Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Eleven swimmers from the Montego Bay-based Blue Marlin Swim Club are down to participate in the Dean Martin Memorial Swim Classic at the National Stadium swimming pool today.
The 11 are being led by 14-year-old William Knibb 1500m freestyle specialist Travis Lemonte and Montego Bay High School's Hanna Johnson, who will swim the 100m backstroke.
For Lemonte, 25 minutes 58 seconds is his personal-best time over the distance, and according to his coach at the swim club, Rosemarie Logan, he could go even faster.
"Travis is a very strong swimmer. He has been doing well for us and I believe he can swim even faster than his personal-best time so far," said Logan.
The others include eight-and-under swimmer Rin Gyles, as well as Joshua Davis, Brianna Lemonte, Kris-Anthony Balgrove, Alex Turnbull, Rebekah Bailey, Kyle Littleton, Christoff Studniczka and Caleb McKillop.
But while Lemonte and Johnson, among others, continue to show signs of improvement, the Blue Marlin Swim Club has been suffering from a number of issues, including the lack of sponsorship.
"Swimming is not a glamorous sport such as track and field and football, so maybe that is why we cannot command the kind of sponsorship or interest," Logan said.
"They are shunning swimming out of fear, it seems, partly because many parents themselves cannot swim and that, to me, is critical. We have tried getting involved through the schools, but even that has failed to stir the interest of the children," she added.
"This is part of our mandate at the Blue Marlin - to find these budding swimmers and to give them the necessary training to achieve greatness," the coach said.