By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
OLYMPIC finalist Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace will be joined by Vereance ‘Elvis’ Burrows, McKayla Lightbourn and Matthew Lowe as representatives of the Bahamas’ team that is expected to compete at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
The Bahamas Swimming Federation’s team, which is scheduled to leave on July 24, will be coached by Shawn Neely, the head coach of Team Orca.
BSF president Algernon Cargill will serve as the team manager and will be attending the FINA Congress as the federation’s delegate. At the Congress, Cargill said a number of rule changes are being proposed for swimming and will be discussed.
Vanderpool-Wallace, who made history as the first Bahamian to swim a final at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, when she got eighth place in her signature event in the 50 metres freestyle, is set to be competing in the 100 metres freestyle and her signature event, the 50 metres freestyle.
Vanderpool-Wallace, 23, won a world short course medal in this event in 2011 in Dubai. She has returned to the classroom where she is completing her academic requirements for a bachelors degree in hospitality management at Auburn University where she has left her mark on the collegiate scene.
Lightbourn, a 21-year-old junior at Florida State University, will be competing in the 100 backstroke and 200 IM, while Lowe, a 19-year-old sophomore at Towson University, will compete in the 400 free and 1,500 freestyle .
The 24-year-old graduate of the University of Kentucky, Burrows will be competing in the 50 free and 50 fly.
Except for Burrows, none of the other swimmers were available for comments up to press time last night.
Burrows, however, said it’s always an honour to be named to any team that represents the Bahamas, especially after putting in so many long hours of training.
“My training has been up and down this whole year due to half of the time I was rehabbing from a shoulder injury I sustained after Bahamas Olympic trials,” said Burrows, who fell short of qualifying for London last year.
“But the last half of my training has gone very well. I’m much stronger in the weight room and finally getting my feel for the water. I may not be back to ‘Superman’ shape but the future looks good for it.”
Returning to the global scene for the first time in over a year, Burrows said he’s not going to give himself any expectations for the championships because it only adds to unnecessary pressure.
“Instead, I know what general times I have to hit in order to make it to the semifinals and or finals and I strive to hit those marks,” he said. “I was injured for a large part of the season so I see this as me reintroducing myself to the world stage of swimming.”
On the team, Burrows said they have an unusual dynamic that can only lead to positive results.
“There’s Arianna and myself who are seasoned veterans to large championship meets of this calibre and we have McKayla Lightbourne who has performed well at smaller regional meets such as CAC and Pan Ams, but has never been to the Olympics or world championships,” Burrows said.
“And then there is Matthew Lowe, who is the rookie of the group. He has always performed well at smaller regional meets such as CARIFTA and CCCAN, but this will be his first big jump into the major leagues.”
Burrows said the trip should be a great experience for Lightbourn and Lowe and he’s just glad to be a part of it.
“I’m hoping they go out there and do something great to surprise us all,” he said. “The fact that these two have graduated up to a World Championship selection shows progress in the sport of swimming in the Bahamas and that is what means the most to me when I look at this team.”
The swimming competition at the championships is set to run July 28 to August 4.