Giovanni Rivas of Hillview College and Madara Edwards St Augustine Girls High School (SAGHS) captured the top boys' and girls' awards, respectively, at the bmobile National Secondary Schools Swim Meet at the National Aquatics Centre in Couva on January 26.
Both athletes competed in the boys and girls Under-12 category and topped their divisions by splashing to three gold and one silver medal performance each at the annual one-day meet.
Rivas, who also copped the esteemed prize last year, was unbeatable in the 50 metres backstroke with 30.15 seconds, 50m butterfly (29.22), 50m freestyle (27.24) and settled for silver in the 50m breaststroke (38.18).
Edwards also swam to the top of the podium in the 50m butterfly (31.84), 50m breaststroke (39.57), 50m freestyle (29.55) and touched the wall in the second position of the 50m backstroke (36.56).
Following a hectic schedule of events, the pair were presented with their respective accolades by TSTT’s Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations Manager, Anjanie Ramesar-Soom, who credited the youngsters on their stalwart performances.
"Facilitating the development of T&T’s young swimmers such as Giovanni and Madara, among others, is a sound return on investment for us at bmobile," said Ramesar-Soom.
"T&T has already qualified two swimmers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and both athletes, Dylan Carter and Cherelle Thompson are products of this particular meet. At bmobile, we are goal-bound on germinating and generating our multi-faceted talents as we continue to connect communities through sport, education, culture and health."
Hosted by Tidal wave Aquatics, this year represents more than 16 years of sponsorship of the Secondary Schools meet and according to Ramesar-Soom, the organisation intends to extend its commitment to the sport’s development, especially at the youth level.
Rivas’ dominant display significantly aided in the Spartans' claiming its fifth overall and boys’ team title. Hillview tallied 356 points while Fatima College (304) and Bishop Anstey High, Port-of-Spain (248.5) rounded off the top-three overall finishers, respectively. The top two remained the same for boys’ team event while Presentation College, San Fernando (173), completed the podium.
Commanding displays in the pool from Hillview’s Quillon Leera, Josiah Hackett, Loic Seepaul, Rodney Phillip, Adrian Downes, Shivan Maharaj, Gabriel Bynoe, Javed Ghany, Jae-Hwa Lee Wing and Raoul Seepaul affirmed victory for the Spartans.
Meanwhile, Bishop Anstey High, Port-of-Spain (248.5) also retained its Girls Team crown ahead of Holy Name Convent (231.5) and St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain (131), respectively.
Meet co-ordinator Hazel Haynes was in high praise of the tourney’s long-standing, primary sponsors and believes bmobile plays an integral role in providing a safe, healthy and competitive platform for over 40 schools to showcase their talents.
"bmobile’s involvement is crucial to this meet. This year our cost to host was approximately $40,000 and without bmobile, this would be virtually impossible. This event brings together schools to participate in swimming in a friendly environment where they can compete for school honours. bmobile should feel proud they are allowing so many schools to come together to promote the sport of swimming. We appreciate what they are doing for us and for the youth of T&T," Haynes said.
Hillview's coach Sterling Manchouk, who has been with Spartans for two decades, credited his team’s "never-say-die" attitude and their commitment to constantly improving their skills. Non-competitive swimmers train twice a week for one hour on each day while the competitive athletes also combine school training with their respective clubs.
"I concentrate on a lot on technique throughout the year and for competition, we do a lot of speed work. I get a lot of support from the principal and parents and there’s a good team spirit. bmobile’s contribution to swimming helps our youngsters become more focussed in both their academic and sporting prowess," said Manchouk.
2020 Honour roll
Boys: 1 Hillview College, 2 Fatima College, 3 Presentation College San Fernando
Girls: 1 Bishop Anstey High School, Port-of-Spain, 2 Holy Name Convent, 3 St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain
Co-Ed: 1 Vessigny Secondary, 2 North Main College/Western Educational (TIE)
Competitive Boys: Fatima College
Competitive Girls: Bishop Anstey High, Port-of-Spain
Non-Competitive Boys: Hillview College
Non-Competitive Girls: Holy Name Convent
Girls U-12: 1 Madara Edwards, 2 Maidan Edwards, 3 Maia Roberts (all of SAGHS)
Boys U-12: 1 Giovanni Rivas (Hillview), 2 Shaelen Reece (Fatima), 3 Zachary Anthony (Fatima)
Girls 13-14: 1 Amari Ash (Northgate), 2 Joy Blackett (Miracle Ministries); 3 Zoe Anthony (Bishop Anstey)
Boys 13-14: 1 Zarek Wilson (Presentation, San Fernando), 2 Nikoli Blackman (Fatima), 3 Josiah Changar (Trinity East)
Girls 15 & Over: 1 Jahmia Harley (Bishop Anstey East), 2 Deshor Edwards (San Juan North), 2 DeNicha Lewis (Holy Name)
Boys 15 & Over: 1 Gabriel Bynoe (Hillview), 2 Jae-Hwa Lee Wing (Hillview), 3 Kadon Williams (Vessigny)
Girls U-12: 1 Kristin George (Vessigny), 2 Kadijah James (Vessigny), 3 Chelsea Fuller (St Joseph’s Convent, PoS)
Boys U-12: 1 Paul Newallo (St Benedict’s), 2 Darion St Clair (Presentation, San Fernando), 3 Raoul Seepaul (Hillview)
Girls 13-14: 1 Ashley Thomas (Holy Name), 2 Ciarra Ghany (SAGHS), 3 Rebecca Lezama (Holy Name)
Boys 13-14: 1 Rodney Phillip (Hillview), 2 Nicholas Look (Presentation, San Fernando), 3 Reuel Seecharan (Presentation, San Fernando)
Girls 15 & Over: 1 Kyla Hinkson (Bishops), 2. Elise-Marie Woodyear (Holy Name), 3 Michelle Lue-Fatt (St Joseph’s Convent, PoS)
Boys 15 & Over: 1 Loic Seepaul (Hillview), 2 Kareem Mason (St Mary’s); 3 Adrian Downes (Hillview)