By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WITH their National Championships postponed until later this year, the Bahamas Swimming Federation is also looking at staging its election of officers before the year is over.
Incumbent president Algernon Cargill, who also serves as the FINA Bureau for the Americas, has not indicated whether or not he will be seeking another term in office whenever the BSF’s elections take place.
Cargill, who was first elected to serve as president in 2003, said he is considering another term in office. But he also has some international obligations to FINA that he is heavily involved in.
Similar to Mike Sands serving as a member of World Athletics by virtue of being the NACAC president, Cargill sits on the global board of FINA as the representative for the Americas, a position he has held since 2017 after he was appointed CCCAC.
As a member of the FINA 24-member board, Cargill said they are discussing how the coronavirus pandemic has affected all of its member countries.
“It’s going well. We get to make global decisions for all water sports - swimming, diving, water polo, artistic diving and synchronised swimming,” Cargill said. “I was recently appointed to serve for another four years.”
With the distinction of being the first and only Bahamian to hold such a position, Archer said as the area representative for Central and North America and the Caribbean, it’s a very important role that he has to fulfil.
“I’m not just a representative for the Bahamas, but for the region on a whole,” said Cargill, who was re-appointed to serve for another four years during their last meeting in August 2019. It’s an awesome responsibility, but it’s one that I try to do to the best of my ability. I am delighted to be able to attend and function in any meeting or activities that FINA has.”
Just like he would have regarded his position as the BSF president that got him to the FINA level, Cargill said he takes his global responsibility just as proudly as he does his national commitment.
“Being the BSF president and a former vice president of CCCAN and also an executive of UWA, the swimming body for the Americas and Canada, for the past four years, it shows that hard work pays off,” Archer said. “It tells me that what we are doing here is paying off globally.”
Cargill was first elected as president of the BSF in 2003. Originally, each term was for two years, but it was changed and ratified for four years in 2010 to coincide with the International Olympic Committee’s four-year term.
Having served for five consecutive terms over the past 17 years, Cargill said he’s not sure if he will seek another four-year term, but there are persons who are asking him to return. “My job is to train someone to take over. I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Cargill said. “If I can get someone who wants to take it to another level, I would gladly step aside. It’s not an appointment for life, but if I am asked to serve again, I would consider it.”
No date has been set for the elections, nor any for the Nationals, which would be suspended for later this year.
“Right now, we don’t know the format for the Nationals,” Cargill said. “We are still looking at how we will function with all of the social distancing rules that are being put in place as a result of the coronavirus.
“Giving that, we had to suspend the nationals, just as FINA has done with all of its international events. So we won’t be doing anything until after school reopens. The swimmers are using this time to get in shape, so we really don’t see any value in having a nationals at this point.”
Looking at the landscape of sports on the global front, Cargill said they are concerned because they can only provide a positive atmosphere for their swimmers to engage in.
He noted that the swimmers are back in the pool at the Betty Kelly Swim Complex working out with their various local coaches. They have also gotten some input from FINA on how they can progress in the future.
“Given the impact that the rest of the world is going through with the pandemic, we feel our swimmers can only benefit from the time out of competition,” he said.
“We know that several of the Carifta swimmers are communicating with their peers and so they have strengthened their relationships in this pandemic and FINA has put on a few seminars on how to stay fit and everything else. So they have been making the best of the situation that is out of their control..”
The Bahamas was poised to go for their fourth straight title in Carifta, but that regional competition had to be called off in April because of the pandemic. But Cargill is hoping that the swimmers will remain geared up to compete in the event when it returns in 2021.
At present, there are more than 20 swimmers who are either in boarding school or colleges and universities in the United States. Although there is social unrest going on in the aftermath of the death of African American George Floyd on May 25, Cargill said he doesn’t see any of the swimmers affected.
“Our swimmers have been able to return home and they are now training with their local coaches,” Cargill said. “Right now, based on everything we know, the US Embassy is not expected to reopen until September.
“So given the fact that some of the new swimmers might not get the opportunity to enroll in school this fall, they will have the opportunity to stay here at home and train with their club coaches, who have gotten the opportunity to prepare them to go off right now.’
He noted that the Black Lives Matter movement has not yet reached the swimming community so he anticipated that once the student-athletes can get their papers sorted out, they should be able to head off to school.
And with the Bahamas Olympic Committee offering some assistance through their Athletes Welfare Commission, headed by Roy Colebrook, one of the vice presidents of the BOC, which is mandated to help athletes from all disciplines to reach their full potentials in preparation for local, regional and international competitions, Cargill said they will certainly take advantage of it.
“We currently have two athletes on the IOC Solidarity Scholarship that is offered by the BOC, but we are looking at how we can take advantage of this new initiative that the BOC is offering.”
Federations will have until July 3 to submit their applications for athletes, who can benefit from the fund of about $30,000, which will not be available to professional athletes or those who are under contracts with companies such as Adidas, Puma and Nike.