The Dolphin Swim Club hosted the final club meet on the local swimming calendar for 2019 at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Aquatics Complex on Saturday. The meet was a final chance meet for swimmers looking to fine tune themselves for the nationals and lower their seed times.
After this meet, clubs and swimmers go into full practice mode as they prepare for the grueling eight-session REV 2019 Bahamas Aquatics Federation (BAF) National Swimming Champions, set to be held June 20-23 at the Betty Kelly-Kenning complex.
At the meet, a lot of young swimmers were in action, still trying to reach the qualifying standards for the nationals. Some of the swimmers in the older age categories who have already qualified skipped the meet on Saturday. According to Allison Dean, head coach of the Dolphin Swim Club, quite a number of swimmers achieved the qualifying times.
“It has been a really good day. We had a lot of swimmers making the additional cuts and that is what this meet is – a last chance meet. A lot of the swimmers came out and did really well to make some final cuts,” Dean said. “The 9-10 and 11-12 boys were interesting age groups to watch. The competition in those age groups is intense. The 15-and-over swimmers are not really at this meet because a lot of them have already made their cuts.”
Dolphin swimmer in the 9-10 boys category Donald Saunders was one of the standouts at the meet, clocking the top times in the five events he swam in – 50 meters (m) backstroke; 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle events; and the 50m butterfly. All of his times qualified him for the nationals.
Mako Aquatics 11-12 girls swimmer Giann Sands, a CARIFTA athlete, also had the top times in all four of her events – 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, and the 50m backstroke events. Like Saunders, all her times were under the nationals qualifying times.
Looking forward to the upcoming nationals, Dean said she knows that her club will not win the overall title because of its size, but her swimmers will perform well.
“We are a small club and we don’t expect to win the national championship because of our size. However, we are going to have some swimmers do really well. We have Donald Saunders in the 9-10 boys, a very strong contender for the high point award. We also have a few relay teams that are going to do really well. There are also Aiden Kemp and others who will do really well, and show some improvement in their times,” Dean said.
This year is a milestone one for the Dolphin Swim Club as they are celebrating five decades of continued operation in The Bahamas, teaching children and adults to swim.
“We look forward to a big celebration later in the year – around October and November. We really want to celebrate the milestone that it is – to have been continued without break, for 50 years, teaching children to swim,” Dean said. “The club is an institution and we have a lot of history. We have a swimming camp coming up and we have repeat customers who know about us over the years. We have developed a good reputation – a lot of the coaches and swimmers in other clubs who were a part of this club. Our influence is spread far and wide.”
With this being the final club meet before the nationals, the picture is a bit clearer as to which club and swimmers will get bragging rights. It promises to be a very competitive nationals as the Betty Kelly-Kenning complex comes to life with the various swimmers and clubs going at each other. There is expected to be a number of supporters inclusive of family, friends and general swimming fans at the four-day swimming nationals.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism