A four-game split and a bronze medal was a fitting way to end the year for one of the popular clubs in local sports this year, as they continue to progress in a sport that is rapidly growing in The Bahamas.
In what turned out to be the bronze medal game in the round-robin tournament on Sunday, The Bahamas Mantas under-14 (U14) water polo team rose to the occasion as they stomped the Raiders, 19-2, at the Riptide Thanksgiving Water Polo Tournament in Pinecrest, Florida. Overall, the Mantas finished the three-day weekend classic with a 2-2 win-loss record, ending another progressive year in water polo in which The Bahamas won gold, silver and bronze at CARIFTA, the under-18 (U18) boys national squad won bronze at the 28th Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) Water Polo Championships, and The Bahamas qualified for the UANA (Swimming Union of the Americas) Pan American Youth Water Polo Championships for the second year in a row. The Pan American Youth Championships is a qualifier for junior world championships.
As far as the bronze medal match is concerned on Sunday, the Mantas took control from the opening whistle and never looked back. They were up 9-0 at the end of the first quarter, and expanded that lead to 15-1 at the half. The end result was never in jeopardy in the second half. The Mantas added four more goals in the third quarter and surrendered just one more goal the rest of the way.
Matthew Thompson led the way with five goals for The Bahamas in the bronze medal game and Remington Minnis added four. Three other players scored two goals apiece.
After arriving in Miami, Florida, on Friday morning, the Mantas had to go immediately to the water polo complex where they had an afternoon game against South Florida’s water polo team.
Not quite getting their legs under them as yet, the Mantas fell 14-7. At one point, the match was tied at four but the Mantas’ defense fell apart in the second half.
Following that match, the Mantas played the Riptides. Again the game was competitive early, and it wasn’t until a late flurry that the Riptides pulled away from the Mantas. The game was tied at four at the half, and the Riptides went on to win, 12-9. Thompson had three first-half goals in that game for the Mantas.
On Saturday, the Mantas got in the win column, taking down the Miami Beach team, 8-6. The Mantas were ahead 5-2 at the half and held on for the victory. It was a wire-to-wire win for them.
Finally in their final game on Sunday, the Mantas scored early and often against the Raiders, winning comfortably, 19-2, bringing the year to a close for water polo in The Bahamas. The 15-member squad was coached by national coach Laszlo “Coach Lotty” Borbely.
They might be done as far as competitive action is concerned, but the beat goes on for water polo in the country as a few under-19 players will be attending a college combine in two weeks while others will be attending camps over the Christmas holidays.
The water polo faction in the country is looking for similar success in 2020 as the young players intend to continue to blossom.