CARIFTA athletes return home from competition

by: Shayne Stubbs, Sports Reporter - Published Friday, April 10, 2015

The Bahamas CARIFTA swimming and track and field teams are back home and Grand Bahama's athletes were happy to be back.

The Freeport News, among others, were there to greet some of the Grand Bahama athletes when they arrived yesterday afternoon.

Joanna Evans, who led the way for Team Bahamas in the pool was thrilled with the team's accomplishments throughout the meet and said it definitely was a great way to end her CARIFTA career.

" It was pretty impressive because we weren't really seeded to win but everyone stepped up and everyone did well. So it was a great way to finish off my CARIFTA career,"  declared Evans.

Evans added that with new people joining the fray it was good that everyone rallied together to get everyone motivated throughout.

" We had a few new people and that's always a challenge because you kind of have to show them stuff, but we all got together and we got team spirit going and we were winning after the first day and so that got everyone going." 

Evans broke three CARIFTA records on her trip. She set a new national and CARIFTA record in the 200-meter freestyle (2:03.00), the 400-meter freestyle (4:19.48) and the 400-meter individual medley (4:59.25). She also received the award for best 15-17 year old female and the best swim award.

Swim coach for The Bahamas Andy Loveitt said Evans breaking the 200 and 400-meter freestyle was totally impressive considering who held the record before her.

" Good thing about it was that the records she was breaking in the 400 and the 200 were held by Janell Atkinson and it was held 15 years. She went on to get fourth in the Olympics. So she broke a good swimmer's records and is looking good for the future." 

Loveitt said that the Freeport swimmers did â exceptionally well⠝ and now it's time to get the team ready for an upcoming meet in June in Florida and soon after that get them ready for the Nationals in New Providence. Evans will be joining Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace at the Pan American Games in the summer taking place in Toronto.

Jasmine Gibson took gold and silver in her relay events and placed eighth in the 200-meter butterfly.

Darren Laing did exceedingly well as he swam at the bottom of his age group. Along with taking home a silver medal in his relay event, he placed sixth in the 50-meter butterfly, ninth in the 100-meter butterfly, and 12th in the 400-meter freestyle.

Katelyn Cabral was the youngest female of Team Bahamas. She exceeded the coachesâ expectations by making finals and finishing in the top eight swimmers in the Caribbean in the 50-meter backstroke and the 100-meter butterfly. She swam in the 50-meter butterfly and the 100-meter backstroke, finishing 11th. She also took part in three relays and swam a time of 29.48 seconds on her leg of the 200-meter freestyle relay.

Lauren Albury also made her return to the CARIFTA games and competed in the open ocean swim. She will be continuing to swim on the open ocean circuit as it continues to grow in the competitive swimming field in the Caribbean.

Tenniya Martin finished fourth, fifth, and sixth in her relay events. She finished 10th in the 800-meter freestyle, 11th in the 400-meter freestyle and 16th in the 200-meter freestyle along with swimming in the open ocean swim at the conclusion of the games.

As far as track and field goes, Grand Bahama got great performances out of Brianne Bethel (silver in the 200 meters and 4x400 relay), Javan Martin (gold in the 100 meters and silver in the 200 meters), Henri Deluze (silver in the 4x400 and bronze in the 400), Shaquania Dorsett (gold in both the 400 and 800 meters) and Tyler Bowe (silver in the 4x100 meters).

For Dorsett, winning to gold medals was definitely an honor and was happy to know that people in Grand Bahamas were happy for her.

" It felt good. I knew people in Nassau were happy but it feels better when I come home and Grand Bahamians are happier than me. So I feel good winning all two golds,"  Dorsett said.

Dorsett has a full summer ahead of her and must now prepare for the IAAF World Relays, Pan Am Games, Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, and "hopefully"  the IAAF World Champs.

Bowe missed out on the bronze placing fourth in the 100 meters and made the finals for the 200 meters. Unfortunately, Bowe was unable to complete his 200-final as a result of food poisoning. Bowe still found joy in being with the team in St. Kitts despite missing out on what he felt would have been a sure medal in the 200 meters.

" It was a good experience. Most of the winning times weren't close to my personal record (PR) in the 200 meters. My heat time was faster than the 200 meters finals winner, so I'm sure if I ran that, that would have been sure medal but everything happens for a reason, I guess." 

Sandra Laing said the team did exceptionally well, laying it all on the track.

" The performances were really exceptional. We said that we were only taking qualifiers and we stuck with that and I think it really paid off. Per capita, we had a small team but we came home with a lot of medals and I think that a lot of the kids are hungry for it." 

Peter Turnquest, Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama was there to welcome the athletes home to show how much they made the country proud.

" It proves again that hard work and consistency pays off. I'm very proud of them and their (CARIFTA Swimmers) accomplishment; back-to-back wins. I think it means a lot, not only for them and their personal development but for us as a country.

" The track team has done very well also coming in second. Jamaica is a powerhouse but coming in a strong second place, they deserve equal credit for the effort that they put forward." 

Published Friday, April 10, 2015


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