By Michron Robinson
A contingent of young, eager Barbadian swimmers heading to Trinidad and Tobago for the XXVI Annual Goodwill Swim meet are rearing and ready to medal at the championships.
Come Friday, August 19 to Sunday, August 21, the team will be competing against host country T&T along with swimmers from St Lucia, Guyana, Suriname, Bahamas, Jamaica and Grenada.
The national team led by coach Russel Walton will be leaving the island tomorrow evening and as Walton reported to Barbados TODAY, the swimmers should do well despite the focus being more so on development.
“This championship is where development is a big factor…it is like an eye opener to regional competition, representing their country at a smaller level for the future, especially for the younger children,” he said while speaking at poolside at the Wildey Aquatic Centre on Tuesday evening.
Walton has faith in team captains 16-year-old Amaris Yearwood of the St Michael School and 17-year-old Christ Church Foundation student Kaiel Johnson leading the young ones to the meet.
“Amaris is a good girl,” he said, breaking into a smile while the young team members posed for a photo op in the background.
“Amaris is confident, Amaris is full of spirit and full of joy, she has the respect of the other swimmers, so she will do a good job as she has been so far – she will do a good job,” he added.
Yearwood, who spoke confidently while agreeing with coach Walton’s sentiments said that she expected the team to do their very best.
“Just know that when we come back, our family, friends and loved ones will be there to congratulate us and support us,” she told Barbados TODAY.
When asked about her hopes for medalling Yearwood said: “Whatever happens, happens -when we get down there [we] will try but we will strive to get on that podium.”
She said practice had been intense leading up to the championships.
“We had to push ourselves in order to qualify for the team, so we have to push ourselves even more so to compete against the other Caribbean countries.”
Co-captain Johnson was in upbeat spirits and he said he expected the swimmers to push the envelope to achieve many personal bests.
“I’m expecting a lot of personal bests and medals. Some of our swimmers are up there with everyone else…” Johnson said.
While acknowledging that there is some pressure as captain, he said that being chosen for the role means the world.
“The responsibility can be much sometimes but being chosen for this role, being voted in means accepting this role and what comes
with it, so I put up with it and I have fun leading and taking care of the younger swimmers,” he said.
The 2022 Goodwill Barbados Swim Team will be returning on Tuesday, August 23. Those swimmers taking part are in the eight and under and the 14-17 age categories.