Mako Aquatics Club may have to wait another year to complete its three-peat at the Bahamas Aquatics Federation’s (BAF) National Swimming Championships as it is likely that event will be canceled for 2020.
This is scheduled to be the 49th edition of the championships, but if it does not take place, it would be the first one to be canceled as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a negative effect on sporting events and activities around the world. The meet is slated for June 18 to 21 at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex.
BAF President Algernon Cargill, via e-mail correspondence, laid out several reasons for the possible cancelation of the meet, including financial challenges and athletes’ access to training.
“This unfortunate situation is a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic… The economic impact of COVID-19 will make it difficult for our sponsors to find the resources required to fund the 2020 nationals,” Cargill wrote.
The economy is taking and will continue to take a huge hit because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses have suffered losses and will be focused on recuperating those losses. Employees have been laid off as companies avoid financial hardships.
In addition to those uncertainties, Cargill also highlighted the need to keep swimmers, coaches, support teams and spectators/parents safe. It is another key aspect that contributes to a successful meet.
Pushing back the championships to a later date this year can pose a difficulty with scheduling as there is uncertainty as to when schools will reopen and when the swimmers who are overseas can return to The Bahamas to train and compete.
“Given the dynamics and fluidity of our calendar, school closures and uncertainty on the school opening dates, as well as the unknown possibility of when our away swimmers can return home to train/compete, we are unfortunately not in a position to confirm a date for the 2020 nationals and have had no alternative but to actively consider whether we can hold nationals at all,” Cargill stated.
He has asked coaches for their suggestions on how to salvage the championships, and a final decision will be made at a later date.
If the meet is canceled, then it will be a disappointing year for those swimmers who have already trained and are still awaiting word on the already postponed CARIFTA Swimming Championships, which was originally set for April 11 to 15 in Wildey, Barbados.
The swimming nationals attract international swimmers as they are used as an official qualifier for meets sanctioned by FINA (International Swimming Federation) and other international meets such as the Olympics and the FINA World Championships.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to be postponed until the summer of 2021.
Bahamian swimmers who are abroad training or in school usually fly home for the meet as spectators bring the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex alive every session.
At last year’s swimming nationals, Mako Aquatics repeated as champions with 1,862 points. Finishing second was the YMCA WaveRunners out of Freeport, Grand Bahama, with 1,458 points. Alpha Aquatics finished in third place with 1,159 points.