6th October 2017


The Port Vila Seafront looked especially spectacular on the morning of the 5th October where Vanuatu Aquatics Federation set up an elaborate makeshift swimming pool. We successfully held our second invitational, Seafront Sprints Age Group and Opens Invitational of 2017 following the meet in the Blue Lagoon. The course looked pristine with noodles donated from the Australian High Commission and umbrellas donated by BSP Vanuatu. Everyone kept well hydrated with the water provided by Azure.

Vila Distribution donated funds that not only allowed for so many staff to work the event but also enabled our staff to spend weeks preparing lane lines, surveying the ocean floor and setting anchors. All the effort was time well spent as the competition drew large crowds of spectators since no event like this has happened in Vanuatu. The crowd cheered and supported their fellow country man as they raced down the 50m course.

The invitationals are all in preparation of the first ever Swimming Age Group National Championships which will take place next month. Selections from nationals will begin a robust training with our national coach in the lead up to the Oceania Championships in PNG in 2018.

There were 9 clubs that registered for the event which is more than the previous event. The ages ranged from 10yr&under up to an Opens division. The 9 Clubs that registered included 4 outer communities (Eton, Ekipe, Epau and Blacksands), 4 age group town Clubs (Bahai, Flying Fish Swimming, Waterlife and Paradise Swimming) and 1 masters club (Port Vila Masterbathers) with the overall total of 130 swimmers taking part on the day. This was a first in a VAF invitational with members of the Port Vila Masterbathers taking to the lanes, some in combined events with 18&U swimmers which provided good competition.

Despite the popularity of freestyle in Vanuatu, many swimmers tested the waters with backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly events. 10yr & 12yr olds competed in 25m distance and the 14yr up to Opens competing in 50m events. The competition included 48 events in total including age group relays for the first time.

Given that we were in a seapool with limited deck space, we followed the FINA Long Course guidelines as best we could for the event by having volunteer timers, marshalling officer, Head finish Judge, Stroke Judges and Clerk of Course.  As the previous Blue Lagoon event was short by a metre, the Seafront Springs is the first event where official times have been established and will become the building blocks of qualifying times in Vanuatu swimming. While our Pacific neighbours have a diving block and walls for tumble turns, our swimmers started in the water with a rope start. Therefore their times do not reflect times they may do in a pool, however they do reflect the swimmers ranking within Vanuatu. The top times from this event will be used to determine the qualifying times for the National Championships which will take place in November.

We aim to showcase the success of a sea pool in the harbour to hopefully one day in the future have a sea pool built which would become the training facility for our elite athletes.

The overall day was a huge success for the Federation and the swimming community in Port Vila. A huge thank you to our sponsors, Vila Distribution, Azure Water, BSP and the Australian High Commission for making this event possible and helping so many swimmers achieve their personal bests.




31 May 2017

To Thailand and Back

After a long journey, Frank Vira arrived in Thailand for the first FINA Swimming for All clinic with participants from all 5 continental bodies (Asia, Africa, Americas, Oceania and Europe).

Learn to swim and swim development representatives from national federations attended this historic clinic. FINA President Julio Maglione created this initiative to address the need for better access to swimming programs, stating that “We need to work together to make the world a better place. With this in mind, we are committed to providing free programmes to help reduce death by drowning and increase access to the sport worldwide. It is crucial that we continue to address the World Health Organisation’s alarming statistics warning that drowning is a serious and neglected global health issue.”

Frank, who is the Senior Development Officer for VAF, finally got to meet his other comrades in Oceania working on the same initiatives he focuses on in Vanuatu.

The chance to share information with each other on how each country was addressing barriers to learn to swim, such as gender, cultural beliefs, isolation and lack of equipment or pools, sport infrastructure and biggest of all lack of funding was the biggest highlight of the week.

Frank delivered a presentation on some of the work his team is doing this year which will hopefully inspire others to continue reaching out to new swimming communities in their countries.

Click here to see what other national swimming federations are up to in Oceania.

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