Murray, MacPhail win at MAKO Open Water Swim Meet
Joshua Murray and Anya MacPhail won the boys and girls five-kilometer (K) at the first MAKO Open Water Swim Meet, held at Long Wharf Beach, on Saturday morning.
The meet served as the final qualifier for the open water team for the 2019 CARIFTA Swimming Championships, set for April 20-24 in Bridgetown, Barbados. The open water segment will be held on Wednesday, April 24, at 9 a.m.
Murray won the boys race in a time of 1:11.42. Second to him was Ricardo Jolly who recorded a time of 1:13.05. Hodari Prince, 13, was third overall with a time of 1:16.33.
“It was overall a good race. It is just that some parts were wavy but it was good. This course is usually rougher but it wasn’t bad this time,” Murray said. Jolly said: “The first two laps were good and the third lap was better. The course is a little tough, especially with the waves, but you have to push through.”
MacPhail finished the female division in a time of 1:15.35. Second to her was Salene Gibson in a time of 1:17.18. Kayliah Albury was third overall, finishing in 1:17.39.
MacPhail was a participant in last year’s CARIFTA open water swim event and finished ninth in a time of 1:09.29 in the 16-18 girls category. She said the course was very rough on Saturday.
“The course was very rough. I am familiar with the course so I went in knowing what I had to do and how to perform and I came out and I tried my hardest and did my best,” she said. “I am always looking for competition. I love competition.”
MacPhail said she is happy with where she is at this point of the season. She is on the CARIFTA swim team – her fifth straight year as a member of Team Bahamas for the CARIFTA Swimming Championships.
Gibson was also in last year’s open water swimming competition. She finished sixth in a time of 1:10:09 in the 14-16 girls category. She likes to swim distance events, specializing in the 800 meters (m) freestyle in the pool.
“I like to swim the long races because you have time plus I am tall so it works out because I can stretch and get through the race. It also gives me time to think and I don’t have to stress about getting somewhere so quickly – it gives me time to build up,” Gibson said.
Travano McPhee, head coach at MAKO Aquatics, said it was an excellent meet with good weather.
“It was an excellent event. We could not have asked for better weather. This was the seventh or eighth meet here and this was one of the best that I have seen. We had a lot of boat captains and jet skis along with the Royal Bahamas Defense Force on the waters,” said McPhee. He added that he expects the open water team to do well. McPhee thanked Georgette Albury, secretary of the club, and all the parents for making the meet successful.
On hand at the meet was Algernon Cargill, president of the Bahamas Aquatics Federation (BAF). He acknowledged that the open water competition is not one of the strongest events for The Bahamas, but he is hopeful for a strong performance in open water swimming in Barbados.
“We are developing a long-distance swimming program. Our swimmers don’t like distance events so we have to encourage them to change their focus from sprint and middle distance to long distance swimming. Open water swimming at the CARIFTA level, the minimum distance is 5K. When they move on to stronger competition, it moves from 10K to 25K. In terms of where we need to go in order to do exceptionally well, we need to shift the focus of our swimmers from sprints to more long distance swimming and training. That will be incumbent on the coaches,” Cargill said.
He said that the meet was good and it was nice to see the 15-17 boys division doing well.
The open water swimming team for the CARIFTA championships will be named in short order.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism