Open water swimmers end CARIFTA on podium
Damon St Prix brought the curtain down on the 2015 CARIFTA Swimming Championships with a gold medal-winning performance in the boys 13-14 5k open water event held this morning off the Boatyard, Carlisle Bay.
That performance was followed by a silver medal compliments Nicholas Hall who was second to Christian Marsden of Trinidad and Tobago in the boys 15-17 5k showdown. Meanwhile local swimming darling Alexis Clarke delivered bronze in the girls 15-17 equivalent.
Local fans who turned out to witness the 8 a.m. event appeared pleased with the team’s performance and none more so than Barbados’ open water coach Darny Olalde who described the performance as excellent.
“I think it was amazing; the swimmers really swam well and we are pleased with the result,” Olalde said.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY, St Prix said it was a great experience to win his first CARIFTA open water gold. “It feels great because this is like my first open water. I don’t swim in the sea so I guess there was no preparation at all [for this event]. I just swim in the pool and that is it,” an elated St Prix said.
The Combermere student who captured three gold medallions and one bronze at the 30th CARIFTA Swimming Championship, said he now has his eyes set on the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championship (CCCAN) scheduled to take place in El Salvador around June.
Barbados’ showing this morning in the sea backed up their incredible performance in the pool which concluded last evening at the Aquatic Center, Wildey, where the broken trident, ultramarine, gold and black flew high as the home team grabbed a whopping 15 medals on the final night of competitive action and ended their overall medal count at 52. However, they fell short of their 1998 performance when they captured 53 medals in Guadeloupe. Barbados however captured the highest number of gold at this year’s meet with 30 which is one more than team Bahamas who ended with 29 but had highest medals count with a total of 54.
Coach Antonio Petrolanda was a happy man and rightfully so and he praised the young team this morning for an extremely well done job.
“We expected the team to do well but this is extremely well. We are not surprise because it is something we worked for and it is a strong team,” he said.
He added: “There is still a lot more work to be done where the swimmers are concerned. We must focus on quality and these swimmers definitely have the quality and we just need more support to prepare the way for the future.”
Petrolanda said the next stop was the CCCAN in June and the Pan American Games in the summer. He added they were looking forward to the swimmers improving their times and continuing their winning streak, especially the likes of Nkosi Dunwoody who had a superb time in the pool and was able to capture the special United States Virgin Islands Memorial plaque for winning the 200m and 400m freestyle.