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Take a dive into Jamaican Swimming: World Championships

Thursday, July 25, 2019

It was only just a few years ago that we turned our attention to some great athletes who for years had been overlooked. It wasn't until Alia that we jumped off the springboard of track and field hype and dived into the pool of swimming glory. Since then, not much has been said, however, but with the FINA World Championships coming up, I think it's time to start paying more attention to our swimmers.

Alia Atkinson isn't the only one on our team. Jamaican swimmers Keanan Dols and Michael Gunning are also set to swim up a storm in Gwangju, South Korea. It was as recent as last year that Atkinson won gold in Hangzhou, China, in the event she originally set a national record of 1:06:24 in (100m Long Course World Championships, 2015). Apart from the 100m, she is also expected to compete in the 50m Butterfly and the 50m breaststroke.

As for the men, Keanan Dols will be competing in his first Long Course Championship in the 200m Individual Medley (IM) and the 100m butterfly. He is our national record holder for the 200m Medley. Gunning, our national record holder in the 200m freestyle, will also be competing.

With swimmers breaking national records so often, it is clear that Jamaica is on its way to becoming a true force to be reckoned with in the world of swimming. It is therefore high time or high tide for us to start paying attention to some of the amazing swimmers that we have. Jamaica is an island. We are surrounded by water. It would, therefore, make sense for us to have tons of naturally fast swimmers out there by the harbors and beaches who are often left at the whims of their surroundings. Why not introduce some programs to get some of these residents from the coastal areas to get engaged in swimming? There is so much talent out there waiting to be found. Let us live up to our name, the land of wood and water, and pay attention to the water and all its benefits. 

Furthermore, with the genetics that seemed to be involved in how our muscles 'twitch' it is highly likely that if we have so many good runners, we may also have some really good swimmers too. It all comes down to how much importance is placed on the sport. Let us not be one track-minded and stay in our lanes. Let us look to the fields and even the rivers, to find those gifted athletes Jamaica has to offer.

To all you future swimmers out there, don't be dismayed by the lack of attention swimming may get at times. Keep grinding your way to the top like our three champs are trying to do. 


-- Fabrizio Darby

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