This past weekend the St Lucia Aquatics Federation (SLAF), hosted the 26th Edition of MIAGE for the second time since 2005 at the Rodney Heights Aquatic Center (RHAC).
Five clubs from Martinique, three from Guadeloupe and four from St Lucia took to the pool waters with the aim of becoming the 2019 champions.
The opening ceremony proved to be one like no other, with a display of synchronised swimming exhibition put on by the Longvillier Club.
President of the SLAF, Eddie Hazell welcomed the swimmers and supporters to the shores of St Lucia, expressing the importance of our islands maintaining their current relationship and looks forward to strengthening ties.
Sponsor Robert Ferviere of 1st National Bank St Lucia Limited, continued to display the company’s support to Youth and Sport, by welcoming the swimmers and encouraging them to swim hard and continue to strive to succeed.
Swimmers competed in the 11 and under, 12 – 13 and 14 – 15 male and female age groups category, with medals being awarded to the top three swimmers in each event. Trophies were also awarded to the Best Male and Female teams, top three relay teams and top three overall championship teams.
At the end of session three of the meet, overall club winners were announced. The Longvillier Club was the emerging winner, swimming away with 29,698 points. They were followed by Francois Natation Club with 28,876 points and in third place L’Espadon CN Fort Des France with 26,963 points.
The remaining club placements were as follows: (4) A S Shark Natation Des Abymes – 26,558; (5) Schoelcher Natation 2000, 26,006 points; (6) Neptune Club Lorrain, 17,618; (7) Sea Jays Swim Club, 16,349 points; (8) Sharks Swim Club, 15,291; (9) Lightning Aquatics, 13,932; (10) Marlins BL Trois-Riviere,12,139; (11) Les Dauphins Du Moule,10,997; (12) Southern Flying Fish, 5,887.
There was a small token of appreciation exchanged between the Longvillier Club and the St Lucia Aquatics Federation, with the key being handed over to Guadeloupe to host the 2020 MIAGE. SLAF look forward to hosting again in the coming years.
Following the meet Hazell had this to say: “The meet met our expectations. We were fortunate to have been graced by 89 swimmers from Martinique and Guadeloupe. In our assessment just speaking to everybody, they really enjoyed the occasion and were hoping St Lucia would put their hands up to host it again, because we got full marks for the presentation of what we did which included some pressing adjustments to the aquatic centre to handle that magnitude of swimmers.”
Hazell was impressed by the synchronized swimming display by the Longvillier Swim Club and said: “This is an event we are looking to introduce to St Lucia. This is what we are focusing on apart from open water swimming. The performance by the synchronized swimmers was breathtaking and well appreciated.”
When asked is it a wakeup call for St Lucia in terms of level of competition from the French teams. Without hesitation he replied: Yes! We could have seen it. The French swimmers are very strong when it comes to endurance because they work out five days a week. Out of those five days, every day they do open water swimming and in the afternoon pool training. They place a lot of emphasis on distance training. You could see it in the early races like the 400 where they just outclassed our St Lucian swimmers.”
The meet was somewhat of a dress rehearsal for the RHAC Invitational with 400 swimmers registered for the meet taking place here from April 11-14.
The SLAF thanked their many sponsors including 1st National Bank, Caribbean Grains, Island Style Tile and Bath, Mercury Engine, Blue Waters, St Lucia Distillers Ltd, Department of Youth and Sport, Meat Express, FLOW, Winners TV, Baron Foods Ltd, Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd, Bay Gardens Resorts, GAR Inc, Alwin Manufactures, DBC, Tenderoni, Ferrands Food Products Ltd, Rodney Heights Aquatic Centre and Export St Lucia.
The Federation is also grateful for the assistance of the Planning Committee Members and parents who assisted in making the event successful.