The Bahamas Aquatics Federation held its 2023 CARIFTA Trials, dubbed the ‘Last Chance Meet’, this past weekend and the swimmers were able to perform at a high level as they looked to make CARIFTA qualifying times and move up the rankings.
At the end of the two-day meet at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex this past weekend, 43 swimmers were able to go under CARIFTA qualifying times.
The Barracuda Swim Club’s Emmanuel Gadson had a strong meet after not swimming any long course meets in almost eight months. The 15-17 boys swimmer was able to improve on some of his times as he prepares to swim his final CARIFTA. He also swam some Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) Championships qualifying times.
“The meet went well and I was able to drop times considering I have not done long course in a while so I felt good. It’s a difficult transition from short course yards to long course meters but I think I handled it good. I just have to go and train to get that endurance up,” Gadson said.
Gadson swam in six races – all were under CARIFTA qualifying times. He was able to drop times in five of those races.
He swam CARIFTA cuts in the 50 meters (m), 100m and 200m breaststroke events; the 100m and 200m fly and the 200m individual medley (IM). The only race that he did not improve his time in was the 100m breast.
Gadson came into the meet with a time of 31.09 seconds in the 50m breast which he lowered to 30.95 seconds, well under the CARIFTA qualifying time of 32.09 seconds. He swam 2:24.03 in the 200m breast as he shaved some time in that event. The CARIFTA qualifying time in that event is 2:41.17. In the 100m fly, he powered his way to touch the wall in 57.45 seconds as he lowered his previous time from 57.64 seconds. The CARIFTA qualifying time in that event is 1:00.17.
Gadson dropped a lot of time when he won the 200m fly with a time of 2:18.29. His previous best time was 2:25.44 and the CARIFTA qualifying time is 2:23.09. In the 200m IM, Gadson battled against his former CARIFTA teammate Erald Thompson III who has aged out of CARIFTA. Thompson finished ahead of him, but Gadson shaved almost two seconds off his seed time with a swim of 2:15.49. The CARIFTA qualifying time in that event is 2:20.77.
Alpha Aquatics’ Ellie Gibson had a good meet as he dropped time in five races. He dropped time in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke along with the 100m and 200m free.
“It was a good meet for me. I worked hard to swim in this meet so I could attain what I wanted. I was also able to achieve CCCAN cuts which is higher than CARIFTA. The starts and the underwater kicks were different for me this weekend,” Gibson said.
In the 50m back, Gibson shaved about a second off his seed time of 29.33 seconds when he clocked 28.37 seconds to go well under the CARIFTA standard of 29.16 seconds. He then swam 1:02.71 in the 100m back to go under his seed time of 1:02.79. The CARIFTA qualifying time is 1:04.34. Gibson swam 2:18.56 in the 200m back and was able to comfortably go under his seed time of 2:20.28 and the CARIFTA qualifying time of 2:23.
It was a quick race for Gibson in the 100m free as he clocked 54.21 seconds to lower his seed time of 54.46 seconds. It is comfortably under the CARIFTA qualifying time of 55.09 seconds. In the longer free distance race, Gibson swam 1:59.75. His seed time was 2:00.58 which was also below the CARIFTA standard of 2:02.84.
In the 11-12 girls division, Jaylah Threadgill was able to swim top times in all of her events. She swam and improved her CARIFTA cuts in the 50m, 100m and 200m breast events.
“The meet was good to me as I was able to swim best times in my events. I have been trying to get CARIFTA cuts and place in the top two. I wanted to drop time in the 50m free and I did,” Threadgill said.
Donald Saunders, from Lightning Aquatics, swam four races and was able to shave some time in the 100m free race. The 13-14 boys swimmer clocked 55.70 seconds to lower his time of 57.78 seconds. The CARIFTA qualifying time is 57.78 seconds.
“I have high aspirations for CARIFTA and I hope to perform well. The experience last year was great getting to swim against new competition. I am looking to perform to the best of my abilities. I was happy to drop times at this meet and I plan to drop more times at CARIFTA,” Saunders stated.
The Barracuda’s William Farrington used the ‘Last Chance Meet’ to go under the CARIFTA qualifying times for the first time in the 13-14 boys 200m breast and the 400m IM. He clocked 2:46.15 in the 200m breast to go under the CARIFTA qualifying time of 2:48.59. Farrington then powered his way to a CARIFTA qualifying time of 5:18.12 in the 400m IM. The qualifying time in that event is 5:18.30.
“I was able to get some CARIFTA times at this meet,” Farrington said. “I was able to rack up some times that I needed. I am happy to get the times at this meet as I have been wanting them all season.”
The CARIFTA swim team was named on Sunday and they will begin training this week. The Bahamas is looking to win a fifth straight title, and seventh in the last eight CARIFTA Swimming Championships.