The Bahamas Aquatics Federation’s 50th National Swimming Championships got underway with the distance events finals at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Center yesterday.
Winning the first event of the day was Mako Aquatics Club’s Elle Theberge in the 13-14 girls 1500 meters (m) freestyle. She set a personal best of 20:06.09 to power her way to victory. The 14-year-old’s previous best was 20.24.46.
“I feel great coming away with the gold medal. It was a good race and I did better than I thought I was going to do. My team gave me that motivation from the start and I had a mindset to not give up,” Theberge said.
YMCA WaveRunners’ Zoe Williamson placed second with a time of 20:14.06. Theberge’s teammate, Giada Bertoldo, was third in 20:15.56.
Later in the morning session, Theberge swam in the 50m back and qualified for the final. The results of the evening session finals were unavailable up to press time. Theberge has six more races remaining in the nationals.
The WaveRunners’ Seannia Norville-Smith touched the wall first in the 15-17 girls 1500m free. The 15-year-old clocked a personal best of 19:27.40 to come away with the win.
“The 1500m free is a hard race but I was able to keep kicking the whole way. I have things I want to change for the next time I swim it. I am happy that I dropped time. It is a confidence booster as I did not have a good year swimming,” Norville-Smith said.
Alpha Aquatics’ Bianca Johnson placed second, swimming a personal best of 19:43.62. Barracuda Swim Club’s Grace Farrington came in third after recording a time of 20:06.39.
Norville-Smith has five more races left in the meet.
In the 18-and-over 1500m free for women, two competitors from Mako went head-to-head for the gold medal. In the end, it was Kaliyah Albury’s 21:05.00 that was good enough for the gold. Aaleyah Evans clocked 27.37.30 for the silver.
The WaveRunners’ Ellie Gibson swam with the big boys, as two divisions were combined, and that helped the 14-year-old to win the 13-14 boys 800m free. He swam a personal best of 9:06.61 to get the gold medal.
“The race was good. I paced off of 15-17 boys swimmer Jack Barr and he helped me to go through the race. I did not go as hard from the start but when I reached the 400 meters mark, I started to pick up my pace,” Gibson said.
Finishing with the silver medal was Alpha Aquatics Swim Club’s Caleb Ferguson who posted a time of 9:31.68. Ferguson’s teammate Jarrod Charles was third as he clocked 9.55.94. Both Ferguson and Charles swam personal best times.
Gibson has five more races remaining.
In the 15-17 boys 800m free, the Barracuda’s Jack Barr won in 9:10.53 and his club teammate Hodari Prince was right behind him with a time personal best time of 9:26.05 to capture the silver medal. Mako’s Tristan Ferguson was able to get the bronze medal when he posted a time of 9:35.34.
In the 18-and-over category for men, Mako did what they did in the 18-and-over category for women in the 1500m races. Mako was the only club with competitors entered in that event.
Action continued last night with the 200m breaststroke, 50m back, 100m fly and the 200m free relay finals.
The second day commences at 9 p.m. today. The meet wraps up on Sunday night.