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ASAJ feeling the heat - Lyn: Our general income depends on the pool being open, so from a financial point of view we have definitely been adversely affected

Published:Wednesday | April 22, 2020 | 12:18 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Members of the Jamaican water polo team take part in a practice session at the National Aquatic Centre.
Members of the Jamaican water polo team take part in a practice session at the National Aquatic Centre.

President of the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ), Martin Lyn, says the association is missing the pool at the National Aquatics Centre as much as the swimmers who use it.

Lyn said the pool is one of the association’s major sources of income, and the ASAJ is just as frustrated as the swimmers who cannot use it. The pool was closed by the Government on March 13 as part of the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our general income depends on the pool being open, so from a financial point of view we have definitely been adversely affected,” he told The Gleaner. It costs the ASAJ between $600,000 and $800,000 to maintain the pool each month, while income from the pool can go up to $1 million.

Lyn explained that activities at the stadium pool usually start from as early as 5:30 a.m. and run up to 9:30 p.m.

He said the day normally kicks off with morning training for some clubs at 5:30, schools would then come for physical education classes and other activities, and following that there are usually some learn-to-swim programmes. The pool is also used by physiotherapists and doctors with their patients during these hours.

In the evenings, there is more club training, and then later on there is water polo training, which usually is the last activity before the pool is closed at approximately 9:30 p.m.

“The pool is one of the busiest sports facilities in Jamaica and we cover the cost of maintenance every month by its usage. We have various participants using the pool at different times, and that is how we pay our bills,” he said.

MONTHLY SUBSISTENCE

The ASAJ president said, however, that there are times when the association has to dip into the monthly subsistence of $150,000 from the Sports Development Foundation, and also look to Independence Park Limited for ‘infrastructure problems’.

Meanwhile, because of the nature of the sport, Lyn said not having the pool available has also been very depressing for local swimmers.

“We are unlike any other sports. Other sports (football, cricket) you can hit or kick a ball around your yard, do push-ups and sit-ups. But we need to swim, turn, flip, dive.

“Some athletes are doing land training, but we have to swim, we have to get into a pool, and that is our challenge right now, so our sport is seriously affected by all of this.

“So we need to get into the pool, we need to get into competition, we need to get back our swimming activities and programmes, and we need to earn as well,” he said.