The Bahamas Triathlon Association (BTA) has ratified a 20-member team to travel to Bermuda for the 2022 CARIFTA Triathlon, Aquathlon and Mixed Relay Championships, set for September 24-25.
The event will be held at Clearwater Beach at the south eastern end of Bermuda and The Bahamas will be looking to improve from its fifth place finish in 2019. The press caught up with the team at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex yesterday afternoon, after a swimming practice session.
The team comprises of Lauchlan Menzies, Sibby Potter, Jayden Smith, Callum Pritchard, Tristan Johnson, Taylor Knowles, Paityn Burrows, Ayden Bain, Enea Gervasini, Malcolm Menzies, Launy Duncombe, Erin Pritchard, Anjaleah Knowles, Issa Bournas, Lenin Hamilton, Jason Cates, Barron Musgrove, Sienna Culmer-Mackey, Kami Roach and Ralph Wood.
The head coach is Cameron Roach. He is assisted by Sylvia Bateman. The team manager is Lori Roach. The team doctor is Dr. Kathryn DeSouza. Grant Menzies and Orazio Defilippis are the chaperones.
Cameron Roach has a lot of confidence in the team as they head to Bermuda in a few weeks.
“Every year, we have moved up the standings. We are looking to improve more this time around. I believe we have a stronger team this year. The kids have improved. These training sessions have shown a lot of progress. These kids are getting excited as we get close. We have a big team with 20 athletes, although some countries may have bigger teams and there are some strong countries. We have a very good chance at being top three this year,” Roach said.
Participating in his second CARIFTA Triathlon is Malcom Menzies who said that he is looking forward to the meet. The 14-year-old Windsor Preparatory student said that he has been training hard over the summer.
“I think I will do well,” Menzies said. “I think everyone will do their best. I would like to get some points for The Bahamas. I am working a lot on my run because I was not my best in that the last time.”
Triathlon is a combination of three different sporting disciplines – swimming, cycling and distance running. Most of the team are strong swimmers so they have been working on the other two aspects.
“We are working on endurance for the length of race that they will be doing. We have been concentrating a lot on running. It is the end of the race and the most tiring, so there is a lot of distance work with that. We have also done a lot of offseason strength training. The fourth aspect of triathlon is the transition. It is where you can win or lose a race. Some athletes can go through transition in 20 seconds while some take a minute and 20 seconds. It all adds up. We are going to do a lot more these last few weeks to try and perfect that. Hopefully, they can put all their events together and have a good race,” Roach said.
The team will feature the Knowles’ sisters – Anjaleah and Taylor. Anjaleah is the older sister and is no stranger to the triathlon as this is the 15-year-old’s fifth CARIFTA team. She is looking to get to finish in the top five in the girls 13-15 category. She said she is happy to have her little sister on the team.
“It feels great that she is following in my footsteps. It is nice to have her with me,” Anjaleah said.
Anjaleah Knowles’ strongest portion of the triathlon is swimming. She is looking to work on cycling.
Her sister, 12-year-old Taylor, said she has also been working on her cycling also. Though she has butterflies, she said she is excited to have her older sister there.
“It is a good inspiration to have her with me on the team. She has won a lot of events and I look up to her. I will try to win a medal,” Taylor said.
Competing in his first CARIFTA is Jayden Smith. He is looking forward to performing for The Bahamas.
“I expect to do well because I have been working hard in practice and hard work pays off,” Smith said.
He added that his older brother Akeil Smith, who was on several CARIFTA teams, has given him some advice, especially in the swim portion.
According to Roach, the 13-15 boys division is one of the most competitive as there is always a stiff competition between the boys – Duncombe, Malcolm Menzies and Bain. Duncombe and Bain live in Grand Bahama and are coming off a spirited performance at the Goodwill Games.
The major sponsors for Team Bahamas are Atlantis, Westside Construction and Albany. There is a GoFundMe page, gofund.me/52318ebd, that has been set up to help with the remaining expenses of the team.