Vanderpool-Wallace in world’s best group
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace continues to solidify her place as one of the world’s best short sprinters in this era of swimming.
She broke into the top echelon of world performers last year with a bronze medal at the Federation Internationale de Natation (French for International Swimming Federation or simply FINA) Short Course Championships. She followed that by establishing herself as the best in the United States in doubling up at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships while representing Auburn University earlier this year.
To cement her status as the best in the United States, in finishing seventh on Sunday during the FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China, she beat American Jessica Hardy. She clocked 24.79 and Hardy finished in 24.87.
There is a story that Vanderpool-Wallace’s father tells. Vincent is the present Minister of Tourism but long before he joined the Cabinet of The Bahamas, there was that trip to Florida for young Arianna to compete. She was pleasantly surprising by getting to the finals against much more experienced opponents. She didn’t win, but she ticked the names of the girls who were faster on that occasion.
She was determined to be better than them. She eventually picked them all off.
On Sunday, Sweden’s Therese Alshammar was first in 24.14, Netherland’s Ranomi Kromowidjojo was second in 24.27, Marleen Veldhuis of The Netherlands also, was third in 24.49, Britain’s Francesca Halsall was fourth in 24.60, Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus was fifth in 24.65, and Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen was sixth in 24.67.
You can bet that Arianna has put the mark on those girls. I believe she will relish the day when she gets an opportunity against them all, once again. I wouldn’t bet against her chances to disturb the mix to the point whereby she gets into the medal picture.
Arianna has clearly put herself in a good position with the future looking even brighter. This is the first time that a Bahamian is a legitimate medal hopeful at the world senior swimming Worlds and Olympic levels. This is something for a nation to be very proud of.
We’ve never been here before. For over a year now, Arianna has been swimming in unchartered territory for Bahamians in that discipline. Best wishes to her for continued improvement as she sets her sights on being the very best in the world. She is capable of that accomplishment, I think.
Here in The Bahamas, we’ve been spoilt by seeing athletes from this very small nation continually rub shoulders with the best the rest of the world has to offer, and succeeding in winning at times. In that regard, there are no doubt those who were disappointed that Arianna did not medal in Shanghai. Meanwhile, there are many countries, much larger than The Bahamas, that would be joyful and have a grand celebration for a finalist.
Let’s salute Arianna for her seventh place finish. She’s in that group called “the world’s best.” Cheers to her teammates Alana Dillette and Vereance Burrows as well!
They continue to make their contributions to the sports power image of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at [email protected])