By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
ALGERNON Cargill was returned as president of the Bahamas Swimming Federation, which is going through a turbulent experience with the Bahamas Sports Authority over the use of the Betty Kelly Kenning Aquatic Center for a fee.
During Saturday’s annual general meeting in the meeting room at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Cargill beat out challenger Cecile Greene for the first four-year term in office.
“I think it’s good that the members have a lot of confidence in me. They have now elected me for four years with the new constitutional changes,” Cargill said. “It tells me that we are doing some things right in the federation that they see and recognise the work that we are doing in swimming in the Bahamas.”
In other positions, John Bradley was returned as first vice-president unopposed and former Olympian Nicholas Reese was newly elected as the new second vice-president over challengers Kevin Armbrister and Sharon Sweeting.
Ken Bain was returned as treasurer over the challenge Donna Tynes and Kathryn Dillette was returned unopposed as secretary general and Zelda Allen won over Patra Albury to join the executive board as the new assistant secretary, replacing Valerie Lowe, who did not offer for re-election.
“I feel very good with the team, particularly now that we have a former Olympian on the team in Nicholas Rees, who decided to give back to the sport that has given him his academic and athletic successes and we encourage other former swimmers to give back to the sport and work with the directives as we shape the new direction for swimming in the Bahamas.”
Cargill, who also serves as a vice-president for the Bahamas Olympic Committee, said he’s a little disappointed that there are not that many other former swimmers who have decided to join Reese in stepping forward to serve at the administrative level. While there are some who are working as coaches, Cargill said he was pleased to see another former Olympian Allan Murray assisting Reese in helping to get him elected.
“When I look at the concession of the federation, I think it’s good to actually return to the federation to the athletes, who have actually helped to build the federation,” Cargill said. “I’ll like to recruit more athletes because this is not something that I would like to do forever. We want to get the athletes to play a more significant role in the federation, so I’m glad that we have Nicholas on board now.”
The board also bid farewell to Sheena Deveaux, who did not offer for re-election to the post of second vice-president.
Saturday’s elections were the first contested by the federation since the existing board’s accession to the executive in 2003. Subsequent elections were held in 2005, 2007, and 2009.
During the AGM, votes on proposals at the elections for various changes in federation’s constitution and the rules governing swimming in the Bahamas were also held. Those amended results are still being tabulated and are expected to be available on the BSF website during the next few days.
Cargill, an international certified swimming judge, said as they prepare for the new term in office, their main goal is to develop a better working relationship with the National Sports Authority, who have imposed a fee for all swimmers and clubs to use the BKAC, which was a gift to the Bahamian people by the late Betty Kelly Kenning.
“For the first time, we are having a challenge with the use of the National Stadium and it’s proving to be a significant limitation to the federation,” Cargill said. “We’re now being asked to pay the use for the facility to practice and the host swim meets when the facility was a gift to the Bahamian people and it’s not being maintained to the standard of the past and in the cold weather, the heater is turned off and swimmers are being able to train in the facility.
“So the swimmers are not having access to the facility, which was down for most of this year and it’s not being properly maintained because of the limited budget and the federation is not being able to host meets there because of the fees that have been imposed to host the meets at the facility, which was never the case in the past.”
It’s understood that the federation and clubs are being charged $300 a day to host their meets, which in some cases have been ran over two days. Additionally, it’s understood that each swimmer is being charged $5 a day to use the facility to practice in, which is also being implemented for the first time.
Cargill said right now the federation is still trying to work out the details for them to host their first meet in January.
At present, there are a number of college teams that have been, are and will be coming to town to train during the winter period in the United States and Canada. There are reports that the college teams are being afforded the opportunity to utilise the use of the heater while the local clubs are being denied.
Adrian Cargill, the chairman of the National Sports Authority, was not available for comments.
Cargill thanked the outgoing executives for their support and contribution to the federation and he also welcomed the newly elected executives to the team as he expressed his excitement for the new term and expanding swimming into the Family islands and the public school system.