At the end of six days of competition, Pirates’ Swim Club had much to celebrate.
Despite having only half the number of swimmers’ entered in the meet than that of rival club Alpha Sharks, Pirates demonstrated its emphasis on quality by producing nine of the 17 qualifiers for the CARIFTA Championships to be held next month in Aruba. Alpha Sharks had seven swimmers with qualifying times while Amara Gibbs was the lone qualifier from Titans Aquatic.
The only male to meet the mark for the 5km open water CARIFTA event was Pirates’ Nicholas Hall who along with Alexis Clarke will represent two of only three qualifiers for this event.
Hannah Gill and Luis Sebastian Weekes of Pirates Swim Club were the 13-14 female and male age group champions, Weekes earning a whopping 121 points well ahead of second place Alpha Sharks’ Damon St. Prix’s 75 pts., while Gill also secured the trophy for the most outstanding senior female swimmer of the meet with 3,287 FINA points.
Alexis Clarke also of Pirates, who recently moved into the 15-17 age group, gave veteran swimmers Amara Gibbs and Kimberley Willoughby of Titans’ Aquatic stiff challenges to fight off. Clarke was in blistering form from day 1 when she easily secured the gold medal in the 800m freestyle. She went on to prove her dominance in the freestyle events adding the 400m and 200m freestyle gold medals and silver in the 100m freestyle to her silverware and secured her place on the CARIFTA team with her performance in the 400m freestyle.
In what can arguably be called the most exciting race of the meet, Pirates’ Rebecca Lashley dueled with Vincentian Shne Joachim in the 200m breaststroke. Lashley touched the wall just behind Joachim but her time of 2:53:67 was below the CARIFTA qualifying time in this event of 2:55:23 and she will now join teammates Gill, Mckayla Treasure (200m free, 100 and 200m backstroke) and Margaux Harvey-Read (200m fly) to make up the female 13-14 CARIFTA team. Jack Kirby who secured the gold and his place on the CARIFTA team in the 100m and 200m backstroke events will join teammate Weekes in the male 13-14 age group. Other Pirates’ senior medalists in the meet include Kobi Talma (800m free, 400m IM and 200m fly), Nicholas Hall and Dylan Clarke.
In the junior age groups, the petite Jessica Templeton was the most dominant Pirate. Templeton was the only age 9-10 female in the meet to medal in each of the 11 events in the age group and was especially outstanding in the butterfly events.
Over the course of the six day event, only one national record was broken and this was achieved by Hannah Gill in the 800m freestyle event on day 1. Gill broke her own record set at the World Juniors in Dubai last August, shaving just over 3 seconds off of the previous record. Hannah and teammate Alexis Clarke also both achieved the qualifying time in the 800m freestyle for the Commonwealth Games to be held later this year in Scotland. Gill also achieved ‘B’ qualifying times for both the Youth Olympic Games and the CAC Games and will continue to train with Clarke and overseas based Christian Selby in preparation for these events.