Jason Wilson was the first Bajan to finish but had to settle for third place. (FILE)
Americans David Heron and Taylor Abbott dominated the Men’s 1.5K and 5K swims while compatriot Chelsea Colwill, a Pan American Games medallist, captured the 1.5K and 10K races at the 6th Barbados Open Water Festival last weekend in Carlisle Bay.
United States Olympic medallist Ashley Whitney won the women’s 5K while Trinidadians Nikoli Blackman and Savannah Chee-Wah produced winning swims in the 3.3K and Canadian Taylor Parker repeated as men’s 10K champion.
US 5K champ Heron edged 2014 Junior World champion Abbott, for victories in the men’s 1.5K and 5K races.
Heron, 24, set a new course record for the 1.5K with a 17:14-minute swim. The two Americans, who are studying and training at the University of Tennessee, led the 5K race from the start and were neck and neck at the final buoy.
Heron pulled ahead of the younger Abbott as he emerged from the water before racing up the beach to the finish line, much to the delight of the spectators.
Barbados’ Olympic triathlete Jason Wilson made a valiant effort to stay with the two in the lead pack but was unable to keep up as they moved into the third lap, so he had to settle for third place. Junior Barbadian swimmer Nkosi Dunwoody was fourth.
The 29-year-old Colwill, an accomplished swimmer and a 2011 Pan American Games gold and silver medallist in Mexico, set new course records in both the 1.5K and 10K races (18:17 and 2:14:28).
Twelve-year-old Trinidadian Nikoli Blackman clinched third place in the men’s 1.5K and had a commanding victory in the 3.3K.
A record 597 competitors from 17 countries including England, Canada, Wales, Poland, Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Brazil, Australia, United States, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Netherlands, USVI, Trinidad, Antigua and Barbados, participated in the five-day festival, which featured four distance races in Carlisle Bay.
Apart from the winners, Dominika Jamnicky, Canadian pro-triathlete, was in fine form and took second in the women’s 1.5K and 5K races.
Canadian Olympians Katie Brambley and Tera Van Beilen, (4th in 10K) as well as retired pro-triathletes Eney Jones and Alison Hayden (2nd in 10K), were in attendance. Masters Open water swimmer Bill Ireland of the United States also made his first appearance in Barbados and was sixth in the 3.3K.
Barbadian junior swimmers gave a good account of themselves with top five finishes.
Ashley Weekes had two third places while Dunwoody had a fourth and fifth and Dominique Nurse-Allen was fourth twice. Keilani Talma was second and fifth; Christopher Pollard was second in one of the races while Danielle Treasure, Nathaniel Roach and Rebecca Lashley all earned fifth places.
The Jonathan Morgan Memorial Trophy for the first Barbadian Masters swimmer to complete the 5K was won for the third time by Toronto-based Rick Peters, who has attended all six festivals.
A strong swim by Simon Wilkie earned him third place in the men’s 10K marathon swim and the coveted Chris And Peter Gibbs Trophy for the first Barbadian in that race. (PR/EZS)