YMCA CEO: ‘Sky is the limit’ for Kendal Aquatic Facility

Tobago House of Assembly.
There is future potential for the Kendal Aquatic Facility to host top regional, and perhaps even international competitive swim meets.

YMCA Operations Director Ainsley King said on Friday (January 16) that although Tobago is yet to host a regional-level swimming event, the impressive, spanking-new facility is well equipped to do so. YMCA was the facility’s project manager.

“We have swim teams already in place, and you can have anywhere from friendly or amateur competitions to more professional competitions,” King said. “It could host regional meets. At Courland, we have not done anything outside of Trinidad and Tobago, but that could be another avenue. The facility is already prepared for that.”

The Aquatic Facility was officially commissioned on Thursday (January 15). It is the second such venue in Tobago, an improvement on the YMCA facility in Courland. After just over two years of construction, the facility was completed last November at a final cost of $19,451,140.13. The building and pool were constructed by Building Professional Limited to the tune of $16.7 million, while drainage cost just over $2million, and a further $719,000 was spent on the car park.

Just as at Courland, which it is modeled after, Kendal’s is a salt-water pool, also known by many names, including salt chlorine generator or salt-water pool system. This means no chlorine is added directly to the pool; instead, the system can use common table salt to generate the chlorine needed to keep the pool water clean.

The facility, which is open to the public, features an eight-lane, 25-metre pool—that at its deepest sinks 2.4 metres—meaning it could potentially host short course international events. It also sports a smaller learning/warm-up 12m pool. Its pavilion can seat up to 100 people, while additional seating at the concession area can accommodate 25 more people. It will provide a much-needed alternative to the Courland pool for residents and students of Windward Tobago.

YMCA CEO Odetta Alexander praised YMCA Trinidad and Tobago founder, Canadian Gordon Cressy, for his active role in discussions that resulted in construction of the pool.

“The sky is the limit,” Alexander said. “The facility itself would allow anything from a tadpole (learning swimmer) to Olympic (level). It’s not an Olympic pool, but the bigger pool has the capacity to train on a professional level.

“It surpasses the one we have Port of Spain as well. We are continuing to grow in terms of how we develop the aquatics programmes. We hope to partner with the THA in managing this facility, to use some of our in-house expertise, we have has a really good relationship with the Assembly in the past.”

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