Thirteen swimmers from St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Black Sands Swim Squad competed in the Barbados National Swimming Championships from the Feb. 28 to March 4.
It was the swimmers’ first opportunity to compete in a 50 metre pool this year, preparing some of them for the Carifta Games in Jamaica and the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April.
Shane Cadogan, 16, showed great form at the event, winning 4 gold and 1 silver medals and breaking two St. Vincent national records: the 50m butterfly in a time of 26.79 seconds and the 50m breaststroke in a time of 31.08 seconds.
Nikolas Sylvester joined Shane’s record-breaking form by setting a new SVG record in the 100m backstroke in a time of 1 minute 5.04 seconds. Sylvester came home with 2 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze medals.
Helping Nikolas and Shane dominate the boys’ 15-17 years age group was Dillon Gooding, Cruz Halbich and Tyrese Lewis. Gooding swam himself onto the podium, winning 1 bronze medal in the 50m butterfly, whilst Halbich was called to the podium twice, winning 1 silver in the 400m freestyle and 1 bronze. Lewis swam well and was able to reduce his 100m freestyle time, giving himself a new personal best time of 1 minute 1.55 seconds.
Swimming in the boys’ 18 years and over age group was Alexander Cyrus. He swam himself to 2 silver and 1 bronze medal and smashed his 50m butterfly personal best time by over 1 second.
In the girls’ 13 to 14 years age group, Paige Cadogan battled against some extremely tough competition. Unable to make a podium spot, she proudly came away from the event with a total of 5 personal best times.
Following family tradition, Jamie Joachim found herself on the medal podium 4 times, collecting 4 bronze medals whilst 7-year-old Eltonique Leonard worked hard to keep up with the competition in the Girls’ 8 years and under age group and was able to win herself a bronze medal in the 50m backstroke.
St. Vincent’s Carifta qualifying first-timers, Eltonte Leonard and Jayson Sandy showed great strength swimming in their first year of the boys’ 11- 12 years age group. Leonard added extra weight to his returning luggage, coming home with a total of 7 silver and 4 bronze medals and Sandy came home jingling with 3 silver and 3 bronze medals.
Completing the strong Black Sands Swim Squad team were the George brothers, Bryson and Brandon. Both Bryson and Brandon swam fantastic personal best times with Brandon coming home with 2 bronze medals and Bryson 1 bronze.
Black Sands Swim Squad Head Coach Kyle Dougan expressed huge congratulations to all of the competing team members and went on to say that the results of this competition has highlighted to him that there is still a lot of hard work to be put in for 2018 to enable his swimmers to reach the higher standards he strives to achieve.