The sun broke through the clouds in perfect timing on Sunday for Vanuatu Aquatic’s annual Island Splash fundraiser at Mele Beach Bar.
12 teams packed out the venue with their colourful costumes and boisterous spirits, ready to take on the 4 challenges set out for them and well hydrated by Azure Water and looked after by ProMedical Vanuatu.
The event kicked off with the Wet n’ Wild Adventure Park obstacle course, consisting of new components that mirrored swimming or life saving skills used in swim programs (search and rescue, dolphin diving and the grueling bucket bail). Unsynchronised swimming returned by popular demand, with some especially creative and well practiced routines that wow-ed the judges. Floaty Polo made it’s debut this year, drawing much interest to the sport of water polo.
The day ended with the raft relay, which teams built over the course of the afternoon in preparation for the relay. It was a tight race between the magenta and pink teams, but in the end Splashy McSplash Face came out on top to win the Adventures in Paradise tour, with Vanuatu Surfing Association in second place for the Vila Distribution Magnum. I Stret Nemo made a miraculous jump with their performance in the last event and managed to steal third place.
Spectators also walked away happy with raffle prizes provided by Vila Distribution, Pandanus, Computer World, Vanuatu Jungle Zipline and Tamanu on the Beach.
Island Splash is an nontraditional way of raising money for sporting federations. While the federation does run serious competitions for swimmers, Island Splash is a way of engaging the non-swimmer in aquatic events, to introduce new sports such as water polo to the Vanuatu community at large.
Vanuatu Aquatics Federation, surpassed their goal of Vt200,000 by raising double of what they raised last year, with over Vt370,000 in the bucket. This will allow the federation to send swimmers to Papua New Guinea next June for the Oceania Swimming Championships where the team hopes to compete in both the pool and open water swimming events.
The federation is also looking at creating a sea pool for higher quality local competitions so that all Vanuatu swimmers may benefit development activities.
Over 600 school children have learned how to swim through the federation’s outreach program over the last 3 years. The federation currently runs development programs in 4 communities on Efate. These communities are slowly building their swim club programs so that the level of competition in swimming will increase in the next few years.