Summer is ushered in by many young enthusiastic Barbadian youth who train all year and work towards the opportunity to represent themselves and their country in various sporting championships.
While it might look that these young people 'are lucky', I would like you to realise that luck really has nothing to do with it, except that they were 'lucky' to have parents who invest in their talents and coaches who work tirelessly with them to help expose their talents.
All in all, parents, coaches and the young athletes should all be congratulated. Today we peep at swimming.
Swimming is an exciting sport and the Aquatic centre at Wildey in St. Michael offer many opportunities for swim clubs to expose children to the sport. From as early as 5am on week days, if you happen to pass by the Aquatic centre, you might see the movement of young dedicated children preparing to put in their first bit of hard work for the day as they train before school. As a result of such dedication, we are seeing successes that speak to the pursuit of excellence and this seems to over flow into their academic studies. In March many of these swimmers qualified for and made up the team for the 2016 Carifta Swimming Championships which were held in Martinique: They are: 11-12 Age Groups Girls: Aza Dunwoody, Ti-Juana Welch, Zahra Gaskin, Danielle Treasure Boys: McCallum Clarke, Tristan Pragnell, Roan Baker, Eric Lashley, Zachary Taylor 13-14 Age Groups Girls: Danielle Titus, Ashley Weekes, Destiny Harding, Zoe Taylor Boys: Nkosi Dunwoody 15-17 Age Groups Girls: Hannah Gill, Alexis Clark
Boys: Alex Sobers, Damon St. Prix, Luis Sebastian Weekes, Jack Kirby
OPEN WATER 14-17 Age Groups Girls: Alexis Clarke, Rebecca Lashley, McKayla Treasure Boys: Kobi Talma, Kent Mullins There was also a synchronised 12 and under swimming team made up of: Savannah Berridge. Samaiyah Forde, Gracie Foster, Matilde Janoha, Sophia Simpson, Kenya Franklin, Nia Morris and Hailey Mahy.
At the end of that meet the swimmers recorded 12 new national Long Course records and they collected 18 gold medals, 12 silver medals and 14 bronze medals. The records were: McCallum Clarke in the 11-12 age group in the 100 M and 200M Breaststroke Danielle Titus in the 13-14 age group -50M, 100M and 200M Backstroke and in the 100m open water backstroke.
Hannah Gill in the girls 15-17 200M Freestyle
Alex Sobers in the boys 15-17 50M and 100M Freestyle
The Boys 15-17 4 x 100M Medley Relay team of Jack Kirby, Luis-Sebastian Weekes, Damon St. Prix, Alex Sobers set a new record (4:03:80)
Danielle Titus won four individual gold medals, three silvers and three bronze medals and one silver in the relay. McCallum Clarke won five individual gold medals and three bronze, as well as picking up one gold and two bronze in the relays.
Alex Sobers won three individual gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyles while
Hannah Gill won a bronze in the 200m freestyle and Danielle Treasure collected a bronze in the 200m freestyle and a silver in the 100m backstroke.
Some of these swimmers qualified for and participated in the recently completed Caribbean Island Swimming Championships The team was: Boys 18 & 0ver R: Russell Oliver (Captain), Christian Selby, Matthew Courtis, Christopher Courtis Girls 18 & over: Lani Cabrera (Captain), Deandre Small Boys 15-17 Alex Sobers, Damon St. Prix, Jack Kirby, Luis Sebastian Weekes, Jumar Walrond Girls 15-17 Hannah Gill, McKayla Treasure
Boys 13-14 Nkosi Dunwoody Girls 13-14: Danielle Titus, Ashley Weekes Boys 11-12 McCallum Clarke, Zachary Taylor, Tristan Pragnell, Jack Kelshall, Christopher Pollard
Girls 11-12 Aza Dunwoody, Danielle Treasure, Keilani Talma, Ti-Juana Welch
Open water 5K: Kristiana Ram, Nathaniel Roach
Team Barbados came away with 11 Gold, 9 Silver and 14 Bronze medals which gave them an overall 5th place with the boys taking a 3rd place in the boys and the girls settling for 5th place out of a total of 17 countries that competed in the Bahamas. There were 3 new Individual Age Group Records – two going to McCallum Clarke and one to Nkosi Dundwoody and 1 Relay National Age Group record for Barbados 4 x 100M Medley Relay team in the boys 11-12 age group. The team was made up of Tristan Pragnell, McCallum Clarke, Christopher Pollard and Zachary Taylor. McCallum Clarke also broke the 16 year old CISC Meet record in the 200M Breaststroke with a time of 2:36.83 erasing the old record of 2:40.87. It was however Alex Sobers that took the spot light of the games for Barbados. Alex broke the CISC Meet Record in the 400M Free event when he posted a time of 3:57.30 to win the gold medal and to achieve an Olympic B qualifying time which booked him a spot on the national 2016 Olympic team for Rio next month.
I believe that these young people have earned some rest this summer. Congrats to all of them and a special wish for Alex Sobers as he prepares for Rio!
It is very important that we recognise the parents of these young swimmers as it not only takes effort and dedication, but many of them make sacrifices within their own families to meet the expenses that this sport brings and to ensure that the talent we see here is given the opportunity it deserves. Congrats mums and dads!