The Bahamas wrapped up action in the Duna Arena at the 7th FINA (International Swimming Federation) World Junior Swimming Championships on Saturday evening with a memorable performance from Izaak Bastian. The championships concluded on Sunday in Budapest, Hungary.
Bastian, the final swimmer in action for The Bahamas, finished ninth overall in the junior boys 50 meters (m) breaststroke.
Bastian swam in the second semifinal, and touched the wall in 28.39 seconds, placing him in sixth position. After both semifinals were completed, Bastian missed out on being a finalist by .05 seconds. Finishing ahead of him for the eighth and final spot was Great Britain’s Kyle Booth who swam 28.34 seconds.
The Bahamian was off of his personal best of 28.20 seconds.
On Saturday morning, 18-year-old Bastian powered his way to a fourth-place finish in his heat, the fastest heat, in 28.25 seconds. That swim gave him the seventh fastest time overall heading into the semifinals. There were 74 swimmers who finished the preliminary rounds in that event.
In the 200m breast on Friday morning, the Florida State University (FSU) swimmer posted a time of 2:18.92 to finish 10th in the fastest heat and 29th overall out of 62 clean swims. He was unable to set a personal best time in that event.
Earlier in the week, Bastian saw pool action in the 50m freestyle and the 100m breast.
In the 100m breast on Tuesday, he set a personal best with a time of 1:01.99 in the semifinals and finished 11th overall. That time crushed his previous personal best of 1:02.41.
The senior most swimmer on the team said he can’t complain about the performances he had.
“The meet didn’t really go as I planned but it’s a learning experience for sure and I got a personal best time in the 100 meters breast so I can’t complain about that, getting closer to my goals. The positives are [the meet] just showed me what I need to work on more in my practices and how to prepare for a meet and how to tailor to my preparation for a meet and learn more about my swimming. So, it was definitely a great experience for me to have and I really appreciate being given the opportunity to come to this meet and swim against people at this level,” Bastian said.
Bastian said his least pressured event was the 50m free. He clocked 23.60 seconds to finish 33rd overall out of 110 swimmers.
For now, he takes a break after a long season that included the FINA World Swimming Championships earlier this month and now the FINA World Junior Championships.
“When I go back to school, I’ll probably take a couple days off. Once I start again, I don’t have any plans of stopping any time soon so just start the grind again,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to seeing some of my teammates back at school, getting back to work with my coach at college and going into the new short course season for college with some long course meets scattered in there – hopefully prepare for next summer and see where swimming takes me, see what happens,” Bastian said.
Also in action on Saturday was Lamar Taylor. He swam a personal best time of 51.99 seconds in the 100m free. The Grand Bahamian finished 42nd overall out of 118 clean swims. His previous personal best time in that event was 52.58 seconds.
Apart from Saturday, the 16-year-old swam in four other events. He also swam in the 50m free, 50m and 100m back and the 50m butterfly races.
In the 50m fly race, Taylor finished 31st overall with a new personal best time of 25.18 seconds. His previous personal best was 25.60 seconds.
The youngest swimmer on the team was able to swim 27.31 seconds in the 50m backstroke. He placed 41st out of the 85 swimmers who completed that race.
In the 50m free, Taylor finished 31st overall with a time of 23.52 seconds. Taylor said he got a lot of exposure and learnt a lot from the meet.
“It was a good experience coming to this new meet. It was a lot of exposure for me and I learned a lot from it. The only difference between me and the other swimmers is that they are physically stronger than I am,” Taylor said. “When I come back home I have to change some things like my diet and what type of exercise I do and I will try to work on my endurance. It was a good meet. I was really close to passing my personal best in basically all my swimming events. What I look forward to next season, I hope to attend more national meets and improve my times by a lot, so hopefully I can get Olympic A or B cuts.”
Taylor was disqualified in the 100m back on the first day of competition.
DaVante Carey was the third and final Team Bahamas swimmer at the championships. He finished competition on Friday and he supported his teammates on Saturday.
Carey swam the 50m and 100m back and the 50m and 100m butterfly.
The 100m back race saw Carey finish with a time of 59.03 seconds to finish 51st overall. The race saw 85 clean swims.
In the 100m fly, the recent Queen’s College graduate touched the wall in 55.90 seconds to finish 40th overall out of the 82 swimmers who completed that race.
Carey competed with Taylor in the 50m back, and came out with a time of 27.09 seconds to finish 40th overall. He holds the national record in this event – a time of 26.46 seconds.
In his final race on Friday, Carey swam to a 33rd overall finish when he swam 25.22 seconds in the 50m fly. He said he took a lot from the meet.
“I would say that world juniors was a very good experience. It was definitely a first for me. Seeing that it was my last junior meet I could actually attend, I took a lot from it. I found out that there are many young talents in the world and that I have much more to work on,” Carey said. “I am looking forward to the new season – just looking on doing some better times. Also, I’m trying to travel to some more meets, trying to break some national records, CARIFTA records, stuff like that. That’s really what I am looking forward to in this new year, but, as for this performance in Budapest, I would say it was phenomenal for me.”
The biennial meet ended last night and the eighth edition is set for 2021.
The meet accommodated about 800 top swimmers from 131 countries around the world from August 20 to August 25.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism