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Swimmers show improvement at CARIFTA Trials

The Bahamas Aquatics Federation (BAF) hosted its CARIFTA Trials, dubbed ‘Last Chance Meet’, this past weekend and a number of swimmers gave it their all at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Aquatics Center in hopes of making the team. Action began on Friday and wrapped up on Saturday as swimmers attempted to drop times and qualify for the CARIFTA Swimming Championships, set for April 11-14 at the Barbados Aquatics Center in Wildey, Barbados.

There were some movements in the different races but for the most part the CARIFTA hopefuls list remained the same.

Most of the changes happened in the 11-12 boys and girls divisions.

Lyford Cay Swimming Club’s Elle Theberg was impressive in the 11-12 girls division as she made a last push to make the CARIFTA team.

In the 100 meters (m) backstroke, Theberg swam her way to the top of the CARIFTA qualifying standings in that event when she clocked 1:16.05. Her previous time was 1:18.39.

Mia Patton, who swam unattached, qualified for CARIFTA in that same event when she clocked 1:17.37. Her seed time was 1:19.82.

Theberg, 12, finally qualified in the 200m backstroke when she swam 2:44.17 to improve her previous best time of 2:49.88. She was the only qualifier in that event.

In the 50m back, Theberg came in the meet with a seed time of 36.20 seconds. She clocked 34.55 seconds to place herself as the second-fastest qualifier in the 50m back. Patton has the fastest time of 34.07 seconds.

The Wave Runners’ Zoe Williamson qualified for CARIFTA in the 200m freestyle with a time of 2:25.99. She came in with a seed time of 2:29.14. She joins Patton, whose time is 2:22.30, as the only qualifiers for The Bahamas in that event.

Already having the fastest qualifying time of 39.31 seconds in the 50m breast, Tia-Isabelle Adderley lowered it even more when she posted a time of 39.10 seconds.

She then lowered her leading time of 1:25.45 in the 100m breast to 1:24.10.

In the 11-12 boys category, Dolphins Swim Club’s Donald Saunders and Mako Aquatic Club’s Zion Gibson put on a show in the pool as they lowered their times.

In the 50m back, Saunders dropped time as he swam 32.71 seconds to qualify for CARIFTA with the fastest time. His previous best time was 34.64 seconds. Gibson moved up to the second-fastest time with 32.78 seconds as he improved from 33.80 seconds.

Saunders and Gibson improved their times in the 100m back. Gibson ended the meet with the fastest qualifying time in that event when he swam 1:11.61. It was an improvement from his previous best time of 1:16.07. Saunders improved on his CARIFTA qualifying time of 1:15.71. He swam the second-fastest time, 1:11.99.

The duo continued their impressive showing when they dropped times in the 200m back. Gibson swam his way to the fastest CARIFTA qualifying time of 2:36.38. His previous best was 2:44.74. Saunders came into the meet on the outside looking in, in that event but he swam his way to the second-fastest qualifying time of 2:37.01. He came in with a seed time of 2:53.60.

Saunders sneaked his way to the second-fastest time in the 100m fly when he swam 1:09.85. It was a huge improvement from his previous best of 1:14.05.

Alpha Aquatics Club’s Caleb Ferguson moved up to the second-fastest qualifying time in the 100m free when he clocked 1:00.80. He came in with a time of 1:01.96 and he passed his teammate Jarrod Charles on the list.

Charles improved his time in the 200m breast this weekend when he swam a time of 2:53.56. He came into the meet with a time of 3:04.84 in that event.

In the 13-14 girls division, the 400m individual medley (IM) race featured improvements from YMCA WaveRunners’ Abayomi Brown, Alpha’s Grace Farrington and Barracuda Swim Club’s Kyana Higgs. Brown went from 5:41.41 to 5:39.30, Farrington went from 5:51.52 to 5:41.83, and Higgs made the qualifying standard when she swam 5:43.21 after swimming 6:00.64 coming into the weekend.

Sarah Singh moved up as the second-fastest swimmer in the 100m free in 1:02.38. She came in with a seed time of 1.03.03.

In the 200m breast, Barracuda’s Rhanishka Gibbs tied the fastest qualifying time with Alpha Aquatics’ Maria Fox when both swam 2:57.72. Gibbs’ seed time was 3:01.21 and Fox’s was 2:59.05.

In the 15-17 girls category, Alpha Aquatics’ Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson improved her time in the 100 back from 1:13.00 to a CARIFTA qualifying time of 1:11.89 to place her with the second-fastest qualifying time in that event.

Mako Aquatic Club’s Anya McPhail moved up one spot from the fourth-fastest qualifying time to the third-fastest in the 200m free when she swam 2:15.15. Her seed time was 2:16.17.

In the 13-14 male category, Barracuda’s Jack Barr surpassed the CARIFTA qualifying time in the 400m free when he clocked the second-fastest qualifying time of 4:30.57. He came into the meet at 4:39.31.

Mako’s Tristin Ferguson also qualified for CARIFTA when he swam 4:32.99 to place himself as the third-fastest qualifying swimmer.

Barr was impressive in the 1500m free when he improved his qualifying CARIFTA time of 18:23.89 to 17:44.17. He moved up from the third-fastest time to the second-fastest time.

Mako’s Amauri Bonamy stepped up and swam the second-fastest qualifying time of 30.61 seconds in the 50m back. His fastest time coming into the weekend was 31.42 seconds.

It was a swap in the 100m back as the WaveRunner’s Marvin Johnson moved up to the fastest qualifying time and Freeport Aquatics Club’s Joshua Newry moved down to the second-fastest qualifying time.

Johnson recorded a time of 1:06.48 as Newry was close behind him in 1:06.64.

Before the meet, no swimmers qualified in the 200m back in the 13-14 boys division. That changed when Johnson swam his way to the top with a qualifying time of 2:29.63. Newry finished with a time of 2:32.08 to secure the second-fastest qualifying time.

The 15-17 boys did not see much movement. One of the exceptions was in the 200m IM when Mark-Anthony Thompson clocked the second-fastest qualifying time of 2:16.89. His previous best time was 2:18.45.

On Sunday, the BAF ratified a 36-member team for the CARIFTA Championships. Team Bahamas will be going after its fourth straight CARIFTA swimming title and sixth in the last seven years.

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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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