City club nurtures promising swimmers

Marlin Swimming Club head coach Anwar Rinquest with one of their swimmers, Sirhaan Mia, at their base in Gatesville Mall.

Marlin Swimming Club in Gatesville aims to improve the community’s swimming skills and fitness levels in a competitive yet fun and motivating environment.

The non-profit organisation, which has produced provincial and national swimmers in its five years of existence, puts social development at the top of its agenda. Founded by Anwar Rinquest, Fatima and Riyaad Phillips, the swimming club has more than 63 swimmers from Bridgetown, Rylands, Heideveld, Gatesville and the neighbouring areas.

The club is registered under Cape Town Metro Aquatics, Western Province Aquatics and Swimming SA. Secretary Fagrie Omar says the club is active throughout the year. They rent the Virgin Active pool at Gatesville Mall.

Among their star swimmers are Nurul Hudai, 13, Ilyaas Omar, 13, and Sirhaan Mia, 12, who were a part of the provincial team at the national schools tournaments in Gauteng in December last year and March earlier this year.

Thanasa Hattas, 12, Aqeela Rinquest, 12, and Layla Cassie, 12, were part of the inter-provincial team at the recent provincial tournaments in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

The swimmers train four to six times a week. Most of them are aged between 10 and 16.

“We are fortunate to have swimmers compete in quite a number of competitions over the past five years.

“We are an NPO focused purely on the development of our children. The registration fees we raise all go towards paying for the swimming pool in Gatesville and the coaching fees,” he says.

Omar says he was one of the first five parents who were asked to join the club after his son, Ilyaas, was taught how to swim.

“Every month we take part in different swimming galas.

“For the last two years that I’ve been a secretary at the club, the journey has not always been easy because each child has to raise their money towards national swimming competitions.

“On average, for a competition in Port Elizabeth, the trip will cost about R3 500 for five days, excluding meals. I try and assist the kids with transport to galas because it is not easy,” he says.

Omar says Golden Grove Primary School Grade 7 swimmer and a member at the club, Sirhaan, has been selected to take part in a swimming competition in Tunisia in September for Team SA.

However, he needs to raise at least R25 000 to cover the cost of transport, accommodation and meals. “We advertise in the club, host burger nights and at the end of July, we will host a comedy evening to assist Sirhaan’s dreams of swimming abroad,” he says.

Co-founder Fatima Phillips says the club was launched after 60 youngsters showed interest in swimming in the area. Phillips says her son, Haytham, 13, learnt to swim with head coach Anwar Rinquest.

“He outgrew the pool they were training at and I asked Anwar to teach him privately at the Virgin Active in Gatesville.

“Later that year more kids showed interest and we officially launched the club in December 2014. Me and my son, Haytham, are now based in Gauteng and he swims for the Gauteng Province,” she says.

Mr Rinquest is the head coach for level two and three swimmers, Fazlin Rinquest is the coach for newbies and Sharon Sity is the intermediate group coach.

Sirhaan is in the process raising funds for his upcoming trip to Tunisia. Anyone who would like to make a donattion can contact Rinquest on 082 770 8627.