Jamaica begin Carifta Swimming Championships with impressive medal haul

Observer writer

Monday, April 22, 2019

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Jamaica won a total of 16 medals on day one of the 34th Carifta Swimming Championships in Barbados on Saturday.

Zaneta Alvaranga, Giani Francis and Nathaniel Thomas led the way with two individual medals apiece. The first-day medal haul included five gold, seven silver and four bronze to outdo the first-day total of 11 medals (three gold, four silver and four bronze) of a year ago.

Kokolo Foster was the first to secure a medal for the country in the 11-12 girls' 200m breaststroke, the third final of the day.

Foster went into the final with the third-fastest time from the morning prelims in 3:00.69, but clearly had more left in the tank as she clocked 2:53.16 minutes in the final to secure the silver. The event was won by Giada Dudley-Pun of Bermuda in 2:52.74, while Kaitlyn Sullivan of the Cayman Islands was third in 2:55.77.

Jamaica's next medals came from Giani Francis in the 11-12 girls' 50m backstroke, which was won by Imojen Judd of Bermuda in 32.38 seconds. Francis finished in 32.68secs while her teammate Leanna Wainwright was third in 33.28secs.

Francis picked up a second silver in the 11-12 girls' 100m butterfly when she touched the wall second in 1:10.17 minutes behind Aleka Persaud of Guyana in 1:08.52. Third was Harper Barrowman in 1:10.53.

In the 11-12 boys' version of the event Brady Macpherson Lewison won bronze for Jamaica in 1:07.49. The event was won by Marvin Johnson of The Bahamas in 1:03.65 minutes, followed by Elijah Daley of Bermuda in 1:05.50.

Nathaniel Thomas won Jamaica's first gold of the day in the 50m backstroke in a time of 27.82secs followed by Max Wilson of the US Virgin Islands in 28.19 and Zachary Gresham of Grenada in 28.75.

Thomas then had to dig deep in the 100m butterfly to ward off a fast-charging Nigel Forbes of The Bahamas and land his second gold in 59.22secs, followed by Forbes in 59.45 and Dilan Nunez Green of French Guiana in 59.47.

Alvaranga demonstrated an elite start in the 50m backstroke with superb underwater technique that took her to 14m. The event was won by Keianna Moss of The Bahamas in 31.31secs followed by Elan Daley of Bermuda in 31.45, with Alvaranga winning the bronze in 31.77.

The backstroke medal for Alvaranga is her first regional backstroke medal in her third Carifta Games, which takes her into an exclusive club of swimmers who have medaled in all four strokes.

Alvaranga then chased her teammate Sabrina Lyn in the 13-14 girls' 100m butterfly, with Lyn winning in a Carifta record of 1:03.19 minutes and Alvaranga second in 1:05.07, as Keilani Talma of host Barbados secured third in 1:05.14. Lyn had broken the Championship and National Age Group record in the morning session, clocking 1:03.47 and bettering the old mark of 1:03.50 by Emma Harvey back in 2016.

Favourite in the 15-17 girls' category, Emily McDonald delivered gold in 1:05.85.

Other finalists and medal winners for Jamaica were: 15-17 girls' 200m breaststroke Naomi Eaton (eighth) in a time of 3.04.6; 50m backstroke 11-12 boys, Brady Macpherson Lewison (fourth) in 32.3; 15-17 girls Brianna Anderson (silver) in 30.22; and Simone Vale (eighth) in 32.83.

In the 100m butterfly 11-12 girls, Saidah Brown ended (sixth) in a time of 1:12.08 and Simone Vale (eighth) in 1:10.31.

Nicholas Vale was sixth in 57.95 in the 15-17 boys' category.

In the 4x100m freestyle relays: Saidah Brown, Kokolo Foster, Leanna Wainwright and Christanya Shirley were fourth in 4:28.98 in the 11-12 girls' category; Safiya Officer, Raine Hopkins, Morgan Cogle, and Sabrina Lyn took silver in 4:07.84 in the 13-14 category; Daniel Mair, Zachary Jackson-Blaine, Jaedon Lynch and Nathaniel Thomas were silver medal winners in 3:50.95 in the 13-14 category for boys.

McDonald led her team of Britney Williams, Brianna Anderson, and Simone Vale to gold in the 15-17 category in 4:01.60, as she enjoyed a good day in the water.

Nicholas Vale, Cameron Brown, Jordane Payne, and Kyle Sinclair won bronze in the 15-17 boys' in 3:40.66.

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