Category Archives: Sports

College basketball is on the way back

After months of uncertainty as to when the 2020-2021 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I (DI) basketball season will get underway, the NCAA made an announcement early Wednesday evening that the official start date will be Wednesday, November 25.

On March 12, the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which included both the NCAA men’s and women’s national basketball tournaments.

“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said in a press release. “It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing toward the 2021 division one basketball championships.”

This news is expected to create excitement for several Bahamian basketball players as they now have a start date and will continue to prepare for the season. This also means that Wednesday, October 14 is the official date for the start of practice sessions since that is six weeks prior to the November 25 start date.

Originally, the start date was set for November 10. In addition, the 2021 NCAA DI men and women’s national basketball tournaments will take place.

Teams must play a minimum of 13 games against NCAA DI opponents in order to be considered for NCAA championship selection.

The head coach for the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels women’s basketball team, Bahamian Yolett McPhee-McCuin, will look to turn things around for her team this season. She welcomed fellow Bahamian and senior guard Valerie Nesbitt back to the fold.

On the men’s side, redshirt sophomore transfer Franco Miller will look to make an immediate impact for the Florida Golf Coast University (FGCU) Eagles. Looking to improve on his freshman year for the Rebels is forward Sammy Hunter. Another player to keep an eye on, is explosive University of Texas Longhorns sophomore center Kai Jones. Looking to get his team back to the NCAA national tournament is senior Charles Bain who plays for the Robert Morris University Colonials.

This past season, Bain and the Colonials won the Northeast Conference (NEC) title to earn what would have been their first March Madness tournament appearance since 2015.

Bain averaged 6.4 points per game last season. He pulled down an average of 3.7 rebounds per game and dished out one assist per game.

He scored a season-high 17 points and had six rebounds against the St. Francis University Red Flash on February 18.

McPhee-McCuin will start her third season for the Rebels. She and her squad will look to improve on the 7-23 overall win-loss record from a year ago. They finished at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) with a winless 0-16 conference record.

Nesbitt is making her return to the Pavilion at Ole Miss after being dismissed for disciplinary reasons last season. The 5’8” point guard started 11 of 15 games for the Lady Rebels last season, helping them to a 7-8 record, 0-2 SEC, before she was dismissed. She was averaging 11.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.0 steals on the season in 24.3 minutes per game. Nesbitt was second on the team in scoring and led the team and the SEC in steals. She was tied for 15th in the country in steals, up until the time she was released.

With Nesbitt back in the fold, and playing alongside some top recruits and transfers, McPhee-McCuin can navigate her way to higher heights in a tough SEC.

Miller is coming off a tumultuous season for the Rebels, not seeing much playing time as the Ole Miss Rebels featured a veteran backcourt. He played just 85 minutes last season, with a significant portion of his playing time coming against the University of Arkansas Razorbacks when he stepped on the court for 24 minutes. Miller started one game last season and averaged 0.3 points and 0.5 rebounds per contest. The move to Fort Myers, Florida, to play for the FGCU Eagles, should allow him to play more minutes during his 2020-2021 campaign.

It was a year of learning for Jones, who is ready to get his sophomore campaign underway. Jones and the Longhorns finished the 2019-2020 season with a 19-12 win-loss record, 9-9 in Big 12 Conference play. Jones ended the season averaging 3.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks, while playing 16.7 minutes per game.

The focus will be on him this season as he was named to Sport Illustrated’s Top 30 2020 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft Big Board this summer.

In the second-to-last game before the season got canceled in March, Jones erupted for 20 points, seven rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block against Oklahoma State University. That was his best statistical game of the season. He played 32 minutes and shot a blistering 66 percent from the field.

An uptick in Hunter’s number is expected this season as well. He averaged 2.9 points and 1.3 boards per game, playing an average of 12.1 minutes per game. He played in 27 games last season and started in one. He scored a career-high eight points in a win over Western Michigan in November.

During the transition period from September 21 to October 12 this year, teams may partake in conditioning, sport-related meetings and skill instruction for up to 12 hours.

Exhibitions and scrimmages before November 25 will not be allowed.

Chisholm finishes hitless against the Sox

Bahamian Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm ended a three-game set for the Miami Marlins against the Boston Red Sox hitless on Thursday afternoon, at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida.

Chisholm finished the three games a combined 0-for-9, and the Marlins dropped two of the three games. They won, 8-4, on Wednesday, but fell 5-3, on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Chisholm started at second base and batted eighth in the lineup. He finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

In his first at-bat, Chisholm, who bats left-handed, took an 88.1 miles per hour (mph) four-seam fastball and flied out to Red Sox left fielder Michael Chavis in the bottom of the second. Two innings later, he worked the count full before striking out swinging, and in the bottom of the sixth, he was called out on strikes for the first out in that inning. In his final at-bat in the bottom of the eighth, Chisholm grounded out to Red Sox second baseman Christian Arroyo.

He had a quiet day in the field with just two assists. In the top of the fifth, he fielded a sharp grounder from Xander Bogaerts and threw to first baseman Garrett Cooper for the first out in that inning. In the top of the ninth, he fielded a ground ball from Yairo Muñoz and threw him out at first base.

On Thursday, Chisholm started at second base and batted eighth. He finished 0-for-2 with a strikeout before being pulled in the bottom of the seventh for pinch hitter Jorge Alfaro. One inning later, Sean Rodríguez came into the game to play second base for the Marlins.

In his first at-bat, in the bottom of the third, Chisholm grounded out to Red Sox second baseman Arroyo for the first out in that inning. He came up to bat again in the bottom of the fifth and struck out swinging. In the bottom of the seventh, Chisholm was pulled for Alfaro who immediately delivered a RBI single.

Defensively, the 22-year-old Bahamian infielder turned in another gem, turning two spectacular double plays and adding a couple of fantastic assists.

He got Jackie Bradley Jr. in the top of the second inning when a shot from Bradley bounced off Marlins’ starting pitcher José Ureña and diverted to Chisholm. Forced to changed his direction on the heads-up play, Chisholm fielded the ball and tossed it to Marlins’ first baseman Jesús Aguilar for the out.

In the top of the third, Chisholm got Alex Verdugo on a groundout, tossing to Aguilar for the second out in that inning.

In the top of the fourth, Chisholm was back at it, turning a double play. On a ground ball off the bat of Kevin Plawecki, Chisholm took a throw from Marlins’ shortstop Miguel Rojas, stepped on the bag at second for one out and tossed to first to complete the double play to get the Marlins out of that inning.

On a 4-3 double play in the top of the seventh, he fielded a ground ball from J.D. Martinez, forced Bogaerts to come out of the baseline on an attempted tag and threw to first to get Martinez. Bogaerts was called out on the play. The spectacular play prevented any further damage for the Marlins in that inning as Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers had already delivered a three-run shot.

For the season, Chisholm is batting .136 with one home run and three RBIs. He has six hits in 44 at-bats, four bases on balls, two stolen bases and has scored six runs. Chisholm has a .224 on-base percentage (OBP) and a .474 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS).

Defensively, he has 18 putouts, 34 assists, an error and has been a part of 10 double plays. He has a fielding percentage of 1.000 at second base and .938 at shortstop. Chisholm has started nine games at second base this season and four at shortstop.

The Marlins are still in sole possession of second place in the National League East Division with a 25-23 win-loss record – three games behind the Atlanta Braves (29-21). They are fifth overall in the National League Standings of Major League Baseball (MLB).

The Marlins host the struggling World Series Champions Washington Nationals for five games this weekend, and will end the COVID-19-shortened 60-game season with seven games on the road.

The top eight teams in each league will qualify for the playoffs this year.

Demeritte named men’s track coach at Life University

Bahamian Olympian Dominic Demeritte is the incoming head coach of the recommencing Life University Running Eagles’ men’s cross country and track and field program, as announced on Wednesday.

The announcement was made by Eagles Director of Athletics Jayme Pendergast. The Bahamian was truly honored for the new role and thanked Pendergast for the opportunity.

“I am truly honored and humbled to be named the men’s track and field and cross country head coach at Life University,” Demeritte said. “I would like to thank Pendergast and the hiring committee for having the confidence in me to build and lead one of the most storied programs in NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) history. I am super excited to hit the ground running and I’m looking forward to recruiting and mentoring the next champions of character, the Mid South Conference and the NAIA.”

Demeritte, a graduate of St. John’s College here in Nassau, The Bahamas, is tasked with restarting the men’s program. Recruiting for the program will begin immediately, as the Running Eagles are slated to begin competition in the 2021-2022 year in short order. The indoor program won two NAIA titles in 1997 and 2000, and the outdoor program captured four consecutive titles from 1997-2000. The indoor program produced 41 NAIA All-Americans, and the outdoor program garnered 55 All-American honors. The record-breaking program is highlighted by 13 individual indoor NAIA National Champions and 22 individual outdoor titles.

Demeritte was chosen for the position from a talented pool of candidates. One of the things he was able to articulate, according to Pendergast, was a plan that supported a mutually beneficial collaboration with Coach Nyles Stuart and the women’s program. Stuart is also a Bahamian.

“Dominic presented the greatest breadth of planning for the men’s cross country and track program at Life University and his work with our women’s program has proven his ability to execute the plan. He has a great track résumé and has all the right skills and contacts to bring this program back to national prominence… With enhanced facilities and our coaching staffs, I’m excited to see men’s and women’s track programs excel nationally,” Pendergast said.

As an athlete, Demeritte competed at the 2000 (Sydney, Australia) and the 2004 (Athens, Greece) Summer Olympic Games. He also competed in a combined seven outdoor and indoor world championships. He was the 2004 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF, now World Athletics) World Indoor Champion in the men’s 200 meters. He ran a national record time of 20.66 seconds at that time to grab the gold medal.

The women’s program features three Bahamian athletes – Aniqua Darville, Bria Sands and Arianna Mathieu.

Life University is located in Marietta, Georgia.

Johnson stays in shape through the pandemic

This time of the COVID-19 pandemic creates an uncertain situation for a number of local athletes, as they do not know when their respective sporting disciplines will resume, but senior women’s national rugby team player Carlene “Carly” Johnson has been keeping in shape for whenever the opportunity arises for her to get back on the field competitively.

Johnson has her eyes set on becoming a professional rugby or American football player. Since March, when COVID-19 shut down sports in the country, the Grand Bahama native has kept up with exercise.

“Since the pandemic started, I have not stopped working out. I have been even more active and I am just trying to stay healthy and keep my immune system up. I have been working out and I am a personal trainer now. I do my classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On the other weekdays, I have a few other persons who I work out with,” Johnson said.

At the time, there is no definite date as to when competitive sports will resume with some degree of normalcy in the country. That is not stopping Johnson, however, from realizing her goal of one day reaching pro status.

“I plan to continue to work hard and push myself even more when I do start back at it. I am working hard because I want to be a professional athlete in either rugby or football. I was actually hoping to be off playing but due to the pandemic, everything has changed. Hopefully, by next year, I am where I am supposed to be,” Johnson said.

Those who play the sport and know how physical it is, know the difference between being in shape and being in rugby shape, Johnson said.

“I am supposed to start doing rugby again, the actual workout with rugby. I have just been trying to stay physically in shape. Hopefully, by next week, I will be back into that, and football, because I am into that as well. I only stopped because they started closing certain things down,” Johnson stated.

Almost two years ago, Johnson played in the Dubai International Invitational Tournament 2018 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). She gained a lot of experience from that tournament and knew she needed to be more relaxed and disciplined in order to continue to progress. She scored a try in the competition, which came as no surprise, as she is very quick on her feet.

Though she was able to keep in shape, Johnson said that as an athlete, the pandemic has taken sports away from her – something she loves doing. Rugby and American football are sports she practiced every week, she said. Her club teammate, Danielle Zonicle, has been working out with her, as they push each other. At the moment, there are no team practices.

Johnson said these are mentally tough times for athletes who have resumed training then stopped because of the relaxation period as it relates to restrictions put in place by the government of The Bahamas. Johnson is requesting of her fellow athletes to not throw in the towel.

“Do not give up. I am actually doing that now, telling athletes that they do not know what life holds. With changes, everything happens for a reason. I tell them that they cannot be healthy to play but to be healthy on the whole, so that when times like these come, your body can fight whatever it is that is happening,” Johnson said.

The former track athlete added that, for her, she does not want to regress in rugby and American football, so she continues to work out.

She is ready to play competitively – on a local or foreign field.

Chisholm gives it a ride but comes up short

Bahamian infielder Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm and the Miami Marlins were limited to just four hits on Tuesday, as they saw their three-game winning streak come to an end, losing 2-0 to the Boston Red Sox, at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida.

Chisholm, who started at second base and batted eighth, was hitless in three at-bats with a strikeout and left two stranded, but had a drive that produced one of the highlight reel plays of the game. In the bottom of the eighth, Chisholm made a bid for extra bases but his shot Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier was tracked down on the warning track by Yairo Muñoz. The Red Sox left fielder got a good jump on the ball and made a spectacular leaping grab while running into the padding on the left field wall. It was the first out in the bottom of the eighth and took away at least a double from Chisholm.

Red Sox starter Tanner Houck gave up just two hits in five innings and Red Sox relievers pitched four innings of two-hit ball. After Chisholm came within an inch of an extra base hit in the eighth, the Red Sox retired five of the next seven Marlins’ batters to preserve the win.

The Marlins brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth but Garrett Cooper struck out swinging to end the game.

In his first at-bat in the bottom of the second inning, Chisholm swung through an 84.5 miles per hour (mph) slider, striking out to end the Marlins’ threat in that inning. Cooper singled and Miguel Rojas walked to put runners on first and second for the Marlins, but Chisholm couldn’t bring them home.

In his second at-bat, in the bottom of the fifth, Chisholm grounded out to Red Sox first baseman Bobby Dalbec. He worked the count full before grounding out on a 92.7mph four-seam fastball. Chisholm came up to bat again in the bottom of the eighth and, as mentioned, lined out sharply to Muñoz. He jumped on the first pitch he saw from Brasier and lined out for the first out of that inning.

The game was scoreless until the top of the sixth when the Red Sox got a RBI double from Jackie Bradley Jr. They added an insurance in the top of the eighth, and held on to win 2-0, spoiling a strong outing from Marlins’ right hander Sandy Alcantara. Alcantara surrendered just five hits and one run in six innings.

Defensively, Chisholm had four assists and a putout, and turned one double play.

In the top of the second, he fielded a ground ball from Christian Vazquez and threw to first baseman Jesús Aguilar for the out. In the top of the third, he fielded a ground ball from Muñoz and threw to Aguilar again, for the out. In the top of the fourth, he fielded another ground ball from Vazquez and threw him out again. Finally, in the top of the ninth, Alex Verdugo grounded into a double play that was turned by Chisholm. Rojas fielded the ball and threw to Chisholm who relayed the throw to Aguilar for the double play.

For the season, Chisholm is now batting .158 with one home run and three RBIs. He has six hits in 38 at-bats, four bases on balls, two stolen bases and has scored six runs. Chisholm has a .256 on-base percentage (OBP) and a .545 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS).

Defensively, he has 16 putouts, 28 assists, an error and has been a part of eight double plays. He has a fielding percentage of 1.000 at second base and .938 at shortstop. The 22-year-old Bahamian has started seven games at second base this season and four at shortstop.

The Marlins are in sole possession of second place in the National League East Division with a 24-22 win/loss record – three and a half games behind the Atlanta Braves (29-20). They are fifth overall in the National League Standings of Major League Baseball (MLB).

The Marlins finish off their series with the Red Sox today, and will host the struggling World Series Champions Washington Nationals for five games this weekend. They end the COVID-19-shortened 60-game season with seven games on the road.

The top eight teams in each league will qualify for the playoffs this year.

Equestrian Bahamas teams up with IEA to create history

It has been a year of achievements for Equestrian Bahamas, and this past summer, the federation achieved another milestone by expanding its youth scholastic riding program to partner with the United States-based Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), becoming the first international affiliate in IEA’s history.

Equestrian Bahamas considers it a tremendous honor to have been chosen by the IEA as their first international partner. Both organizations emphasize promoting riding as a sport for all and as a pathway to educational opportunities.

The launch of the partnership was originally scheduled for October 2020, but unfortunately has been postponed until the 2021-2022 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IEA is the largest interscholastic equestrian league in North America with over 14,500 members in 46 states. The Bahamas has been designated Region 13 of IEA Zone 4. That zone covers Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Unfortunately, this exciting development faced a major roadblock with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the IEA competition season already underway in the US, The Bahamas region officials were forced to make a difficult decision to postpone participation until next season.

Local trainers Erika Adderley-Coello, of Mariposa Stables, and Kimberly Johnson, of Camperdown Equestrian Centre, were appointed as region president and region vice president, respectively.

“We were disappointed to have to cancel this year’s participation in the IEA as the new Region 13 due to COVID,” said Adderley-Coello. “We are grateful that IEA officials agreed with us [in] postponing our start to next season.”

Through its affiliation as an IEA region, riders in the Bahamian Interscholastic Equestrian League (BIEL) will travel each year to compete against riders from all over North America. The relationship opens the way to multiple educational opportunities such as access to thousands of dollars in IEA college scholarship awards, and participation in the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Equestrian College Search Program.

One young rider, Mila Sands, has already benefited from the Equestrian Bahamas and IEA partnership. Sands, a 10th-grade student at Queen’s College, was a part of the Bahamian team that rode at the IEA Zone 4 Invitational in Conyers, Georgia, in February. Her stellar performance earned her the Steward’s Award: a fully paid, week-long summer experience at the prestigious Chatham Hall School in Chatham, Virginia. Sands was unable to attend this summer because of the pandemic but was granted an extension to attend in 2021.

Equestrian Bahamas and the IEA continue to share a common mission of promoting equestrian sport to school-age riders and providing competitive and educational opportunities. Riders and coaches look forward to participating in the IEA next year.

Battle 4 Atlantis could be on the move

For the first time since its inception in 2011, the ever-popular Bad Boy Mowers’ Battle 4 Atlantis National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men’s basketball tournament could be on the move, going away from Paradise Island, The Bahamas, to the Sanford Pentagon, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

CBS Sports men’s college basketball insider Jon Rothstein was one of the first to break the news, via Twitter, on Tuesday afternoon. The initial post read: “Sources: The 2020 Battle 4 Atlantis will be played at the Sanford Pentagon in South Dakota. Dates are TBD.”

The NCAA is set to announce the official start of college basketball at some point today at its division one council meeting. Rothstein stated that after that meeting, the official date for the tournament will be announced.

The planned dates for Battle 4 Atlantis was November 25-27. The tournament is a highly competitive one with some games, including the championship game, carried live on sports giant ESPN.

According to Rothstein, a source said Sanford Pentagon will be able to accommodate a limited number of fans for the event with social distancing protocols in place.

With the restrictions placed on international travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it comes as no surprise that the tournament could end up in a different location this year. Some of The Bahamas’ travel restrictions include the quarantining for 14 days upon arrival, once a negative RT-PCR test result is presented no more than five days prior to date of arrival.

The Atlantis Resort has not set a date as to when it will reopen its doors after shutting down in late March because of the pandemic.

This year, the prestigious classic was set to feature a women’s division, initially set for November 21-23. Details are sketchy at this time.

For the men, this year’s field of teams include the ever-dangerous Duke University Blue Devils, the Ohio State University Buckeyes, the West Virginia University Mountaineers, the Creighton University Bluejays, the Texas A&M Aggies, the Utah Utes, the Marshall University Thundering Herd and Wichita State Shockers.

Duke won the 2012 edition of the tournament. Other than the Blue Devils, the Buckeyes and Utes have at least one NCAA national championship trophy in their trophy case.

Making their debut are the Mountaineers, the Buckeyes and the Bluejays.

Last year, the University of Michigan Wolverines won the title. They routed the Gonzaga University Bulldogs in the championship game, 82-64.

Over in the women’s bracket, the Associated Press’ number one and two teams, respectively the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and the University of Oregon Ducks, lead a talented field. The other teams are the Central Michigan University Chippewas, the Marquette University Golden Eagles, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, the University of Oklahoma Sooners, the University of South Florida Bulls and the Syracuse University Orange.

The men’s field for the 2021 tournament is already known and includes the 2015 Battle 4 Atlantis Champion, the Syracuse Orange. The other teams are the University of Connecticut Huskies, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the Arizona State University Sun Devils, the Auburn University Tigers, the Michigan State University Spartans, the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams and the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers.

The Huskies will make their third tournament appearance while the Orange, Spartans and the Rams will make their second appearance each.

The Ramblers, Red Raiders, Sun Devils and the Tigers will be making their debut.

The prestigious tournament has featured some Bahamians including now National Basketball Association (NBA) players Chavano “Buddy” Hield (Sacramento Kings) and DeAndre Ayton (Phoenix Suns). Other Bahamians who have played in the tournament are Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn (Spartans), Tavario Miller (Aggies) and Dwight Coleby (Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers).

Other than Hield and Ayton, several other Battle 4 Atlantis alumni have played in the NBA. These include Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Jalen Brunson (Dallas Mavericks), Mikal Bridges (Suns), Donte DiVincenzo (Milwaukee Bucks), Seth Curry (Mavericks), Quinn Cook (Los Angeles Lakers), Danuel House Jr. (Houston Rockets) and Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets).

Riley’s coach expresses excitement to have her on the team

Former junior national team player Briontae Riley has successfully made the move to France, and her new coach, Alexi Ross, is excited to have her on his team.

Riley signed to play for Basket Club Gransois in Grans, France, for the 2020-2021 basketball season.

“I’m very happy to welcome to my team Briontae Riley from The Bahamas. This young 20-year-old player with real physical qualities will reinforce the paint of Grans’ team. She is combative and aggressive, and we are glad she made the choice to rely on us to continue her development,” Ross said.

He said he is looking forward to working with Riley and said she will be an asset to the team.

“I can’t wait to start collective and individual practices with her. Our project at Grans basketball club is to reach national division as quickly as possible and I think Riley’s reinforcement will be a real asset for the team,” Ross said.

Riley joins Lashann Higgs as Bahamian female basketball players playing in Europe this season. She wants to make a big impact in France while shining light on women’s basketball in The Bahamas.

Riley’s move to France was facilitated by Bahamian professional basketball player Jaraun “Kino” Burrows and his Raw Talent organization. She was the first female player from the program to sign.

“It is awesome to be able to sign our first female player and I think Briontae will open up doors for other young Bahamians to be able to come to Europe and develop their skills,” Burrows stated.

Riley is Burrows’ third player to sign in Europe this summer. She said she is grateful for Burrows’ involvement in getting the deal done. Earlier in the summer, Adam Johnson (France) and Wilkenson “Kenny” Isnord (Czech Republic) signed to play in Europe. Burrows said the program is growing fast.

“The word is getting out that The Bahamas has world-class talent along with hungry, high-character young athletes. When given opportunities, they have been performing well and opening doors for other young athletes. We will stay with the formula. I will keep continuing to mentor these young men and women and hopefully the program continues to grow, and we have a lot more opportunities and success stories,” Burrows said.

One of Burrows’ first athletes to sign was Bahamian senior men’s national team member Dominick Bridgewater, who has been able to progress in his basketball endeavors, playing for Sapela Basket in France’s fourth division, NM2, this season.

Riley is looking forward to the experience to play for Basket Club Gransois this season.

Let’s Swim Bahamas releases end-of-year report

One of the most comprehensive and inclusive swim programs in the country, Let’s Swim Bahamas, has released its end-of-year report, and whereas it operated in the red for the 2019-2020 fiscal period, directors Andy and Nancy Knowles are encouraged by the support that they continue to receive. 

“Despite having a rough start due to Hurricane Dorian and finish due to COVID-19 this year, Let’s Swim Bahamas has made significant strides in reaching our long-term goals,” the report read. “We cannot thank you all enough for your support and encouragement as we continue to work toward Let’s Swim Bahamas, giving every child an opportunity to learn how to swim.”

From September 2019 to March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic reached The Bahamas, almost 7,000 lessons were taught to students – more than double from the previous year. “This increase is the result of moving from two to four lessons per day and more grades and schools participating in the program,” the report stated.

The program operated primarily at four sites – St. Andrew’s School, the University of The Bahamas (UB), Queen’s College and Lyford Cay School. The Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex was utilized for advanced students who were displaced by Hurricane Dorian in September. The program has embraced a new partnership with Queen’s College and the Barracuda Swim Club, and in so doing, four schools were added to the program – Uriah McPhee, Claridge Primary, Palmdale Primary and Centreville Primary.

Other primary schools in the program are: Thelma Gibson, Sadie Curtis, Sandilands, Woodcock, Eva Hilton, T.G. Glover, Albury Sayles, Stephen Dillet, Adelaide and Gambier. A total of 142 students from six schools at two sites were scheduled to start classes on March 23, but that had to be rescheduled due to COVID-19. Plans were also made to start classes for grade four students from four schools at South Beach Pools, but those plans had to be put on hold as well. The four schools are Cleveland Eneas, Gerald Cash, Sybil Strachan and Carlton Francis.

A couple of schools, Thelma Gibson and Sandilands, had students from grades one to six taking swimming lessons.

A total of five students completed all 10 stations of the lessons, and received the Swim America Award of Achievement each.

The program’s second edition of “Snorkel and Tim go for a Swim” water safety coloring and activity book was distributed to all grade one students in government primary schools throughout The Bahamas, courtesy of sponsors Wendy’s Bahamas Ltd., Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Marco’s Pizza.

There were 19 after-school and summer scholarship swimmers from nine different schools, which represented a low number because the program was unable to be offered during spring and summer 2020 due to physical distancing guidelines and restrictions from COVID-19.

Sandals Resorts joined the sponsorship team this year.

“We are excited to be working with Sandals and Julien Brice of Myrtha Pools in developing a plan to bring swimming lessons to the students of Great Exuma,” the report read. “We have been able to achieve all of the above because of our excellent and enthusiastic team of site supervisors, coaches, marshals and bus drivers/companies. Also, the schools (principals and teachers) have been much more supportive of the Let’s Swim Bahamas program.”

In 2021, directors of the program plan to continue to improve the registration process, with the intent of it being quicker, more efficient and thorough, with an emphasis on a deadline date. They also plan to renew their four-year agreement with the Ministry of Education, produce a second mini documentary and continue to work within the confines of five sites depending on what COVID-19 physical distancing protocols are announced.

The program received donations of over $70,000 during the 2019-2020 fiscal period.

Jazz, Marlins continue their winning ways

It’s been an up and down season for the Miami Marlins following a COVID-19 outbreak at the beginning of the season, but they are now one of the hottest teams in baseball, and Bahamian Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm is right in the midst of it.

The Marlins won their third straight game on Monday, and in so doing, finished off their weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies by taking five out of the seven games – their longest ever homestand against any one team. They are now solely in the number five spot in the National League Standings of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Marlins have a 24-21 win/loss record, and have eight more games at home before going on the road to close out the COVID-19 shortened 60-game season.

On Monday, Chisholm once again contributed, going 1-for-4 with a RBI, helping the Marlins take down the Phils, 6-2, at Marlins Park, in Miami, Florida. He started at shortstop, eventually moved to second, and batted sixth in the Marlins’ lineup.

Chisholm drove in the first run of the game for the Marlins, tying the game at one, on a line drive single to center field in the bottom of the second inning. With a runner on second, and with the 22-year-old Bahamian facing a full count, he drove an 84.1 miles per hour (mph) knuckle curveball to center field to get the Marlins on the scoreboard. The Marlins’ next batter, Miguel Rojas, walked, but he and Chisholm were stranded on base when Isan Díaz grounded out and Chad Wallach struck out. Marlins’ starting second baseman Díaz suffered a left groin injury on that groundout, Brian Anderson came in the game and played third, Rojas moved over to shortstop, and Chisholm went to second.

The Marlins plated two runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good, but Chisholm later struck out to end any further threat that inning. He was called out on strikes again in the bottom of the fifth and grounded out to Phillies’ shortstop Didi Gregorius in the bottom of the eighth.

Defensively, Chisholm ended the game with a putout and two assists.

In the top of the first, he fielded a ground ball off the bat of Gregorius and threw to first baseman Garrett Cooper for the third out in that inning. In the top of the fourth, after switching over to second base from shortstop, Chisholm caught a pop fly from Phillies’ designated hitter Jean Segura for the second out in that inning. Finally, in the top of the fifth, he retired Phillies’ catcher Rafael Marchan on a ground ball, throwing to first to Cooper for the out.

For the season, Chisholm is batting .171 with one home run and three RBIs. He has six hits in 35 at-bats, four bases on balls, two stolen bases and has scored six runs. Chisholm has a .275 on-base percentage (OBP) and a .589 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS).

Defensively, he has 15 putouts, 24 assists, an error and has been a part of seven double plays. He has a fielding percentage of 1.000 at second base and .938 at shortstop. The talented Bahamian has started six games at second base this season and four at shortstop.

Marlins’ starter Pablo López yielded just three hits and one run in seven strong innings to earn the win. He settled down after surrendering a lead-off home run to Andrew McCutchen. Brad Boxberger gave up a hit and a run in one inning of work, and Brandon Kintzler retired the side in order in the ninth to preserve the win.

Phillies’ starter Vince Velasquez suffered the loss after surrendering seven hits and four runs in three and two third innings.

The Marlins got solo shots from Rojas and Starling Marte in the game. They scored six unanswered after McCutchen’s lead-off home run and never looked back.

Chisholm and the Marlins will host the Boston Red Sox for three games starting today, and then will host the struggling World Series Champions Washington Nationals for five games this weekend. They end the COVID-19 shortened season with seven games on the road.

The top eight teams in each league will qualify for the playoffs this year. The Marlins are second behind the Atlanta Braves (28-19) in the National League East Division, and fifth overall in the National League standings.