Saturday, April 20, 2024

Coach aiming for Olympics

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Keeping?swimmers in the pool for other competitions after their CARIFTA careers are over and when they begin tertiary-level studies is one of the challenges facing the sport, says national coach Abdul Sharif.
He made the comment at Grantley Adams International Airport last Saturday night after the 21-member team returned from this year’s CARIFTA?Championships in Aruba with 31 medals in the pool and one in open water.
“The kids are dedicated and our programme seems to be effective. They work very hard. We train nine times a week so that is a lot of pressure [but] the challenge is keeping them in the sport beyond the 15-17 age group,” Sharif told MIDWEEKSPORT.
“When they go off to college and things like that, the thing is to keep them in the water and keep them swimming so that we can get some Olympians out of them.”
Sharif said the students were highly motivated as juniors when they did well at CARIFTA?and other regional championships, but sometimes lost interest if performances fell off as they got older.
“At 14, when they are really peaking and they are doing very well at CARIFTA and the regional championships, if we don’t move them beyond that level and keep the interest, we will not be able to get them to the Olympics because they won’t be Olympic material at that stage.
“They would be potential, so what we need to do is to keep them interested,” he said.
“If you have your sights set on going to the Olympics and making it big and you don’t achieve that objective, or you are not appearing to achieve that objective, sometimes you can become disillusioned.
“Swimming is a fairly demanding sport. We are in the water at 5:30 in the morning and we are back there again at 4:30 in the evening. This goes on Monday to Saturday, so it is tough,” said Sharif. (PH)

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