Holder captures swim gold
SONIA O’NEAL figured it would be fitting for the first national anthem played to be Barbados’.
If left up to Zabrina Holder it would’ve been the only one heard.
The teen titan granted her president’s wish by capturing the first final of the LIME CARIFTA Swimming Championships before winning two more gold medals as part of the hosts’ opening night 11-medal tally on Saturday at the Aquatic Centre.
It was just another effortless CARIFTA performance from Holder, who won all three events she contested, including the opening 13-14 Girls’ 800-metre freestyle.
This after the prolific 14-year-old accounted for 12 of Barbados’ 48 medals – or one-fourth of the team’s hardware – at the regional junior meet a year ago.
And Holder wasted no time in opening the hosts’ account this time around, taking the 800-metre freestyle in nine minutes, 19.81 seconds, just 0.16 seconds off of McKayla Lightbourne’s record.
Holder actually touched the wall third in that race, behind 17-year-old teammate Lani Cabrera and Martinique’s Julie Anne Maildor, who won the event in 9:12.56.
However, the race featured both the 13-14 and 15-17 girls’ age groups swimming simultaneously, leaving Holder as the undoubted winner in the former.
Barbados also picked silver medals in both age groups in the 800-metre free, with Cabrera announcing her return to CARIFTA by shaving eight seconds off her previous best to swim 9:17.46, while Gibbs was second in the 13-14 category with 9:22.50.“It feels great to do this at home,” said Cabrera of returning to this stage having missed the last two championships.“This is my last CARIFTA Games so I want to go out with a bang.”
Just missed mark
But it was Holder making all the noise on this night.
The St Michael School standout returned later to win the 100-metre butterfly in near record time again, posting 1:04.84 to just miss out on replacing her old mark by only .10 seconds.
Gibbs (1:07.09) finished third in that event, coming behind Guadeloupe’s Morghane Mazurier after swimming a time of 1:06.72.
Holder wasn’t done just yet either, combining with Gibbs, Inayah Sherry and Deandre Small to anchor the 13-14 Girls’ 400-metre freestyle relay team (4:10.65) to victory ahead of the Bahamas (4:11.92) and Guadeloupe (4:16.15).
It was the second of two relay golds for Barbados on the night, coming after Inayah’s younger sister Sariyah led a team of Hannah Gill, Alexis Chase and Alhea Williams in the 11-12 girls’ equivalent.
Sariyah also picked up a silver and bronze medal in the 50-metre backstroke and 100-metre freestyle, respectively.
The elder Sherry (32.40) and Small (32.95) rounded out the medals with silver and bronze respectively in the 13-14 Girls’ 50-metre backstroke.
Small just missed out on another medal when she came fourth in the200-metre breaststroke.
In the boys, prolific medal winner Christian Selby was fourth overall in the 13-14 1 500-metre freestyle, while Matthew Courtis and Alex Sobers had sixth place finishes in the 15-17 1 500 freestyle and 11-12 100 butterfly.
Four records fell on the night, two of which went to Trinidad’s Dylan Carter, who had to share the gold in the 13-14 boys’ 50 backstroke with Timothy Wynter after both posted winning times of 27.76 seconds.
Carter also won the 100-metre butterfly in 58.10 after teammate Kristin Julien set a new mark in the 13-14 Girls’ 50-metre backstroke with 30.57. St Lucia’s Siona Huxley also lowered the record in the 15-17 Girls’ 50-metre backstroke after swimming 30.49 seconds.
Barbados’ 11 medals put them second behind Trinidad and Tobago who currently lead the competition with 13. Barbados are sixth in the points table with 130.