by RENALDO DORSETT
Earlier this month, Bahamas Swimming Federation President Algernon Cargill said the Bahamas’ 69-member team was comprised with the goal of winning the Caribbean Island Swimming Championships at the forefront.
“It’s the first time that team Bahamas is well on pace to complete their quest and make history at the XXI CISC.
we are hosting the CISC in the Bahamas and our goal is to win the CISC, so we have put together a balanced team because there are no size limitations for us as the host country,” he said, “So we picked a team that we know will provide us with some quality swims and will have excellent representation here at home as we try to win the CISC title for the first time.”
The team features 34 male and 35 females between the ages of 11 and 26.
In the past, the Bahamas has placed second and third, but never has the team been as large as this. The largest CISC team to represent the country prior to this year’s meet was about 30 members.
The 69-member team delivered another dominant performance in last night’s evening session at the Betty Kelly Kenning Aquatic Center.
The Bahamas collected 22 medals in the session, with a multiple individual medal night from rising star Lamar Taylor and a pair of new CISC records for Albury Higgs and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace.
The 200m Free was the first series of races and team Bahamas claimed four medals in the event.
In the senior division, Matthew Lowe stepped down from his usual distance specialties and won gold in 1:55.10 secs while Joanna Evans also won gold in 2:02.95 secs.
“I basically just go all out the whole time. Coming off of the last wall I was out front so I just had to keep going,” Lowe said, “The past year I’ve been training for open water and I recently swam an open water 10k in Portugal. I believe training for that made me so successful at nationals and now at CISC.”
Taylor won silver in the Boys 11-12 division in 2:10.93 secs and Samuel Gibson won bronze in the Boys 13-14 in 2:02.72 secs.
The 50 Fly was even more successful for team Bahamas where they netted six medals.
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace continued her dominance at the meet thus far and led a 1-2 finish for the Bahamas in the senior division.
“It was a good swim. I’m pretty happy with that. I was trying not to spin it too much because that’s what I tend to do with the 50m Fly,” Vanderpool-Wallace said, “It’s just a relaxing meet to be back home with family, be outside be in the hot weather and swimming outdoors. My coach just wants me to be home and have fun.”
She swam to a gold medal and new CISC record in 26.79 secs followed by Bria Deveaux who won silver in 28.59 secs.
In the senior men, Vereance Burrows won bronze in 24.54 secs.
Taylor won his third medal in three events with a silver in the Boys 11-12 in a time of 28.96 secs. Darren Laing won silver in the Boys 13-14 in 26.16 secs and N’Nhyn Fernander added a third silver in the Boys 15-17 in 25.47 secs
Another pair of medal winners came in the 100m Back with Taylor continuing his busy night with a bronze in 1:07.98 secs. Virgina Stamp followed with bronze in the Girls 13-14 in 1:07.10 secs.
In the 400m Individual Medley, the Higgs sisters took gold and silver in the same race for the second consecutive night.
Albury won gold in 5:05.59 secs, a new CISC record, while Lilly took silver in 5:08.33 secs.
Peter Morley took silver in the Boys 13-14 event in 4:57.09 secs.
The Bahamas won medals in seven of the eight 200m Free Relays. They took gold in the Boys 13-14, and gold along with new CISC records in the Boys 15-17 and Senior Women. The Bahamas finished with silver in both 11-12 divisions and bronze in the Girls 13-14 and the Senior Men.
Day three today will feature the 200IM, 50m breast, 100m Free, 200m Fly and 800m Free Relays.
It was a strong opening night performance for team Bahamas at the XXI Caribbean Island Swimming Championships as the team looked to set the tone for a possible historic meet.
The Bahamas topped the medal podium numerous times on day one and set several new CISC records last night at the Betty Kelly Kenning Aquatic Centre.
Future Olympians Joanna Evans and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace lived up to expectations with gold medal swims and CISC records in their respective events.
Evans took the first medal for team Bahamas on the night with a finish of 8:40.60 secs in the 800m Free while Vanderpool-Wallace took the 100m Fly in 1:00.49 secs.
Other senior members of the team were able to lead the way for the 68-member Bahamian contingent with the 1550m/800m Free, 200m Breat, 100m Fly and Mixed Relay 200m Free on the schedule.
Matthew Lowe took gold in the 1500 Free in a CISC record setting time of 16:22.01 secs, while Laura Morely won the 200m Breast in 2:39.34 secs.
Dustin Tynes won silver in the 200m Breast in 2:20.97 secs and Vereance Burrows took bronze in the 100m Fly in 55.81 secs.
In the 15-17 age group, the Higgs sisters took their familiar spot atop the medal podium in the 200m Breast.
Albury Higgs finished first in a CISC record setting time of 2:36.43 secs while Lilly Higgs was second in 2:42.87 secs.
N’Nhyn Fernander won bronze in the 100m Fly in 57.01 secs.
In the Boys 13-14 200m Breast, Iaak Bastian won gold and also set a new CISC record in 2:23.43 secs.
Lamar Taylor was the youngest individual medal winner for team Bahamas on the day with gold and a new CISC record in the Boys 11-12 100m Fly with a time a 1:04.59 secs.
In the Mixed Relay 200m Free, the Bahamas won gold in the 11-12, silver in the 15-17 and bronze in the senior divisions.