LIFESPAN hosts long distance swim clinic

Daniella Van den Berg

Daniella Van den Berg

LIFESPAN Spring Water will be hosting a swim clinic with world-class swimmers Oussama “Ous” Mellouli from Tunisia and Aruban stalwart Danielle Van Den Berg in an effort to introduce long distance swimming to Jamaicans, at National Aquatic Centre next Saturday.

The clinic is designed to train local swimmers, who are expected to participate in the seventh staging of the 2019 Lifespan 5K Swim Festival to be held on Sunday, September 29, 2019 at James Bond Beach in Oracabessa, St Mary.

Mellouli and Van Den Berg will be the presenters who will lecture local swimmers on how to prepare themselves for long distance swimming in open waters (sea) and also in swimming pools.

According to Hue Brown from Lifespan, long distance swimming in open waters is now an Olympic sport, and it is also important to introduce the sport to local swimmers.

He said it is very important that swimmers from schools, clubs and average individuals attend to begin knowing how to prepare themselves for long distance swimming competitions in open waters and also the swimming pool.

Ous Mellouli Olympic and World Championships gold medalist in the 1500m freestyle

Ous Mellouli Olympic and World Championships gold medalist in the 1500m freestyle

Brown stated that the reasons for bringing both world-class swimmers to Jamaica is to focus on the development of this sport.

“Jamaica presently have only short distance swimmers and need to be given lessons on long distance swimming at the clinic, to know the techniques and skills in preparing for competitions,” Brown said.

According to Brown, former Jamaica swimmer Janelle Atkinson was the last person for Jamaica who reached the Olympics finals in the 400m and 800 metres events, and more Jamaican swimmers should be taught for the future.

Atkinson competed for Jamaica at the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and Athens, Greece, respectively.

He pointed out that Jamaica’s world-class swimming record holder Alia Atkinson competes mainly in the short courses, such as 50 metres, 100 metres and 200 metres events on the world stage.

“These events — 400 metres, 800m, 1500m are the ones Jamaica need to develop in the future from an early age — especially in schools, clubs, and at the Carifta Games. This is the only way Jamaica can have a swimmer competing on the international scene, Olympics and Commonwealth Games,” he added.

Brown said local swimmers should attend the clinic in order to be taught the rudiments of long distance swimming and how to reach that level of success, he added.

His also thinks that the Lifespan Open Water Swim Festival would be very good for sports tourism in Jamaica and hopes that it becomes the best in the Caribbean in the future, as other Caribbean countries all have this type of event each year.

— the Jamaica Observer