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Julien, Mc Leod in record gold Carifta swims
Youth Olympic Games-bound swimmers, Kristin Julien and David Mc Leod were in record breaking form as they claimed two of four individual gold medals, and six overall for T&T on the opening night of finals at the 29th Carifta Swimming Championship on Tuesday night.
Competing at the Piscina Olimpico Roly Bislik, Oranjestad, Savaneta in Aruba, Julien, who lived up to her top seed billing in the 15-17 girls 50 metres backstroke with a 30.86 seconds clocking in the heats, just ahead of Jamaican Danielle Boothe (31.27), returned in the afternoon session to claim gold in 29.84 seconds, bettering the 2012 previous best Carifta time of 30.05 set by countrywoman, Kimberlee John-Williams.
Julien's time was also faster than the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games A standard qualifying time of 29.99. Second was Suriname's Brienne Renfurm in 30.59 followed by Guadeloupe's Charlotte Backovic (30.62) and Boothe (30.91), who all attained the Youth Olympic Games B standard time of 31.42 while T&T's Ariel Cape was fifth in 31.94.
One event later, Mc Leod, who in the morning heats touched the wall in 26.93, to better the Youth Olympic Games A qualifying standard of 27.19 for the 15-17 boys 50m backstroke, once again dominated his rivals with a new Carifta record and World Championship B (26.41) qualifying mark of 26.31 in winning gold ahead of team-mate Jabari Baptiste (27.51) and Bahamian Dionisio Carey (28.01). Both Baptiste and Carey achieved for the second time on the day, the Youth Olympic Games B standard time of 28.14.
The other T&T gold medal winners on the first day were Justin Samlalsingh, Jada Chai, and the 11-12 girls and 15-17 boys 4x100m freestyle relay teams.
Samlalsingh sped to T&T's first gold on the night when he won the 13-14 boys 50m backstroke in 28.42, ahead of Antigua & Barbuda's Noah Mascoll-Gomes (28.82) and Aruban Patrick Groters (28.89).
Chai swam to her first gold of the meet in the 11-12 girls 100m butterfly in 1:08.31, beating Bermuda's Emma Harvey (1:08.61) and Aruban Elisabeth Timmer (1:10.47), respectively, while the other T&T entrant in the final, Vrisnelit Faure was fourth in 1:12.23.
Chai also took bronze in the 50m backstroke in 32.79 behind the record breaking duo of Bermuda's Harvey (31.93) and Danielle Titus of Barbados, who stopped the clock in 32.02 while T&T's Jahmia Harley was eighth in 34.22. Harvey and Titus were faster than the 2012 record of 32.26 set by Jamaican Angara Sinclair.
The 11-12 girls girls 4x100m freestyle quartet of Deshor Edwards, Harley, Faure and Chai, swimming the anchor-leg then combined for gold in 4:22.73, just ahead of Bermuda (4:22.93) while a distant third was Aruba (4:27.22).
Mc Leod also picked up relay gold when he swam the lead-off for the 15-17 boys 4x100m freestyle squad which also included Joshua Ramkissoon, Jeron O'Brien and Baptiste in clocking 3:35.81 well clear of Martinique (3:37.30) and Bahamas (3:40.55).
However, the 13-14 boys combination of Osaze Riley, James Gillette, Christopher Mohammed and Kael Yorke had to settle for silver in 3:47.05, six hundredths of a second behind champion Jamaica (3:46.99) while Martinique took third in 3:47.88.
Yorke also added a bronze in the 100m butterfly in 1:00.61, to trail Bermuda winner Jesse Washington (58.77) and Guadeloupe's Samuel Mannette (1:00.07).
Other T&T swimmers who competed in finals but did not make it to the medal rostrum were Faure (3:02.51) and Sabrina David (3:04.99) who were fifth and seventh respectively in the 11-12 girls 200m backstroke, and Baptiste, who ended joint fifth with Suriname's Wayne Denswil, both clocking 58.83 in the 15-17 boys 100m butterfly.
At the end of day one T&T led the medal table with ten (six gold, two silver, two bronze) medals followed by Bahamas with 13 (four gold, five silver and four bronze), Barbados with eighth (three gold, four silver, one bronze), Aruba with 13 (three gold, three silver, seven bronze) and Suriname with six (three gold, one silver, two bronze).
However, Bahamas led on the points table with 149 after 26 events followed by T&T (124.5), host Aruba (124), Martinique (113) and three-time defending champion Guadeloupe with 101.
Last year, T&T swimmers ended second on the medal table with 51 medals (22 gold, 16 silver and 13 bronze), 13 behind Guadeloupe (17 gold, 28 silver and 19 bronze) while Aruba was third with 50 (21 gold, 17 silver and 12 bronze).
But the Mark Pouchet-coached T&T contingent is without seven of its top swimmers who brought in 23 of the 47 medals won last year in Jamaica including Dylan Carter, Joshua Romany, Alexandria Donahue, Tyla Martin, Andre Goin, Joshua Ramkissoon and Rebecca Marshall due to other commitments.
The Carifta Championships is also serving as an official qualifying meet for the 16th FINA World Championships 2015 which will be held in Kazan, Russia and has been approved as a qualifying meet for Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) in Veracruz, Mexico and the Youth Olympic Games.
Yesterday, on the second morning of heats, T&T had 18 swimmers qualified for finals in the 200m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 100m backstroke and 400m medley relay while today, the 200m individual medley (IM), 50m breaststroke, 100m freestyle, 200m butterfly and 800m freestyle relay events take place.
Medal table after Day One (26 events)
Antigua & Barbuda*1*0*0*1
British Virgin Islands*0*0*1*1
Top Points table after Day One (26 events)
Bahamas – 149 points
T&T – 124.5
Aruba – 124
Guadeloupe – 101
Suriname – 93.5
Jamaica – 81
Barbados – 74
Curacao – 44
Cayman Islands – 36
Bermuda – 34
French Guyana – 29
Antigua & Barbuda – 19
Bermuda – 16
Cayman Aquatics – 13
US Virgin Islands – 9
Grenada – 7
British Virgin Islands - 6
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