WEDNESDAY, APR. 18: It was the little team that could.
Bermuda’s swim team showed that quality, rather than quantity, was the watchword at the Carifta Swim Meet in the Bahamas.
Ben Smith, national team coach, was pleased at the results the squad achieved in Nassau.
“My preliminary tally has this team close to surpassing one of our best results ever but with a team of this size it really is tough to beat this group.
“They had 51 personal best times, 16 age group records and one national record. Jesse (Washington) was awarded the 11 and 12 Swimmer of the Meet and had the most points of any swimmer in the meet.
“The way this week of swimming has gone I wished it would never end.”
Smith added the Bahamas Swimming Federation did “an amazing job hosting the meet and the pool facility was fast and well maintained. It was also such a personal pleasure to work with such a fantastic group of kids.
“Their effort in every swim was special and they all seemed to feed off each other’s positive energy. As a coach I wish that all of Bermuda had an opportunity to experience this.
“It is the norm to highlight the negatives but to see hundreds of kids that are brought together for their common goals and have our little team shine the way they have makes me so proud.”
One of the many highlights of the meet for Bermuda saw Washington acknowledged as the top swimmer in the 11 & 12-year-olds age group.
Smith said: “Jesse was our first swimmer (in the finals) in the 400 freestyle and he was given some added incentive.
“The Cayman team came to us to let us know that Jesse had a chance to win an award. The award is given to the 11 & 12 boy that can win the 200 and 400 free events.
“They were all rooting for Jesse to win the 400 as it is not common to win both events. Unfortunately just as Jesse was preparing to go to the marshalling area he tweaked his neck and was in quite a lot of pain. He swam hard and made a new PB (personal best) but was in discomfort on every breath. He still set the (Bermuda) record, won a bronze medal and added to his medal total.”
Washington went on to win the 50 free after that, shattering William Massey’s record.
“Ashley Yearwood was up next. Every year she seems to find a way to grab a medal and her last Carifta would be no different as she finished tied for third getting her bronze medal.
“Now three for three, we had Benedict (Parfitt) up in the 50 and he was raring to go. With a very fast 24.4 he captured the silver medal and kept our medal streak alive.
“Shannon Hassell was our last swimmer for the meet and, as the top seed, we were quietly optimistic. She had already taken bronze and silver so I told her she needed to complete the set. Anyone that had a chance to see her swim was in for a treat as she left her competition far behind from the beginning and her gold was never in doubt.
“We were given another surprise as Katrina (Beverridge) was put into the final after another swimmer scratched giving us one more Bermuda swimmer to support. She swam a great PB in the final and finished this Carifta on a positive note.”