Out of order pool affecting swimmer's C/ wealth Games chances By Michael DaSilva
Stabroek News
July 19, 2002

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Guyana's chances of securing a swimming medal at the VII South American Games seem slim, since one of the two swimmers selected for the Games, has resorted to training in the river.

According to Mary Chung, manager of the swim team for the Games, while introducing the two swimmers - Onan Orlando Thom and Ronald Ying - at a special reception hosted by Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) president Juman Yassin on Wednesday Night, told the gathering, Thom, who hails from Linden, does not have a swimming pool in which to train, and had to resort to the River near his home.

Chung, a former national swimmer, subsequently told Stabroek Sport, the community's swim pool of which the Linden Town Council holds responsibility has been out of order for the past three weeks.

Chung said the pool was closed because there is a shortage of chlorine and also there is a problem with the water pump's impeller.

She, however, said she is trying to get an impeller repaired by today and the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association's (GASA) secretary, Charles Corbin, has promised to make some chlorine available.

"We encounter this problem all the time and from time to time Region 10's Education Department or my club would purchase some (chlorine) but the town council always has this problem" a disgusted Chung declared.

Chung pointed out that Thom is not getting enough pool work. "He's supposed to be doing 5000 yards swim every day, but for the past three weeks he had to be contented with one and one half mile swims instead. He's not getting to practise his starts or his strokes or even his turns and sprints" Chung stated, adding "He can't do that in the river. I need to check his times also". Efforts to reach one Mr. Melville from the Linden Town Council by telephone yesterday, proved futile.

Addressing the gathering on Wednesday night, Yassin, an obviously disgusted sports administrator, who also heads GASA said "As Mary said, the pool in Linden is not working, and I hope that in the near future, I don't know when, that Guyana will be blessed with an Olympic size pool. I know promises have been made years ago and I'm still waiting to see something happen along that line".

Chung is however confident Thom can win a medal. "I have hopes in him, he's good", Chung declared.

Thom and Ying represented Guyana at the King Fazal Memorial Swim Meet in Iran in January of this year. Thom also represented Guyana at the 9th World Swimming Championships in Japan last year where he won two of his heats, and according to reports, he returned the fastest time by a Guyanese at a world championship.

Guyana was represented at the world championships on two previous occasions, the last representative was Michael Watson in Australia.

The 18-year old who is noted for being unmoved by opposition from the first world countries, also represented Guyana at the South American in an Age Group meet in Colombia last year.

His best performance came last year when he won three gold and two silver medals at the Goodwill meet in Trinidad. The other countries involved in that meet were Suriname and hosts Trinidad.