Swim meets in 2020 unlikely – Lyn
With more than two weeks since the reopening of the National Aquatic Centre (NAC), Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) President Martin Lyn says that there are still no plans for any swim meets to be held locally in the near future.
The facility was closed for more than four months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Under strict health protocols, which were approved by the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Ministry of Sport, as well as inspections of the facility, the NAC was given clearance to reopen for training for national and club swimmers.
However, Lyn says that the reopening of the facility does not mean an automatic return to meets being staged for now.
“The reality is that until we have all of the various protocols worked out and until we have the consent of the ministries for crowd and for spectators, we won’t be holding any ASAJ-sanctioned swim meets until such time,” Lyn told The Gleaner. “The reality is that we want to make sure that all of our athletes stay safe.”
The United States released a tentative schedule in April for a November return for national events.
Lyn says that the association would not commit to any date for a return, as they would have to overcome certain obstacles, which include hosting a mock event to see how best they can safeguard all stakeholders.
“We started out with a soft opening [of the NAC], and as a result of that soft opening, we could analyse and see where we needed to beef up certain protocols or where we needed to step back on certain issues,” he said. “I would not put a time on it to say that we could have an official swim meet any time soon, because until we run a preliminary swim meet and get guidelines from that and see exactly how that will operate, then we really can’t say it is going to be this month or the next month,” Lyn said.
Meanwhile, Y Speedos coach Lynval Lowe said that increases in positive cases are worrisome, given that it has been a short time since training resumed. He is in no hurry for a return to competitive events, saying that the main focus is for the young athletes to familiarise themselves with the pool after the long hiatus.
“We don’t know what is going to happen, so we don’t have a meet fixed in our minds, and I don’t try to fix any meets into their minds either because I don’t want them to have hope by telling them there is a swim meet next month, when there is not,” Lowe said.
The 2020 Mayberry Investments Prep/Primary School Swim Meet, held in March, was the last local event to take place at the facility before lockdown measures took effect.