In what was the first international swim meet for a team of Bahamian swimmers, the athletes didn’t disappoint as they turned in national record performances and personal best times at the recently concluded UANA (Swimming Union of the Americas) Tokyo Qualifier at the Orlando Health National Training Center in Clermont, Florida, this past weekend.
DaVante Carey broke the 100 meters (m) and the 200m backstroke national records in this his first long course meet of the season. Marvin Johnson went on to break the 100m and 200m freestyle national records in the 13-14 boys age category. Izaak Bastian was able to snag a silver medal for his performance in the 50m breaststroke and a bronze in the 100m breast.
Giving his assessment of the Bahamian swimmers at the meet was Bahamas Aquatics Federation President Algernon Cargill.
“I want to particularly highlight the performance of Johnson,” Cargill said. “He set a national record in his age group in the 200m freestyle. Carey set a national record in the 100m back. Lamar Taylor swam very well in the 50m freestyle. We have the junior athletes stepping up to the plate and those who are entering the senior ranks are stepping up to the plate as well. Forbes, Carey, Taylor and Johnson were the stars of this meet. I am not saying that the other swimmers did not have outstanding swims but certainly these four tell us that they are serious about training, even through a pandemic. They are able to still focus on their athletic and academic careers and still perform at a high level.”
He continued: “We had some disappointing swims from our senior athletes whose performances were sub-standard. These are athletes that are on subvention and the federation needs to take a look at that. These athletes are paid by the government to train and we recommend them based on performances. We are concerned in a lack of performances and we will be reviewing them.”
Carey, who just competed in his sophomore year at McKendree University, broke a 13-year record in the 200m back which was set by Jeremy Knowles in June of 2008. On Sunday, he swam 2:08.05 to go below Knowles’ record of 2:08.86. He did it in the ‘B’ final which he won. In the preliminaries, he swam 2:09.78 and found a way to drop his time even further in the ‘B’ final. Finishing second behind him was Max Wilson from the US Virgin Islands with a time of 2:08.96. Scarlet’s Aquatics Ryan Higgins clocked 2:09.67 to finish third in that final.
On Friday Carey broke his own 100m back national record of 58.12 seconds twice, becoming the first Bahamian to go under 58 seconds. His time in the final was 57.03 seconds – the new national record. That time placed him sixth overall in the ‘A’ final as he qualified for the 2021 Junior Pan American Games with an ‘A’ standard time. He swam 57.73 seconds in the preliminaries. Winning the ‘A’ final was unattached swimmer Clark Beach who swam 55.70 seconds.
Swimming in the ‘B’ final of that same event was Taylor who posted a Junior Pan American Games ‘B’ standard and personal best time of 57.87 seconds. Also making the ‘B’ standard in that event was Nigel Forbes who clocked 1:00.61 to finish seventh in the ‘C’ final.
Carey now has all three national records in the backstroke events – 50m, 100m and 200m – a phenomenal feat for the swimmer who just turned 19 in February.
Also at this meet, Carey came close to lowering the 50m back national record of 26.46 seconds when he finished with the fifth-fastest time of 26.54 seconds in the timed final on Thursday. Winning that timed final was unattached swimmer Adam Chaney who posted a time of 26.10 seconds. Two other Bahamians were in this timed final – Taylor and Johnson. Taylor was unable to lower his personal best of 26.66 seconds after clocking 27.11 to finish 15th. Johnson was able to swim a personal best time of 29.16 seconds – going under 30 seconds for the first time in his swimming career. The 14-year-old finished 25th overall, swimming against older competitors.
Johnson broke his own national record the 13-14 boys category in the 200m freestyle, swimming a blistering 1:57.93 in the preliminaries. That time also puts him as the third Bahamian to ever swim under two minutes in that event. He is also the first to swim under two minutes in the 13-14 boys age category. The rising star finished ninth overall in the ‘C’ final with a time of 1:59.81.
Grand Bahamian Johnson also broke fellow Grand Bahamian Taylor’s three-year-old 13-14 boys age category national record in the 100m freestyle. Johnson did it in the ‘D’ final when he swam 53 seconds flat to finish second, lowering Taylor’s 53.09 seconds record. Narrowly finishing ahead of Johnson was Bahamian Kohen Kerr who clocked 52.99 seconds. South Lake Aquatic Club’s Alex Forbes clocked 53.29 seconds to finish third in that race.
In the 50m breast, Bastian came up with a silver medal in 28.22 seconds, coming close to the national record. Dustin Tynes holds the national record in that event with a time of 28.18 seconds.
Finishing first was the Dominican Republic’s Josue Dominguez who swam 27.98 seconds. Swim Atlanta’s Edgar Crespo won the bronze medal in 28.23 seconds.
Also in that race were Bahamians Mark-Anthony Thompson, Andre Walcott, Keierro Stubbs, Joshua Murray and Caden Wells. Thompson dropped time as he posted 30.35 seconds to finish 18th overall. Walcott finished 20th as he also dropped time to finish in 30.72 seconds. Stubbs and Murray were 21st and 22nd with times of 30.83 and 30.95 seconds respectively. Wells, the youngest of the bunch, shaved some time off his personal best when he powered his way to the wall in 32.67 seconds to finished 27th.
Bastian made the ‘A’ final in the 100m breast in 1:02.33 to finish with the bronze medal. With that time, Bastian was able to qualify for the 2021 Junior Pan American Games with the ‘A’ standard. Finishing ahead of him was the Dominican Republic’s Josue Dominguez who swam 1:01.63 for the Tokyo Olympic ‘B’ standard qualifier. Winning the silver medal was Gator Swim Club’s Nils Wich-Glasen in 1:01.90.
Taylor had to swim a personal best in the 50m free to finish sixth in the ‘A’ final. He touched the wall in a blistering 22.95 seconds after coming into the race with a previous personal best time of 23.15 seconds. He is the youngest from the English-speaking Caribbean to swim under 23 seconds. Mexican Gabriel Castano won that race with a time of 22.21 seconds. Kerr swam a personal best of 23.80 seconds in the ‘B’ final to finish ninth in that race.
Forbes was brilliant in the 50m butterfly as he finished 11th out of 60 swimmers. He dropped his time from 25.95 seconds to 25 seconds flat, narrowly missing out on a top-10 finish. In the 100m fly, he swam a personal best time of 56.33 seconds to finish sixth in the ‘B’ final.
Delaney Mizell clocked a personal best in the women’s 50m free when she touched the wall in 27.29 seconds. The 15-year-old placed ninth in the ‘B’ final. Swimming in the ‘C’ final in that same event was Keianna Moss who swam a personal best time of 27.88 seconds to place fifth in her race.
Jamiliah Hepburn shaved more than five seconds off her personal best time when she finished third in the ‘B’ final of the 200m breaststroke. Hepburn swam 2:48.43 to improve her previous personal best from 2:53.67.
Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson won the ‘C’ final in the 200m individual medley (IM) when she swam a new personal best of 2:32.58. Her previous personal best was 2:37.21.
The 2021 CARIFTA Aquatic Championships has been canceled. The junior swimmers are disappointed that they will not be able to get a chance at lowering their personal best times at the prestigious meet. The next big meet that they will have a chance to showcase their talent and skills will be the Bahamas Aquatics National Swimming Championships slated for next month.