Postpone-ment due to Tropical Cyclone Ana and an unplanned water cut failed to disrupt Fiji Swimming’s plans to hold its first major local competition of the 2021 Season, The Fiji Swimming Grand Prix Series.

The western clubs showed up in numbers while The Babale Swim Club made a return to the pool after a brief absence from the competition scene since COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions last year.

The first 2 series were held in the typical wet Suva weather but that did not deter the spirits of the swimmers as many were happy to be back in the water and competing. It was around this time last year that Fiji went into lockdown due to COVID-19.

The Suva weather came through on the final series of the FS Grand Prix as the scene around the Damodar Aquatic Centre was one of clear skies, scorching sun, bustling crowds of swimmers and supporters and the ever present clear blue of the 50m pool.

Throughout the course of the Grand Prix Series, Marlin Blues’ Caleb Puamau was the only swimmer to set two new Open Records in the Male 11-12 years. In the first Grand Prix Puamau beat his own record in the Male 11-12 years 50m backstroke which he set last year. His time of 32.28s is almost half a second faster than his previous record. In the Male 11-12 years 100 backstroke, Puamau touched the wall in 1:11.93s. Then in the third grand prix Puamau set a new 50m backstroke Open Record in the Male 11-12 years 50m backstroke improving his time from 32.28s to 31.79s.

Federation President, Ben Rova, says they have other competitions lined-up over course of the year and have already started preparing for the 2023 Pacific Games.

“We started that three weeks ago and we’ve done the top five swimmers from each event. We have scaled that down depending on the top four events. What we will be doing is that we will be ranking swimmers from different event. Come the end of the year we will be able to trim the top five to top 3 and we will use that top 3 to prepare for the 2023 Pacific Games preparation.”

Ben Rova

The focus now turns towards the 2021 Fiji Swimming Open Championships which now has been approved as an “Olympic Qualifying Event”.

All Olympic hopefuls have stepped up their training and preparations in hopes to either qualify on merit or be awarded the one of the two “Universiality” spots available.

Story by: Fiji Swimming (26/03/2021)

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