The first staging of the Carifta Games took place in Barbados in 1972, the brainchild of Austin Sealy, the then former President of the Olympic Association, and took the form of track and field events open to Caribbean Countries. As time passed the games developed to include other disciplines. The multisport concept was developed from 1985 to 1989 when in 1989 a decision was made to resort to a single sport concept after organisation of the former became expensive and difficult to coordinate. The Championships begun with the Countries which signed the agreement of the Caribbean Free Trade Association and the name CARIFTA is the acronym which is now a misnomer since membership has been expanded to include Countries outside of this agreement.
CARIFTA swimming continued on its own from 1989 organised by the Amateur Swimming Associations. Due to the lack of 50 metre facilities in the region CARIFTA ranged from a meet in yards to short course to 50 metre in the early beginnings. During this time a decision was made that the meet should be alternated between Countries in the north and south of the Caribbean. In 1985 the inaugural meet was held in the 20 yard pool at the Ursuline Convent in Barbados thanks to the untiring efforts of Dr Noris Procope.
The Championship was broadened to include the disciplines of water polo and synchronised swimming beginning in the year 2002. Some discussion began on the inclusion of open water swimming but these deliberations are still very much in the embryonic stages.
We are hard at work planning and organising Carifta 2011. It is a great pleasure to extend an invitation to you to come to Barbados for the celebration of the 26th edition of this competition with the swimming segment scheduled to commence from April 23-26 and Water polo & synchronised swimming April 29-May 1st.
Please note that the meet has been sanctioned by FINA as a qualifier for the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships scheduled to be held in Shanghai, China in 2011. We invite our FINA accredited officials to participate as well as all other developing officials to use this occasion to sharpen your officiating skills as we look forward to having a cadre of professionals from the Caribbean in charge of the meet.
We have attached the summons for all three disciplines inclusive. We urge you to return the preliminary entry forms at the earliest opportunity as it will assist us with our accommodation and transportations plans. Please note that the deadline date is JANUARY 28TH, 2011.
As customary a souvenir magazine of the event will be published. We invite you to submit articles to be printed in the magazine. Carifta is approaching its 26th year and as we prepare to celebrate this milestone we invite you to share with us your views on how you think that Carifta should continue to evolve with the emphasis on its relevance to the Caribbean aquatics development.
Also note that we have provided an opportunity for coaches to meet and share their views and experiences on Sunday, April 24th, 2010 and we invite a lively discussion on how we aim to make the Caribbean a formidable presence in world aquatics.
A record 18 Countries have indicated intent to participate in swimming, 4 in Synchronised Swimming and three in Water Polo as at the preliminary deadline date. The stage is therefore set for a highly competitive and exciting Championship.
As we approach the final deadline dates of February 28th –Water polo & synchronised swimming and March 25th – swimming, we have circulated all relevant documents via email as well posted on the official website www.swimbarbados.com for easy reference. Also there are some interesting facts on the history of the Championship.
The competition will take place at the Aquatic Centre located in the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, 15 to 20 minutes drive from our main city Bridgetown and 10-15 minutes drive from the Games Village located on the South Coast of the Island. For those who may not know, Sir Garfield is the last of our surviving National Heroes and to date is the best cricketer that Barbados has ever produced. The sports complex is named after him and is dedicated to his outstanding performance as an international Cricketing Icon. Also located in the complex is the Olympic Building which houses the Barbados Olympic Association, the Olympic museum and the Office of the Regional Anti-doping Organisation. While in Barbados please schedule a visit.
Please take a moment to prepare the article on CARIFTA for the souvenir magazine in which we will also feature photographs of our participating teams and profiles of swimmers which you may want to highlight. Please share your views and chronicle them in the Souvenir magazine for future generations to enjoy.