By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE Mako Aquatics Club hosted its Open Water Swim Meet on Saturday to give swimmers an opportunity to qualify for the team that will be a part of the Bahamas Swimming Federation’s team heading to the CARIFTA Swimming Championships in Wildey, Barbados, over the Easter holiday weekend.
The open water swim was held on Saturday and now its up to the federation to ratify the team.
While Joshua Murray was the overall finisher in the five-kilometre open category race in one hour and eight minutes, he won’t be eligible to make the team. Nonetheless, he said he was pleased with his performance.
“It’s going pretty good so far, but I hope to go further in the sport,” said Murray, who started swimming at the age of 10, following in the footsteps of his father, Olympian Allan Murray.
“I was happy with today’s results. I expected it.”
Murray, 18, competed in the open water swim before at CARIFTA. He hopes to encourage and help the others to get ready for the games.
Among those eligible for the team after completing their 5K races are Tristin Ferguson and Mark-Anthony Thompson in the boys’ 13-14 and 15-17 age groups respectively; Mia Sastre and Grace Farrington in the girls 13-14 and Salene Gibson and Kaliyah Albury in the girls 15-17 division.
Sastre, a 14-year-old member of Mako Swim Club, won the girls 13-14 division in 1:12.99, followed by Farrington of Alpha Aquatic in 1:14.03 and Seannia Norville-Smith of the YMCA in third in 1:14.05.
“It was a little bit rough, but it was a little different from the pool. I wouldn’t say I train for it every day, but I like it because it’s something different,” said Sastre, who was fourth at last year’s Carifta. “If I go back this year, I would like to try and come out with the victory, the gold. I just need to work on the turns at the buoys.”
Gibson, 16, was the winner of the girls’ 15-17 division in 1:10.44 over Mako’s Kaliyah Albury (1:10.97) and Barracuda’s Gigi Eneas (1:13.00).
“I’m really happy with it. The race and the course was very good. The water was clam, perfect conditions today,” said Gibson, who attends Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Florida. “I’m looking forward to placing and getting on the medal stand. I just want to have a good race and represent Team Bahamas.”
If there’s anything she need to work on, Gibson, a member of the Alpha Aquatic Club, said it would be her endurance so that she can come home strong.
Albury, a 17-year-old 12th grader at St Augustine’ College, said she enjoy swimming the 5K race.
“I feel like I enjoy swimming in the ocean and I’m more relaxed than when I’m in the pool where it’s just sprint, sprint and more sprint,” she said. “In the ocean, you can just swim and swim. It was good today. I enjoyed it.”
If she’s selected to the tram, Albury said her goal is to improve on her personal best time of 1:10 that she did in 2018 in Jamaica. She noted that she have to concentrate a little more going around the buoy and staying on track.
Thompson, a 17-year-old student of St Andrew’s International School and a member of the Alpha Aquatic Club, said he prefer to swim in the open water event after doing it for the first time about two years ago. He easily won the boys 15-17 category in 1:11.01, well ahead of Mako’s Hugh Bartlett, who trailed in 1:17.32.
“This is my first time swimming it since last year’s Carifta in April, so it was more like getting back into the groove of it,” Thompson said. “It was a lot of seaweeds we had to deal with, but I adjusted to it and got through it.”
Having place fourth last year, Thompson said his goal is to win a medal, if he is selected to the team.
Ferguson, 14, represents the Mako Aquatic Club, was just quite contended with his victory in 1:11.02 over Hodari Prince of the Barracuda Swim Club (1:12.19) and his Mako team-mate William Feaste (1:20.18).
“I did exceptionally well because I really don’t train for the 5K. This is actually my third time swimming it, but it was pretty good,” he said. “If I make the team, my goal is to medal in all of my events like the 50 free and the 100m free and to prove that I can do anything that I put my mind too.”
In the other categories, which all did one-mile, Will Farrington took the victory in the boys 12-and-under in 25.42 over Mako’s Maxwell Daniels (28.24) and Barracuda’s Keron Burrows (28.39).; Caden Wells won the boys 11-12 title in 23.38, followed by tram-mates Zion Gibson (23.52) and Ayton Moncur (24.08) and Alpha Aquatic’s Daniel Ferguson emerged as the boys 13-and-over champion in 23.39 over Lyford Cay Swim Club’s Peter Tynes (42.53).
And Dndn McKenzie of Mako won the girls 10-and-under division in 31.13; Giada Bertoldo of Mako took the girls 11-12 title in 25.04 over team-mates Erin Pritchard (26.30) and Elle Theberge (26.57) and Maria Fox of Alpha Aquatic won the girls 13-and-over in 24.46 with team-mate Sienna Culmer-Mackey second in 25.00 and Mako’s Katie Roach third in 31.35.