CARIFTA history makers come home in triumph

Members of the CARIFTA swimming team arrive back at the Lynden Pindling International Airport.

Members of the CARIFTA swimming team arrive back at the Lynden Pindling International Airport.


Sports Reporter


The 2014 CARIFTA Swimming Championships will go down in the annals of Bahamian sports history as the event which officially solidified the country as a regional powerhouse in the sport.

Team Bahamas topped both the points standings and medal table to claim the 29th CARIFTA Swimming Championships, hosted in Savaneta, Aruba. It was the first CARIFTA Swimming championship title for the Bahamas.

The 36-member team finished with a total of 736.50 points, more than 100 points ahead of the host team Aruba, who was second with 618 points. Guadeloupe finished third with 540 points, Martinique was fourth with 474 points, while Trinidad and Tobago rounded out the top five with 446 points.

The Bahamas claimed 55 medals en route to the win, including 23 gold, 22 silver and 10 bronze. Aruba finished with 51 medals - 16 gold, 16 sliver and 19 bronze. Trinidad and Tobago won 34 medals - 16 gold, 11 silver and seven bronze, Suriname won a total of 26 medals - 15 gold, three silver and eight bronze, while Guadeloupe won 36 medals - 10 gold, 10 silver and 16 bronze.

It was a wire-to-wire win for the Bahamas led by CARIFTA veterans Albury Higgs and Joanna Evans who dominated their respective divisions. Higgs was the high point scorer in the Girls 13-14 division with a total of 78 points, 43 points ahead of the second place finisher, Lesy Celini of Guadeloupe. Higgs won a total of seven individual medals, including five gold and two silver. She topped the medal podium with gold medals in the 200m Breaststroke (2:41.04s), 200m IM (2:28.48s), 50m Breaststroke (34.92s), 400m IM (5:05.62s) and 100m Breaststroke (1:14.91s). She also won silver in the 200m Freestyle (2:11.93s) and 400m Freestyle (4:39.55s).

Evans dominated the Girls 15-17 division with a total of 70 points, 39 points ahead of Daniella Van den Berg of Aruba. In the pool, she took six gold medals and one silver.

Evans, 16, won gold in the 50m Freestyle (27.01s), 100m Freestyle (58.51s), 200m Freestyle (2:05.52s), 400m Freestyle (4:28.67s), 200m IM (2:25.61s), 400m IM (4:14.46s) and took silver in 200m Backstroke (2:28.15s). She also added a gold medal in the 5k Open Water swim in 1:14.34s.

The duo combined for a total of 148 points, which would have finished ahead of eight of the 19 countries entered in the meet.

Samuel Gibson was another top performer for Team Bahamas with a third place finish in the Boys 11-12 points standings with 36. He took gold in the 50m Butterfly (28.72s), silver in the 100m Butterfly (1:05.83s) and bronze in the 50m free (27.35s).

Dustin Tynes took first in the Boys’ 15-17 Breaststroke and set a new CARIFTA record in 29.08s. He also won silver in 100m Breaststroke in 1:05s.

At the end of day one, the Bahamas led the point standings with 163 points and collected a total of 14 medals - four gold, six silver and four bronze. At the conclusion of day two, they continued to lead the point standings with 356 points and brought their medal total to 25 - 10 gold, 11 silver and four bronze. The team added 14 medals on day 3 to bring their three day total to 39 - 16 gold, 15 silver and eight bronze. The final day of competition was the most productive for Team Bahamas when they won 16 medals - seven gold, seven silver and two bronze.

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. Guadeloupe topped the list with 742, followed by Trinidad and Tobago with 698, Aruba with 659 and Jamaica with 584.

In the medal count, Aruba won with 21 gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze for a total of 49. Trinidad & Tobago was second with 47 (21 gold, 14 silver and 12 bronze), Barbados got third with 41 (20 gold, nine silver, 12 bronze), Guadeloupe was fourth with 59 (14 gold, 27 silver, 18 bronze) and Jamaica rounded out the top five with 40 (12 gold, 13 silver, 15 bronze).

In 2012, while hosting at the Betty Kelly-Kenning Aquatic Centre, the Bahamas finished second with 657 points and 49 medals. Guadeloupe finished in first with 821.50 points while Trinidad and Tobago was third with 648 points.


DillyTree 10 years, 2 months ago

What a fantastic job by our kids! They made us proud, and we must continue to encourage the youth of the Bahamas that with hard work and dedication, they can reach their goals. These youngsters are the future of our country.

And for those who want to politicise it, let's just work on congratulating these kids for a job well done.

sheeprunner12 10 years, 2 months ago

Where do you live???????? Everything in this country is political!!!!!!!!

Even swimming.............. just look at who swims...... conchyjoes, expats and uppity blacks............... get real and face it.

On top of that ..................................add in Algernon Cargill

242always 10 years, 2 months ago

I think you need to come around the pool sometimes, so you can see the dedication these kids have for the sport, regardless of from which background they come from, just congratulate the team, they did great for The Bahamas and nobody can take that away from them. I would like to see some of your positive contributions in recent years, or do you have anybody involve in anything positive, if so..you have my respect also. GO TEAM BAHAMASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Congrats to the coaches, and parents for getting involve in such positive sport.

GQ 10 years, 2 months ago

Sheeprunner: I am sure the last colonoscopy you had the doctor told you where your head was. Why did you not have the decency the congratulate OUR BAHAMIAN swimmers instead of making a stupid remark. To all OUR swimmers (note I did not refer to any creed or colour) I congratulate you and your coaches for a job well done.

sheeprunner12 10 years, 2 months ago

Then you are just one of the many mindless zombies in The bahamas singing kum ba yah and hoping for better from these (PLP) jerks.

Do you see how many ghetto children are told to play basketball?????? Every politician has a basketball "tournament" and then what?? While their children play golf, tennis, club track and swimming?????


GQ 10 years, 2 months ago


I never was a PLP and you would be surprised if you knew me. It is time we all separate our political beliefs and hang ups unless they are politically connected. People like you on both sides of the political divide are a great contributors to our divisive problems. If the little black boy wants to swim he can do it, if the little white boy wants to play basketball he can do it if you would contribute time and money towards either. So now stop your complaining and contribute to making a better Bahamas for ALL.

sheeprunner12 10 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for your contribution to a better Bahamas.......... we need idealists

birdiestrachan 10 years, 2 months ago

I am very proud of our Bahamian Team. They have done well, and they make all well thinking Bahamians very proud. I pray that they will continue to do well and have a blessed wonderful life.

KM 10 years, 2 months ago

A job well done by OUR youths.

sansoucireader 10 years, 2 months ago

Excellent news for Bahamian youth! Hopefully we can expect to see even more Bahamian swimmers competing and winning. Also, couldn't help but notice the REWARDS MATTER banner behind them. I hope this government will REWARD with these young people with some FUNDS or LAND--not another cell phone. Past/present governments are quick to reward the track athletes; I hope these youngsters, and others with different interests, are also encouraged and rewarded.

SP 10 years, 2 months ago

HOOORRRAAAYYY for a job well done! Congrats to our swim team and coaches.

Sheeprunner12....Your ignorance and stupidity exceeds your lack of intelligence STFU!

sheeprunner12 10 years, 2 months ago

I am ignorant and definitely not stupid......... you donot wish to see reality

Can you imagine where this country will be without petty politicians?????

sheeprunner12 10 years, 2 months ago

There is no shame in being ignorant........ its a sin to be stupid. read your Proverbs and learn life lessons

242always 10 years, 2 months ago

Iam a big time supporter of swimming as a sport. Every kid that swims doesnt have rich parents. In fact, many will be surprise of the struggles some families go through just to keep their children in the sport. Our best swimmer in the team, her parents couldnt even afford to go to Carifta to see their child swim. I would like to congratulate the entire Carifta Swim team for a great performance, they made history and nobody can take that away from them. It was a team performance at the highest level, all the 5.am practices weekly and evening practices finally paid off. In a time where in our society the first headline news on a daily basis is just crime, these good news of children doing positive contributions for their country, it is simply fantastic. Congrats to the Coaches, parents who dedicate ther time every day to take their children to swim practice. To the Swimming Federation keep the good work and specially keep encouraging this set of children with such a talent. To the Government, step up supporting this great sport, it is about time our swimmers get some respect just as track, we had to fight you even to provide the plane to take this great team to Aruba, and just give these childen their new puma uniforms as you did with track and field, they went to the games with 5 years old uniforms. It is a National team, wake up and do the job you asked for in 2012.

TiedDown 10 years, 2 months ago

The BAAA, not the Government, has the contract with Puma. Neither the Minister nor the Director of Sports has the new uniforms, which to my understanding only recently arrived anyway.

The Bahamas Olympic Committee signed a separate contract with Puma to supply uniforms to athletes for the Olympic, CAC, and PanAm games. If the BOC uniforms have arrived, perhaps the Swimming Federation can request some.

242always 10 years, 2 months ago

Great uniform update, you forgot to congratulate the swim team. If the uniforms are for such high level meets, why track is using it for Carifta. But Karma is something else with old uniforms.. we are the champions my friend, not seven place, lol and many more to come in the near future. Worst place we ever finish was 4 place. They never thought nothing of our team. Thats why never came to Aruba. Swimming is rolling and we have the Gold rush..nobody else.

TiedDown 10 years, 2 months ago

Don't get me wrong - I absolutely adore the swim team and wholeheartedly congratulate them. My post was merely to clarify where the uniforms come from.

Again, the BAAA has its own contract with Puma - those uniforms were used for the first time at CARIFTA and wherever else the BAAA wants to use them going forward, I presume. The BOC also has a contract with Puma - those uniforms (as I understand it) are for high level international competitions. At those meets, the BOC supersedes the BAAA, but they have the same sponsor so it should not matter (assuming that the uniforms are the same).

Having said all that, the BOC has been known to supply uniforms to federations who need them. Perhaps they will for swimming. This has been my experience not because I am a BAAA person (I am not) but because I come from a small sporting federation that the BOC has helped in the past.

Alltoomuch 10 years, 2 months ago

Forward Upward Onward TOGETHER is our National motto - I do believe! Maybe we should try it sometime!

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