The Bahamas Aquatics Federation (BAF) has selected a 28-member team to participate in the 2019 Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) Championships, set to be held at the Barbados Aquatics Center, Wildey, Christ Church, Barbados, from June 24 to July 8, 2019. The swimming portion of the meet runs from June 28 to July 2.
The team include 13 male swimmers and 10 females along with two coaches, a team manager and two chaperones.
Making the cut for the males are Amauri Bonamy, Davante Carey, Tristin Ferguson, Nigel Forbes, Gershwin Greene, Marvin Johnson, Kohen Kerr, Peter Morley, Ian Pinder, William Russell, Kierro Stubbs, Lamar Taylor and Erald Thompson III.
The females include Kaliyah Albury, Celia Campbell, Devin Cuffy-Bethel, Rhanishka Gibbs, Jamilah Hepburn, Rachel Lundy, Delaney Mizell, Keianna Moss, Giann Sands and Ariel Weech.
Travano McPhee will be the head coach. Assisting him will be Sara Knowles. The team manager will be Georgette Albury, and Karon Pinder-Johnson and Kendric Albury are the chaperones.
The team includes 16 swimmers from this year’s CARIFTA swim team that won its third straight junior regional title in Barbados in April. That team won 73 medals, including 35 gold.
The athletes will be competing in four age groups – 11-12, 13-14, 15-17 and 18-and-over, male and female.
For Coach McPhee, he said that the team will be looking to bring back hardware.
“The team will be looking to bring as many medals home as we can with the goal being for all swimmers to obtain personal best times. We are not sending a full team like we did for CARIFTA,” he said.
Teams from all across the Caribbean and Central America will compete at the meet. These include strong swimming nations such as Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Panama, Jamaica, El Salvador and the Cayman Islands. Trinidad and Tobago are the defending champions.
The Bahamas won the high point awards in the 13-14 and 15-17 boys categories at last year’s CCCAN Championships held in Savaneta, Aruba.
Five CCCAN records were broken by Bahamians at that same meet. Carey broke the 15-17 boys 50 meters (m) backstroke record, swimming 26.84 seconds. Forbes broke two records – 11-12 boys 50 and 100m breaststroke records. In the 50m breast, he swam 32.15 seconds for the new record and his 100m time was 1:11.16.
Also breaking a record was Lamar Taylor in the 13-14 boys 50m freestyle. He swam a time of 23.49 seconds. Victoria Russell also broke a record. She swam 1:13.83 for the new record in the 15-17 girls 100m breast.
According to McPhee, the strongest areas for Team Bahamas will be the 11-12 and 15-17 boys divisions. The 18-and-over boys and girls categories are also expected to be strong for The Bahamas.
Weech, a very experienced swimmer, will be looking to bring back some medals for The Bahamas.
The 11-12 boys will be spearheaded by Johnson who is coming off a great CARIFTA meet. He finished with 10 individual gold medals and four relay gold medals for a total of 14 gold at the CARIFTA Swimming Championships. He also holds The Bahamas’ national records in four individual races and one relay race in the 11-12 age category. Johnson holds the record in the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle events, and he is a part of the mixed 400m free relay record setting team.
Johnson will be joined by Bonamy and Ferguson in the 11-12 boys division for The Bahamas.
Carey will lead a very strong 15-17 boys squad that includes Morley, Pinder, Stubbs and Taylor. Carey holds the national age group record in the 15-17 boys 50m backstroke.
The 18-and-over boys will see Greene, Kerr and William Russell compete for The Bahamas.
The 2019 REV National Swimming Championships are set for June 20-23 in New Providence, and Bahamian swimmers on the CCCAN team will have three days following that meet to prepare for CCCAN. The team leaves for Barbados on June 27 and starts competition the day after.
Apart from swimming, the CCCAN Championships will also feature open water swimming, artistic swimming and water polo.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism