By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
Mark Anthony Thompson and Mia Sastre emerged as the top male and female finishers in the YMCA Waverunners Open Water five-kilometre race over the weekend in Grand Bahama.
The event served as the final trials for competitors wishing to make the Bahamas team to compete in the Open Water competition at the CARIFTA Swimming Championships in Barbados over the Easter holiday weekend.
The Bahamas Swimming Federation is expected to announce the selection of the open water as well as the swim team following the final CARIFTA trials for the swimmers this weekend at the Betty Kelly Kenning Swim Complex.
“I think they performed very well,” said YMCA’s head coach Andy Loveitt, who organised the event. “It was an outstanding swim from Mark Anthony Thompson. He went faster than he did in Nassau two weeks prior. Marvin Johnson had a good swim and Mia Sastre had a good swim.
“All in all, I think the swimmers all had some great swims. They showed that they are ready to compete for CARIFTA.”
Based on what he saw over the past two meets, Loveitt said the federation should be able to send at least nine swimmers to compete in the open water swim and he anticipates that the team will be able to improve on the two fourth-place finishes that they had as their best performances last year in Jamaica.
However, Loveitt said he doesn’t want to preempt the federation’s announcement of the team on Sunday.
As for the results over the weekend, Thompson, representing Alpha, had the fastest time of all of the male competitors, completing the course in one hour, one minute and 14 seconds.
Joshua Murray of Mako had to settle for second place in 1:04.11.
Murray, 18, who won’t be eligible for this year’s CARIFTA, won the previous trials over Thompson, 17. While Murray was the lone competitor in the open division, Thompson took the boys’ 15-17 divisional title over Ocean Smith of the Waverunners in 1:905.30. Smith’s team-mate Taye Fountain was third in 1:13.35. Both Smith and Fountain are 15.
Johnson, one of the top contenders in the boys’ 13-14 division at 13, pulled off first place in 1:05.29. His nearest rival was Hodari Prince of the Barracudas in 1:10.57. Aidan Musgrove of the Waverunners was third in 1:34.38. Prince and Musgrove are both 14.
Sastre, competing in the 13-14 division for Mako, was the female competitor in 1:10.30. Grace Farrington of Alpha was second in 1:10.32. Sastre and Farrington are both 14.
Kaliyah Albury, 17, of Mako won the girls’ 15-17 divisional crown in 1:11.35.
Gigi Eneas, representing the Barracudas Swim Club at 16, was second in 1:13.36.
Zarria Watson of the Waverunners was the only other competitor to complete the race.
The 12-year-old, who is not eligible for CARIFTA, was entered in the 12-and-under division. She clocked 1:34.30.