The Antigua and Barbuda Swimming Federation (ABSF) has selected the national team to compete at the 29th Annual OECS Swimming Championships (2019). This year, the OECS
Championships will be held November 8th to 10th at the Shrewsbury Aquatic Center in St. Vincent.
According to the ABSF President, Dr. Derek Marshall, “Following the successful hosting of
our 6th Annual Club Invitational, the Selection Committee met and chose 34 swimmers to represent Antigua and Barbuda in St. Vincent.” He added, “the team composition showcases our younger talent and is reflective of the future of swimming in Antigua and Barbuda.”
The team is comprised of Keitonya Skepple, Marion Belgrave, Brielle Martin and Sienna West in the Girls 8 & Under category while Zahid Derrick, Horatio Reynolds, and Jamie Tranter will
compete for the boys in the same age category. In the 9 – 10 year-old category, Selah Wiltshire, Madison MacMillan, Ellie Shaw and Isabelle Bremner represent for the girls while Espriit Shaw, Adrian Karam, Davien Barton and Marley Richardson will represent the boys. The Girls 11 – 12 age group consists of Aunjelique Lidde, Jemaria Jackson, Sydnee Hessee, and Alandra Dublin while the boys consists of Naeem D’Souza and Ethan Stubbs-Green. Hailey Derrick, Angelique Gittens, Arianna John and Kimberlee Warner will represent the girls in the 13 – 14 category while Tony Goodwin, Osayba Browne, and Yacine Williams will represent the boys. The 15 – 17 age group is comprised of Olivia Fuller and Anisa Lewis for the girls and Brandon Derrick and Joshua Edwards for the boys. There were no girls selected for the 18 & over age group, however, Daryl Appleton and J’Air Smith will represent for the boys.
Several alternates were identified: 8 & Under Boys – Ruben Edwards, 9 – 10 Girls – Prapti
Sapalya, 9 – 10 Boys – Logan Langlois, 11 – 12 Girls – Emily Gaillard, 11 – 12 Boys – Chase Gaillard, 15 – 17 Girls – Neriah Sandin, and 15 – 17 Boys – Jonathan Edwards. Alternates will practice with the national team, and travel to the meet should a selected member of the team become unavailable for any reason.
The Head Coach for the 2019 OECS Antigua and Barbuda Team is Nelson Molina. He will be
ably assisted by Coach Mark Mitchell and Coach Terrell Bruno. In assessing the team, Coach Nelson said, “We have a very young team but they are all focused and eager to compete. Unfortunately, many of our top swimmers are away at school and were not able to travel for the meet, so that had an impact on our older age groups, but we will still have a competitive squad in the younger age groups and we look forward to seeing how they perform on the larger stage.”
ABSF Vice-President of Pools, and team manager for the traveling team, Darren Derrick,
commented, “This is the largest national team that we field each year but it is probably the one that generates the most excitement, as much of the team is comprised of the younger swimmers, with many of them traveling for an away swim meet for the first time.” He added, “Due to the short time between our Invitational and the OECS meet, the logistics and planning are very challenging, and I would like to commend the entire Travel and Budgetary Committee for all of their hard work.”
The 29th edition of the OECS Swimming Championships is being hosted by the Saint Vincent
and The Grenadines Swimming Federation and all member states of the OECS have been invited (Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Dominica, Montserrat, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines.) As well, an invitation to Sint Maarten and St Martin, to compete as a guest team, was extended by the Federation. Swimmers representing Sint Maartin and St Martin will be eligible for medals but the team will not be eligible for the team championships or individual age group championships.
The Competition will be conducted in accordance with FINA Rules in force at the start of the
competition. Swimmers will compete in 6 age groups, 8 & Under, 9 – 10, 11 – 12, 13 – 14, 15 – 17, and 18 & Over. Age groups for the relay events are 10 & Under, 11 – 14, and 15 & Over.
The Opening Ceremony occurs on the first day of the competition, Friday, 8th November, at
approximately 6:30 p.m. Defending champions, Grenada, will defend the trophy and hope for a fifth consecutive title, while Antigua and Barbuda hope for their first title after placing second in 2018.
Travel to the OECS Swimming Championships is funded, in large part, by the Federation’s
annual Bubbles Fete, which was held on October 26th at the Coolidge Cricket Grounds. Anjanette Wiltshire, head of the planning committee and ABSF Vice-President of Aquatic Development, said, “We are extremely pleased with the turn-out at this year’s Bubbles Fete. The venue changed to accommodate the increase in demand and everyone had a great time. From the feedback and the plans that have already begun, I can tell you that next year will be bigger and better.” She added, “I would like to thank each and everyone who purchased a ticket to support the kids, as well as my fellow committee members, the ABSF Executive, David Isaac, DJ Tanny and EZ P, and all of our sponsors.”
This year’s event was sponsored by Premier Beverages, Antigua Masonry Products, Lava
Entertainment, Signs and Impressions, Hawkeye Security, Paperclips, Epicurean, Britelane Trucking & Solid Waste, VYBZ FM, Antigua Athletic Club, ZDK, Pointe FM and NewsCo Ltd.