Two of T&T’s top young swimmers, Giovanni Rivas (Hillview College Spartans) and Joy Blackett (Miracle Ministries), captured the 2019 bmobile Secondary Schools’ Swim Meet Top Performer awards when the annual tourney climaxed at the National Aquatic Centre in Couva.
Both dominated in the male and female 12 & Under categories respectively, as Rivas amassed 36 points after a series of flawless performances that led to victories in the Boys 50-metre events of the freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and his backstroke event. He concluded 2018 by writing his name into the record books in December, shattering the national records for boys 9-10, 50m and 100m backstroke (short course), 50m and 100m backstroke (long course) and the 100m butterfly.
And last month he started 2019 with a commanding performance.
Blackett, on the other hand, impressed in the Girls equivalent, splashing to double gold in the 50m back and butterfly, silver in the breaststroke and bronze in the freestyle. The slender-built swimmer also mesmerised at the inaugural Torpedoes Swim Club Invitational recently by topping the 11-12 girl division. Blackett has already represented T&T at two Goodwill Swim Meets (2015 & 2017) and has since racked up over a dozen medals in the process.
The pair was presented with their individual trophies by TSTT’s Manager of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations, Anjanie Ramesar-Soom, who said, “Our support for young and upcoming swimmers is longstanding. We remain dedicated to creating platforms for this nation’s budding athletes to excel. Sport is one of the key elements that make up our bmobile Foundation and we are passionate about joining communities and schools through these initiatives.”
Giovanni’s father and coach Mark Rivas, expressed pleasure with his overall performance and credited bmobile for providing an avenue for young swimmers for the past 16 years in their transition from juveniles to juniors, and eventually to the senior divisions.
“I just want him to achieve his full potential. I know he dreams of representing his home country on the Olympic stage and it will take a lot of hard work and commitment. I have implemented the use of modern technology in his training regime which I use to assess his turns, pulls, types of stroke and stroke rates. This helps us focus more on his technique which plays an integral role in evaluating his progress,”
Similarly, Blackett’s mom, Alicia, ensures that her daughter creates a synchronised harmony between her swim routine and schooling. “Balancing her academics and swimming is crucial to building an all-around athlete,” she said.
The 13-year old Form Two student began swimming at Sevilla Private Primary at age five, then moved to Central Athletic Club and now competes for Tidal Wave Aquatics. Her regime runs from Monday to Saturday and is led by the mother/daughter team of Hazel and Chabeth Haynes.