Bahamas close to capturing its sixth straight CARIFTA Swimming Championship

David Singh, of The Bahamas, in action during the CARIFTA Swimming Championship at Betty Kelly Kenning Swim Complex. Photo: Dante Carrer

David Singh, of The Bahamas, in action during the CARIFTA Swimming Championship at Betty Kelly Kenning Swim Complex. Photo: Dante Carrer


Chief Sports Editor



Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis (right), Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg.

TEAM Bahamas drew closer to capturing its sixth straight and eight out of nine CARIFTA Swimming Championship title on day three of the four-day competition last night at the Betty Kelly Kenning Swim Complex.

Team Bahamas extended its lead in the overall point standings with a total of 804.50, well ahead of the Cayman Islands with 495. Trinidad & Tobago sits in third place with 466.

While the points determine the champion, Team Bahamas is also leading in the medal count with 26 gold, 26 silver and 14 bronze for a total of 73.

Trinidad & Tobago is in second with 17 gold, 10 silver and 14 bronze for 41 and the Cayman Islands has 24 gold, 120 silver and 15 bronze for their total of 39. “I feel very proud of our team. I’m very proud to be a part of this coaching staff. I think we have an outstanding team,” said Team Bahamas head coach Travano McPhee, who has coached all five previous team victories.

“Tomorrow (today), we are coming out to try and finish this one off. We have the 100m breaststroke, the 50m frees, where we are also very strong and then some relays. So we’re going to come out and put the nail in the coffin and seal this one - sixth straight.”

Rocked by the pulsating sound of the junkanoo music, the large crowd, including Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis, Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, Science and Technology and Mario Bowleg, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, were cheering from start to finish.

“You can see that the federation and the coaching staff have put all of their effort into winning this sixth straight,” Bowleg said. “The facilities are looking great and the athletes are all pleased with what they have seen.


Mia Patton

“So as the ministry responsible for sports, I am very pleased with the athletes and their performances. It showed that we are still the best in the pool. I don’t see why we won’t win the six straight.”

On a more somber note, Bowleg said he was able to speak with Sara Dowden from Grenada, whose father died on Saturday cheering for her and their team at the games.

“I told her that she was very strong and courageous to still want to go out there and swim because she knows that is what he would want her to do,” Bowleg said.

“The same thing with Donald Saunders (Jr), who will compete on Tuesday. We want him to know that life goes on. They are still out there performing. The spirits of their fathers still live on.”

His father, Donald Saunders, was tragically killed on March 27.

1,500m freestyle

Mia Patton started the evening session of finals in the girls 15-17 1,500m freestyle, but fell short with her bronze in 18:25.21. Elle Theberge was seventh in 19:52.27.

200m IM

That opened the floodgate as The Bahamas surged to a gold and silver in the boys 11-12 200m IM, a combination strokes of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.

Christon Joseph clinched the gold in 2:26.92 and Harold Simmons trailed with the silver in 2:32.51. The bronze went to Mihael Sobers of Barbados in 2:33.65. “This was my best swim so far for the meet. It feels good,’ said Joseph, who got his third gold to match three bronze he got over the previous two days. “I want to continue to drop my times and that is what keeps me going.”


Christon Joseph (right) and Harold Simmons

Not to be left out, Simmons said he was just as pleased. “I felt good. Christon is my best friend and so he pushes me,” said Simmons. “He left me in the breaststroke, but that’s something I have to work on because I feel I have a lot of potential in it.”

History repeated itself in the girls 15-17 200m IM as Bahamian Kyana Higgs secured the bronze in 2:32.04, edging out grieving Sara Dowden of Grenada, who had to settle for fourth in 2:32.49.


Kyana Higgs

The night before, Higgs came back for the silver in the 400m IM as Dowden, who is still mourning the loss of her father, Sean, here on Saturday night, got the bronze. “It was really a race. A lot of competition, so it was really good to go out there and swim so well against the competition,” Higgs said. “It was really good.”

In last night’s 200m IM, fellow Bahamian Katie Goulandris was eighth in the 200m IM 2:41.70. The gold went to Sierrah Broadbelt of the Cayman Islands in 2:27.44 and the silver to Lyla Browne of Trinidad & Tobago in 2:30.09.

50m breaststroke

In the girls 13-14 50m breaststroke, Team Bahamas got a gold from Kimaya Saunders in 35.05, while Jaylah Theadgill got the bronze in 35.86 as they both earned their first medals.

The silver was won by Azania Osbourne of the Cayman Islands in 35.41.


Kimaya Saunders (left) and Jaylah Theadgill.

“I felt really good because I PRed and took off a lot of my time,” said Saunders in winning her first medal of the championships. “I feel very good about my performance.”

Rhanishka Gibbs took the gold in the girls 15-17 in a championship record time of 32.18, while Katie Goulandris was sixth in 35.66. The silver went to Ellie Shaw of Antigua in 33.19 and Tyla HO A-Shu of Trinidad & Tobago in 33.26.

“I thought it was a good race. I executed very well. I wanted to go a lot faster and so I thought it was good to go out with a bang in my last CARIFTA,” said Gibbs, who over the first two days got another gold in the 50m butterfly and a silver in the 200m breaststroke.

100m freestyle

The 11-12 boys 100m freestyle produced gold from Christon Joseph in 57.95 and the bronze from Harold Simmons in 59.78. The silver went to Jaythan Winterdal from Aruba in 59.53.


Rhanishka Gibbs

In the boys 15-15 100m freestyle, Marvin Johnson claimed the gold as well in 50.29. Jaes Alllison from the Cayman Islands in 50.67 for the silver and the bronze went to Liam Carrington from Trinidad & Tobago 51.90.

And in the boys 18-and-over, another pair of medals came from Lamar Taylor with the gold in 49.33, while Thomas Bowers got the bronze in 54.01. The silver went to Stefano Mitchell of Antigua in 51.65.

200m butterfly

In the 11-12 girls 200 butterfly, Skyler Smith captured the bronze in 2:54.92 and Isabella Cuccurullo was fourth in 2:55.02. Gold was won by Anya DeGannes of Antigua in 2:41.09 and silver went to Marina Martinez of Trinidad & Tobago in 2:48.06.

The highlight came as Harold Simmons claimed another gold in the boys 11-12 200m butterfly in 2:33.36 with Blake Conmarcho coming fifth in 3:06.66. The silver was won by Alexandro Bazzoni of Antigua in 2:45.96 and bronze went to Sean Vinck of Curacao in 2:46.79.

Lelah Lewis captured the last individual medal for the night in the girls 13-14 200m butterfly in 2:36.10 for the silver. She already won a silver in the 400m IM and a bronze in the 100m butterfly over the previous two days.


Lelah Lewis

“It was good. I was seeded third and now I’m second, so it was good,” Lewis said.

“I’m really proud of myself. I wanted the gold medal, but I am satisfied.”

The gold went to Jaiya Simmons of Barbados in 2:32.62 and the bronze went to Genisis Lacle from Aruba in 2:38.78.

There was some excitement in the boys 15-17 200m butterfly as Haiti’s Christian Jerome and Elijah Daley of Bermuda finished in a two-way tie for the gold in 2:06.88. Ethan Stubbs-Green of Antigua got the bronze in 2:08.84.

4 x 800m freestyle relays

The night closed out with Team Bahamas winning the mixed 11-12 4x400m relay and the boys 13-14 4 x 800m relay, while picking up a silver in the boys 15-15 and a pair of bronze in the girls 13-14 and girls 15-17 relays.

The final day of the swimming competition will take place today, starting at 9am with the preliminaries.

The finals will conclude at 6pm. That will be followed by the open water swim on Wednesday in Goodman’s Bay, starting at 8.30am.


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