WILDEY, Barbados – With the water polo and the pool aspect finished at the 34th CARIFTA Swimming Championships, the attention is now turned toward the 5K (five-kilometer) open water discipline where Team Bahamas has 12 swimmers participating at Carlisle Bay in Barbados this morning.
The team consists of Dedrie Higgs, Salene Gibson, Mia Sastre, Kaliyah Albury, Gigi Eneas, Anya MacPhail, Taye Fountain, Sean Longley, Ocean Smith, Jolly Ricardo, Joshua Murray and Mark-Anthony Thompson.
The event is set to begin at 7:45 a.m. The Bahamas had six of the open water swimmers in the pool events over the past four days. The other six swimmers are only open water swimmers.
Andy Loveitt, coach of the open water team, said it is difficult to tell where the swimmers stand among their competitors.
“Many countries entered swimmers without a time,” he said. “We are looking to get into the top 10. We can make some progress on the open water circuit.”
The hard-working coach said that if they get better results than last year, the open water team can follow the path of the swim team.
There are 30 girls and 30 boys who will be participating in open water swimming today.
Loveitt said that he has kept the swimmers who are only doing open water swimming busy.
“The pool swimmers have been working on their pool events. The open water swimmers were given more yardage to keep in shape. They were doing that two sessions per day,” Loveitt said.
Anya MacPhail is one of the swimmers who is on both teams. She has participated in 14 races over the past four days, and said that she is exhausted but mentally prepared for the open water swim.
“Honestly, I am exhausted. My body is very fatigued, but my mentality is there for open water. For me to swim a 5K, I must keep in check mentally and the body will do the rest of the work. I hope to perform to the best of my ability after a long four-day meet. I don’t expect to get a personal best time considering that it will be day number five for me, but I am going to try my best for the team,” said MacPhail.
Last year, MacPhail was ninth in the 16-18 girls event, finishing in a time of 1:09:29.78.
The orientation for the open water swimmers and coaches was held yesterday, and the rules of the competition were discussed. The swimmers did one lap around the 1K (one-kilometer) course. Loveitt said the water was calm and the conditions looked good for today.
Last year the open water team had four top 10 finishes. They are looking to improve on that.
The open water race will mark the end of the 34th CARIFTA Swimming Championships in Wildey, Barbados. Both teams head back to The Bahamas later today.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism
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