Head Coach Andy Loveitt acknowledged coming into the 18th Pan American Games with a transitional focus regarding the 10-member team.
When we talked as he was about to get his swimmers going in their first practice in Lima, he indicated clearly that the Pan Am Games amounted to a transition for our seniors to, ultimately, the kind of power base the juniors have.
So, the team went about achieving quality standards, generally, such as Laura Morley reaching the 200 meters (m) backstroke A final and setting the Bahamian record of 2:30.21 in her semifinal heat; Jared Fitzgerald setting a new national mark of 50.81 seconds in the men’s 100m free; Margaret Albury swimming in the 200m breaststroke B final and ending up with the 12th best time of 2:33.67; and significant relay improvements.
I witnessed an escalating performance by Swim Team Bahamas.
It is evident that the national swim programme is well beyond the stage of just fielding one or two members for global competitions.
There were 10 seniors in Lima, compared to 10 track and field athletes, two in judo, and two tennis players.
Yes, we have transitioned from, when only such as Dorian Roach, Jeremy Knowles, Nikia Deveaux, or of recent years, Arianna Vanderpool- Wallace carried the Bahamian banner on the world swimming stages.
Rochelle Bastian, the team manager, typifies the transition process for senior swimmers with her high degree of enthusiasm.
The team in Lima was enthusiastic. The swimmers mirrored their manager.
It’s a refreshing culture, this transitional movement in Bahamian swimming. The athletes, their mentors and, especially the parents, are to be congratulated.
I chatted briefly with David Morley, Laura’s dad, and the intense interest in his daughter and the wider programme was quite evident.
He is the typical parent-support element to be found in The Bahamian swim fraternity.
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp at 737-6363.