Taylor leads top swims at nationals

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Simba FrenchSend an emailJune 21, 2023 156 3 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 High point winners from the 51st Bahamas Aquatics Federation’s National Swimming Championships. From left are Donald Saunders, Marvin Johnson, Lamar Taylor, Delaney Mizell, Rhanishka Gibbs and Zoe Williamson. MELINDA MOSS

Bahamian swimmer Lamar Taylor broke a 14-year-old national record in the men’s 50 meters (m) freestyle at the 51st Bahamas Aquatics Federation’s National Swimming Championships at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex over the weekend, highlighting some very strong individual performances at the four-day meet.

World Aquatics, the new name for FINA (International Swimming Federation), uses a FINA points system as an official method to relate race times to the current world record.

Taylor, who already owns the 100m free national record, powered his way to touch the wall in 22.35 seconds in the 18-and-over men’s 50m free for the new national record. The Mako Aquatics swimmer lowered the record of 22.39 seconds that was held by fellow Grand Bahamian Vereance Burrows, set in 2009 in Rome, Italy. Taylor scored 818 FINA points for that swim and had four of the top five best swims at the meet.

“I felt that time was coming. I knew the work that I put in was sufficient. I just had to produce and swim my times,” Taylor said of the record-breaking swim. “I came into the race relaxed and got very focused when I got on the blocks. It felt good to do it at home in front of people who I know. They hear and see me do other good swims on the news or social media but I feel bad that they never get to see it in person so I am glad to do it at home. It would me amazing to always swim with the support of the Bahamian people in the stands at all my meets.”

Placing second in that event was Alpha Aquatics’ Darren Laing who swam 24.35 seconds. The Black Marlins Swim Club’s Thomas Bowers was third in 24.55 seconds.

Taylor was coming off a time of 24 seconds flat in the preliminaries on Sunday morning. It was off from what spectators are used to from him but he was up late Saturday night into Sunday morning taking care of the student part of his student-athlete title at Henderson State University.

“I was up late doing homework as I am taking classes in the summer. I felt a little tired coming into the preliminaries,” he said.

In the 18-and-over women, Delaney Mizell secured the FINA high point award for her swim in the 50m free. The Lyford Cay Swim Club swimmer won that race in 26.83 seconds to secure 686 FINA points.

Mizell, who swam in that age group for the first time at nationals, held off Mako’s Victoria Russell who swam 27.23 seconds. Alpha Aquatics’ Ariel Weech posted a time of 27.44 seconds to place third.

Mako’s Marvin Johnson swam away with the 15-17 boys best swim for his performance in the 100m free, scoring 787 FINA points. The 16-year-old won that race with a time of 50.80 seconds.

Alphas Aquatics’ Ellie Gibson was Johnson’s closest competitor. Gibson finished the race in 53.25 seconds. Finishing third was Johnson’s teammate, Tristin Ferguson, in 54.99 seconds.

Securing the highest FINA points in the 15-17 girls division was the Barracuda Swim Club’s Rhanishka Gibbs. The 16-year-old swam a new nationals record of 26.29 seconds in the 50m free, scoring 729 points. In that race, her teammate Lauren Bridgewater touched the wall in 28.08 seconds for second. Lyford Cay’s Isabelle Zatarain was third in 28.41 seconds.

Coming away with the top FINA points in the 13-14 boys division was Lightning Aquatics’ Donald Saunders. He scored 627 points. He won the 100m free in a time of 54.78 seconds. The Black Marlins’ Malcolm Menzies settled for second after recording a time of 57.90 seconds. Mako’s Lenin Hamilton took third in 58.97 seconds.

Mako’s Zoe Williamson swam a strong 50m race to win that event in the 13-14 girls division and turned in a FINA score of 615 points. Williamson clocked a time of 27.82 seconds to win that race. She finished ahead of her teammate Jordyn Rolle who posted a time of 28.38 seconds for second. Alpha Aquatics’ Adaiah Smith finished third with a time of 29.23 seconds.

The swim nationals began on Thursday and wrapped up on Sunday. Mako amassed 2,689 points to swim away with the title. Finishing a distant second was the Barracuda Swim Club which scored 1,569 points. Securing the third position was Alpha Aquatics which finished with 1,524.50 points.

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