St Maarten, who had competed in the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) Swimming Championships, is now an official member of the organization.
Notably, Emmbriel Flanders, St Maarten’s representative for the OECS Swimming Championship and his coach, Mr Dwight Vermeer, marked their presence at the 31st swimming championships.
The annual event was held on November 10-12, 2023, in Saint Lucia, where many Caribbean nations were invested as a guest, such as,
– St Kitts and Nevis
– Saint Lucia
– St Vincent and the Grenadines
– St Maarten
– Antigua and Barbuda
– St Martin
It is to be noted that Flanders from the local Dolphin Swim Team swam in the boys’ 13/14 age category. Although he was the only athlete who represented St Maarten in three of his personal best times in the swimming events and finished overall in 6th place, which are as follows,
– Event 86 Male 13-14 50 Back 39.33S (-1.79)
– Event 98 Male 13-14 100 Breast 1:30.05S (-5.56) (1 Team point)
– Event 118 Male 13-14 100 Free 1:09.01S (-2.35)
During the OECS Swimming Championships, Mr Dwight Vermeer, in his dual role as coach for Flanders and President of SMAF (St Marteen Aquatic Federation), marked their presence in the Congress of OECS.
On November 11, Vermeer acted as president and managed to ensure that St Maarten was now a permanent member of the OECS. During the voting, all the OECS countries unanimously voted in favour of St Marteen to spot the permanent status within the swimming championships from 2024.
Notably, this voting has given access to St Marteen’s athletes to actively take part in all swimming events, and they will no longer considered as a guest.
It is to be noted that in the forthcoming events, St Marteen will have an opportunity to host these championships and welcome athletes from the different OECS countries.
St. Marteen has been given an opportunity to benefit from sports tourism by being able to host a sports event on an international level.
Additionally, this event will be hosted by St Vincent and the Grenadines in 2024.