On Thursday the 27th of April, 38 swimmers from primary and secondary school, accompanied by 4 coaches and an airplane full of supporters traveled to Dubai to take part in the Middle East Unity Cup.
This was the second time the Baku Sharks took part in this event. The competition was held at the long course pool in the state of the art Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai. With swimmers from 30 schools from around the region and a total of 840 athletes this is the largest swim competition held in The Middle East.
After an early departure from the TISA parking lot Thursday morning and a comfortable flight that seemed hijacked by our Baku Sharks swim community, we first paid a visit to the Dubai Mall. In true ‘TISA community style’, the Albarwani and Ladd families, two former TISA families, were waiting with anticipation for our arrival at the mall. It was moving to see how happy the children were to be reunited with their TISA friends… After consuming a wide variety of junk food, the students had a choice to visit Kidzania, the Cinema or do some shopping… ‘cause let’s face it… when you are in the land of the plenty you need to make full use of your opportunities!
An early night at the Premier Inn Hotel was required to be ready for warm up at 8:00 at the Hamdan Sports Complex on Friday morning. The team made a professional impression in their new swimsuits and at 9am sharp, it was Emir Akbarov (P6) who was the first Shark to to dive in the pool for the 50m backstroke. A full day of racing, smashing nearly all our personal bests, the day finished with the 200m Freestyle relay.
Straight from the pool into the bus for the ultimate dessert safari. Some serious dune bashing and rolling in the sand was topped off with a delicious middle eastern BBQ under the stars!
Saturday morning the team was back in the pool for warm up at 7:30. All swimmers were in good spirit, ready to challenge themselves! The day ended with a Medley Relay for which we entered 9 teams! They swam their lungs out, as really … when it comes to swimming, oxygen is overrated!
This meet is unique, as it supports both experienced competition swimmers as well as those swimmers who are still developing their skills. Running a Development and Championship Meet at the same time gives swimmers of all ages and abilities the chance to have the experience of competing in a friendly environment.
On top of the fact that all our swimmers set new personal bests, we came home with a huge amount of medals in both the Development as the Championship meet! We celebrated our success with a nice buffet and award dinner on Saturday night and invited all the parents to come join us. Proud coaches and parents listen how the swimmers stood up and shared their experiences.
We are proud of our swimmer’s achievement and are looking forward to the club competition at the end of May at the Ramada indoor pool.