Evans, Bastian leading the way

They have the most FINA points among Bahamian swimmers vying for the Olympics

The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games is just a couple months away and athletes are still trying to qualify for spots on Team Bahamas to represent the country at the world’s greatest sports spectacle. No Bahamian swimmer has met the Olympic ‘A’ standards as yet, and Olympian Joanna Evans and Izaak Bastian are the two frontrunners to represent the country in swimming at the Olympics.

The two can do so under the universality standard which allows a country to enter one male and one female swimmer regardless of time. It is based on who have the highest FINA (International Swimming Federation) points when the qualification period closes on June 27. There is still time for the other swimmers, who are also vying for spots on the team, to get more points or achieve ‘A’ standard times.

Evans has 868 points thus far to lead the women. She compiled those points this past weekend when she clocked 1:58.43 in the 200 meters (m) freestyle at the 2021 TYR Pro Swim Series meet in Indianapolis, Indiana. She also swam the 800m free.

The former University of Texas Longhorns swimmer was impressive in the 800m free as she clocked 4:07.95 in the preliminaries of that event, falling five one hundredths of a second short of the Olympic ‘A’ standard time of 4:07.90.

Bastian who was in second place this time last year, now has the most points for Bahamian men with 806. He compiled those points after swimming a personal best and a national record of 2:16.07 in the 200m breaststroke at the Bahamas Aquatics Federation’s Last Chance Meet back in early March in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Izaak Bastian. FILE

At that same meet, the Florida State University (FSU) Seminoles junior swam a personal best of 1:01.92 in the 100m breast, barely falling short of the Olympic ‘B’ standard time of 1:01.73.

Sitting behind Evans with 833 points is Laura Morley who compiled those points in the 200m breast after swimming a personal best and national record of 2:27.83. The former Indiana University Hoosiers swimmer swam that Olympic ‘B’ standard time at the 2019 Toyota US Open in Atlanta, Georgia.

Margaret Higgs is in third place in the points standings with 789 points. The former University of South Carolina Gamecocks swimmer swam a personal best time of 2:30.50 in the 200m breast at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Higgs’ sister, Lilly, is close behind her with 786 points. The University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels junior swam a personal best and national record time of 1:09.52 in the 100m breast at the 2019 Toyota US Open.

After holding the top spot on the men’s side, Jared Fitzgerald dropped to second with a score of 786 points. He clocked 50.81 seconds in the 100m free at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. The time is still a national record and a personal best for the Tampa University Spartans sophomore.

One of the up-and-coming swimmers to keep an eye on is Lamar Taylor. The Henderson State University Reddies freshman sits in third place among the men with 756 points after clocking 22.95 seconds in the 50m free at the 2021 UANA (Swimming Union of the Americas) Tokyo Qualifier in Clermont, Florida, less than a month ago.

Securing the fourth position with 746 points is the holder of three national records – DaVante Carey. The McKendree University sophomore compiled those points for his performance in the 50m backstroke when he clocked the national record of 26.46 seconds at the 2019 REV National Swimming Championships in Nassau, The Bahamas.

The last opportunity for Bahamian swimmers to dip below the ‘A’ standards will be at the 2021 REV National Swimming Championships, set for June 24-27 at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex.

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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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