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Coach Pouchet optimistic as swimmers leave for Carifta
David Mc Leod and Jabari Baptiste lead a 33-member team which departs today to compete at the 29th Carifta Swimming Championships from Monday to Sunday at the Piscina Olimpico Roly Bislik, Oranjestad, Savaneta, Aruba. The duo are coming off of impressive performances at the Amateur Swimming Association National Long Course swim meet which was held in March, in which they earned qualification to the Nanjing, China Youth Olympic by bettering qualifying times in the 15-17 boys 50m freestyle.
Mc Leod won the event in 23.98 while Baptiste took silver in 24.20 seconds as they both dipped under the B standard qualifying time while attaining Carifta A and B marks as well.
Also in the squad are Jada Chai of Atlantis, the standout swimmer at the long course event with no fewer than 12 Carifta qualifying times attained, Arieos Aquatechs’ Kristin Julien, who has also secured a ticket to China.
However, the local contingent’s chances of dethroning champions Guadeloupe has been hit with the absence of a key swimmers which according to head coach Mark Pouchet will be tough to overcome as he remains optimistic about their title chances. Speaking yesterday on the eve of the team’s departure Pouchet said, “This year we are without seven of our top swimmers who brought in 23 of the 47 medals we won last year in Jamaica including Dylan Carter, Joshua Romany, Alexandria Donahue, Tyla Martin, Andre Goin, Joshua Ramkissoon and Rebecca Marshall, so going for the title will be difficult.” According to Pouchet, ”Some of the swimmers have gone past the age-limit for the Carifta Games while the others have commitments. However, in the case of Donahue’s who attends Plant Senior High School, in Florida she opted out of the Carifta meet beacuse she has accelerated her course work in order to graduate one year early from high school.
“She needs to finish up all of her classes by May 1, in order to meet the requirements and earlier this week she signed scholarship documents for the University of Florida, where she committed to swim in August 2014, joining fellow T&T swimmer Christian Paul Homer,” he said. However, Pouchet said the team still had a good crop of swimmers who will do the team well.
“We do have quality in Jabari Baptiste, Kristin Julien and David Mc Leod , all Youth Olympic qualifiers. Additionally, Jada Chai is expected to pick up medals and fill part of the void left by the last year's top swimmers.” He added, “The team has been prepared well and we expect personal bests and medal winning performances from 95 to 100 per cent of the swimmers. We are also only fielding relays in three of the six age-groups and relays offer double points so we start behind there. “Overall, Pouchet said the team has a good chemistry and the swimmers will be primed to give of their best in the events they are taking part in. Asked his overall aim for the team, Pouchet while not certain of dethroning Guadeloupe, was adamant his team was strong enough for a top five finish. We are also hoping to see some swimmers step up with their performances, he ended.
T&T Carifta Swimming Team
13-14 Boys: Christian Marsden, Kael Yorke, James Gillette
15-17 Boys: Jivan Chee Foon, Andrew Gillette, Kyle Caracciolo
15-17 Girls: Syriah David, Theana Hay, Shania David
11-12 Girls: Jada Chai, Jahmia Harley, Vrisnelit Faure, Deshor Edwards, Sabrina David
11-12 Boys: Gabriel Bynoe, Aqeel Joseph, Josiah Duke, Luke Gillette, Jae-Hwa Lee Wing, Jean-Marc Granderson
13-14 Girls: Amira Pilgrim
13-14 Boys: Justin Samlalsingh, Kael Yorke, Christian Marsden, Osaze Riley, James Gillette, Jeron Thompson, Dario Omiss, Christopher Mohammed
15-17 Girls: Kristen Julien, Ariel Cape, Syriah David,
15-17 Boys: David Mc Leod, Jabari Baptiste, Jeron O’Brien, Jonathan Farah, Joshua Ramkissoon
Technical staff: Mark Pouchet (swimming coach), Hazel Haynes (open water coach), Brian Wickham (assistant coach), Chabeth Haynes (assistant coach), Shastri Sankar (manager).