Sports

Swimming ends for The Bahamas

Cargill pleased with swim team’s performance

TOKYO, Japan – Bahamas Aquatics Federation President Algernon Cargill said he was pleased with the performances of the two Bahamian swimmers at the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer and expects continued progression going forward. The swimming competition for Bahamian swimmers wrapped up on Tuesday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan.

Competing in her second straight Olympics, Joanna Evans was 13th overall in the women’s 400 meters (m) free in 4:07.50 and 18th overall in the women’s 200m free in 1:58.40.

Izaak Bastian, just 20, also competed in two events. He was 40th overall in his specialty, the men’s 100m breast, in 1:01.87 and came back and finished 36th overall in the men’s 200m breast in 2:17.40.

For Evans, this was the second straight Olympics in which she finished 13th overall in her specialty, the women’s 400m free.

“Obviously, we would have expected the team to have better performances given the hard work that both Joanna and Izaak put into their preparation for the Olympic Games, but we are pretty pleased with the performance of the team,” said Cargill on Wednesday. “While Joanna’s performance, in itself, is outstanding, Joanna has set very high standards for herself. She may have expressed disappointment in not advancing to the final of the 400 meters free, but her performance is nothing to be ashamed about and Bahamas Aquatics is very pleased with her contribution in putting Bahamians on the map.”

Evans, who is still relatively young at just 24 years old, was recently drafted into the International Swimming League (ISL) by the DC Trident, a professional swimming club based out of Washington, DC. The University of Texas at Austin graduate was visibly disappointed after her two swims at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Sunday and Monday, but now is about to embark on a professional career in swimming and is expected to return to the Olympic stage in three years time.

The talented Grand Bahamian swam in three events at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 and two events here in Tokyo. Battling injuries and ailments in this Olympic cycle, she bounced back to qualify for Tokyo ‘A’ standard in the women’s 400m free – one of only 20 swimmers worldwide to do so – and came within a second of personal best times in both of her swims in Tokyo, just narrowly missing out on new national records. Also, Evans was just five spots short of the final in the women’s 400m free and two sports short of the semifinals in the women’s 200m free.

“She has worked very hard, fighting her way back to this ‘A’ standard for aquatics which is very demanding,” said Cargill. “In the 400m free, she was just off her best time and in the 200m free, she did the same thing. That was disappointing for her. She has hardly raced the 200 this year. Her focus was on the 400m free where she had a better performance, but she will continue to get better. Joanna will continue to train and I’m sure she will be ready for Paris. We expect her to continue to improve on her performances.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing the Tokyo Olympic Games back to 2021, Paris is now just three years away. The Games of the 33rd Olympiad is set for July 26 to August 11, 2024, in Paris, France.

Bastian is no stranger to international competition, but he is a rookie on the Olympic stage. In his first two Olympic swims, he was just off personal best times and national records in his two events. Cargill said he expects Bastian to continue to improve and be right back on the Olympic stage in Paris.

“Izaak’s performances were impressive given that he is still in university. He was right off his best time in the 100m breast and he swam a respectable time in the 200m breast,” said Cargill. “Izaak now understands that while he might be dominating in Nassau and doing well on the college scene, what is required for him to move to a higher level is more commitment. He is a very intelligent young man and he understands exactly what he needs to do in order to have more success.”

Young Bastian, who is going into his senior year at Florida State University (FSU), is the national record holder in all three breaststroke events. He said he was looking to have personal best swims here in Tokyo, but is grateful to come out of the Olympics injury-free and is optimistic heading into the 2021-2022 season.

Cargill said with Evans and Bastian leading the way, he expects The Bahamas to field a strong swimming team at the Olympics in 2024 and continue to show marked improvement at the Olympic level.

“We’ve been very successful at the junior level in winning multiple CARIFTA titles and other regional medals, but we have to progressively get better on the senior level. With adequate facilities and funding, the swim program in The Bahamas will go a long way.”

With a number of young talented swimmers on the horizon, Cargill expects the size of The Bahamas’ swim team at the next Olympics to grow, and for there to be continued progression.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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