THE swimming fraternity was left mourning after hearing news that former national and longstanding coach Ralph "Linky" Yearwood passed away on Wednesday. Social media was flooded with tributes for Yearwood, who focused heavily on mastering technique.
Yearwood taught every aspect of swimming. He officiated and assisted at several clubs despite having his own club Silverfins.
He coached at the St Michael's Swimming Pool and in the latter days at the Cocoyea Community Swimming Pool where he taught recreational swimmers and UTT's sports students.
The 69-year-old will be remembered for his humour as he was never short of jokes and magic tricks. One of his goals was to develop a federation that would focus solely on learning to swim and for recreation swimmers.
Assistant director of Physical Education and Sport, at the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs Gabre-Jesu McTair said, “I'd say that he was a legendary teacher of swimming and a well-loved fatherly figure to those who knew him. It is a justifiable hyperbole to say that Linky taught 'everybody' in TT to swim.” Mc Tair who knew Yearwood for over three decades added, “He had the most warm, jovial and kind personality. His passing has saddened many and his skill set, passion and laughter will be missed around the pool.”
Paying tribute also was programme leader at the Academy of Sport-Centre for Kinesiology Physical Education and Sport UTT, Kerry Dollaway, “He was an icon in the local swimming community. His dedication and passion were evident as he lectured to students at the University of TT across three programmes, the Certificate in Sport Studies, the Bachelor's in Sports Studies and Bachelor of Education-Physical Education specialisation.
“During his tenure as a part-time instructor, he trained well over 300 students to teach and coach swimming. As a colleague, I grew fond of Uncle Linky when I saw how he, although ailing, continued to train students without a complaint. He would be there, cane in hand, under the 12’O clock sun, on a pool deck, imparting knowledge to the upcoming generation of coaches and teachers. This was indeed admirable.” Dollaway then reflected, “He taught me that sport is bigger than us both and as long as we have life, we need to show up and continue developing the young minds. Uncle Linky will not be forgotten by the Academy or the hundreds of students who fondly remember their training under him.”