Power x 4 swimming
BARBADOS’ MOST PROLIFIC BAND of swimmers has given new meaning to the term “gold-diggers”.
Led by the meet’s most decorated athlete Zabrina Holder, the 13-14 girls age group continued to strike gold during Monday’s evening session of the LIME CARIFTA Swimming Championships, keeping the hosts out front ahead of yesterday’s last sessions at the Aquatic Centre.
Bolstered by Amara Gibbs, Inayah Sherry, Deandre Small and Kimberley Willoughby, the five-member girl band accounted for four of Barbados’ five victories and all but three of the country’s ten medals on the night.
That tally boosted the hosts’ table-leading gold medal haul to 14, giving the ultramarine and gold an overall count of 35 medals, which trailed only Guadeloupe (42) and Trinidad (36).
But Barbados’ 13-14 girls have been second to none, fittingly capping Monday’s performance by combining forces to shatter the 800-metre freestyle relay record with a time of nine minutes and three seconds.
From the time Willoughby opened a five-metre gap on the pack in the first leg, it was clear this group was racing against the clock, as Sherry and Gibbs further extended that lead ahead of Holder’s last leg.
It was Holder’s third gold medal on the night, and ninth overall in three days, giving the 14-year-old St Michael School standout ten medals at the championships so far.
This was after the prolific teen titan slammed the field in the 200 IM (2:26.79) before repeating the performance in the 100-metre freestyle (1:00.16) – a race that also saw Sherry grab a bronze medal.
So dominant was the group’s effort, that even when Holder wasn’t taking gold someone else was, as in the case of the 200 butterfly, where Gibbs (2:23.16) relegated her counterpart (2:30.53) to a distant second.
Small added the group’s other medal in the 50-metre breaststroke, having finished third behind Jamaican record holder Priscilla McClure (34.72) and Laura Morley of the Bahamas.
“This is the age group that will give us our next set of elite swimmers that will back up Bradley Ally,” commented local swimming president Sonia O’Neal.
“Two of them have already been able to get Pan Am ‘A’ qualifying times and if they continue in swimming then Olympic qualifying times aren’t that far off.
”The vociferous local support had more to cheer outside of the girl band when hometown boy Alex Sobers stunned Aruba’s Joseph Winterdal to win the 11-12 200 butterfly in 2:31.04.
His golden swim came on the heels of a silver and bronze medal effort from Sherry’s younger sister Sariyah in the 11-12 girls’ 100 freestyle (1:01.98) and 200 butterfly (2:45.10) respectively.
Outside of the ones set by McClure and the hosts’ 13-14 girls, two other records fell on the night, as Bahamian Dustin Tynes lowered the mark in the 13-14 boys’ 50 breaststroke (30.66) while Samuel Lameynardie of Martinique did likewise in the 15-17 100 freestyle (51.22).
The four-day championships were slated to conclude with last night’s final session.