Antonio Petrolanda (GP)
SO FAR, so good.
It’s all going to plan for head coach Antonio Petrolanda, who said the home team is on target for his prediction of 40 medals after picking up nine on the opening night of the 30th CARIFTA Swimming Championships at the Aquatic Centre.
“We’re on track because we wanted ten medals [on the opening night] and we have nine so we are very happy with how things are going so far,” reasoned the Cuban born swim coach.
“I said from the beginning we should expect to get around 40 medals and we’re looking for fourth place because I think that it is something we can reach.
“So far so good as I think we’re on track,” he added.
It was indeed an encouraging performance in the pool from the hosts, with Barbados’ tally of nine overall medals and five gold trailing only initial leaders Bahamas (15 medals, 7 gold) in both tables.
And this was after the ultramarine and gold went through a very slow middle session where they won just two medals over the course of both the 50 metre backstroke and 100 metre butterfly series.
But the hosts finished strong, capping the opening night with three medals in the 400 metre relay events, including successive golds in the boys’ 13-14 and girls’ 15-17 races.
The first of the two really got the crowd on its feet though, as Damon St Prix ate up a five-metre deficit before nipping Martinique’s Heindrick Champrobert at the wall.
“He’s a really extraordinary swimmer,” said Petrolanda of St Prix. “It was a great race and he’s a very good swimmer.”
Hannah Gill then turned in an equally clutch anchor leg to bring home the triumphant 15-17 girls’ 400 metre relay team after the group of Ashley Weekes, Kayla Smith, Danielle Treasure and Danielle Titus won bronze in the 11-12 girls’ equivalent.
Earlier, Weekes and Nkosi Dunwoody really kick-started Barbados’ medal hunt with wins in the 11-12 girls and 11-12 boys 200 metre breaststroke, respectively.
Weekes initially had her race recalled yet still managed to win in a time of 2 minutes 56.76 seconds after Dunwoody blasted the field by more than seven seconds when he clocked 2:40.08.
Titus (32.11) soon followed with gold in the 11-12 girls’ 50 back after Luis Sebastian Weekes (2:32.49) placed second behind Bahamian Izaak Bastian (2:28.15) in the boys’ 13-14 200 breast.
However, things subsequently slowed down for Team Barbados, who had just Titus’ silver medal in the girls 11-12 100 fly to show for the next 11 races.
“The swimmers really did their best and we’re very satisfied and happy with what we have done so I can’t say I am disappointed with anything,” reasoned Petrolanda.
Gill accounted for the team’s very first medal on the night when she clocked 9:12.88 in a silver medal-winning performance in the 15-17 girls’ 800 freestyle.