ASAJ makes waves in artistic swimming with JOA support

By Sports Desk September 16, 2021

The Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) is brimming with pride over the advances made in the discipline of artistic swimming.

For the first time, Jamaica was represented at the Junior and Youth International Open held in the United States and Nyouka Baugh and Sarah Anderson placed seventh and eighth in their respective categories at the United States-hosted event.

Baugh competed in the Nation Teams Division, while Anderson took part in the Club Division. A total of 26 teams from 19 countries participated and the ASAJ is delighted about the standards shown by its athletes on their first showing at the international level.

They are even more encouraged by the performances given the difficulties encountered due to limitations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. These included training opportunities and funding as access was basically cut off because their programmes have been at a virtual standstill for almost two years.

For the latter, they have expressed gratitude to their sponsors that included Eustace Lee and the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), as their input ensured participation, thus creating a platform for the sport’s growth.

“I do want to say special thanks to the Jamaica Olympic Association. It’s because of their funding why we were able to participate in this event,” said Maureen Smith, first Vice President, ASAJ.

The Junior and Youth International Open were held in Clearwater, Florida recently and Smith noted the importance of the event as competition for its athletes and rankings.

“Since the sport was first introduced to Jamaica in 1998, we have had many achievements at regional competitions and a few international invitationals and virtual events, but never had the opportunity to participate at this level,” Smith said. “These are the kinds of events that will help us improve our ranking.”

Supporting sporting athletes in all disciplines has been part of the JOA’s blueprint and Ryan Foster, JOA’s CEO and Secretary-General said they will continue that thrust.

“The JOA will continue to be expansive in our support to our member associations. We have 51 members and are all equal in the context of our vision for sports development in Jamaica and will be given equal opportunities to achieve. Achievements are not only characterized by medals won, but also the sacrifices that have been made by our men and women to not only represent their brand, but their country as well,” Foster said.

“The support of the artistic swimming team is well within the context of our ‘Sport-for-All’ mandate and the achievements of Sarah and Nyouka are well documented. We are extremely proud of Maureen and Martin (Lyn) in the work being done by the ASAJ to grow the sport in Jamaica.

“Our recent investment of around $1 million in the artistic swimming team has already paid dividends and investments in the next generation of swimmers will be a part of the ‘Sport for All’ initiative for France 2024."

Lyn, the ASAJ President, expressed pleasure at gains made by the sport.

“As president, I'm really proud that we are attending international events like this, it goes a long way in developing our programme,” he said. “I'm very proud that another discipline of aquatics is on the up and up because we finished seventh and eighth. The fact is that we were still way up there in achievements ... finishing seventh and eighth out of 19 countries is quite remarkable.”

Commenting on support, Lyn commended the National Olympic Committee, saying: “We just really appreciate the help from the JOA. Even though at this time it is a minor discipline, Jamaica has the potential to grow ... the only way you're able to grow is if the younger swimmers are given opportunities to improve.”

He added: “The funds from the JOA allowed us to send two coaches, including a junior coach and she, in the learning curve will make another coach in the programme going forward. It’s important for the transference of knowledge, she will be another coach to help in developing talent.”

Lyn noted that swimming’s talent pool had diminished, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic as “a lot of parents have withdrawn their children from aquatics because parents want to keep their children safe”.

Additionally, the competition involves much synchronisation and close routines, which were impacted by distancing in training, with many of the routines practised on land because instructions cannot be given while they are underwater.

“It's a practical approach that a lot of movement and placing has to be done on land,” said Lyn, noting the way it has added to their feeling of accomplishment.

Smith says they are looking to go further.

“We don't intend to stop here as our ultimate goal is to get to the World Championships and, of course, Olympics,” she said. “But it will require a collective effort to get there.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related items

  • Cuba's Maikel Gonzalez and Aruba's Patrick Groters strike gold at Pan Am Juniors in Colombia Cuba's Maikel Gonzalez and Aruba's Patrick Groters strike gold at Pan Am Juniors in Colombia

    Cuba's Maikel Gonzalez won gold and Trinidad and Tobago's Kelsey Daniel, silver in the long jump at the Junior Pan Am Games in Cali, Colombia on Wednesday.

    Gonzalez soared out to 7.97 metres to take top spot over the Trinidadian who leapt 7.90 metres for the runner-up spot.

    Cuba won a second gold when Daily Gaspar ran 2:08.62 to win the Women’s 800m. In the field, Cuba's Juan Gomez took bronze in the shot put with 17.85 metres.

    On Tuesday, Amya Clarke of St. Kitts and Nevis won silver in the Women’s 100m in 11.58 seconds.

    Cuba secured a 1-2 finish in the Women’s discus with Silinda Zenea winning gold with a throw of 59.13 metres and Melany Morejan winning silver in 54.31m.

    Meanwhile, Paola Sola of Puerto Rico struck gold in the women’s long jump with a distance of 6.33 metres.

    Chantoba Bright of Guyana was fifth with 6.20 metres while Cuba’s Yanisley Cremadelly was eighth with 6.01 metres.

    Tyriq Hosford of Trinidad & Tobago won a bronze medal in the Men’s javelin with a distance of 71.33 metres.

    Carlos Brown Jr of The Bahamas was fifth in the Men’s 100m in 10.47 seconds.

    Anson Moses of Trinidad & Tobago finished seventh in the Men’s Decathlon with 454 points.

    In swimming action on Tuesday, Patrick Groters of Aruba won gold in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley in a time of 2:02.09, his second gold medal of the Games.

    Graham Chatoor of Trinidad & Tobago was sixth in the Men’s 1500m Freestyle in 16:20.48 while his teammate Nikolai Blackman was 13th in 17:02.08.

    The Bahamas finished fifth in the Men’s 4x100m relay medley in 2:49.92 while Trinidad and Tobago finished eighth in 4:02.66.

  • Patrick Groters wins gold as Caribbean athletes shine in the pool at Junior Pan Am Games Patrick Groters wins gold as Caribbean athletes shine in the pool at Junior Pan Am Games

    Patrick Groters of Aruba won gold in the Men’s 200m backstroke at the Junior Pan Am Games in Colombia on Saturday in a championship record 2:01.78.

    Groters was eighth in the A final at the 2019 Pan Am Senior Games in Lima, Peru with a time of 2:03.65.

    Mexico’s Diego Salgado took silver with a personal best 2:02.29 and Erick Guzman took home Guatemala’s first Junior Pan Am Games backstroke medal with 2:03.00 for third, a new national record.

    At the 2019 Senior Games, Guzman finished third in the B final in 2:04.88.

    Meanwhile, several Caribbean athletes advanced as swimming action continued earlier today.

    In the Men’s 50m freestyle, Jordan Crooks from The Cayman Islands, Lamar Taylor from The Bahamas and Trinidad’s Nikolai Blackman and Zarek Wilson all advanced to the B final.

    In the Women’s 50m freestyle, St. Lucians Mikali Charlemagne and Naima Hazell both advanced to the A final.

    Kyra Rabess from The Cayman Islands, Aleka Persaud from Guyana, Gabrialle Hysin from Greneda and Myeisha Sharrieff from Bermuda all advanced to the B final.

     

  • Emily McDonald over the moon at winning start to collegiate career. "I love my new team!" Emily McDonald over the moon at winning start to collegiate career. "I love my new team!"

    Rising Jamaican swimming star Emily McDonald says she is having a grand time in her first few months in college at Columbia University, which has been bolstered by the fact that a week ago, she won her very first race at the NCAA Division 1 level.

    At the Lions Home opener at the University of Pennsylvania, McDonald, who turned 18 in July, won the 50-yard freestyle in 23.77, which at the time was the fourth-fastest in the Ivy League conference. She also picked up a third-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle in 52.45.

    She had more success in the 200-yard freestyle relay, leading her team with a 23.88 split to give them the edge in a close battle with Penn - 1:34.79 to 1:34.84. She also swam a 23.35 split as her team finished second in the 200-yard medley relay that was won by the University of Pennsylvania in 1:44.35. Columbia was a .10 behind in 1:44.45.

    Reflecting on her debut outing for Columbia, the recent Bolles graduate, revealed that she had a great time competing.

    “It was a really great experience. I love my new team, I love their vibes, I love their spirit,” she told Sportsmax.TV while heaping praise on her teammates and coaches for their support in helping her get her collegiate career off to a great start.

    “Winning the 50-free in my first collegiate meet was really special. It was not just hard work, but the spirit of my team and coaches helped me in that race. They are always so supportive no matter what and I cannot wait to see how the rest of the season plays out!”

    McDonald has had a solid career swimming in high school, first at Campion College and then at Bolles where she capped off her high school years with a few podium finishes in the 200-yard freestyle and medley relays.

    She has also represented Jamaica at the 2018 CAC Games in Colombia and at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.