WILDEY, Barbados – The Bahamas’ 2019 CARIFTA swim team had made history this year, winning the most medals ever at the CARIFTA Swimming Championships.
The team won a whopping 73 medals at the 34th annual championships, dominating its Caribbean counterparts in grand style at the Barbados Aquatics Centre, in Wildey, Barbados. The Bahamas grabbed 35 gold, 18 silver and 20 bronze medals. The 35 gold was also the most gold ever at the junior regional swim meet.
The team won its third straight CARIFTA swimming title, and fifth in the last six years. The Bahamas held the lead at the end of day one and never relinquished it.
Jamaica finished second with 59 total medals – 22 gold, 25 silver and 12 bronze. Behind them in third was Trinidad & Tobago with 43 total medals – 17 gold, 12 silver and 14 bronze.
The Bahamas also was first in the points standings, winning comfortably with 889.50 overall points. Jamaica was 141.50 points behind The Bahamas with 748 points, to finish second. Trinidad and Tobago finished third with 676 points.
Once again, it was none other than Marvin Johnson who led the way for The Bahamas, claiming his 10th individual gold medal and 14th overall last night. He scored 90 total points, the most points in the 11-12 boys category.
Johnson picked up his 10th individual gold in his final individual race of the meet, the 11-12 boys 200 meters (m) backstroke.
Johnson looked cool, calm and collected as he glided through the water before breaking away from Jamaica’s Brady Macpherson-Lewison, the silver medalist.
Johnson touched the wall in 2:28.26 to complete his goal of winning 10 individual gold medals at this year’s CARIFTA Swimming Championships.
Macpherson-Lewison could not keep up with Johnson, finishing second in 2:29.83. Third place went to Trinidad & Tobago’s Giovanni Rivas. His time was 2:32.51.
The Bahamas’ Amauri Bonamy finished seventh as he posted a time of 2:45.62.
Izaak Bastian had another record-breaking performance on Tuesday night as he swam away with the gold medal and a new CARIFTA record in the 15-17 boys 100m breaststroke. Luke-Kennedy Thompson, his teammate, won the silver.
Bastian’s time of 1:02.84 is the new record. He broke his old record of 1:03.12, that he set at last year’s CARIFTA Games in Kingston, Jamaica.
Thompson touched the wall in 1:06.88 to make sure that The Bahamas secured maximum points in that event. Haiti’s Alexandre Grand’Pierre was third with a time of 1:07.35. Thompson scored the most overall points for the 15-17 boys division with 52 total points.
Bastian put his name in the record books again as he swam 23.18 seconds on the first leg of the 15-17 boys 4x50m free relay. He and his teammates, DaVante Carey, Kevon Lockhart and Lamar Taylor, won the gold medal with a record-breaking time of 1:35.18.
Bastian broke his old record of 23.25 seconds that was set last year in Jamaica, and the team broke Suriname’s 2015 relay record of 1:35.30.
Trinidad and Tobago won silver as they touched the wall in 1:37.08. The bronze medal was won by Jamaica as they posted a time of 1:39.02.
Earlier in the night, Bastian came away with a gold medal in the 15-17 boys 50m freestyle as he held off Jordan Crooks of the Cayman Islands. Bastian recorded a time of 23.35 seconds to take the gold. Crooks was close behind him, recording a time of 23.49 seconds. It was The Bahamas’ Lamar Taylor who came away with the bronze with a time of 23.59 seconds.
For Johnson, his first gold of the night came in the 11-12 boys 400m freestyle race. He swam the race in 4:36.01. Jaydon Croes, of Aruba, had to settle for the silver medal after swimming 4:40.66. It was Bahamian Tristin Ferguson who won the bronze with a time of 4:40.79. The Grand Bahamian young swimming sensation picked up his second gold medal of the night in the 11-12 boys 50m freestyle with a time of 26.30 seconds. Ferguson was second in 26.86 seconds. Winning the bronze medal was Aruba’s Jaydon Croes in 27.19 seconds.
Johnson swam a lot of races but looked ready to swim another 50 meters.
With all his individual races out of the way, Johnson plunged back into the pool again as he picked up his 14th gold medal in the 11-12 boys 4x50m free relay race. He and his teammates – Bonamy, Ferguson and Asher Johnson, swam 1:51.36 to secure The Bahamas’ 11-12 boys their fourth relay gold medal of the meet. The silver medal went to Suriname in 1:56.03. The bronze was won by Barbados who posted a time of 1:57.49.
The team has three members who won’t be eligible for CARIFTA because of age restrictions next year – Bastian, Thompson and Samuel Gibson. The Bahamas will be going after a fourth straight CARIFTA swimming title next year. For now, the team is focussed on celebrating.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism
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