OECS Championship Preview

The Saint Lucia swim team with  Jamie Peterkin (L) ready to make a big splash at the OECS Championships this weekend.

The Saint Lucia swim team with Jamie Peterkin (L) ready to make a big splash at the OECS Championships this weekend.

Move over Miami Heat. You’re not the only ones in search of a three-peat. St Lucia’s swim team hope to achieve the hat trick themselves this weekend at the Twenty-Third annual Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Championships (OECS). The meet is taking place at the Rodney Heights Aquatic Center and is expected to draw top class swimming talent from islands including Antigua, Grenada, and St. Vincent. Coach Jamie Peterkin, who is also serving as this year’s team manager, admits that this year’s group has their work cut out for them in pursuit of their defence but is confident in their capabilities. The decorated swimmer, who’s been an integral part of several St Lucian triumphs, broke down the competition by age group and gave a preview of what we can expect. “We have a full team. Antigua is missing a couple of older swimmers and Grenada has brought back some older retired swimmers. So I think we are both balanced and filled at every position which would give us the opportunity. With that being said it doesn’t mean that we have the best swimmers all around.”

8 and Under

We have some brilliant 8 and under swimmers coming along in Jenna Lee Campbell, Naima Hazell, D’Andre Blanchard and Ziv Reynolds all from Lightning Aquatic Swim Club. And the four of them are going to hold their own and compete probably better than our 8 and unders have in many years past which is gonna be excellent to see.

9-10’s

Our 9 to 10’s are in for a tough task. The Antiguans have an incredible group of 10 and under swimmers and the Grenadians have very fast 10 and under swimmers as well. And so our 10 and unders have their work cut out for them. However our most talented young swimmer  Ethan Dyke Elliot comes from that group along with three of his teammates.
From 9-10 girls we have two of the girls from Sharks Swim Club, Maya Hilaire and Katie Kyle who have really come on strong over the last year so this is sort of a coming out party for them and we’ll see how well they do against swimmers from Antigua and Grenada who’ve been in the game a lot longer than they have and swimming at this level.

11-12’s
Once again Antigua has what you call a goon squad. When we say they’re a bunch of goons it just means that there are so many good swimmers. They’re gonna be very hard to beat with the caliber of swimmers they have in 11-12 boys and girls. However we have very strong 11-12 girls, four of them who are very competitive in their age group and in their practices. They’re very driven young ladies and i’m very confident in the long term development of these females and what we will be seeing down the line from them. I do believe these four girls are front runners for the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017. That’s Eden Crick, Katelin Samuel, Abbie Pultie, and Mikaela Casimir. What’s excellent about this core even though two of them are from Racers and two are from Sharks, they are all great friends. So they are really close.

13-14’s
That’s one of our age groups where we have not had the caliber swimmer that we used to have. I don’t know, there’s been a little bit of a rate of attrition in that particular age category, 13-14 year old girls.  However, we have two very strong simmers who have been on the OECS team in year’s past. And we are confident, Kyra Joseph and Gabrielle Marshall, that they can hold their own and score us a couple of points. 13 -14 boys is a very strong age group for us.     We have Jyasi Daniel and Mark Emanus, who are Carifta qualifiers, CC Can qualifiers – that’s regional championships – along with Christopher Phillips and Kyle Ernest. And so what we’ve done is we’ve stacked that age group so our relays can be extremely strong and given that our relays will be strong we can capture the most points there.   Once again let’s go back to Antigua and Grenada. Their strongest swimmers are 13 to 14 boys, Nathan Marshall and Noah Gomes and there’s Kerry Olliviere from Grenada who’s already a regional champion in breast stroke. He’s gone away to meets around the Caribbean and won gold medals and podium finishes in the breast stroke events. It’s going to be extremely competitive and I anticipate it being the most entertaining age group of them all because literally the first six swimmers are faster in years than the top swimmer would have been.

15-17’s
Bailey Speigelberg and Laura Bruce as well as Joseph Philogene. They’re the old dogs, age old veterans who’ll definitely be providing leadership to the team along with trying to score as many points as possible and they should be very competitive in their age group. 15-17 Boys Anthony Francois & Kristen Andrew who have both competed at the Carifta level will be heading that group for us. We’re going to be missing Joshua Runako-Daniel who is one of our top swimmers. He has school on the weekends and won’t be able to make it.

18 and over
We’re clearly the front runners. We have Brad Worrell and Jordan Augier and those are two of the strongest swimmers in the entire swim meet, so they should do a great job of scoring as high as possible. 18 and over girls, we’ve brought back swimmers. We have Solange Lenihan, who’s more into martial arts so she’s a fit athlete. And we’ve also brought in coach Vanessa Eugene, who’s an experienced OECS swimmer.

The team is coached by Brian Charles of SeaJays Swim Club, who will be assisted by Rosevelt Romaine of Lightning Aquatics, former head coach Andy Edwards of Southern Flying Fish, and a new addition in Nikola Tarajic of Racers Swim Club. The event begins on November 8th and runs through Sunday November 10th.

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