TOKYO, Japan – Bahamian Izaak Bastian might not have accomplished what he set out to accomplish at these Olympics, but as it was his first experience at this level of competition, he’s grateful for the opportunity to compete and is looking forward to what’s to come in the future.
The Bahamian national record holder in all three breaststroke events, ended his time at the Games of the 32nd Olympiad in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, finishing fifth in his heat and 36th overall in the men’s 200 meters (m) breast.
Bastian touched the wall in 2:17.40 at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, about two seconds off his national record time and about seven and a half seconds behind the final qualifying time for the semifinals.
He was second after the first 50 meters, second after the second 50 and touched the wall in third after the third 50, before fading on the final stretch. He said he was a bit disappointed but summed it up as a learning experience.
“It wasn’t my best race and it kind of hurt a bit. The best part of the experience for me was reconnecting with some of my friends who I hadn’t seen in a while. I think that everyone didn’t swim as fast as they wanted to, but everyone had a pretty good attitude about it afterwards,” said Bastian.
“My first 100 was alright, but I struggled a bit in my second 100. I needed to get after it a bit more, but this is something to learn from and build on for next time. Other than falling off in the second 100, I think that it was well executed. I stuck to the race plan and I think it was well executed, except for in the last 100m and it wasn’t the time I wanted.”
Bastian was the early leader in the race but Bernhard Christianson, of Panama, passed him by the 50m mark and never relinquished the lead after that. Christianson went on to win the race in 2:13.41, but also missed out on a spot in the semis.
Izaac Stubblety-Cook, of Australia, was the fastest qualifier for the semifinals, swimming 2:07.37, and Ross Murdoch, of Great Britain, grabbed the final spot for the semis, swimming 2:09.95. At 20, there is no doubt that Bastian will have another opportunity for Olympic glory in three year’s time when the Games of the 33rd Olympiad are held in Paris, France.
“I didn’t go any best times at these Olympics, but I still think that I had a good time overall,” said Bastian. “I tried my best and made the most of the experience. Unfortunately it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but that’s how life goes sometimes so you just have to take it and move on. Overall, it was a real good learning experience for me.”
Bastian said he will now spend some time with his family and then begin preparing for his final year in university. He’ll be a senior for the Florida State University (FSU) Seminoles this upcoming season.
“I’m going to take a little break. I haven’t had some time to myself in a long time,” he said. “I’m just going to enjoy some downtime with my family and then focus on back to school and getting back to training. I’m going to give it my all this upcoming season and then see what happens after that in the summer. I have a couple of big meets that I would like to go to, so I’m going to work hard toward that and see where next year takes me.”
In his first Olympic swim on Saturday, Bastian touched the wall in 1:01.87 in the men’s 100m breast. He finished eighth in his heat and was 40th overall. In the 200m breast on Tuesday, he was fifth in his heat and 36th overall.
The young Bahamian swimming sensation said he is thrilled to have taken part in the Olympics this year and is looking forward to more opportunities in the future.