Jamaica's Carifta Water Polo teams raring to go

Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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Jamaica's Water Polo teams are in high spirits as they prepare to get the show on the road as part of the 33rd staging of the Carifta Swimming Championships to be hosted at the National Aquatic Centre in Kingston.

The Water Polo competition is scheduled to begin on Friday with two full days of preliminary-round action followed by the medal games on Sunday.

With the Under-19 male and female teams gunning to repeat and, by extension, better their podium finishes from The Bahamas last year, the event is expected to whet the appetites of aquatic fans two weeks ahead of the main attraction –the Swimming Championships.

Swimming events are slated for March 31 to April 4, while the synchronised swimmers will be in action from April 1-3.

After claiming three medals in The Bahamas last year — where the Under-19 male and female teams won gold and silver, respectively, complemented by a bronze medal from the Under-16 male team — Lance Rochester, vice-president of Water Polo in the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ), has high expectations of a solid medal haul.

Jamaica will face strong opposition from Trinidad and Tobago, Curacao, The Bahamas and Barbados.

“We are looking good so far and training hard. Everybody is excited, especially the young ones, so we are looking forward to some good games and good results.

“We have been training consistently since late last year and a lot of our players are still riding high on the backs of their Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games outing and they are very excited and ready to go,” Rochester told the Jamaica Observer.

“We more than want to just get on the podium, so our aim is to top the podium in all categories this time around. We know it is going to be tough, but it is also possible and so we are prepared to give off our best and once we keep putting in the work, then I'm positive we will get the desired results,” he added.

According to Rochester, the ultimate intent is not just to improve on last year's strong performance, but also to boost the confidence of the country's teams ahead of their Junior Pan-American Games appearance later this year.

Along with the Under-19 male and female teams and the Under-16 male team, Jamaica will be adding an Under-14 team to the mix for this year's Carifta Games.

“Well, the 14 and under players are obviously the youngest ones as a lot of them are transitioning from our development programme called 'Pickney Polo,' which is 10 and under. So a lot of them are just 11 and 12 years old, who will be representing the country for first time.

“I think having them in this competition will assist them in gaining experience at a regional level and that is very important to our programme, as it means we can constantly have new athletes coming in. And we are hopeful that from here they will consistently transition through the ranks,” Rochester explained.

Meanwhile, as it relates to the country's state of readiness to host the Carifta Championships, and the Water Polo in particular, which is just a few days away, Rochester noted that things are looking up.

“There are always some last week final touches and fine- tuning to be done, but everything is looking good so far, the facility is being fixed up and some painting and other infrastructure work is also ongoing.

“But as far as the hosting of the event is concerned, we are well on our way and as soon as we finish, then swimming preparations will kick into extra high gear,” he shared.




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