Local swimmers put on a show on the first day of the 9th Annual Leno Barracuda Invitational at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex on Saturday.
The meet featured swimmers lowering their times and although the new date for CARIFTA 2021 has not been named yet, swimmers continue to meet the qualifying standards.
Barracuda President Philice Albury was impressed with the swimmers’ performances.
“It looks like the swimmers are putting in a lot of work,” Albury said. “I think coming off the meat of the pandemic and having been on lockdown and being denied an opportunity to train, I think a lot of kids came back with a renewed passion for the sport and have been working very hard. We are seeing results in the pool with the kids dropping lots of time.”
The Barracuda Swim Club’s Rhanishka Gibbs swam the 13-14 girls 100m (m) breaststroke and the 200m breaststroke and won both events.
Gibbs was able to achieve the CARIFTA qualifying standard for the first time in the 200m breast when she clocked 2:53.70 to touch the wall first. Also qualifying for CARIFTA was Alpha Aquatics Club’s Maria Fox. She clocked 3:05.15. Finishing third was Gibbs’ teammate Arielle McPhee in a time of 3:28.19.
“I thought my swims today were pretty good,” Gibbs said. “I was really expecting to go best times, which I did. I was just focusing on my races and going best times because those are the races that I am trying to improve in.”
There was some improvement in her 100m breast, an event she already qualified for CARIFTA in. She swam 1:18.09 – an improvement from 1:20.90. She comfortably finished ahead of Mako Aquatics Club’s Tia-Isabella Adderley, who also qualified for CARIFTA with a time of 1:24.62. Layla Saidi was able to finish third when she recorded a time of 1:30.97.
Head coach of the Barracuda Swim Club, Camron Bruney, said after the first day, his club performed well.
“I think the club performed pretty well. I am happy with the entire federation being able to swim and put in times consistently without it looking like it will stop anytime soon. It gives us something to plan toward,” Bruney said.
In the 11-12 boys 50m freestyle, Alpha Aquatics’ Caleb Ferguson joined Mako Aquatics’ Tristin Ferguson in achieving the CARIFTA qualifying standard in that event. Alpha’s Ferguson clocked 26.08 seconds. Mako’s Amauri Bonamy finished second after he touched the wall in 27.15 seconds. Third place went to Alpha’s Jarrod Charles who recorded a time of 27.51 seconds.
The Barracuda’s Emmanuel Gadson sped his way to qualify for CARIFTA in the 15-17 boys 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:40.83. He was the first Bahamian to qualify in this event. His teammates Msanaa Bosland and Andrew Scavella were second and third, respectively. Bosland posted a time of 2:54.30 and Scavella recorded a time of 3:16.61.
Mako’s Anish Roy achieved another CARIFTA qualifying time in the 11-12 boys category when he won the 200m individual medley (IM) in 2:42.63. This is his fifth CARIFTA qualifying time after achieving the standards in the 50, 100 and 200m backstroke, and the 50m free.
Second to him was Barracuda’s Will Farrington with a time of 2:53.52. The Blue Waves’ Dijon Simmons was third with a time of 2:56.27.
Happy to be in the swimming pool was Luke-Kennedy Thompson. The Howard University sophomore is experiencing a subdued year as his school has taken the year off from competing in the pool. Thompson swam unattached in the 15-and-over boys 200m IM and 50m free events. He finished first in both events recording times of 25.19 seconds and 1:16.72, respectively.
“I executed my 50m free pretty well. I just wish my finish was a little better. I went into the 200m IM and my turns were really good. I have been working on them recently but overall good swims today. I am grateful to be swimming. I have a lot of teammates who are on my team who went home and they are locked down with no pools or gyms, and they are going crazy with online school without being able to train. I am just grateful for the opportunity to continue swimming and be able to motivate the younger swimmers to continue swimming.”
This is the ninth year that Leno has sponsored the Barracuda meet. Albury said she is grateful that despite the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is able to find a way to support and sponsor the meet.
The Barracuda Swim Club will be celebrating 50 years in existence next year.