Records fall at swimming nationals

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Simba FrenchSend an emailJuly 13, 2022 186 5 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 Lamar Taylor competes during the 10th Annual LENO Invitational swim meet at the Betty Kelly-Kenning Aquatic Centre on Saturday. DANTE CARRER

It was a competitive four days of swimming at the Bahamas Aquatics Federation’s 50th National Swimming Championships over the Independence Day holiday weekend. The tight competition led to some records being broken and times lowered. Lamar Taylor led the way with two national records at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex.

The meet began on Thursday and wrapped up on Independence Day on Sunday.

Taylor, who swims for the Mako Aquatics Club, was able to break the national record in the 18-and-over men 50 meters (m) backstroke then he lowered his own national record in the 100m freestyle.

In the 50m backstroke, it was a tight race between him and the previous owner of the record, his teammate DaVante Carey. The two pushed each other as they both dipped under the previous national record time of 26.10 seconds. In the end, it was Taylor who touched the wall first with a new national record and personal best time of 25.93 seconds. Carey finished with a personal best of 25.99 seconds for the second-place finish.

Taylor was brilliant in the pool in the 100m free as he lowered his previous national record from 50.36 seconds to 50.25 seconds to win that race. It is the second time in less than a month that he has lowered the national record in the 100m free. He swam 50.36 seconds at the FINA (International Swimming Federation) World Swimming Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in June.

“It was a good race for me. I felt like I took it out very well and came back fast. I felt strong in the water. This meet was to go through race strategies and see how I will swim my races at the Commonwealth Games. It was not about me stressing myself,” Taylor said.

The 18-year-old sprinter set the meet record in the 50m free when he clocked 22.77 seconds. He broke Vereance Burrows’ former mark of 23.01 seconds set back in 2016.

The Henderson State University swimmer is looking forward to the Commonwealth Games.

“I just want to be comfortable with my swims. I know what I have to work on heading into Commonwealth Games. I will try and do some big things at Commonwealth,” Taylor said.

Carey and Taylor went head-to-head again in the 100m back. This time Carey touched the wall first as he lowered his own meet record from 57.60 seconds to 57.58 seconds. Taylor posted a time of 57.83 seconds to take home the silver medal.

The Barracuda’s Alissa Ferguson set two national age group records and five meet records in the 9-10 girls age category. She set them in the 50m back, 100m back, 200m free, 100m breast and 200 individual medley (IM) events. Ferguson got started with her records when she touched the wall in a new national age group and meet record time of 35 seconds flat to win the 50m back.

“It was a good meet for me. I did not expect all of those records because I only came to drop times and do my best. I am very happy that I got them. The 100 meters back was the most difficult for me to swim because I had a lot of competition in that race,” Ferguson said.

In the 100m back, Ferguson comfortably broke the meet record with a strong swim of 1:18.73. The swim smashed a 17-year record of 1:19:89 which was held by Bria Deveaux. Ferguson went on to smash another meet record set by Deveaux. This time it was in the 200m freestyle in which she clocked 2:30.23. Deveaux had the previous record of 2:32.19.

It was a battle for Ferguson in the 200m IM. She and YMCA WaveRunners’ Skyler Smith were in a heated battle for first place. In the end, the two could not separate themselves from each other as they touched the wall at the same time in 2:49.46. The duo broke Je’Nae Saunders’ 17-year record of 2:50.49.

Ferguson’s fifth and final meet record came in the 100m breast where she dominated, clocking 1:29.61. The previous record of 1:29.68 was held by Leylah Knowles.

The Barracuda’s Rhanishka Gibbs set a meet record in the 15-17 girls 50m butterfly and also in the 50m breast. In the 50m fly, Gibbs clocked 28.62 seconds to get the record. Gibbs went on to post 33.11 seconds to get the record in the 50m breast.

Mako’s Keianna Moss swam her way to the 15-17 girls 100m fly meet record. She posted a time of 1:04.84.

“I was very surprised when I looked at the clock and saw the time,” Moss said. “I have been trying to swim that time for a while. It was great that I was able to do it in front of my family and friends. The meet was amazing and I did a lot better than I expected. I surprised myself in a couple of the races. I was prepared mentally for my races and that helped me when I got into the pool.”

Grand Bahama native Lelah Lewis had a strong meet. The WaveRunners’ swimmer was able to lower the 11-12 girls 50m fly record with a time of 30.12 seconds. The Barracuda’s Saleste Gibson also went under the previous national record of 30.75 seconds when she swam 30.41 seconds.

“It was exciting and an honor to break a record,” Lewis said. “I breathed less and kicked more. It was a nerve-racking meet because I did not know how fast they were until I got in the water,”

Lewis’ teammate Marvin Johnson swam a time of 1:57.00 for the meet record in the 15-17 boys 100m free. Nigel Forbes, who also swims for the WaveRunners, was able to secure the meet record in the 15-17 boys 200m fly. The 16-year-old clocked 2:03.27 to win that race.

The Black Marlins’ Caden Wells showed that he is one of those swimmers to keep an eye on. The 14-year-old swimmer lowered Forbes’ 13-14 boys 50m breast meet record. Wells clocked 30.21 seconds to top Forbes’ three-year record time of 30.96 seconds.

“It feels good to break the meet record. I did not look at the record before. I was surprised when I saw the 50 meters breast time because I thought I went a little faster than that,” Wells said.

The WaveRunners’ Ellie Gibson dropped Johnson’s 13-14 boys 400m meet record that was set last year. Gibson powered his way to a time of 4:17.68 to beat Johnson’s previous record time of 4:22.19.

In the 8-and-under girls 50m free, Mako’s Isabella Munroe’s time of 34.06 seconds in the heats was enough to break the meet record. The previous record was held by Passion Daniel – a time of 34.24 seconds.

“It was a very exciting meet and I liked it a lot. I feel very happy and I am thankful for those teammates who encouraged me,” Munroe said.

Records were also set in the relay portion of the meet. It was a strong relay race by the WaveRunners 9-10 boys team in the 200m free relay as they went on to set a national age group record. The team of Harold Simmons, Sean Norville-Smith, Blake Comarcho and Nitayo Knowles clocked 2:08.40.

The Barracuda’s 11-12 girls 200m free relay team powered their way to a new meet record of 1:59.01. Trinity Pratt, Madyson Julien, Christin-Alyssa Clarke and Saleste Gibson were the team members.

The WaveRunners also swam a new 13-14 mixed 200m medley meet record with a time of 2:23.94. The team consisted of Mia Patton, Tristen Hepburn, Zoe Williamson and Ellie Gibson.

Mako won the meet for a fourth consecutive time. They scored 2,011 points while the WaveRunners scored 1,643 points to finish second. The Barracudas placed third with 1,568 points

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