In what has been unanimously described as the very best OECS Swimming Championships ever, the Grenada National Swim Team overcame a spirited challenge from the St Lucia National Swim Team to capture their fifth consecutive title.
At the competition held over the weekend at the Rodney Heights Aquatic Centre, Grenada racked up a total of 1668.5 points to St Lucia’s 1508 points. In relegating the hosts to second place, the Grenadians also held off the new kids on the block, a resurgent Antigua OECS 2010 National Swim with 1079.5 points. Fourth place went to St Vincent and the Grenadines with 180 points and the three member British Virgin Islanders Swimming Federation with 44 points.
The Grenadians took an early lead right from the start Friday afternoon and while the lead was never too much, they were always confident the championship trophy would be returning with them.
Following is the final medal count. Grenada National Swim Team: Gold 64, Silver 56, Bronze 54, Total 174. St Lucia National Team: Gold 50, Silver 43, Bronze 35, Total 128. Antigua OECS 2010 National: Gold 16, Silver 30, Bronze 35, Total 81. St Vincent and the Grenadines: Gold zero, Silver one, Bronze one, Total two. British Virgin Islands Swimming Federation: Gold zero, Silver zero, Bronze two, Total two.
Of the 27 new OECS records broken, five were accounted for by St Lucians, three by Joshua Runako Daniel and two by Siona Huxley. In the Boys 13-14 age group, Daniel set new standards in the 50M Free (25.31), 100M Free (55.94) and 50M Fly (27.99). Huxley set two OECS standards in girls 15-17 year 50M Free (28.08) and 100M Backstroke (1:11.73).Grenada set 13 OECS records and in a bold statement to St Lucia and Grenada, the Antiguans younger swimmers set an amazing 10 OECS records, promising that island to be a major mover in OECS swimming in the very near future.
On the local front, our swimmers set the following 10 St Lucia Age group Records in the Championships. Female 8 & Under, Katelin Samuel, 50M free (37.92) and 25M Fly (18.38).
Eden Crick, 100M free. Female 11-12, Thalia Bergasse, 200M IM (2:42.80). Female 15-17
Huxley, 50M Free (28.08). Male Eight and Under, Ethan Dyke-Elliott, 100M Free (1:22.35). Male Nine to 10, Jyasi Daniel, 100M Free (1:09.34) and 50M breast (40.38). Male 13-14, Joshua Runako Daniel, 50M breast (33.11). Male 15-17, Jordan Augier, 50M back (28.93).
Of the twelve Age groups, St Lucia won three. With superlative swimming, Raina Bergasse won the 13-14 age group with 91 points and was ably supported by Laura Bruce with 68 points. Huxley (15-17) and Joshua Runako Daniel (13-14) smite all in their path with 99 points each.
Thalia Bergasse (11-12), Jhasi Daniel (Nine to 10), Jordan Augier (15-17) and Jamie Peterkin (18 and over) were second in their groups and provided valuable points to the team effort.
Katelin Samuel swam beautifully to place third in the Eight and Under and promising discovery Anthony Francois placed also third in 11-12 age group as did Jon L Innocent (15-17).
The awesome performance of the Antigua juniors had observers pondering the impact this will have on future championships. The Antiguans blew away the Grenadians and St Lucians in the younger age groups, capturing six of the twelve spots and espousing their six day weekly training schedule.
This Grenadian victory in the 20th Championships has St Lucia and Grenada equal with 10 victories each over the past two decades and now has the St Lucians reviewing their approach to the Championships. Grenada has taken the “win at all cost” approach and fly down their overseas swimmers (four this year) while St Lucia has viewed the meet from a developmental point of view and used only the local swimmers. Three of the four Grenadian overseas swimmers won their age groups insuring Grenada their margin of victory.
The 2010 Championships, originally scheduled for November last year, and coordinated by Meet Director, Yasmin “Pebbles” Dyke Elliott, was a true festival of swimming and celebration of OECS competition.
The meet was characterized by keen competition, a plethora of officials, coordinated organization and attention to finer details, tremendous sponsors exposure and festive atmosphere, which had all rocking to DJ Martin Monplaisir while supporting the swimmers in their efforts for glory in the pool.
At the OECS Congress held on January 15, it was unanimously agreed by the representatives of each of the Federations that Antigua will host the 2011 Championships at the Antigua Athletic Club pool November 4-6.