Six straight: Team Bahamas wins 2024 CARIFTA Swimming Championships

Celebrations from Team Bahamas as they win their sixth straight CARIFTA Swimming Championships. 
Photos: Dante Carrer

Celebrations from Team Bahamas as they win their sixth straight CARIFTA Swimming Championships. Photos: Dante Carrer

By Brent Stubbs

Chief Sports Editor


As expected, Team Bahamas completed its dominance of the 2024 CARIFTA Swimming Championships with its sixth consecutive victory and the eighth out of the past nine titles.

Mission accomplished.

“This was definitely the most exciting CARIFTA that I’ve ever been to as a coach, a swimmer and a spectator. I’m really proud to be a part of this sixth straight team,” said Team Bahamas head coach Travano McPhee.

After four exciting days of competition, Team Bahamas accumulated a total of 1,096.50 points, well ahead of the Cayman Islands, who had 660. Trinidad & Tobago got 639 for third. Jamaica was fourth with 559 and Barbados rounded out the top five with 486.50.

On the strength of their victory, Team Bahamas collected a total of 102 medals, including 34 gold, 39 silver and 29 bronze.

Trinidad & Tobago finished second in the medal count with 56 (24 gold, 15 silver and 17 bronze), while the Cayman Islands came in third with 48 medals (18 gold, 11 silver and 19 bronze).

“For four days, the team showed their resilience to their country and to their family. We are on the road to seven straight. We want to thank the Bahamas Government and the National Sports Authority for putting this all together with Bahamas Aquatics,” McPhee said. “Three months ago, we were not sure if we were going to have this, but we have hosted 25 countries and we had some very fast times in a very competitive meet, but Team Bahamas really held down their house.”

McPhee gave a lot of credit to his coaching staff for a job well done. They included Camron Bruney, David Del Cuato, Mancer Roberts Jr. and Allan Murray.

He noted that they are committed to continuing the dynasty as they not only go for a seventh straight title next year, but for 10 titles in total.

The performance came in front of Governor General Cynthia “Mother” Pratt, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Glenys Hanna-Martin and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg.

After presenting some of the medals, Davis addressed the crowd, acknowledging their participation from throughout the Caribbean region.

He also commended Sara Dowden of Grenada and Bahamian Donald Saunders Jr, who both lost their fathers as he encouraged them to “swim on.” Davis, who admitted that he’s both a swim-parent and grandparent, said he’s thrilled by the performances of Team Bahamas in going for the sixth straight title. He thanked all of the countries who came and wished them safe travel back home.

In completing their historic sixth straight, the final day of competition came down to a dramatic finish for Team Bahamas,

800m freestyle

As the competition got started in the final session, William Farringotn claimed the silver in the boys 9:22.81. The gold went to Joey Schvatz of St Maarten in 9:18.32. The bronze went to Lennox Turnham-Wheatley of the Cayman Islands in 9:28.93.

400m freestyle

Christon Joseph picked up another medal, but admitted that he was slightly disappointed that it was the bronze and not the gold in the boys 11-12 400m freestyle.

“This one was good. I dropped my time, but I didn’t do what I wanted to do. I wanted to win it,” he said. “Obviously, the other boys put-paced me and they held it to the end.”

50m freestyle

Tiah Seymour kicked off a series of medal winning performances for the Bahamas in the fastest race in the championships as she claimed the silver in the girls 11-12 50m freestyle in 28.43 to add to the gold she got in the 50m backstroke.

“I feel really good again winning another medal,” Seymour said. “I didn’t start off too well because I was nervous, but I did my best and I took off a lot of time, so I am very proud of myself. I didn;t win as many medals as the last time, but I took off a lot of my times, so that was good.”

Bahamian Alissa Ferguson got fifth in 29.19 as the gold was won by Kia Alert of Jamaica in 27.55 and the bronze to Zara Persico of Trinidad & Tobago in 28.63.

“The race was great. I dropped my time from the preliminaries, so I think it;s a personal best for me,” Setmour said. “I was really pleased with my performance.”

With little time to rest, Bahamian Christon Johnson returned and posted a CARIFTA record in 25.78 clinching another gold medal in the boys 11-12 50m freestyle with his teammate Harold Simmons getting the silver in 26.59. The bronze went to Jaythan Winterdal of Aruba in 28.09.

“This was the best one yet,” Johnson said. “My start wasn’t that good, but I wasn’t going to lose this one. I knew we had a 1-2 punch with Harold, so we had this. We did it for God, we did it for our families and we did for the Bahamas.”

Simmons, who has traded places with Johnson during the championships, said he tried his best.

“I knew my best friend Christon swam very well and he was the CARIFTA champion, so It was really good to race against the record holder,” Simmons said.

Bahamian Rhanishka Gibbs had to settle for the silver in the women’s 50m freestyle in 26.22, but she was still thrilled by her performance.

“I was very proud of myself. I always have a good time when I swim against Julian Crooks (from the Cayman Islands), so I thought it was a very good race,” Gibbs said.

The gold was won by Crooks in 26.20 and the bronze to Christanya Shirley of Jamaica in 26.56.

In his final event for the championships, Bahamian Marvin Johnson emerged as the gold medalist in the boys 15-17 50m free in 22.96. The silver went to James Allyson of the Cayman Islands in 23.50 and the bronze to Tristan Dorville of St Lucia in 23.70.

“That was my last individual race and I finished with the gold, so I can’t complain,” Johnson said. “I’m happy for the memories and for the competition especially in this pool. I think I will remember this crowd forever.”

In the 18-and-over, collegian Lamar Taylor got the silver in 22.32. The gold went to Paris Olympic qualifier Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago in 21.98 and the bronze to Stefano Mitchell of Antigua in 22.99. Bahamian Joshua Murray was fifth in 24.85.

100m breaststroke

Bahamian Isabella Cuccurullo said she expected to do well because the breaststroke was her best event and she did,getting a silver in the girls 13-14 100m breaststroke in 1:23.83.

“I feel good. This was another breaststroke that I wanted to win another medal, so I feel it was a great achievement,” Currurullo said. “I feel very good about my times. I did very well.”

Kia Alert of Jamaica got the gold in 1:21.52 and the bronze went to Saniya Minnis of Barbados in 1:23.93. Sienna Campbell, also of the Bahamas, was sixth in 1:29.18.

200m backstroke

In the 11-12 200m backstroke Alissa Ferguson got the gold in 2:42.09. Skyler Smith got the bronze in 2:45.7-/ Aliyah Greaves of Barbados got the bronze in 2:47/27.

“It feels good. I was very tired in the race, but I saw my teammates and she really pushed me to get this gold,” Fergudon said. “This was my last race so I really wanted to get the gold. I’m glad that I finished with the gold.”

The boys 11-12 200m back saw Harold Simmons pick up another silver for Team Bahamas in 2:30.45. Fellow Bahamian Blake Comarcho got fifth in 2:43.99.

Mihael Sobers of Barbados was the gold medalist in 2:29.95 and Rory Shepherd of Bermuda got the bronze in 2:36.44.

Elle Theberge secured the final individual medal for Team Bahamas in the girls 15=-17 200m back in 2:29.94. The gold went to Zari Ferguson of Trinidad & Tobago in 2:16.04 and Sierah Broadbelt of the Cayman Islands got the silver in 2:28.95,

200m freestyle relay

Team Bahamas started the final series of 4x200m relays with a victory in the girls 11-12 200m freestyle in 1:57.50;l added another in the boyas 11-12 in 1:49.20; a silver in the girls 13-14 in 1:54.25 and a bronze in the boys 13-14 in 1:43.30.

The exclamation mark on the title came in the final relay as the boys 15-17 team of Ellie Gibson, Tristin Ferguson, Tresten Hepburn and Marvin Johnson captured the victory in 1:34.76 over Trinidad & Tobago (1:35.28) and Jamaica (1:36.72).

That set off a barrage of fireworks before the presentation of awards took place to bring the curtain down on what has turned out to be one of the most thrilling CARIFTA swimming championships ever held.

But no sporting celebration is complete in the Bahamas without the rythmic sound of junkanoo as the swimmers and the spectators participated in a rush-out.

The focus now shifts to Trinidad & Tobago for the hosting of next year’s CARIFTA and the quest for seventh heaven for Team Bahama.


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