meanwhile Informer took its camera to the immediate environs of the Good Hope swimming pool and the sight was not just sickening but also frightening. The base of the nearby building that once housed the office for the association is in a most dilapidated condition, literally falling apart, the yard is un-kept and to add insult to injury it is occupied by vagrant which makes it extremely dangerous for the young swimmers who may choose to used the facility unsupervised.
In discussion with one gentleman as it relates to the condition of the building he claimed that as far as he knows the facility belongs to government but serious efforts have been made to designate it the official home for swimming.