Open water team small but ready to compete

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Simba FrenchSend an emailApril 5, 2023 272 2 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 The Bahamas will be represented by a three-member team in the open water swimming portion of the CARIFTA Aquatics Championships this coming Easter holiday weekend, at Caracas Bay in Willemstad, Curacao. Shown from left are team members Ayden Bain, Laylah Saidi and Caellum Darville. Simba French

The Bahamas is returning to CARIFTA open water swimming after taking a year off in that event. The team is small with three members and leading them is Head Coach Travano McPhee.

That event is set for Monday, April 10 at Caracas Bay in Willemstad, Curacao – the final day of the CARIFTA Aquatics Championships.

Making up the team are the only female Laylah Saidi, Ayden Bain and Caellum Darville.

McPhee said that they were able to get in some salt water training as well as pool training. The open water course is a five-kilometer (5K) event and swimmers must stay on the course as there are no lanes like in pool swimming.

“There is only so much that can be done in the pool, so they had some salt water training to get the taste in their mouths. With us getting in some open water swims, that was good. Once we arrive in Curacao, we will be able to go to the course and get some familiarity with the course itself and get in some practice,” McPhee said. “It is a very long race. The swimmers must stick to their plan and know their course. The biggest thing for some of our swimmers is swimming in a straight line which will save energy, which will give them a better chance at getting a medal and scoring some points. Open water is a hit and miss.”

Grand Bahama native Bain is no stranger to swimming in the open sea as he competes in triathlon events. He will be swimming in his first CARIFTA open water race.

“I am looking to place in the top 10 at least. I am hoping that there are not too much waves because that would get you tired,” Bain said.

For 16-year-old Saidi, she is also swimming in her first CARIFTA open water event, and is looking forward to it.

“I am hoping to swim a strong race and give it my all. It is hard to prepare for it but I have been working on my ability to look out the water because I am swimming with no lane lines, so I have to make sure that I am aware of all my surroundings. I also have to avoid people,” the Lyford Cay School student said.

Darville said they have been swimming long distance in the pool and he has been swimming on the beach to get more comfortable.

“I am very excited to see the competition and it is my first CARIFTA. This is my second time swimming open water so it is hard to gauge where I am going to be by meet day. I am looking to swim good,” the Windsor School student said.

McPhee knows that the three swimmers are very strong swimmers despite the country not being known for open water swimming.

“We weren’t able to put on as many open water meets that we usually have hence the smaller team. These swimmers were able to compete in a virtual open water meet this year. It is growing and we want to promote this more in the country. These three swimmers will go there and encourage more younger swimmers to get involved in open water swimming,” McPhee said.

The open water event is the last event of the CARIFTA Aquatics Championships. McPhee said that he has to keep the trio focused for all those days.

https://thenassauguardian.com/open-water-team-small-but-ready-to-compete/

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