26th OECS Swimming Championships

The OECS Swimming Championships are an annual event featuring countries from the OECS with competitive Swimming programs. The 26th annual OECS event will be held in St Vincent November 10th to 13th inclusive. The pool event will be hosted at the Shrewsbury Aquatic Centre for the first three days and the Open Water event will be held on Sunday, November 13th at Villa Beach.

This year the Championships feature Antigua, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Martinique, St Lucia and SVG. St Martin and Sint Maarten will also compete this year as guest team. This is the first year Martinique will be entered as a competitive team. Medals are provided to the top three swimmers in each swim event and each age category. Each country can accumulate points based on the position of their two best swimmers in each age category and event. The team accumulating the most points is declared the OECS Swimming Champion. In addition, the individuals with the most points in each age group is the Overall Champion of that age group.

The athletes selected to represent Team SVG in their age groups are as follows:

Female (age)
Male (age)
8 & Under Kennice Greene (8) Brandon George (8)
  Jamie Joachim (8) Matthew Ballah (7)
  Zariel Nelson (7) Javante Browne (8)
  Kavern DaSilva (8) Vova Zhuravlov (8)
9-10 Adiah Phillips (9) Jayson Sandy (9)
  Mya Defrietas(10) Eltonte Leonard (9)
  Tia Gunmunro (10) Tristan Ballah (10)
  Caitlin Polius (9) Tavonte Ford (10)
11-12 Paige Cadogan (11) Alex Joachim (12)
  Akayla Crichton (11) Bryson George (11)
    Kanale Alleyne (11)
    Samari Ragguette (11)
13-14 Ria Adams (13) Shane Cadogan (14)
  Nyah Isaacs (14) Aaron Defreitas (14)
    Tyrique (Dre) Thomas (13)
    Tyrese Lewis (13)
15 – 17 Shne Joachim (15) Nikolas Sylvester (15)
    Cruz Halbich (15)
  Dillon Gooding (15)
    Tyrell Ragguette (17)
18 & Over   Gerrard Geowarsingh (18)

The total swimmers competing will be approximately 180 with about 150 of those representing countries other than SVG. There will also be parents and supporters. The total spend will be in excess of $200,000 over the OECS Championships weekend. This includes Hotel accommodations’, meals and transport services.

SVG were selected to host the 2016 Championships after the completion of the pool facilities at the Shrewsbury Aquatic Centre (SAC). In preparation for hosting these Championships, the SVGSF also completed a smaller learn-to-swim pool which will be used as a warm down pool by the swimmers. In addition the Swimming Federation completed substantial renovations to Shrewsbury House to provide adequate changing rooms capacity and to use the kitchen facilities for food preparation. We would like to express our appreciation to National Properties for their support in granting us permission to build the smaller pool and to renovate and use Shrewsbury House. The Government and particularly the Minister of Sport has been a strong supporter of swimming and of our hosting these OECS Swimming Championships.

Hosting an event such as this is an expensive proposition and we must express our appreciation to our major supporters including FLOW, CGM Gallagher Insurance Brokers, Scotiabank, the National Lottery and the SVG Olympic Committee. Without this support we would be unable to host this event.

The Championships are open to the general public and entry fees for spectators to the Shrewsbury Aquatic Centre at Ratho Mill will be $10EC per day or $25EC for a weekend pass. Children 15 & under will pay $5 per day and children under 5 will be admitted without charge.

The Competition starts at 5pm on Thursday, November 10th with the Opening ceremony after the 400 meter races expected around 7.30pm. On Friday and Saturday, the Competition starts at 10am and is expected to run until about 5pm. The Open Water event at Buccament Bay is scheduled for a 9.30am start. This will feature a 5 kilometer ocean swim and a 1.5 kilometer ocean swim.

The competition will be keenly contested and will feature some of the best swimmers in the Caribbean. Several will be Carifta medalists, Caribbean champions and will have represented their countries at the recent Rio 2016 Olympic Games. We expect to see the best from SVG’s elite swimmers and while we do not yet have the depth and numbers of elite swimmers to challenge for the overall team championships, we expect several of our individual swimmers to do very well in the individual events and bring home medals to SVG. Our elite swimmers with excellent medal potential on the male side include Nikolas Sylvester, Shane Cadogan, Eltonte Leonard, Jayson Sandy, Tavonte Forde and Alex Joachim. In addition, we expect Cruz Halbich to do very well in the Open water event. The females will be led by Kennice Greene, Mya Defrietas and Tia Gun-Munro. Shne Joachim has just resumed her training and will return from school in Canada for the weekend to try to add to SVG’s medal count.

We wish all our young athletes the best of luck and are confident they will represent SVG with pride and dignity as they strive to do their very best.