By RENALDO DORSETT
Even after the Bahamas claimed its second consecutive CARIFTA Swimming Championships in the pool Tuesday night, the medal haul continued in the open water yesterday.
Joanna Evans continued her domination of the meet with a gold in the girls 15-17 division, while William Russell added silver in the boys 13-14 Open Water 5k at Carlisle Bay, Barbados, to conclude the 30th edition of the meet
The Bahamas won the meet again with a total of 756.50 points, more than 100 points ahead of the host team Barbados, who was second with 642.50 points.
Trinidad and Tobago finished third with 494.50 points, Guadeloupe was fourth with 478 points, while Jamaica rounded out the top five with 456 points.
The Bahamas claimed 54 medals en route to the win, including 29 gold, 17 silver and eight bronze. Barbados finished with 52 medals - 30 gold, 12 sliver and 10 bronze. Trinidad and Tobago won 38 medals - 12 gold, 13 silver and 13 bronze, Aruba won a total of 35 medals - 10 gold, 13 silver and 12 bronze, while Guadeloupe won 25 medals - eight gold, 11 silver and six bronze.
Evans, the Bahamas Swimming Federation’s junior swimmer of the year, lived up to her lofty expectations as team leader as the high point scorer for the team and the girls 15-17 with 77 points.
She won gold in the 800m Freestyle (8:49.32s), 100m Freestyle (58.34s), 200m Freestyle (2:03.00s), 400m Freestyle (4:12.14s), 50m Freestyle (27.08s), 400m IM (4:59.24s) and took silver in the 200m IM (2:23.40s) and 200m Breaststroke (2:43.54s). She also added the gold medal in the 5k Open Water swim.
Her times in the 200m Freestyle and 400m IM set new CARIFTA meet records.
Albury Higgs was second in the division with 64 points.
Some of her highlights included gold in the 200m Breaststroke in 2:39.53s, 200m IM in 2:23.24s, 100m Breaststroke in 1:15.18s and silver in the girls 200m Butterfly in 2:29.01s.
Lilly Higgs won the girls 13-14 division with 72 points and a new CARIFTA record in the 100m Breaststroke. She won gold in the 100m Breaststroke in 1:14.35s, 800m Freestyle in 9:32.82s, 200m IM in 2:28.28s, 400m IM in 5:11.92s, 50m Breaststroke in 34.50s and silver medal in the 200m Freestyle in 2:11.36s.
Izaak Bastian finished at No.7 in the boys 13-14 highlighted by gold medals in the 200m Breaststroke in 2:28.15 and the 50m Breaststroke in 31.07s.
Davantae Carey and Ian Pinder finished seventh (30 points) and ninth (27 points) in the boys 11-12 division respectively.
Carey won silver in the boys 200m Breaststroke in 2:47.52s and also won bronze in the 50m Backstroke in 32.17s and 100m Breaststroke in 1:10.19s.
Pinder added a gold medal in 100m Butterfly in 1:05.36s.
N’’Nhyn Fernander was the team’s high point scorer in the boys 15-17 with 25 points, good enough for ninth place. His meet was highlighted by a silver in the 100m Butterfly in 56.39s and 50m Breastroke in 30.32s.
Cecily Bowe led the girls 11-12 team with eight points and finished at No.17 in her division.
The Bahamas has been one of the top teams at the CARIFTA level with consistent finishes over the past four meets.
In 2012, while hosting at the Betty Kelly-Kenning Aquatic Centre, the Bahamas finished second with 657 points and 49 medals.
At the 2013 meet in Kingston, Jamaica, the Bahamas finished fifth in the team scoring with 509 points and was sixth in the medal count with 29, including eight gold, 10 silver and 11 bronze.
In 2014, the Bahamas topped the standings for the first time in Savaneta, Aruba.
The 36-member team finished with a total of 736.50 points and 55 medals, including 23 gold, 22 silver and 10 bronze.
Following the 2014 triumph, Team Bahamas head coach Andy Knowles said with international success from elite athletes and more attainable meets for junior athletes, it has increased the standard of local swimming.
“It’s so good when we have our top athletes excel. We have more kids now who are legitimately looking to make these teams because they are eager to represent the country at a high level,” Knowles said.
“There are a lot more elite meets for kids to get into compared to about 20 years ago when you just had CARIFTA, CCCAN, CISC Pan Am, Worlds, Olympics and Commonwealth, now they have meets like the Junior Worlds, Junior Olympics and Junior Pan Ams. There are a lot of high profile meets and a lot of opportunities and it encourages these kids at the CARIFTA level to see other kids who are able to go to college, make those bigger meets and be on the world stage.”