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Bahamians set to swim at UANA meet this weekend

The Bahamas will be well-represented at the 2021 UANA (Swimming Union of the Americas) Tokyo Qualifier this weekend as 19 swimmers look to perform at a very high level against some of the best swimmers in the region and the world. The meet is slated to get underway today and wrap up on Sunday at the Orlando Health National Training Center in Clermont, Florida.

The 14 male and five female swimmers who will be swimming this weekend will be doing so individually and not as a national team. These swimmers are some of the top junior and senior swimmers in The Bahamas.

The male swimmers who will experience action are Izaak Bastian, Nigel Forbes, Marvin Johnson, Rommel Ferguson, Lamar Taylor, DaVante Carey, Joshua Murray, Elvis Burrows, Caden Wells, Mark-Anthony Thompson, Luke-Kennedy Thompson, Andre Walcott, Kohen Kerr and Kierro Stubbs. The females are Dedrie Higgs, Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson, Keianna Moss, Jamilah Hepburn and Delaney Mizell.

This meet will serve as a 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics qualifier and the 2021 Junior Pan American Games qualifier. The Junior Pan Ams is slated for September while the Summer Olympics will get underway at the end of July.

There will be over 50 countries represented at this meet.

For most of the Bahamian swimmers, particularly the ones who train at home, this will be their first international meet since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports in March 2020.

Bastian, who will be swimming under his school’s banner, Florida State University (FSU), will be looking at qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. He will be swimming in the men’s 50 meters (m), 100m and 200m breaststroke events. He enters all three events with top-10 seed times.

Forbes will be swimming in a whopping five events – the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly; 100m backstroke; and 200m individual medley (IM) events. The 15-year-old swimmer who is one of the top junior swimmers in the country will be up against some older competition that should help to push him to get personal best times.

Johnson, another up and coming swimmer, will be in the pool swimming the 50m fly along with Forbes. He will also be swimming the 50m back; and the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle races to bring his total races up to five.

Their teammate, 17-year-old Ferguson, will see the pool four times as he looks to lower his times in the 50m and 100m fly; 50m breast; and 50m free.

Ferguson, Johnson and Forbes will be swimming under the YMCA WaveRunners banner out of Freeport, Grand Bahama.

Taylor, who attends Henderson State University and swims for Mako Aquatics locally, will have a busy meet. The 17-year-old is set to be in the pool for six races – the 50m and 100m fly; 50m and 100m back; and the 50m and 100m free races.

Carey is another strong swimmer, just wrapping up his sophomore year at McKendree University. He will be swimming in four races – the 50m, 100m and 200m back; and the 100m fly. The 17-year-old, who is swimming unattached, is expected to perform well in the long course meet.

Swimming in six races will be Murray. The 19-year-old is set to swim in the 50m and 100 fly; 50m and 100m breast; and the 50m and 100m free.

Walcott, Stubbs and Wells will be jumping in the pool in the same three events this weekend – the 50m, 100m and 200m breast events. Stubbs will also be swimming in the 50m free.

The Thompson brothers, Luke-Kennedy and Mark-Anthony, will look to get in some international meets to see how much their training has paid off over the past year. Luke-Kennedy will swim in four races while his younger brother Mark-Anthony will swim in six races. For Luke-Kennedy, he will swim in the 50m fly; 100m and 200m back; and the 200m IM events. The brothers will challenge each other in the 200m IM race. Aside from that race, Mark-Anthony will also swim in the 50m and 200m breast, and the 100m, 200m and 1500m free races.

For 24-year-old Kerr, he will be swimming in the 50m fly; and 50m, 100m and 200m free events. Burrows, a veteran, will be in action in the 50m fly where he has the second-fastest seed time and the 50m free in which event he has the third-fastest time.

Mizell will swim in four races, competing under the Lyford Cay Swim Club banner. The 16-year-old will compete in the 50m fly; 100m breast; and 50m and 100m free events.

The Thompson brothers’ younger sister, Zaylie-Elizabeth, is set to see the pool in five events. The 17-year-old will swim in the 50m, 100m and 200m free; 200m IM; and 50m breast events.

The Mako Aquatics Club duo of Hepburn and Moss will also be looking to lower their times. Hepburn will swim in the 50m, 100m and 200m breast events. Moss will see time in the pool in the 100m fly; 50m free; and 50m, 100m and 200m back events.

Higgs will be swimming in the 50m and 100m freestyle events.

The event is being hosted in partnership with Azura Aquatics, Montverde Aquatic Club, Lake County, the Orlando Health National Training Center and the Greater Orlando Sports Commission.

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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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