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Ally takes top swim award


Ally takes top swim award

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THE SWIMMING FRATERNITY never feels slighted when Barbados’ best can’t attend their gala.
 It’s not often Bradley Ally fails to show up when his name is called.
 Another record-setting season was recognised with another of swimming’s top honours, as the Olympic medal hopeful was awarded the Most Outstanding Senior Swimmer Of The Year again during the sport’s annual awards ceremony at the Barbados Beach Club on Sunday night.
It was one of two prizes presented to the overseas-based Ally, who missed the gala due to his training stint in France and had to be represented by his aunt Mezan Ally-Ward.
 Not as if his achievements couldn’t speak for themselves.
 Ally accounted for at least 11 new marks overall, two of which came during his gold-medal swims at the Central American and Caribbean Games in the 200 and 400 individual medley.
Small fraction
They proved just a small fraction of the 162 total marks – 129 national records and 33 meet records – set by local swimmers last year, which also serve as a new record, having eclipsed the 2009 mark by 13 records.
 “Increasingly more open national records are being established and this indicates that the times posted by our athletes are inching their way into the world-class arena,” said Barbados Swimming Association president Sonia O’Neal in her welcome address.
 “It is through our swimmers’ results that Barbados has been afforded a credible image in the sport on the local and international arena.”
 That image was further boosted by the efforts of Christian Selby, the Most Outstanding Junior Swimmer, who finished 2010 with a grand total of 40 medals overall – all but four of which were gold.
 The Queen’s College student set 19 new national marks, with three coming at the CARIFTA Games where he improved in all eight of his events on the way to capturing five gold and two silver medals.
 And he wasn’t even the best Bajan at that meet. Nor was he the best for the year.
 For the second year running Zabrina Holder took the lion’s share of prizes after securing another Leah Martindale Trophy for being the Most Valuable Swimmer at CARIFTA, while breaking eight different records.
   The Lodge School’s 13-14 age group champ finished with seven gold, three silver and two bronze medals overall, also copping Victor Norville Memorial Prize for her efforts in the 800-metre freestyle at the meet.
 This preceding a record-setting nine gold medal performance at the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships, where Holder became the most prolific Bajan swimmer at any one meet.
 Holder also received the Best Overall Female Swim award at those games for her nine-minute, 24:76 clocking in the 800 metre freestyle.
 Crowd favourite Darny Olalde Hernandez was acknowledged as the 2010 Coach Of The Year, while the Volunteer Award went to the association’s second vice-president Ian Stewart for his tireless efforts in the sport.
 Barbados Olympic Association secretary general Erskine Simmons gave kudos to local swimming for being one of the few federations to manage a sporting facility, and pledged financial assistance towards hosting this year’s CARIFTA Games.
 “The Aquatic Centre remains a premier sporting venue in the Caribbean and continues to attract swimmers from all over the world who are desirous to train in Barbados.
 “The Aquatic Centre model is one that should be emulated by other national federations and indeed should be fully supported by Government,” Simmons said.
 President of the Central American & Caribbean Swimming Championships (CCCAN), Errol Clarke, was also in attendance.