Regional swimmers face off
The 20th Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships got started last Friday evening with an opening ceremony at the Barbados Aquatic Centre where much of the action is scheduled to take place over the next few days.
Inclement weather led to the postponement of the start of the synchronized swimming on Friday evening but fortunately the rains retreated and the solo routines were able to be contested on Saturday morning.
Erika Loustric and Storm Shepherd were Barbados’ only competitors and this was their debut competition.
Competing in the 12 and under category, they were up against veterans Aruba and Jamaica who fielded teams of seven and eight persons respectively in this age group.
Victoria Guerts of Aruba scored 24 points to earn gold, T’Neil Gooden of Jamaica ended on 22 points for silver and Erika Loustric with 20 points earned bronze for Barbados.
In the 13-15 solos, it was Abigail De Veer of Aruba who was awarded the gold while Breann Campbell of Jamaica finished with the silver medal.
In the 12 and under figures competition, Aruba’s experience was evident when the results showed them taking all three medal positions, with Victoria Guerts repeating her earlier efforts in the solo to capture her second gold.
On Sunday evening, the home crowd was delighted to watch the local pair of Erika and Storm combine to compete in the duet competition. Their electric blue swimsuits adorned with gold and silver stars dazzled as they paraded onto the deck and the pair finished the synchronized swimming competition with a second bronze medal for Barbados.
Chief FINA judge of the competition, Irina Perez, was delighted with the competition and expressed her desire to continue to develop the sport in the Caribbean region.
Local coaches Morgan Brown and Dana Sikkens worked tirelessly to prepare their students for this competition and were extremely satisfied with the results of Erika and Storm in their debut competition.
The second discipline to be contested in the CISC Swimming Championships was the open water event which took place on Saturday and Monday. The venue for both the 10km and 5km distances was the Carlisle Bay. The grueling ten km was the first of the two events. Conditions were very good and 15 swimmers took to the start, seven females and eight males.
Victor Guad of Puerto Rico was first home while Miguel Portes and Armando Casilla took the silver and bronze for the Dominican Republic. In the girls’ race, Catriona Macrae of the Cayman Islands took gold in the 14-17 age group while Zuleimarie Hornedo of the Dominican Republic was first to finish in the 18 and over age group. Trinidad’s Shania David and Theana Hay earned silver in the 14-17 and 18 and over age groups respectively.
On Monday morning, the swimmers returned to contest the faster paced five km race. This time there were 26 competitors – 11 females and 15 males.
It was the Dominican Republic’s Miguel Portes’ turn to take the gold, finishing just ahead of Puerto Rico’s Victor Guad while Armando Casilla secured his second bronze medal in the 18 and over age group. In the 14-17 age group, Trinidad finished 1-2 with Christian Marsden taking gold and Kael Yorke silver. Meschach Roberts of the Bahamas won the bronze.
Also competing under the Barbados flag were Kobi Talma and Johnathan Manning in the 14-17 category. Alexis Clarke captured the first gold medal of the championships for Barbados in the 14-17 age group. Clarke and Trinidad’s Syriah David matched each other stroke for stroke for the majority of the distance but in the end it was Clarke who switched to another gear and sprinted home ahead of David. Younger sister Shania David finished in third place.
In the 18 and over age group, results were the same as for the ten km with Zuleimarie Hornedo and Theana Hay finishing 1-2 and Eliana Disla earning a second bronze.
The pool events are scheduled to start tomorrow at the Aquatic Centre and continue through to July 7.