Despite extremely challenging times during the COVID-19 pandemic, three of Antigua and Barbuda’s top swimmers continue their record-breaking performances.
In recent meets in the United States, Stefano Mitchell, Noah Mascoll-Gomes and Samantha Roberts delivered National age-group and National records in a variety of (long course metres) events, raising the standard of swimming and making Antigua and Barbuda proud.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Swimming Federation (ABSF), Dr. Derek Marshall, complimented the swimmers stating, “The performances of Samantha, Noah and Stefano are outstanding, even more so during these challenging times. These performances demonstrate a level of dedication and hard work that needs to be applauded and on behalf of the entire swimming fraternity, I would like to congratulate all of the swimmers, their coaches and supporters on their fantastic results.”
Fresh off of their previous record -breaking performances at the Union Americana de Natación (UANA), FINA-sanctioned 2021 UANA Tokyo Olympics Swimming Qualifier, hosted at the Orlando Health National Training Center on April 29 – May 2 2021, Noah, Samantha and Stefano, produced a total of 5 new national records at the Puerto Rico International Swimming Open, held this past weekend at the Natatorio de San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico held May 20 – 23 2021
During that previous meet, Stefano Mitchell set national age group (18 & over) and national records in 50-freestyle at 23.37 seconds, and the 50-metre fly at 25.30 seconds. Samantha Roberts, also delivered a new record in the 50-metre butterfly with a time of 29.12 seconds, while Noah Mascoll-Gomes set the record of 4:02.71 in 400-metre freestyle.
Most recently, and approximately three weeks later, at the Puerto Rico International Swimming Open, the swimmers were at it again. This time, Stefano bested his previous 100-metre freestyle record and took home a bronze medal, while setting the new mark at 51.57 seconds. He also bested his previous 50-metre freestyle record, set just 3 weeks prior (23.44), delivering a time of 23.12 seconds. Not yet finished, Stefano powered his way past his old record of 2:14.96 in the 200-metre individual medley, to a new record of 2:14.36.
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Teammate Samantha Roberts contributed to the record-breaking performances by swimming to a new, national record of 1:00.09 in the 100-metre freestyle. Eclipsing the previous record of 1:00.31 which she set at the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2018.
Noah Mascoll-Gomes also continued his record-breaking ways by shaving over half of a second off his previous record of 28.46 seconds in the 50-metre backstroke, which he set at CARIFTA in 2015. Noah has now updated the record time to 27.94 seconds.
ABSF President Marshall explained that the record-breaking performances were extremely welcomed at this time, especially when considering that the country’s main swimming facility, The Antigua Health and Fitness Club at the VC Bird International Airport, has closed and that has displaced the majority of local swimmers. The situation has disrupted programs in all aspects of the sport, from learn-to-swim to the competitive ones. He said, “The records set by Noah, Samantha and Stefano, highlight the challenges that the sport faces locally. These athletes, and all of the swimmers that have the ability to continue to train at this time, demonstrate what is possible with hard work and dedication. When our athletes have access to facilities and coaching, they perform at an extremely high level”. He continued, “Swimming has been on the rise for a number of years and despite the challenges of COVID-19, we hope to keep it so by finding short, medium and long-term solutions to the issues surrounding swimming facilities in Antigua and Barbuda. The ABSF Executive, and the entire swimming fraternity, are convinced that with the proper support, swimming will produce Antigua and Barbuda’s first Olympic podium finish.”
Antigua and Barbuda’s National Swim Team next participates in the 2021 CCCAN Championships to be held at the San Juan Natatorium Aquatic Complex in Puerto Rico, June 20– 27 2021.