Title sponsors Burger King has once again splashed out a whopping $2m for the 19th staging of the YMCA Preparatory and Primary School Swim Meet at National Aquatic Centre, Independence Park ,on May 10 and 11.
The championship, which has grown from a small local Under-12 meet to one of the largest in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, will for the first time be providing a virtual reality swimming experience to enhance the techniques of the athletes.
There will be 45 schools competing and approximately 600 swimmers, with Immaculate Prep defending the girls’ title and Stella Maris, the boys’ crown. Windward Road Primary and Junior High are the defending primary school boys’ champion, while Jessie Ripoll Primary are the girls’ champion.
Ricardo Brooks, sponsorship manager at Burger King, said he was looking forward to two exciting days of action.
“Burger King is 35 years this year and we have been sponsoring the meet for 19 of those 35 years, so this is one of our marquee sponsorships and it means a lot to us to see the kind of discipline and perseverance and teamwork on display by these children. So each year we try to up what we contribute to the meet,” Brooks told the Jamaica Observer.
“We want it to be a meet with a difference and this year we are pumping in $2m and, as far as we are concerned, it’s the largest corporate contribution to amateur swimming in the island,” said Brooks.
“People can come out to expect the same kind of giveaways, prizes and surprises and this year we are also introducing a virtual reality swimming experience because we think the children are interacting with the world in many different ways. So we want them to excel in the pool and we want them to use technology to the best ends that it can be used,” he added.
“We also want to make sure that the meet continues to be a feeder meet for those swimmers who want to go on to Carifta and other national and international meets,” said Brooks.
The swimmers will get a chance to enter a virtual reality experience by putting on virtual reality glasses and they will be transported to a virtual swim world. They will see themselves and see how they are moving and practise the different kinds of movement in order to improve their techniques.
Meanwhile, Martin Lyn, president of the Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica, lauded the move by Burger King in assisting the youngsters.
“It’s always a great meet because of the youth that it promotes and the reality is that a meet like this must have a good sponsor and I am really proud of Burger King coming on-board again,” said Lyn.
“This is the 19th year of them being on-board because there are so many other things that go on and a meet costs money and Burger King coming to the forefront once again really shows their interest in aquatics,” he noted.
“This is the starting point. This is where they learn and get a lot of ideas,” he added.