It is with great sadness that the Aquatics Sports fraternity learnt of the passing of Maurice Foster last evening. Maurice Foster was indeed a true sportsman throughout his life. He played several sports but was best known for his skill in the water, and represented Barbados in swimming and in water polo. Maurice and his brother Paul who predeceased him were well known for their exceptional skills in water polo. The last time I saw Maurice play water polo was in 2005 when a visiting Coach from Serbia invited him to join a group of Masters to take on the Junior players in a fun game in water polo’s original place of play behind the Radisson Hotel (formerly the Aquatic Club). Maurice was one of the group of successful Barbadian Masters who medalled in 1999 at the Masters (LATICAR)Swim Meet at the International Swim Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale.
Maurice was a very generous person. He gave his knowledge willingly to the youth and the not- so- young. He was a man who not only talked the talk but walked the walk. The concept of the Aquatic Centre for a place Barbadians could learn to swim and play water polo and provide facilities for competitive events was that of Maurice Foster and Angus Edghill. The Centre was opened in 1990 and the 25m. pool was named in his honour as “The Maurice Foster Learn- to- Swim Pool”. Maurice was a Council member and served on several Committees at the Aquatic Centre and supported all activities there. Even with his health challenges he would make an effort to be present.
I had the privilege of knowing Maurice many years before my involvement in swimming. Maurice introduced the Dale Carnegie programme to many organizations and sporting groups in Barbados in the early 1970s, and he worked with me on many training programmes with the then Barbados Board of Tourism and other areas of the service industry. He brought enthusiasm and his personal philosophy of “strive for excellence in everything you set out to do”. It was this philosophy that he brought to the young people at the Aquatic Centre.
His work in promoting excellence in the service industries in Barbados is well known. It was not surprising therefore that he received the Silver Crown of Merit from the Government of Barbados for his sterling service to Barbados. It is my wish that Maurice’s philosophy of striving for excellence will resonate in the hearts of all Barbadians. Without doubt, Maurice will be remembered in the Aquatics world for his contribution to the development of competitive aquatics and his genuine love for the water.
On behalf of the Executive of the Barbados Aquatic Sports Association and our Members and my family, I offer our condolences to his wife, Linda, Children Theresa, Lisa, Stephen, Andy and his extended family. I trust they will be comforted by the beautiful memories he has left. May he rest in peace.
THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY of the Aquatic Centre is a significant milestone in the history of aquatic sports in Barbados. Conceived and created by Mssrs Maurice Foster and Angus Edghill, Mrs Anne Shepherd and Mrs Katie Gale this plant paved the way for many aspiring young people to develop their skills in the three aquatic disciplines- swimming, water polo and synchronized swimming. It has become the home of excellence- from toddlers to Olympians.
Through a sustained relationship with our sports partners- The Barbados Olympic Association and the National Sports Council, we have been able to maintain a facility that is admired by many other regional federations and international Associations. This is evident by the many university teams that come every winter for their winter training at the AC. We have also hosted major competitions such as Carifta, CISC and CCCAN.
We are proud to have nurtured seven Olympians who all had their genesis in the pool at the Aquatic Centre. Leah Martindale was the first to graduate from the Aquatic Centre and become the first black female to qualify for an Olympic Final. Indeed many of our athletes compete at the major international meets such as The CAC Games, World Championships, Pan American Games and the Commonwealth Games.
One thousand school children benefit from basic swim training and water safety every week in the Maurice Foster Learn-to-swim pool through a joint programme with the National Sports Council. Many of these children transition eventually to the 50 metre pool and later become competitive swimmers.
The other disciplines of water polo and synchronized swimming make up the triad of Aquatic sports at the Aquatic Centre. Water polo has represented Barbados in regional and international competitions over the years and is now entering another phase of development. Synchronized swimming is also in a developing stage and last year represented Barbados in the CISC and this year in CCCAN.
I wish to acknowledge the great contribution of our coaches, in all disciplines. They have given invaluable service to the Aquatic Centre and to Barbados. by making sure that our children are confident in the water and that they reach their full potential. I thank the Cuban coaches who have made a great contribution to the development of swimming in Barbados.
We are proud of our many officials who have trained in technical areas to officiate at competitions, parents who time at competitions, who raise funds and who ferry children and car pool to and from the pool when most people are still asleep.
Our management team and pool staff works assiduously to make sure that the strictest standards of health and safety are maintained to ensure that our members, our tenants and visitors operate in a safe environment. I also thank my fellow Officers and Council members and those who served in similar capacities over twenty five years for their contributions to the management of the Aquatic Centre. We could not achieve our level of success without the support of many sponsors. I wish to express my thanks to you for sharing this journey with us. Suffice it to say I could not mention everyone in this message but each of you represents a part of our success.
As we embark on our next twenty five years let us go forward with energy and enthusiasm, just like our founders did, with vision and commitment toward bigger and greater achievements.