By Michron Robinson
Barbados performed exceptionally well at the recently concluded Annual XXVI Goodwill Swim Meet, in Trinidad and Tobago placing third in the regional competition.
The contingent which competed against St Lucia, host country Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Guyana, The Bahamas and Suriname, was welcomed back on island by many parents and swim enthusiasts Tuesday evening.
They brought home shiny silverware with 49 medals in total.
While speaking to the media at the Grantley Adams International Airport lead coach for the 2022 Barbados Goodwill Swim team Russel Walton was beaming with pride.
“The team performed relatively well. We placed third overall, we had some outstanding individual swims, the relays were also very competitive and over all in my opinion we did very, very well,” he said while backing the team of 40 smiling, young ones.
Walton emphasised the importance of the junior athletes taking part in the games.
“This exposure especially for the eight and under and 9-10 athletes is extremely good. It is an eye-opener for other competitions in the region so this eye-opener for them was extremely good,” he said.
Meanwhile, president of the Barbados Aquatic Sports Association (BASA) Cheryl Lady Forde said that she was very pleased with the show put on by the Bajan athletes in the twin island republic.
“We are extremely thrilled with the performances in Trinidad. This team at the Goodwill Games, the team trained extremely hard to qualify to go there, it was a large team of 40, plus several coaches and officials and they prepared themselves and they delivered,” she explained.
“We are so pleased,” Lady Forde added.
The BASA president pointed out that this experience should motivate them to even more excellence.
“Hopefully this will be a motivational experience for them to continue training and to appreciate the benefit of competition and what it really takes to achieve sucess, to be committed and to enjoy what you’re doing, this shows that all of these kids have those qualities.”
The youngest swimmer representing Barbados, seven-year-old Dari Duncan was upbeat about his performance. He said though he just wanted to “beat Trinidad” because they won many races.
“I feel good, [about my races]… I felt a bit nervous but when I got in the water I felt confident. It felt good to beat them, especially Trinidad.”
When asked why he wanted to defeat the team from Trinidad, Duncan explained:
“Cause Trinidad almost won every single race, that’s why I feel [so] about them,” he said smirking.
Brother and sister duo 12-year-old Ayoka Martin and her ten-year-old brother of St Paul’s, Adante Martin, said that they were extremely thrilled to represent their home country.
“I feel very proud in myself and I hope that I will get to make it to Goodwill next year,” Ayoka said.
Her younger brother said that he felt “accomplished” adding that he hopes to represent Barbados in even bigger competitions next year.
Outstanding and honourable mentions for swimmers included Khalia Springer who copped two gold and 3 silver medals in the 11-12 girls races, Kaija Eastmond who copped one gold amd one silver with four bronze medals and Gabriella Babb who copped one gold, three silver and one bronze.