16-year-old Vernon Osborne was the first Caribbean native out of the water this past weekend at the Nevis to St. Kitts 5 kilometer Cross Channel swim.
The young swimmer, representing the Marlin Swim Club out of Antigua, placed 14th overall and completed the race in a time of 1 hour 11 minutes and 48 seconds (1:11.48) improving on his outing last year of 1:16.46.
Vernon competed against athletes from all over the world including the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, France and included Caribbean countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Guadeloupe and St. Maarten. 143 swimmers in all took part in this years open water challenge.
“The swim was very challenging compared to last year” recalled the young Osborne.
“Inside coming towards the finish, it was a very challenging current going both ways.”
Vernon said, “this is a big accomplishment for me because last year I came second behind a guy from St. Maarten, but this year I made sure I did my best and came in first.”
Vernon was apart of a 4-person team representing his swim club and his country. The other members also brought home victory hardware as Jonathan Edwards, 15, claimed the under-15 open water title in a time of 1:19:49 while placing 28th overall. His younger brother Joshua, 14, completed the swim in a time of 1:22:49 placing 36th overall (2nd U-15 male). The lone female on the team, 13-year old Alliana Spencer completed her race in a time of 1:44:05 while placing 92nd overall.
“Of course I’m very proud of all my swimmers they represented team and country extremely well,” said coach Marlin coach Elisabeth Watkins on her team’s performance.
“They all improved their times over last year and not only kept pace with a lot of the international professionals but were ahead of them in a lot of instances.”
58-year old veteran Antiguan triathlete Peter Wall also made the journey to St. Kitts and not only did a time of 1:41:55 for his 5k swim, he asked the officials to swim back to St. Kitts for another 5k trek atop the water.