Lamar Taylor advances to 50m freestyle final

LAMAR TAYLOR, centre, with his parents Gena and Lester Taylor after his historic swim at the Commonwealth Games.

LAMAR TAYLOR, centre, with his parents Gena and Lester Taylor after his historic swim at the Commonwealth Games.


Senior Sports Reporter


BIRMINGHAM, England — Lamar Taylor decided to save the best in his specialty event in the men’s 50 metre freestyle to give the Bahamas one last swim on the final day of competition for Team Bahamas at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Last night at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, Taylor had to dig down deep and rallied from behind in lane six with a burst of energy to touch the wall in fourth place in the last of the two semi-final heats in a personal best of 22.45 seconds.

He booked his appearance in the final today at 2:45 pm EST out of lane one. “It feels pretty good. I believe I was the younger in the field, so I was just happy that I was able to do my best,” said Taylor, who is just 19. “I am speechless. I had a rough start, but I caught myself inside the race and fought for that fourth place finish.”

Taylor became the first Bahamian male swimmer to make a Commonwealth Games final, since Jeremy Knowles got fourth in the 200m butterfly in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia. However, he joined female swimmers Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and Joanna Evans, who all made a final before.

Vanderpool-Wallace, the flag bearer at the 2014 games in Glasgow, Scotland, went on to win the first medal in swimming for the Bahamas when she took the silver in the 50m butterfly, got fourth in the 50m freestyle and fifth in the 100m freestyle.

In his final event in his debut at the games, Taylor came out of the morning session in the heats with a time of 22.59 seconds as he got second in the seventh of nine heats to qualify for the semi-finals. He was beaten by England’s Benjamin Proud in 22.44 for the third fastest qualifying time.

Still shocked by his semi-final performance, Taylor was lost for words when he came into the mixed zone where the athletes are interviewed by the media after they have completed their events. “Thank God I made it back,” Taylor said. “Honestly, that was the biggest heart stoppage. I felt it. It was the semis, but I was still worrying if I would make it back to the finals. It was just exhilarating to be among the best in the final tomorrow (tonight).”

Just as he was being interviewed, his parents, Gena and Lester Taylor, were shown in the stands celebrating his feat on the big screen inside the arena. Taylor said they really gave him a lot of inspiration to go out there and perform.

“Without them, I don’t think I would have the energy or the confidence to swim my best and drop my time,” he said. “They put so much energy into the crowd and I could feel it.”

His mother said it was just an “awesome swim and an amazing experience and I give God all the glory.”

But his father said they spoke to their son and he told them he was going to “do his best,” so he was asked to “say his prayers” and he did it.

“He showed that this is what the Bahamas can do. I hope he can medal, but if he doesn’t, I hope he will do his personal best,” the senior Taylor said.

Bahamas Aquatics president Algernon Cargill said the federation was thrilled to have a finalist at the games.

“He swum the best time of his career and it speaks about the hard work that he put in to get ready for the Commonwealth Games,” Cargill said.

“We expect him to go even faster in the final. He’s just a tenth of a second off the national record of 42.39 that was done by Vereance Burrows in Rome in 2009.”

Cargill said the federation was also pleased with the other events Team Bahamas competed in yesterday.

Davante Carey, who also had a national record breaking performance, was 18th overall in the men’s 200m backstroke in 2:12.22 and Katelyn Cabral was 24th overall in 32.27.

The Bahamas was also entered in the 4 x 400m mixed medley relay with the team of Carey in the backstroke in a split of 58.96, Lilly Higgs in the breaststroke in 1:13.22, Cabral in the butterfly in 1:05.67 and Taylor in the freestyle in 50.95. But they missed a chance in the final with 11th overall in 4:08.30.

While Taylor was the only finalist, Carey rewrote his own national record in the men’s 50m backstroke in 25.86 to advance to the semi-final where he was 16th in 25.98. Together, they joined Lilly Higgs in producing three semifinalists for Team Bahamas.

Higgs earned the first feat in the women’s 100m breaststroke in 1:12.67, only to finish 16th overall in 1:12.97.

Behind Taylor, the next highest individual finish for the Bahamas came from Cabral, who was 12th overall in the women’s 200m backstroke in 2:33.19.

Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson was next with 13th in the women’s 200m breaststroke in 2:51.09.


Sign in to comment