The 2022 CARIFTA Swimming Championships is set for Wildey, Barbados once again, giving that nation another chance to put on the regional event after the 2020 and 2021 editions were canceled because of the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bahamas Aquatics Federation President Algernon Cargill said that they are ready to defend their title and win a fourth straight championship.
The championship is historically held during the Easter Holiday Weekend which will be the weekend of April 16-20, 2022. As of October 27, Barbados has removed the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated visitors. The quarantine requirement is still in place for unvaccinated visitors. Cargill stated that if the team has to quarantine, the federation will not send a team.
“CARIFTA is in Barbados. They have been trying to have CARIFTA for the past two years. It did not happen because of COVID. They have very strict entry protocols. I’d like to go on the record now and say that if we have to quarantine on entry, we cannot send a team. It becomes cost prohibitive to send a team to Barbados to quarantine for a couple of days before we swim,” Cargill said.
In addition to winning three straight, The Bahamas has won five of the last six editions.
According to Cargill, Bahamas Aquatics has volunteered to host CARIFTA if Barbados is unable to do so in 2022.
“The Bahamas has written to the CARIFTA Secretariat. We’ve advised that in the event Barbados is unable to host CARIFTA, we’d like to volunteer to host it because we’ve proven that through hosting nationals last year with our COVID management protocols in Bahamas Aquatics, we can hold a very successful championship. Hopefully, we get a chance to host CARIFTA, and if not, we said we want to host CCCAN (Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation Championships). We want to show the region that The Bahamas is truly back, not just in terms of swimming well but also in terms of tourism and sports management. So, we absolutely want to host and then we’ll see what happens,” Cargill said.
The swimming chief added that persons like to come to The Bahamas for swimming because of the quality of the meet. He also hopes they can host CARIFTA because it is less expensive for them and it gives the swimmers a chance to win their fourth straight title collectively in their home pool.
Aside from CARIFTA, Cargill said the federation is looking forward to the CCCAN Championships and the 19th FINA (International Swimming Federation) World Championships set for May 13-29 in Fukuoka, Japan.
“We want to have a relay team at that meet (world championships). We also want to see females excelling. We have the males dominating now but for a long time it was the females who dominated. Now, the males are very, very strong. We want to encourage the females to stay in the water, continue to train and help Joanna (Evans), Lilly (Higgs) and Albury (Higgs). They are the strong females leading the pack. We want to see some more females step up also,” said Cargill.
The first local swim meet of the season, the 7th Annual CG Atlantic Invitational, took place on Saturday, November 27. The next local swim meet will be held on Saturday, December 18. Junior swimmers are expected to take full advantage of the meet as they look to qualify for CARIFTA.