BAF ratifies a dozen for open water swimming
Team Bahamas officials believe that the open water segment of the 2019 CARIFTA Swimming Championships is a key component to its title defense of the junior regional meet this coming Easter holiday weekend, and with that in mind, they are looking forward to good representation in that area come April 24.
CARIFTA Swimming is set for April 20-24 at the Barbados Aquatics Centre and Carlisle Bay, in Bridgetown, Barbados, this year. The open water championships will climax the meet on April 24 at Carlisle Bay. After being shut out of the medals in open water swimming at CARIFTA last year, The Bahamas is looking for a major breakthrough this year. A 12-member open water team was ratified by the Bahamas Aquatics Federation (BAF) yesterday.
In the 13-14 girls division, The Bahamas will be represented by Dedrie Higgs, Salene Gibson and Mia Sastre; Kaliyah Albury, Gigi Eneas and Anya MacPhail will compete for The Bahamas in the 15-17 girls division; the 13-14 boys for The Bahamas are Taye Fountain, Sean Longley and Ocean Smith; and finally, Ricardo Jolly, Joshua Murray and Mark-Anthony Thompson will represent The Bahamas in the 15-17 boys division.
Murray and MacPhail won the boys and girls five-kilometer (K) swim races at the first MAKO Open Water Swim Meet at Long Wharf Beach on Saturday, and hence earned automatic qualifying spots on the team. The MAKO open water event was the final qualifier for the 2019 CARIFTA Swimming Championship for The Bahamas.
Gibson, MacPhail, Fountain, Smith and Thompson were already members of the 36-member swim team for CARIFTA, and now they are on the open water team as well. The swim portion of CARIFTA will be held from April 20-23, and open water swimming will wrap up the five-day meet on April 24.
The Bahamas’ best finish in open water swimming at CARIFTA last year was sixth and seventh in the 14-15 girls category. Gibson was sixth and Giovanna Eneas finished seventh. Fountain was 10th in the 14-15 boys division last year, MacPhail was ninth in the 16-18 girls division and Albury was 12th; and in the 16-18 boys division, Darren Laing was 10th and Thompson finished 14th.
The returning members are looking for improved performances this time around.
A total of 24 countries from around the region are expected to participate in the 34th CARIFTA Swimming Championships this year. The Bahamas has won the past two CARIFTA swimming titles, and four out of the last five.
The 34th CARIFTA Swimming Championships is a qualifier for the 18th FINA (International Swimming Federation) World Championships this summer in Gwangju, South Korea, the 2019 Pan American Games, also this summer, in Lima, Peru, and the Games of the 32nd Olympiad in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
It is one of the top junior swim meets in the region.
The Bahamas will field a full swim team at the meet.