Bastian finished 19th and 36th in the breaststroke events

It was a busy three days for Bahamian collegiate swimmer Izaak Bastian as he was in action for his nationally number 16 ranked Florida State University (FSU) Seminoles at the 2021 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships that wrapped up on Saturday night at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Competition got underway on Thursday. Bastian swam in the 100- and 200- yard breaststroke events and the 200 and 400 yards medley relays.

The 20-year-old swam the 200 breast on Saturday morning, but had a tough time as he clocked 1:56.50. It was not near his seed time of 1:53.18 – a time he did at the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships back in February. His splits were 25.90, 29.53, 30.48 and 30.59 seconds. He finished 36th out of 44 swimmers. With that time in the preliminaries, he was unable to crack the top 16 to swim in the ‘A’ or ‘B’ final.

Bastian had a better placement in the 100 breast on Friday morning as he finished 19th overall out of 40 swimmers after clocking 52.29 seconds. He was unable to go below his seed time of 51.84 seconds – a time he also swam at the ACC Championships. He turned in splits of 24.67 seconds and 27.62 seconds, and missed out on qualifying for either final. The University of Minnesota Gophers’ Max McHugh went into the final with the fastest time of 50.87 seconds.

Later that night, Bastian and the Seminoles’ 200 medley relay team were in action. They finished 14th overall with a time of 1:23.91. Bastian’s split was 23.29 seconds. His team included Mason Herbert, Max McCusker and Peter Varjasi, and they matched the seed time that they did at the ACC Championships. Winning that event was the University of Louisville after clocking 1:22.11.

In the 400 medley relay race, Bastian and the Seminoles clocked 3:04.78 to finish 11th overall. The Bahamian swam the second leg with a superb split of 51.26 seconds. It was a huge time drop for the team that also included McCusker, Herbert and Varjasi as their seed time was 3:06.39.

Their time on Thursday evening came close to the school record of 3:04.47 in that event. The University of Texas Longhorns won the gold medal with a new pool record time of 3:00.23.

The Seminoles finished 23rd overall with a score of 32.5 points. The University of Texas Longhorns won in a dominating fashion with 595 points.

Bastian has now wrapped up his junior season and this was his second time as an NCAA individual qualifier. His focus will now shift to long course swimming where he will look to get a chance to be in the pool in Tokyo, Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.

This weekend marked the end of the Bahamians in NCAA Division I Swimming Championships. Last weekend, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels’ Lilly Higgs was in the pool at the women’s edition of the championships.

Higgs and the North Carolina Tar Heels finished 12th overall with 144 points. Virginia won the four-day meet with 491 points.

Higgs and the Tar Heels 200 medley relay team finished eighth overall in 1:36.25, earning All-America honors. They came into the meet with a seed time of 1:36.23. Higgs, a junior, swam the breaststroke leg for the team and turned in a split of 27.22 seconds – 13th fastest on that stroke. North Carolina State University won the gold in 1:33.18, Virginia was second in 1:34.13, and Ohio State rounded out the top three in 1:34.96.

In the 400 medley relay, Higgs and her teammates settled for 14th overall in 3:32.49 after coming in with a seed time of 3:33.18. Once again, Higgs swam the breaststroke leg for the team, turning in a split of 59.37 – 13th fastest in the field.

Individually, in the 100 breast, Higgs was 25th overall among 47 swimmers in 59.96 seconds after coming in with a seed time of 59.77. She split 28.34 in the first 50 and 31.62 in the second 50. In the 200 breast, Higgs was 32nd overall among 54 swimmers in 2:10.32 after coming in with a seed time of 2:10.93. She turned in splits of 29.66, 32.77, 33.54 and came home in 34.35 seconds.

The 2020 editions were canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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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