The winners were presented with their medals.
Marist Brothers High School won 23 gold, 25 silver and 17 bronze.
Principal of Marist, Master Ben Salakacau said “We are very proud of our boys for achieving this milestone and for the tremendous effort they and their support teams have put in over the past ten years. They have shown extraordinary perseverance, dedication and humility in victory.”
This year’s 27 member swim team comprised several club and seasonal swimmers. While the team relied on the strength of specific age categories to pull through sure medals for the team, this year was nevertheless a tough challenge at all age levels given the quality of strong competition from Secondary School Male teams, notably from Sri Vivekananda College (“SVC”) and Natabua High School. The Marist victory, by a single gold medal over rivals SVC, not only highlights the evident toughness of the competition this year, but also draws attention to the level of excellence in the sport at Secondary School level.
When questioned on the news that another school has argued on medal results in the media recently, Master Ben had the following statement: “The Fiji National Schools Swimming Association (“FNSSA“) confirmed in writing that Marist has maintained its position as the outright winner of the High School’s male division for 2017. I believe that the spirit of fairness and sportsmanship that has been evident in the School Swimming Nationals must prevail and that a level and equal playing field is critical for the integrity of the competition. Swimmers of the same age should compete for medals in the same age division in the same school category, in order to ensure there are fair results. The majority of secondary schools that compete in the School Swimming Nationals do not have 10-12 years old so there may be unfair advantages to certain schools. Furthermore, where a school argues that their 10-12 year olds are in “Secondary”, should they at least beat Primary School category swimmers of the same age to qualify for Secondary School medals? Sadly, we understand that this was not the case in a number of events where another school has tried to claim that it is the overall Secondary School winner in the Boys’ Division. However – all this is history. We look forward to competing again next year while noting that it is important that competition rules are clarified and that the integrity of this competition is not compromised. The FNSSA has noted our concerns for their planning purposes for the 2018 School Swimming Nationals”.
Marist recognises the importance of swimming as a sport, its contribution to all other sports played at school and for water safety. This is why we are planning on mainstreaming swimming as a sport in school in 2018. This will involve Inter-house competitions and possibly inclusion in our Physical Education program.
Like most schools we do not have a swimming pool. It is part of our dream. Meanwhile we will utilise facilities available around us.
The Marist swim team was supported by the Marist PTFA, sponsors Bank of South Pacific and Coca Cola Amatil (Fiji) Ltd, as well as a strong team of Coaches, Teachers, Parents, Guardians and Old Boys. They not only assisted us but also reached out to students who wanted assistance in swimming. We are indebted to these volunteers who gave of their time, resources and expertise to help us make it ten years in a row. Marist will be there to defend this title and take it into the next decade of wins.”