In swimming, The Bahamas will be seeking its fifth straight CARIFTA title this Easter holiday weekend and local swimmers are gearing up, putting their best foot forward to be on the team that will represent The Bahamas. They put on a show over the weekend as some achieved the qualifying times for the first time and others lowered their qualifying times. The performances were done at the Black Marlins Winter Invitational 2023, which was held at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Aquatics Center on Saturday.
As for CARIFTA, the junior regional swimming championships will be held at the Sentro Deportivo Korsou in Willemstad, Curaçao, from April 8-11.
The Barracuda’s David Singh had a strong meet, coming away with strong swims that produced CARIFTA cuts in the 11-12 boys 200 meters (m) individual medley (IM), 50m butterfly and 100m breast, lowering his own qualifying times.
Singh was too much for the competition in the 200m IM, swimming a blistering time of 2:30.74 to lower his seed time of 2:35.66. He is still the sole qualifier in that event for The Bahamas. The CARIFTA qualifying time is 2:44.06. Finishing second to Singh was the Blue Waves Swim Club’s Christon Joseph with a time of 2:46.98. The host club’s Alexander Murray was third when he clocked 2:47.41.
Singh, a Barracuda swimmer, went sub-31 seconds in the 50m fly when he lowered his personal best of 31.21 seconds to 30.13 seconds. The CARIFTA qualifying time is 31.19 seconds. Murray finished second with a time of 32.02 seconds, and Joseph was third when he posted a time of 32.36 seconds.
In the 100m breast, Singh shaved almost one second off his best time when he touched the wall in 1:17.32 to go under the CARIFTA qualifying time of 1:24.55. Murray was second when he finished the race in 1:24.75. The Blue Waves’ Aindriu Deleveaux finished third in 1:35.79.
Joseph defeated Singh in the 100m free, powering his way to a CARIFTA qualifying time of 1:03.06. The standard is 1:03.71. Singh settled for second in a time of 1:03.35. Murray posted 1:05.22 to place third.
It was an impressive swim for Joseph in the 50m free as well as he improved his best time from 29.39 seconds to a new CARIFTA qualifying time of 28.46 seconds. The standard is 28.59 seconds. Murray placed second in a time of 28.96 seconds, and Mako Aquatics’ Trace Russell was third after posting a time of 29.09 seconds.
The Barracuda’s Saleste Gibson is one swimmer to keep an eye on for CARIFTA as the 11-12 girls swimmer lowered her 200m fly CARIFTA qualifying time and also qualified in the 50m backstroke.
Gibson was able to lower her 200m fly time to 2:55.18. The qualifying time is 3:07.04. Also going under the qualifying time was Lyford Swim Club’s Violet Saralegui who posted a time of 3.04.63 to place second. The Alpha Aquatics’ Skyler Smith swam to a third-place finish, clocking 3:08.54.
Gibson, who has already qualified for CARIFTA in multiple races, added another race to her roster of accomplishments – the 50m back. The 12-year-old sprinted her way across the pool once in 35.29 seconds to go below the qualifying standard of 35.35 seconds. She finished third in her age category.
Winning that race was her teammate Alissa Ferguson who went sub-35 with a time of 34.46 seconds. Another Barracuda swimmer, Christin-Alyssa Clarke, went below the CARFITA time in that race when she posted a time of 34.65 seconds.
Smith powered her way to clock a CARIFTA qualifying time of 2:46.36 in the 200m back, going under the CARIFTA qualifying standard of 2:50.05. She won that event over Ferguson who also qualified with a time of 2:46.49. The Barracuda’s Dayna Ingraham could not keep up with Smith and Ferguson, clocking 3:10.45 for third.
Alpha Aquatics’ Samirah Donaldson was able to qualify in the 11-12 girls 50- and 100m breast races.
Donaldson finally went under the 40-second mark in the 50m breast when she finished second with a time of 39.58 seconds. The qualifying mark is 39.81 seconds. Wining that race was Lyford club’s Jaylah Threadgill who posted a time of 37.82 seconds, but she was unable to go under her personal best time of 37.69 seconds. The Barracuda’s Khori Dames clocked 40.39 seconds to finish third.
Both Donaldson and Threadgill clocked CARIFTA qualifying times for the first time in the 100m breast. Donaldson won with a time of 1:27.04 to comfortably go under the CARIFTA standard of 1.28.41. Threadgill was second when she touched the wall in 1:28.07. Dames was third, swimming 1:30.03.
Lightning Aquatics’ Donald Saunders Jr. clocked an impressive 25.73 seconds to win the 50m free in the 13-14 boys division. He went below his previous CARIFTA qualifying time of 25.97 seconds. The standard is 26.25 seconds. Michael Fox from Alpha Aquatics swam a time of 26.74 seconds to place second and the host club’s Orion Moss finished third with a time of 27.18 seconds.
Mako Aquatics’ Elle Theberge went under the 1:10 mark in the 100m back, lowering her CARIFTA qualifying time. She touched the wall in 1:09.93. Her previous best time was 1:10.80 and the qualifying standard is 1:13.39. Finishing second behind her was the Barracuda’s Kyana Higgs who clocked 1:13.59. Lyford’s Isabelle Zatarain swam 1:17.36 to place third.
Unattached swimmer Ellie Gibson lowered his qualifying time in the 15-17 boys 50m free as he looks to make the team in his first year in that division. He won the 15-and-over race with a time of 24.90 seconds to go under the qualifying time of 25.06 seconds. The Black Marlins’ duo of Thomas Bowers and Joshua Murray were second and third, respectively. Thomas clocked 24.97 seconds and Murray swam 25.05 seconds but they have aged out of CARIFTA.
The swimmers are preparing for the CARIFTA Trials, set for Saturday March 11 at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Aquatics Center. Next up on the local swimming calendar is the Blue Waves Swim Club’s Meet, set for February 24-25 at the Betty Kelly-Kenning center.