By RENALDO DORSETT
Team Bahamas continues its stellar performance at the 29th CARIFTA Swimming Championships in Aruba and appears on pace to claim the overall meet title headed into the final day of competition today.
The 36-member team collected 13 medals on Thursday (day three) to bring their three day total to 38 - 16 gold, 15 silver and seven bronze.
In just three days, the team has surpassed last year’s total of 29 medals which included eight gold, 10 silver and 11 bronze.
Six gold medals highlighted the action on day three for the Bahamas, led by Albury Higgs and Joanna Evans who won a total of five medals.
The duo got the team off to a quick start in yesterday’s evening session with the 200m IM. Higgs took gold in the girls’ 13-14 race in 2:28.48 seconds while Lilly Higgs joined her on the medal podium in third at 2:34.29.
The girls’ 15-17 division saw the Bahamas secure another pair of medals when Evans took first in 2:25.61, followed by Laura Morley in a close second with 2:25.98.
The next series of races saw the Bahamas deliver one of the most dominant team performances for a single event as they captured six medals in the 50m breaststroke.
Higgs returned to the pool to capture her second individual gold medal of the night in the event. She took first place in the girls’ 13-14 division in 34.92, followed by team-mate Victoria Russell in 35.18 to give the Bahamas a one-two finish.
Dustin Tynes took first in the boys’ 15-17 and set a new CARIFTA record in 29.08 while Laura Morley took gold in the girls’ 15-17 in 35.64.
In the 11-12 age group, Izaak Bastian finished second in the boys’ race in 33.12 while Cecily Bowe was third in the girls’ event in 37.09 .
In the 100m freestyle, Joanna Evans returned to take her second individual gold medal in 58.51. Higgs won her third medal of the night in the girls’ 13-14 200m butterfly with a silver medal in 2:28.05.
At the conclusion of day two, the Bahamas led the point standings with 356 points and collected a total of 25 medals - 10 gold, 11 silver and four bronze. The team won 11 medals on day two.
The 400m individual medley opened the productivity for the Bahamas at the medal podium on Wednesday night.
In the combined girls’ 11-14 group, Albury Higgs continued her dominance at the meet with a gold medal finish in 5:05.62.
She surpassed the CAC “A” qualifying standard in the event and finished nearly 20 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.
In the boys’ 11-12 group, Peter Morley finished second in 5:26.04.
In the girls’ 15-17 event, Joanna Evans finished first in 4:14.46.
Both athletes surpassed the CAC “B” qualifying standard of 5:20.08.
The 400m medley relays were some of the most productive series of races for Team Bahamas and netted four medals, two golds and two silvers.
In the boys’ 11-12, Peter Morley, Darren Laing, Izaak Bastian and Samuel Gibson finished first in 4:33.43 while the girls’ 15-17 team of Doran Reed, Laura Morley, Simone Sturrup and Joanna Evans finished first in 4:38.20.
In the girls’ 13-14 division, Celia Campbell, Victoria Russell, Albury Higgs and Jasmine Gibson took second in 4:43.60 while the boys’ 15-17 team of Dionisio Carey, Dustin Tynes, N’Nhyn Fernander and Kohen Kerr took second in 4:01.91.
The meet is scheduled to conclude in the pool today with the 400m freestyle, 50m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, 200m backstroke and 200m freestyle relays.
The 5k Open Water Swim in all divisions is slated for Saturday morning.