TRINIDAD AND Tobago is gearing up to host the 2017 CCCAN (Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation) Championships, scheduled from Thursday until July 2, excitement levels towards the prolific tournament continued to increase, especially as the Open Water Category will splash off on Turtle Beach in Tobago, on Saturday.

Preparations for the 15-member squad, who will be heading to the sister isle to battle the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, reached their final stages of training at the National Aquatic Centre in Couva.

For the first time, Tobago will play host to such an aquatic event, and this year, CCCAN have introduced a new age group in the Open Water aspect where swimmers between the ages of 12-13 will have the opportunity to compete.

The usual age groups 14-17, 18-and-Over and the Mixed Genders categories will also be contested. Speaking in a recent interview, coach of TT ’s Open Water team Hazel Haynes, said, “With not many countries utilising the option of entering teams in the 12-13 age group, I am quite confident the young athletes will dominate the newest category as they are strong, fully focused on producing positive results and determined to emerge victorious.” However, she anticipates the competition is going to be stiffer in the other categories.

“Since there are no times beforehand to work with and every Open Water event is very different, due to weather conditions, there is a lot of difficulty in knowing who is the competition really is on the day as there are many athletes from various countries competing. This formulates a great competition.” Five Kilometres (5K) will be the only distance the young swimmers in 12-13 category would be venturing as the older age groups will be competing in both the 5K and 10K distances over the weekend. The team is expected to arrive in Tobago during the week.