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The Bahamas swims away with 17 medals at UANA Cup

It was a busy weekend for Bahamian junior swimmers as Team Bahamas at the second edition of the Union Americana de Natacion (UANA) Swimming Cup swam its way to 17 medals and four championship records. The event was held at the Videna Aquatics Complex in Lima, Peru, from February 21 to 23.

The Bahamas hauled in seven gold, four silver and six bronze medals.

Winning six of those medals individually was 13-14 boys swimmer Nigel Forbes. He had four golds, one silver and one bronze, and set three championship records.

The Grand Bahamian also won the 13-14 boys high point award, finishing with 49 points.

Forbes blew away the pool of athletes in the 200 meters (m) individual medley (IM) on Friday, clocking a blistering time of 2:13.78 to win his first gold medal. That time also inked his name in the record books. The previous record was 2:14.52. Forbes dropped his personal best time by five seconds.

His closest competitor finished almost a full two seconds behind him. That competitor was Mexico’s Erick Chavez who finished that race with a time of 2:15.55. Argentina’s Francisco Butti was third as he touched the wall in 2:17.56.

Forbes’ second championship record came in the 100m butterfly race as he separated himself from the field once again. This time, he had just over a second gap ahead of his next competitor when he clocked 57.28 seconds. The previous record was 57.61 seconds.

Guatemala’s Christopher Gossmann was able to pick up the silver medal for his country after clocking 58.30 seconds. Argentina’s Franco Zabala’s time of 59.19 seconds was enough to place him in third.

The Grand Bahamian captured his third gold medal of the competition when he powered his way to the top spot in the 50m fly in 25.94 seconds. That time was also his third championship record of the competition.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Nikoli Blackman powered his way to the silver medal as he posted a time of 26.47 seconds. Marvin Johnson, Forbes’ teammate, finished with the bronze medal as he swam 26.73 seconds.

It was in the 100m breast that Forbes captured his fourth and final individual gold medal of the competition. In that race, he touched the wall in 1:06.96 to finish first overall.

He was able to hold off Paraguay’s Maximiliano Benitez who posted a time of 1:07.49 for second. Aruba’s Braynsly Dirksz finished third as he swam the race in 1:09.86.

In the 50m breast, Forbes picked up a silver medal after he clocked 30.86 seconds. Benitez got the better of him this time as the Paraguayan clocked 30.86 seconds to win the gold medal. Argentina’s Maximo Jacquet clocked 31.99 seconds to finish with the bronze medal.

Forbes finished third in the 50m freestyle in 24.79 seconds. Finishing with the gold medal in that race was Blackman who recorded a time of 24.31 seconds. Johnson swam away with the silver medal after he clocked 24.79 seconds.

The trio were the only competitors in that age category to swim sub-25 seconds in that race. The result set up for an interesting race between the three at this year’s CARIFTA Championships in less than two months time.

Lamar Taylor had a good meet as he came away with four individual medals – two gold, one silver and one bronze – in the 15-17 boys age group. The 16-year-old broke a championship record.

Taylor was also able to cart off the 15-17 boys high point award after amassing 34 points.

Unable to drop a personal best time in the 50m free, he clocked 23.45 seconds to set a new championship record, picking up the gold medal. His seed time going into that race was 23.33 seconds.

The previous record was 23.54 seconds.

Taylor was able to hold off Brazil’s Leandro Odorici who picked up the silver medal after finishing the race in 23.66 seconds. Winning the bronze medal was Odorici’s teammate Vitor Franco.

Taylor picked up his second and final gold medal of the competition when he powered his way to touch the wall in 25.20 seconds in the 50m fly.

He was able to hold off Mexico’s Miguel Rojas, who was very close behind him, after he posted a time of 25.23 seconds. Argentina’s Nahuel Martin, who was able to finish the race in 25.34 seconds, settled for third.

In the 50m backstroke, Taylor was able to swim away with the silver medal after he posted a time of 26.66 seconds.

Winning that race was Mexico’s Diego Camacho as he clocked a meet record of 26.61 seconds. Argentina’s Luciano Molina finished third with a time of 27.16 seconds.

The 100m back saw Taylor finishing with a bronze medal after clocking a time of 59.13 seconds.

Winning that race was Camacho who touched the wall in 56.86 seconds. Molina was second, clocking 58.43 seconds.

In addition to the silver and bronze medals, Johnson, a newcomer in the 13-14 boys age group, also picked up another silver and bronze to bring his medal haul to four.

Johnson’s other silver medal came in the 100m free when he recorded a time of 54.36 seconds.

Blackman swam away with a gold medal and championship record when he swam his way to the top time of 53.84 seconds. The previous record was 54 seconds flat. The bronze medal was won by Brazil’s Sammer Abdallah who posted a time of 55.24 seconds.

Johnson’s other bronze medal came in the 400m IM when he finished that race with a time of 4:57.52.

Butti won that race as he posted a time of 4:47.80. Santiago Orellana, Butti’s teammate, won the silver medal with a time of 4:53.22.

Jarrod Charles picked up a bronze medal in the 11-12 boys 50m breast when he touched the wall in 35.20 seconds.

El Salvador’s Sebastian Contreras won the gold medal in that race after setting a championship record with a time of 33.10 seconds. The previous record was 34.20 seconds set by Forbes.

Saint Lucia’s Karic Charles touched the wall in 34.56 seconds to claim the silver medal.

In the relay portion of the meet, The Bahamas won two medals. It was gold for The Bahamas in the 13-14 mixed 4x50m freestyle relay. In the 11-12 boys 4x50m medley relay, The Bahamas won the bronze medal.

On the gold medal winning mixed free relay team, were Forbes, Keianna Moss, Devin Cuffy-Bethel and Johnson. The quartet finished with a time of 1:45.57 on the last day of the competition.

Forbes got the ball rolling with a split of 24.87 seconds. Moss and Cuffy-Bethel recorded splits of 27.19 and 29.07 seconds. Johnson anchored the team with a blistering split of 24.44 seconds to edge out the Brazilians.

Brazil won the silver medal with a time of 1:45.60. Argentina finished with the bronze medal with a time of 1:45.95.

In the 11-12 boys medley relay that Friday, the team of Ellie Gibson, Caden Wells, Asher Johnson and Caleb Ferguson clocked 2:04.43 to win the bronze medal.

Gibson swam the back portion with a split of 32.82 seconds before Wells took over to swim the breast with a split of 35.34 seconds. Johnson and Ferguson swam splits of 28.89 (fly) and 27.38 (free) seconds, respectively.

The gold medal was won by St. Lucia who posted a new championship time of 2:01.62. Mexico picked up the silver medal with a time of 2:03.24.

The other team members were Mia Patton (11-12), Rhanishka Gibbs (13-14), Jamilah Hepburn (15-17), Delaney Mizell (15-17), Kierro Stubbs (15-17) and Erald Thompson III (15-17).

The head coach was Travano McPhee, and the team manager was Gena Culmer-Taylor.

Other than The Bahamas, there were 26 countries that participated at the meet.

The Bahamas placed sixth overall with a combined score of 196.5 points.

Swimming powerhouse Mexico finished first with 718.5 points. Brazil was second with 618 points. Finishing third was Argentina with 599.5 points.

The next international swimming meet for the Bahamian junior swimmers will be the CARIFTA Swimming Championships set for April 11-14 in Wildey, Barbados.

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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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