Sports

Bastian bags three medals at ACC Swimming Championships

Bahamian junior swimmer Izaak Bastian swam his way to three medals at the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Men’s Swimming Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, over the weekend.

Action began on Wednesday and wrapped up on Saturday.

The Florida State University (FSU) Seminoles sophomore grabbed three medals – one individual and two relay races. He won the bronze medal in 100 yards breaststroke and helped his 200 and 400 yards medley relay teams to silver medal-winning performances.

Apart from these three races, Bastian also swam in the 50 yards freestyle and the 200 yards breast.

He picked up the bronze medal on Friday after powering his way to a personal best of 52.36 seconds in the 100 yards breast. That bronze was his first individual medal in his collegiate career at the conference championships. In addition, the sophomore has been invited to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I (DI) Swimming Championships with the ‘B’ cut time.

Swimming out of lane eight, the Bahamian kept up with the other competitors to hold on to the third spot. He was close to the school record of 52.11 seconds.

In the first split, he swam 24.56 seconds and had a time of 27.80 seconds for the second split.

Winning that race was the University of Louisville Cardinals’ Evgenii Somov who finished the race in 51.93 seconds – a pool record. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels’ Vlad Abaliksta won the silver medal in 52.55 seconds.

On Wednesday, Bastian and his teammates – Griffin Alaniz, Max McCusker and Jakub Kziazek picked up the silver medal in the 200 yards medley relay after touching the wall in 1:24.51. That time was enough to qualify them for the NCAA DI Swimming Championships as they achieved the ‘B’ cut. Bastian swam a split of 23.93 seconds.

Winning the gold medal in that race with a NCAA ‘A’ cut time of 1:24.13 was the North Carolina State University Wolfpack.

The bronze medal was won by the Georgia Institute of Technology Yellow Jackets after they clocked a time of 1:24.95. They, like the Seminoles, achieved the NCAA ‘B’ cut.

In the final race on Friday night, Bastian was a part of the men’s 400 yards medley relay team that clocked a quick 3:05.62.

That time by Bastian, Alaniz, McCusker and Peter Varjasi meant that they achieved the NCAA ‘A’ cut – an automatic qualification for the NCAA DI Swimming Championships.

Bastian swam a split of 51.40 seconds.

Swimming away with the gold medal and a ACC meet record was the Cardinals. They did it with a time of 3:02.80. Securing third place was the University of Virginia Cavaliers which also achieved the NCAA ‘A’ cut with a time of 3:05.82.

In the 50 yards free, Bastian clocked 20.02 seconds to finished 25th overall. In the 200 yards breast, he finished 14th overall after clocking 1:57.42.

Bastian and his number 14 ranked Seminoles finished fifth overall with a score of 812.5 points. Winning their sixth straight title was the Wolfpack with 1,250 points. The Cavaliers were second with a total of 1,089 points. Finishing third were the Cardinals who scored 1,066.5 points.

The weekend before, the ACC held the women’s portion of the championship. Swimming in that meet was Bahamian Lillian Higgs for the University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels.

Higgs swam in three races and had her highest finish in the 100 yards breast. Her time in the final was 1:00.15, finishing fifth and achieving the NCAA DI ‘B’ cut She swam 59.92 seconds in the preliminaries.

She also achieved the NCAA ‘B’ cut time when she clocked 2:10.66 in the 200 yards breast. She had the 10th fastest time in that race.

In the 200 yards Individual Medley (IM), Higgs touched the wall in 2:01.31 to finish 30th overall.

Her older sister, Albury Higgs, also swam that week but at the 2020 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Swimming Championships at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn, Alabama.

Albury Higgs and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks 200 and 400 yards medley relay teams put their names in the school’s record books.

In the 200 yards medley relay, they swam 1:37.44 to finish 10th overall. Her split was 27.34 seconds.

In the 400 yards medley relay, Albury Higgs and the Gamecocks swam a new school record of 3:33.75. She recorded a split of 59.50 seconds.

In the 200 yards IM, she finished 19th overall with a personal best time of 1:58.18 to achieve the NCAA DI ‘B’ cut.

The senior was also impressive in the 100 yards breaststroke after clocking 59.82 seconds to finish fifth overall. With that time, Albury Higgs was able to achieve the NCAA DI ‘B’ qualifying time.

She competed in the 200 breaststroke and finished seventh overall in a time of 2:09.33 – also a NCAA DI ‘B’ qualifying time.

This year’s NCAA DI Men’s Swimming Championships will take place at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana, from March 25-28.

The women’s championship will take place at the Ramsey Center in Athens, Georgia, from March 18-21.

Over on the NCAA DII side, Bahamians Jared Fitzgerald and DaVante Carey will head to national championships slated for March 11-14 at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.

Fitzgerald, who swims for the University of Tampa Spartans, will swim in the 50, 100 and 200 yards freestyle races.

The junior was recently named to the All-SSC (Sunshine State Conference) Men’s Swimming First Team for his performance in the pool during the season.

Carey, who swims for the McKendree University Bearcats, will swim in the 100 yards butterfly and the 100 and 200 yards backstroke events.

Both swimmers should also see some time in the pool in the relays.

Fitzgerald and Carey both were in action at their respective conference championships early last month.

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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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