CARIFTA: Bahamas surges to lead in swimming standings UPDATED


Chief Sports Editor


WILLIAM Fountain secured the first medal for Team Bahamas, but Isabella Cuccurullo electrified the jammed pack Betty Kelly Kenning Swim Complex as she claimed the first gold at the XXXVII CARIFTA Swim Championships.


Isabella Cuccurullo in action as she claimed gold. Photos: Dante Carrer


Isabella Cuccurullo receiving her gold medal.

Day one of the three-day swim competition on Saturday ended the way it started with The Bahamas surging out in front of the other 23 participating countries in its quest to capture its sixth straight title with a total of 252.50 points, well ahead of second place Trinidad & Tobago with 160. Jamaica sits in third with 136.

However, in the medal standings, The Bahamas leads with a total of 22, including seven gold, nine silver and six bronze. Trinidad & Tobago is next with six gold, two silver and two bronze for ten, while Barbados has four gold, three silver and four bronze for 11 medals.

But in an unfortunate situation, Sean Dowden, a parent from Grenada fell down in the additional stands created on the eastern end of the stadium for the games.

Ariel Weech, a registered nurse in the Intermediate and Intensive Care Unit at Doctor's Hospital and the female chaperone for Team Bahamas, was the first responder before the medical staff at the stadium took over.

Dowden, who was here to support Grenada and his daughter, top swimmer Sarah, was rushed to the Princess Margaret Hospital where he reportedly died.

Additionally, there was a brief interruption in the running of the meet because of a computer problem that was eventually rectified.


Harold Simmons snatched gold in the 50m backstroke.

But in the first final featuring two Bahamian competitors, Cuccurullo fed off the adrenaline from the junkanoo music to pull off her victory in the 11-12 girls 200m breaststroke in a time of two minutes and 59.07 seconds.

"It's amazing representing my country in my own country," said a jubilant 13-year-old Currurullo, who attends Lucayan International School. "The 200m breaststroke is my best event, so I was very proud to win it."

Currurullo's team-mate, Alissa Ferguson, ended up fifth in 3:07.19. Silver went to Barbados' Saniya Minnis in 3:02.44 and bronze was Kia Alert of Jamaica in 3:04.30.

In his third appearance at CARIFTA, Will Farrington complete the 1,500m for the boys 13-14 with the bronze in 18:19.59. Joey Schwartz of St Marteen won the gold in 17:38.32. Silver went to Lennox Turnham-Wheatley from the Cayman Islands in 27:46.26.

"I am honoured to be able to get the first medal for my country," said Farrington, a ninth grader at St Andrew's. "I was just glad to be in this amazing pool in this facility. It's fast. It's by far the best CARIFTA I've been to."

Farrington came right back and duplicated his feat by snatching another bronze in the boys 13-14 200m breaststroke in 2:38.01 with his team-mate David Singh placing fourth in 2:38.75. Gold went to Alejandro Agard of Trinidad & Tobago in 2:37.48 and the silver to Kai Radcliffe of Jamaica in 2:37.94.

Barbados' Heidi Stoute got some of the spotlight as she inked her name on the first record of the championships in the girls 13-17 800m freestyle in 9:11.81. Silver went to Sayane Guivissa of Martinique in 9:45.11 and the bronze to Riley Watson of the Cayman Islands in 9:54.81.

"It's an honour to be here to represent my country. My training has not been easy, but this is a result of all of my hard work," Stoute said. "It's nice to be here in The Bahamas. It's similar to my country, but a lot colder, but I like it."

Rhanishka Gibbs clinched a silver in the 15-17 girls 200m breaststroke in 2:49.16. Katie Goulandris was fourth in a personal best of 2:52.55.


Christon Joseph on his way to a silver medal.

Christon Joseph won another silver for The Bahamas in the boys 11-12 200m breaststroke in 2:54.90. Blake Comarcho, also of The Bahamas, was eighth in 3:25.93.

In the girls 13-14 200m breaststroke, The Bahamas got fifth from Madison Gilbert in 3:05.93 and sixth was by Kimaya Saunders in 3:05.95.

The boys 15-17 200m breaststroke saw Caden Wells finish in fourth in 2:26.99, just shy of getting on the podium.

The Bahamas got its first 1-2 finish in the girls' 50m backstroke with Tiah Seymour grabbing the gold in 32.42 and Alissa Ferguson got the silver with 32.55. The bronze went to Aliyah Greaves of Barbados in 32.60.


A Bahamas one-two, with gold medal winner Tiah Ferguson, centre, flanked by silver medallist Alissa Ferguson and Barbados swimmer with the bronze Aliyah Greaves.

"It feels amazing. I didn't expect it at all," said Seymour, as she congratulated all of her rivals. "I was just glad that we got one-two."

Ferguson was just elated to join her team-mate on the podium.

"It was good. It was really nice that we got gold and silver," she said. "I feel good about my performance. I did pretty good and I'm glad that I won a medal."

Harold Simmons also snatched a gold in the boys 11-12 50m backstroke in 30.41. Sean Norville-Smith was fifth in 32.93. The silver went to Mihael Sobers in 31.27 and the bronze to Rory Shepherd of Bermuda in 32.18.

"After winning the gold, I feel accomplished," Simmons said. "I feel very proud that it was done in my country."

Emmanuel Gadson of The Bahamas was the lone competitor in the exhibition boys' 18-and-over 200m breaststroke. He touched the wall in a personal best of 2:23.49 as he swum with the 15-17 boys.

Team Bahamas closed out the eventful night by adding a winning a medal in each of the six 4 x 100m freestyle relays, including gold in the girls 11-12 girls and boys division.

Trinidad & Tobago, however, put a cap on the night by sealing the deal with a record-breaking performance in the boys 15-17 relay in 3:32.24 to edge out The Bahamas, who got silver in 3:34.37 with Jamacia earning the bronze in 3:34.87.

Day two of the meet will get underway on Sunday at 9am with the morning session, followed by the finals in the evening, starting at 6pm.

Updated with further details of the visitor from Grenada who reportedly passed away.


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