Editorial comment – More needed in swimming

USA swimmers at the 2018 Pan Pacific Junior Championship. Picture: FT FILE

FIJI Swimming Association president Ben Rova believes a lot of work needs to be done if we are to be the best swimmers in the region.

He had reminded members of the national team to improve their performance to be in the team for the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.

The 2018 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships which ended yesterday at the Aquatic Centre in Suva was a perfect platform, he said for our swimmers to improve their personal best times and make the silver squad times in readiness for the 2019 Pacific Games.

The competition, he said, had “taken us to another level in terms of competitive swimming and a lot of our swimmers are setting open national records which is good, but it is still not good enough to be the podium finishers”.

Fiji expects to have a squad of 26 swimmers for the Pacific Games. Following yesterday’s event, Fiji will now prepare for the New Zealand Open Short Course Championship. We had 38 young swimmers competing in the 2018 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.

“We are trying to give as much exposure as we can to the swimmers so that they can prepare for the 2019 Pacific Games where they will compete against the region’s best swimmers,” he said.

“We got the confirmation from our co-host partner USA that the 2018 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships has now been approved as a qualifying event for the championship in Korea next year.

“The time for the first day is still under consideration while the reminder of the days would be qualification events.”

That obviously was a positive feedback for the sport in Fiji, effectively raising the profile of the Suva event.

Yesterday the United States of America powered through to a dominant finish at the Aquatic Centre pool.

They stood out from the rest of the field in all events, and dominated the relays with powerful finishes yesterday.

The difference was clear.

We must lift our game to be competitive.

The harsh reality is that there is still a gap that has to be covered if we are to become effective competitors at the highest level of the sport.

The Americans were simply too strong and fast in the pool.

They came in with an obvious aim to dominate proceedings and anchored a very strong campaign over the four-day event with 27 gold medals.

Then there were the Canadians, the Japanese, Australians, Chinese, and New Zealand to consider.

Now that we know where we stand against our peers, the challenge is on our coaches and swimmers to lift our standard.

That will mean pulling out all stops to improve our techniques, tactics and fitness and endurance levels.

It will mean pushing ourselves past the pain barrier and setting little goals that should give us little gains in the lead up to the Pacific Games.

It will also mean self-belief, lifting our confidence levels, and constantly exposing ourselves to such top level competitions.

Clearly, such events are important for the development of the sport here and all those who had a hand in having it organised in Suva deserve praise and acknowledgement.

We say thank you, and also congratulate all the winners.

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