June 23, 2014
Four days of exciting competition came to an abrupt end at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex last night, and it was the Swift Swimming Club out of New Providence swimming away with another national title!
The club captured its fourth straight Bahamas Swimming Federation (BSF) national title this past weekend, out-distancing its nearest competitor by almost 1,000 points. In total, Swift Swimming finished with 1,809 points, the Barracuda Swim Club was a distant second with 839.50 points and Alpha Aquatics Swim Club rounded out the top three with 684.50 points. Freeport Aquatics Club was the top club coming from the out islands, as it finished with 505.50 points, and the Abaco Swim Club was fifth with 297 points.
"We worked together all year to put everything together for nationals, so we're very happy with the result," said Swift's Head Coach Andy Knowles. "It's been a while since we had this much of a gap, so we're excited that we were able to swim well and win by such a large margin. A lot of the races we went 1-2-3 in, and that was real exciting for us. We just keep working hard."
For Swift Swimming, it didn't hurt to have some of their senior swimmers come home to help in their overall point standings. The most notable being professional swimmer Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, the first and only Bahamian to ever make an Olympic final in swimming.
"It's great to come back home. This is my first nationals since the Olympics so to be back home and to be greeted by all of these people on how I did and how I'm swimming now as a professional swimmer, is really cool," she said. "I always look forward to coming home, just to race fast but at the same time, be a little relaxed. I'm pretty happy with how I did here. I was able to polish off some of the things that I need to work on, but not try to push myself too hard. I'm pretty happy with the results. I'm working on fine-tuning some of the stuff that I really haven't thought about in the past."
Vanderpool-Wallace, the country's most decorated swimmer ever, said that she's really excited about making a run at the next Olympics, and duplicating if not bettering the feat she accomplished in London in 2012. She broke both national records in the freestyle short sprints at the 2012 London Olympics, making the final in the 50 meters (m) free and just barely missing the final cut in the 100m free.
"I'm really excited for 2016 for whatever I could do. I'm just looking forward for continued great performances and continued improvement," she said.
Vanderpool-Wallace swam 25.40 seconds in the 50m free and 56.42 seconds in the 100m free this past weekend, well off her national record times of 24.64 and 53.73 respectively, but she said she's comfortable with where she is at right now, and her progression leading up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. Swift Head Coach Knowles said that it was a blessing to have all of their senior swimmers, including Vanderpool-Wallace, home this weekend.
"We work hard with keeping in contact with our kids, and to have them come home and help means a lot," he said. "Arianna, of course, is at the top of the list. She's home and relaxed, and she really enjoy talking with the kids, so that was really good."
Vanderpool-Wallace swam in quite a number of events this past weekend, including relays. It was Joanna Evans who took the high point award in the 15-and-over Girls Division though, finishing with 81 points. Ariel Weech was second with 55 points and Laura Morley rounded out the top three with 48 points.
In the 15-and-over Boys Division, Anibal Valdes Hernandez reigned supreme with 48 points, Gershwin Greene was seconds with 40 points, and Alexander Encinar finished third with 37 points.
In the younger groups, Abayomi Brown took the 8-and-under Girls Division with 61 points, Marissa Albury was second with 47 points, and Dalisha Fernander finished third with 38 points. In the 8-and-under Boys Division, Nigel Forbes ran away with the title with 63 points, Marvin Johnson finished second with 49 points, and Noah Albury was third with 35 points.
In the 9-10 Girls Division, Mandia Roberts took the title with 61 points, Madison Mortimer was second with 55 points, and Katelyn Cabral and Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson were tie for third with 54 points. In the 9-10 Boys Division, Lamar Taylor was first with 78 points, Roman Pinder was second with 67 points, and Rommel Ferguson finished third with 47 points.
In the 11-12 Girls Division, Amber Pinder was victorious with 77 points, Tenniya Martin finished a close second with 75 points, and Virginia Stamp was third with 66.50 points. In the 11-12 Boys Division, Samuel Gibson was first with 81 points, Darren Laing finished second with 63 points, and Izaak Bastian and T'Lez Foulkes were tied for third with 61 points each.
Margaret Albury Higgs took control of the 13-14 Girls Division, winning that title with 88 points, Lilly Higgs finished second with 70 points, and Zoe McCarroll was third with 56 points. Finally in the 13-14 Boys Division, Alec Sands won the title with 86 points, Miller Albury finished second with 79 points, and Tyler Russell was third with 65 points.
Overall, 49 records were broken, and more than a dozen swimmers qualified for international competition. The 20th Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships (CISC) is set for July 3-7, in Wildey, Barbados. The 20th Commonwealth Games will be held July 23 to August 3, in Glasgow, Scotland. The Youth Olympic Games is set for August 16-28, in Nanjing, People's Republic of China. The 22nd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games will be held November 14-30, in Veracruz, Mexico, and finally, the 12th International Swimming Federation's (FINA) World Short Course Swimming Championships will be held in December, in Doha, Qatar.
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