The Bahamas Aquatics Federation ('BAF') is responsible for the development, promotion and control of Swimming, Diving, Synchronized Swimming, Water Polo, Open Water Swimming and Masters Swimming in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
The BAF is a member of Federation Internationale de Natation ('FINA'); the Amateur Swimming Union of the Americas ('ASUA'); the Confederation de Centro Americana y del Caribe del la Aficionados de Natacion ('CCCAN'); and the Bahamas Olympic Association ('BOA').
The Bahamas is an archipelago of 700 islands and cays located about 250 miles east of Miami, Florida. Although the country has a land mass the size of Jamaica, the population is less than 300,000 people. According to census figures, 50% of the Bahamian population is under the age of 25. However, there are less than 400 swimmers registered with the BAF, although there are several hundreds more in learn-to-swim programmes. The majority of these swimmers are between the ages of 5 and 18 years old.
The number of registered clubs in the Bahamas is about 12 swim clubs, as many as 8 clubs have registered membership in the Federation. Currently, there are 8 clubs located in the capital of Nassau on the Island of New Providence (Alpha Aquatics, Barracuda Swim Club, Blue Marlin Aquatics, Dolphin Swim Club, Swift Swimming, Sea Waves Aquatics Team Orca, Sant Annes Blue Waves) and 3 clubs in Freeport on the Island of Grand Bahama (Blue Marlin Aquatics, Freeport Aquatics Club; GB Tritons). Abaco Swim Club, located in the Marsh Harbour/Hope Town areas on the Island of Abaco.
The number and adequacy of swimming pool facilities hampers the growth of the sport at the national level. There are four 25-metre and two 25-yard outdoor competition pools in Nassau. All but one of these pools is owned by an educational institution, either a private secondary school or a college. There are two 25-metre outdoor competition pools in Freeport, one of which is owned by a private secondary school. However, as the result of a very generous donation of B$5,000,000.00 by Mr. and Mrs. John Kenning, in May of 2000 the Bahamas Government completed the construction of the Betty Kelly Kenning National Swim Complex. As a result, The Bahamas now boasts its first 10-lane, 50-metre outdoor swimming pool. There is also a 6-lane, 25-metre training pool.
Hopefully, the existence of this new aquatic complex will allow the BSF the opportunity to provide programmes introducing numerous persons to the joys of aquatics. This would dovetail with the Federation's short-term objective of increasing the number of registered swimmers to the 1,000 level. It might also serve as an impetus to increase the number of persons teaching and coaching swimming. With only 10 to14 registered coaches, Bahamian swimming is in need of more swimmers, more coaches, more pool facilities and new clubs. One means of accomplishing this would be the introduction of swimming programmes in local primary and secondary schools. Almost 75% of school-age children attend public primary and secondary schools and 50% of the population of The Bahamas lives on New Providence. Yet less than 1% of the Federation's swimmers come from public schools. Similarly, none of the public schools has an on-site swimming pool or easy access to the existing publicly-owned swimming pools.
The construction pattern of adequate swimming pools mirrors the slow growth of the sport. Prior to the completion of the Betty Kenning Aquatic Centre earlier this year, it was 8 years ago, in 1992, that the first 8-lane, 25-metre pool in the country was built at St. John's College in Nassau. The rest of the existing swimming pools were constructed 10 to 25 years ago. A swimming pool complex is scheduled for future construction in Freeport, with emphasis on the word "future". Abaco Swim Club has raised the funds to build a 25-metre outdoor pool on land donated by the Marsh Harbour Town Council and expects to start construction shortly. Their swimmers will not have to train in the sea waters of the harbour much longer.
Aside from the above, no other swim clubs or competition pools exist. This means that the BAF has no presence in the majority of islands: Andros, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Bimini, Long Island, Acklins, Crooked Island, Mayaguana, Inagua, San Salvador, Rum Cay, the Berry Islands, Harbour Island.
Bahamas Aquatics Executives
Algernon Mashiel Cargill
First Vice President
Second Vice President