Barbados’ golden girl Danielle Titus was again unstoppable as she won the 15 to 17 age group 200m long course backstroke when the 34th CARIFTA Swimming Championship concluded at the National Aquatic Center at Wildey, St Michael tonight.
The final medal count saw Barbados finishing in fifth place overall with a tally of 26 including five gold, nine silver and 12 bronze. The Bahamas dominated with 63 in all while Jamaica were second with 59 followed by Trinidad and Tobago with 43 medals for third place. The twin-island republic had more gold medals than the Cayman Islands who came fourth despite their 44 medals.
The 16-year-old Titus stamped her authority in familiar waters as she claimed a total of three individual medals, all in the backstroke which is her undoubted pet event.
Titus delivered big to capture bronze in the 50m, won the 100m yesterday and returned on the final night of competition to deliver a golden swim of 2:21.87 in lane four of the 200m ahead of teammate and namesake Danielle Treasure in lane three who also turned in an impressive performance of 2:25.37 for the silver medal.
What is even more commendable is that Titus and Treasure registered personal best performances in the four-lap showdown. Both young ladies have also met the Pan American Games B qualifying time of 2:26.76 in the 200m backstroke. Titus came into the 200m backstroke final with the overall fastest time of 2:25.37 with Treasure at 2:28.46.
After completing her third and final individual race with a win tonight, Titus said she entered the pool with the mindset of giving it her all after what had been a long week of competitive action.
“Of course this is the last race and I had to push hard because it was a long week. So, I just try to swim my best time in the last race…I wasn’t focused on anybody else. I had my own race to win, so it did not matter what anybody else was doing I had my own thing to do,” Titus said about the race.
Meanwhile, 15-year-old Treasure who earned two individual medals in the backstroke with a bronze in the 100m and silver tonight in the 200m described the race as a good one.
“I was a little tired going into it but I just give it my all because it was my last race,” Treasure said while commending Titus on her medal-winning performances.
Barbados swept the 200m long course backstroke event for the 15 to 17 Division as the United States-based Tristan Pragnell came into the 200m final with an unmatched time of 2:12.54 and lived up to expectations with a top podium finish time of 2:11.53.
The 15-year-old Pragnell just missed out on qualifying for the Pan American Games but will feature at the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championship after producing the required 2:14.77 to earn his place.
Pragnell featured in lane four and said his focus was to ensure he kept a steady pace and conserve as much energy as possible coming on to the end.
“I was really focused on trying to keep a steady pace and not tire out at the back end of the race. So, I am really happy that I could bring home the gold for Barbados. It is a great honour,” said Pragnell, who thanked his coaches and fellow swimmers on the team who encouraged him.
Barbados’ first medal on the final day was a silver compliments Kenyah Deane in the 11 to 12 girls’ 400m freestyle swimming out of lane three. Deane had a showing of 4:59.42 in the eight-lap race which was captured by Harper Barrowman of the Cayman Islands in 4:46.92 competing out of lane four.
Adara Stoddard clocked 1:18.54 for second position in the 13 to 14 girls 100m breaststroke for Barbados behind the 1:15.72 swam by winner Sabrina Lyn of Jamaica.
Coach of the Barbados team Aisha Norville said she was pleased with the overall performances even though they fell four medals short of what they accomplished at last year’s games.
“We fell short of the thirty medals we won last year but granted we lost some of our top swimmers because they are too old to compete at the CARIFTA Games. We had some newcomers this year and they swam exceptionally well.
“Adara Stoddard is one that performed very well. She won gold and she won some other individual medals which were very good for her at her first CARIFTA Games. Obviously Danielle Titus in her backstroke events, she dominated those and Tristan Pragnell who won a gold medal in his first year which is a great feat. Because 15 to 17 boys is a tough age group and for him to do that is very good.
So, overall, the team did very well and we are pleased with their performance, “ Norville said.