Debut Water Polo Tournament with British & American teams: Darren Eastmond Invitational Water Polo Tournament
The Barbados Water Polo Club will be hosting an inaugural tournament over the Easter weekend that will include some international participation from the United Kingdom and the USA. This is the first club tournament of this type not only within Barbados but within the Caribbean Region and will involve “Sea-Water-Polo” on Easter Monday (1st April 2013). The event is entitled The Darren Eastmond Invitational Water Polo Tournament and it is important to provide the general public with some insight about this man, Darren Eastmond, since this inaugural tournament takes his name.
Darren was born on the 2nd February 1980 in Barbados and entered pre-school at the age of 3. At age 5 he attended St. Cyprian’s Primary Boys’ School and because of his short height, gained the nickname of “Inches”. In spite of this, he joined in many extracurricular activities including Piano with Mrs. Wallace; the Hazelwood Cub/Scouts where he gained many badges, the Barbados Judo Association as the smallest member and where he became their National Junior Judo Champion at age 9. He also played tennis at the Hilton and was one of the founding members of the Stingrays Swim team where he was kept very active. As his swimming technique improved so did his competitive spirit which then earned him another nick-name of “Mighty Mouse”.
He was always the first one to be involved in jokes, fun, TV viewing and games thereby spending very little time on academics. However, when he took the 11 plus exam, he proved that he was a scholar by achieving the highest mark in his school and gained entry to Queens College Secondary School where he continued to demonstrate his brilliance while at the same time remaining in competitive sports with representation of Barbados in both swimming and water-polo. He won many medals in these national sports and demonstrated great humility by giving away his medals to persons he thought deserving of them. One such person was his Granddad-John who became the beneficiary of most of them.
At the age of nine he participated in a sea swim organized by the Barbados Amateur Swimming Association from Oistins to Pebbles Beach when “Inches” finished not too far behind the winner. This determination was exhibited time and again especially at Inter-School sports when he first ran the 5,000 meters and was notably the smallest in the field. He ran to the finish and received a standing ovation from everyone present in spite of being lapped by the senior bigger boys. He was always a competitor with massive determination to complete whatever he started to the best of his ability and throughout his short life, proved that no task was too big and he was never to be outdone!
It was during his secondary school days at age 14 that he self-diagnosed himself as diabetic due to a variety of signs/symptoms and subsequent medical test confirmed his diagnosis. He was very accepting of his diabetes which he managed extremely well and his sudden growth spurt seemed to coincide with his treatment. With his outlook on life, he was determined to prove that such a chronic illness would not control him and this increased his competitive spirit in the sporting and academic arena.
At age 17, he attended the Barbados Community College where he did very well in his 3 “A” level subjects as well as in the associate degree programme. He chose to study Physiotherapy initially but changed to Dentistry and was accepted at Cardiff where he graduated in 2004. During his time at university, he studied Spanish for one year and continued his swimming activities but with special emphasis on water-polo. It was recorded that he revived the camaraderie and success of his University Water Polo team with his joviality and broad smile.
He became captain of his University team in his final year and played against Prince William who represented the Scottish Universities while Darren represented the Universities of Wales. During this time at University, he always returned home when called upon to represent his country in Water Polo in Puerto Rico (1996 CISC); Cuba (1997 CCCAN); Venezuela 1998 and Aruba (CISC 2000). He held the title of Captain of the Barbados Water Polo Team.
While at university, he invited the entire team to visit Barbados in 2010 and play against our National team. The logistics proved difficult but with the assistance of some of the local team members, the Welsh team were accommodated and given excellent Bajan hospitality by the host team. It was Darren’s intention to build on this and make it a regular event which would provide the local team with enormous exposure. Because of this wish, the Barbados club decided to host The Darren Eastmond Invitational Water Polo Tournament in his honour.
After graduation, he stayed and did his compulsory Vocational Dental Training in Wales while attending many post graduate courses to keep up-to-date with techniques. He was always serious about promoting efficient and best-practice dentistry and his professors felt that he was destined to make his mark in the field of dentistry as he had a special liking in the field of Oral Cancer.
In spite of his busy work schedule, he found time to continue playing and coaching water polo in Cardiff and later in Cornwall to different water polo teams. He also participated in the swimming, regatta and triathlon events organized by the Cornwall Swimming Association and brought home gold on most occasions. Below is a clip from one of the local newspapers on behalf of St Austell ASC St Austell Swimming Club :-
It was with great sadness that the Club has learnt of the very sudden and tragic death of one of our members, Darren Eastmond.
Many of our swimmers will know Darren as the Water Polo coach and swimmer who brought so much enthusiasm to the sport and led the resurgence in Water Polo at St Austell.
He also competed for the Club in several Galas, most recently in the victorious Masters Team. He achieved New Club records in the 100m Freestyle and 100m IM (in his age group) at the 2010 Club Championships.
It should be mentioned that one of the players whom Darren coached in Cornwall was selected for the British Team Trials during the 2010 Olympics.
A quote from the owner of his last dental practice quote “he brought the warmth and sunshine of Barbados everywhere he went” while his professors continue to speak highly of his achievements.
His most entertaining event was on a television programme titled “Blind Date” which was hosted by well known Television Host, Cilla Black and can be viewed on the Face book’s page “To A Great Guy – Darren Eastmond”.
In conclusion, Darren was a character full of confidence with the knowledge that he was able to rise above the highest hurdles and this may have been seen as being “cocky” while at the same time he demonstrated humility in not being flamboyant about his immense knowledge. He always flew the Barbados flag where ever he went and was the ultimate West Indies cricket fan. He was a kind and caring person to all including his neighbours to whom he would offer to do errands if he saw help was needed.