Aunty Mads – A Special Tribute by Nicki Hunte
Aunty Mads, Swim Coach to Countless – December 10th, 2017 – by Nicki Hunte.
Yesterday, Saturday 9th of December 2017, the swimming fraternity lost a long-standing and beloved member of the family. We are sorry to share the news that our dear friend Madelaine Mercure is no longer with us. In addition to being a swim coach, Madelaine was also part of the Aquatic Centre’s first management team in the early 1990s.
For over 27 years, Madeline and Nicki Hunte together ran the Pirates Learn to Swim Club. This fit with her love of water as she was also a huge sailing enthusiast. Her approach to running the club was always very professional, feeling a real sense of responsibility for the task parents were entrusting the club with. Her dedication showed by her unwillingness to ever cancel a class, so on several occasions classes were taught through heavy showers, and storms, even if only one child attended. Her generous and compassionate nature was reflected when any parent had financial difficulty, the child was never turned away. She really loved children and genuinely wanted to see them succeed and be equipped with the vital skill of knowing how to swim.
Madeline found she had a special place in her heart for the youngest children. In 1999 this led to her beginning an innovative new Parent-Toddler swim class that allowed little ones to become water safe. Every Saturday morning she could be seen heading into the Aquatic Center, a huge bag of noodles on her a shoulder, a smile on her face and an eagerness to get the classes started. Because of her drive to teach, countless Barbadians are now well equipped to take on the water, whether in a competitive or recreational capacity.
Madeline was forced into retirement because of her illness, she knew that she had to put every ounce of energy into trying to get well. She knew she would not be able to keep up the level of commitment and passion needed to run the club through this difficult time. It is on this very sad day that we announce that she has lost that battle, and has now sailed on.