A team of 31 swimmers from St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) returned from the 24th OECS Swimming Championships in St. Lucia with 35 medals, its largest medal haul in the 24-year history of the championships.
St. Lucia won the competition for the third time in the last four years, beating defending champions Grenada by 83 points.
St. Lucia posted 1,403 points to Grenada’s 1,320, while Antigua-Barbuda were third with 1,244.5 points and SVG fourth, with 657 points.
British Virgin Islands, the only nation not to field a full team, amassed 185.5 points in the competition, held Nov. 7 to 9.
The SVG swimming association said that all the Vincentian swimmers returned with improved personal best times.
Shne Joachim and Nikolas Sylvester smashed the OECS 100 meter breaststroke records. The leading SVG individual swimming performances were by:
- Alexander Joachim, swimming in the boys 9 to 10 age group, led the way for SVG swimmers bringing home 4 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals. Alex was in the top three positions in every race in which he competed and he improved on his personal best times in 6 of his 8 races. Alex placed second in the overall Championship in his age group and was a mere 2 points behind first place.
- Shane Cadogan, swimming in the boys 11 to 12 year-old age group, won seven medals, three gold and four silver. He narrowly missed out on the OECS 50 meter breaststroke record. He placed second in the overall championship in his age group while setting 8 new personal best times.
- Nikolas Sylvester, swimming in the boys 13 to 14 year-old age group, won seven medals, two gold, two silver and three bronze. He also placed second in the overall championship in his age group while setting 5 new personal best times. Sylvester beat the previous record in the 100 breaststroke by 1.3 seconds.
- Shne Joachim, SVG’s Carifta record holder and Pan Am Games 2015 qualifier, travelled from Canada to represent her homeland. Swimming in the girls 13 to 14 age group, she won 2 gold medals, 2 silver and 2 bronze medal while setting three personal best times. Joachim broke the previously OECS record in the 50 meter butterfly but saved her best for the 100 Meter breaststroke where she smashed the previous OECS record by 2.2 seconds that had stood for 10 years. That OECS record was set by St Lucia’s only female Olympic qualifier for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Team SVG also earned four bronze medals from two of its relay teams. The boys aged 10 and under team comprising Alex Joachim, Bryson George, Kenale Alleyne and Tristan Ballah, placed third in the 200 metre Freestyle Relay and the 200 Medley relay. The boys 11 to 14 years old team comprised Nikolas Sylvester, Shane Cadogan, Dillon Gooding and Chavez Joseph also placed third in the 200 Fresstyle and 200 Medley relays.
Loren Gun-Munro amassed 1 silver and 1 bronze medal and Kyle Dougan 1 silver, swimming in 18 and above age category.
“The SVG Swimming Federation extends its congratulations to all swimmers who participated in the OECS Championships. We offer special congratulations to Kyle Dougan and his coaching staff of Roy Bradshaw and Xaveon Caesar for the outstanding job they did in preparing our athletes for the OECS Championships,” a press release said.
Team SVG will also participate in the CARIFTA Swimming Championships to be held in Barbados April 4 to 7, 2015.
The SVG team will include Nikolas Sylvester, Shane Cadogan, Shne Joachim and Alexander Joachim. We expect to have at least three more qualifiers. We are confident they will do their very best for SVG.