Bahamian swimmers in action at NCAA meets

It was a busy weekend in the pool for several Bahamian swimmers at their respective schools’ dual meets in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and Division II action.

Junior breastroker Izaak Bastian and his number 14 nationally ranked Florida State University (FSU) Seminoles visited the Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers. The Seminoles won the meet, 153-145. They have a 5-3 win-loss record on the season, and are 2-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

The 18-year-old sophomore won the 100 and 200 yards breaststroke events at the meet. He also was on the 200-yard medley and freestyle relay teams that finished second and fourth respectively.

In the 100 yards breast, Bastian was tough to beat as he touched the wall in 55.36 seconds. It was not his best performance but he was able to get the win.

The Bahamian is ranked at number 42 in the nation in this race after he clocked a blistering 53.51 seconds at the Georgia Tech Invitational.

The Tigers’ Luca Pfyffer finished second with a time of 55.88 seconds. Bastian’s teammate Nevada Woods was third in 56.48 seconds.

Bastian and Pfyffer finished first and second in the 200 yards breaststroke event respectively. Bastian was able to finish in 2:00.56. He has the 32nd fastest time in the nation in this race – 1:56.23, a time which he set at the Georgia Tech Invitational.

Pfyffer touched the wall one tenth of a second behind Bastian when he finished in 2:00.66. Finishing in third place was the Tigers’ Cameron Karkoska. He clocked 2:02.43.

Bastian and his team of Griffin Alaniz, Max McCusker and Peter Varjasi clocked 1:28.63 in the 200 medley relay to finish in second position.

Bastian, Aziz Ghaffari, Adrian Aguilar and John Mataxas finished fourth in the 200 freestyle relay in  1:23.26.

The Seminoles will return to the pool this Saturday when they will host Senior Day in a dual meet against Florida Atlantic University (FAU). This will be their final dual meet of the season and it is set to begin at 11 a.m.

Bahamian junior distance swimmer Luke-Kennedy Thompson was in action for the Howard University Bison on Saturday. They went up against the Marymount University Saints in a dual meet on Saturday afternoon.

The Bisons won 171-133 and improved to 5-2 on the season and 1-0 in the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (CCSA) Conference.

Thompson left some distance between him and his competitors as he swam to a comfortable win in the 500 yards freestyle race. The freshman clocked 4:52.80.

His teammate Miles Simon was second as he swam 4:58.76. Marymount’s Gabe Loring touched the wall in a distant 6:17.35 for third.

The 2019 CARIFTA gold medalist and the Bison will host the Catholic University of America in CCSA action this coming Saturday at 2 p.m.

In NCAA Division II action, Davante Carey helped his nationally third ranked McKendree University Bearcats to a 172-122 victory against the Lindenwood University Lions on Friday afternoon. That was their sixth win of the season, and they have just one loss. They are 3-1 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC).

The 16-year-old finished first in the 100 yards backstroke when he touched the wall in 50.27 seconds. The freshman already has the 16th fastest time in the nation, swimming 48.95 seconds earlier in the season.

Finishing in second position was Jordan Anderson of Lindenwood University. He clocked 51.47 seconds. Anderson’s teammate Issak Webb came in third when he finished the race in 53.71 seconds.

In the 200 yards backstroke, Carey finished sixth in 1:56.26.

It was a first place finish for Carey and the Bearcats men’s ‘A’ team in the 200 yards medley relay. They won the race comfortably when they clocked 1:30.59.

Carey’s team consisted of himself, John Heaphy, Gregg Lichinsky and Xander Skinner.

It was the Lions ‘A’ team that finished second, clocking 1:29.65. The Lions ‘B’ team was third as they posted a time of 1:35.96.

Carey returns to the pool this Friday and Saturday in a home meet for McKendree University against the University of Missouri – St. Louis and Bellarmine University. This will also be their Senior Day.

Swimming in the final dual meet of her collegiate career, senior Albury Higgs was busy in the pool when she swam in four events for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. They went up against the Georgia Institute of Technology Yellow Jackets on Saturday, and dominated the dual meet, 197-103.

Known as a breaststroke specialist, Higgs won the women’s 200 yards breaststroke when she powered her way to touch the wall in 2:16.06.

Higgs’ teammate Taylor Steele was a distant second when she clocked 2:18.11. She held off the Yellow Jackets’ Kristen Helper who recorded a time of 2:18.23 to finish third.

It was another victory for Higgs in the pool when she won the 200 yards Individual Medley (IM) race. Higgs finished just under a second faster than her closest competitor when she clocked 2:03.95.

The Yellow Jackets’ Catriona MacGregor was second as she touched the wall in 2:04.94. Helper was third again with a time of 2:06.16.

Higgs owns the 32nd fastest time in the nation, clocking 2:10.96 at the Georgia Tech Invitational.

In the 100 yards breaststroke, Higgs was third with a time of 1:03.98. She has the 49th fastest time in the nation, swimming 1:00.81 at the Georgia Tech Invitational.

Higgs and her teammates – Kate Luft, Janie Smith and Emma Alexander, swam a time of 1:43.44 to finish third in the 200 yards medley relay.

The Gamecocks return to the pool this weekend at the South Carolina College Invitational. That meet starts on Friday afternoon.

Jared Fitzgerald and the NCAA Division II nationally number 14 ranked University of Tampa Spartans had a successful meet when they won 178-81 over the Indian River State University Pioneers on Friday.

The senior swam in four events and won an individual event and a relay event.

He won the 100 yards free as he swam 46.16 seconds to touch the wall first. The 21-year-old was the first of three Spartans that finished in the top three in that event. He boasts the 12th fastest time in the nation in division two, posting a blistering time of 44.48 seconds at the Spartan Invitational.

Yannick Smith was second in a time of 46.82 seconds and Mikael Haugen finished third. He recorded a time of 47.05 seconds.

The Spartans won the 200 yards free relay as Fitzgerald, Smith, Aaron James and Haugen won in 1:23.72. The Pioneers ‘A’ team was second with a time of 1:28.72, and finishing third was the Pioneers ‘B’ team in 1:34.56.

Fitzgerald placed fourth in the 200 yards free when he clocked 1:46.56. That time was significantly off his season’s best time of 1:37.83 that has him ranked sixth in the country amongst NCAA Division II swimmers.

In the 200 yards medley relay, Fitzgerald along with teammates John Clinard, Dominic Russo and Youssef Khowessah finished third. They swam 1:35.45.

Next up for the Spartans will be the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Championships in Clearwater, Florida, from February 13-16.

Also in the pool on Friday was Albury Higgs’ sister, Lilly Higgs. Like her sister, Lilly was in the pool for four events. She and the nationally number 16 ranked University of North Carolina Tar Heels went up against the nationally number six ranked North Carolina State University Wolfpack.

Lilly Higgs and the Tar Heels fell 182-118 to the Wolfpack.

The sophomore’s highest finish came in the 200 yards breaststroke – a third place finish. She clocked 2:17.70. She has a season’s best time of 2:11.08 – the 34th fastest time in the nation in that event.

Lilly Higgs posted a time of 1:03.18 in the 100 yards breaststroke to finish sixth in that event. She has the 20th fastest time in the nation in that event this season, clocking 1:00.06 at the Georgia Tech Invitational.

In the 200 yards IM, she was seventh with a time of 2:08.31.

The Tar Heels will be back in action when they take on the University of Virginia in a dual meet on the road this Saturday. That meet will get underway at 3 p.m. in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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