The pool at the Viper’s Aquatic Facility at Langfords was boiling with hot
performances during the recently held 7th National Swimming Championships. The event,
hosted by the Antigua and Barbuda Swimming Federation (ABSF), took place February, 28th to March 1st, 2020.
The three-day meet saw over 90 swimmers competing to become National Age Group
High Points Champions while also attempting to improve their times and qualify for the
upcoming Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) Swimming Championships and
Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) 2020. With
swimmers as young as 5, the Nationals was a mix of development and high performance.
The Minister of Sports, Culture, National Festivals and the Arts, Hon. Daryll Matthew
gave the featured address at the opening ceremony and encouraged the ABSF and the swimmers to continue on their paths to success and stressed the importance of sports in everyday life.
Also giving opening remarks was Mr. Phillip Isaacs, Antigua and Barbuda Olympic Association (ABOA) 3rd Vice President, who provided a historical perspective of swimming in Antigua and Barbuda as he urged the swimmers to do their best and be excellent ambassadors for the nation.
Leading off the recording setting performances was young Kaylee Warner, swimming in
the 6 and under age-group category, who scored an impressive six national age group records (NAGR) over the weekend. Kaylee set new marks in the 25 metre backstroke (23.56), the 50 metre backstroke (50.32) the 100 metre backstroke (1:55.41), the 50 metre breaststroke (1:02.20), the 100 metre breastroke (2:19.13) and the 200 meter freestyle (3:47.45).
Eight year-old Keitonya Skepple also had an exceptional meet with 100% time
improvements and three NAGRs on her way to securing the girl’s high points trophy in the 8 and under age-group. Keitonya secured her records in the 400 metre freestyle (6:29.83), the 200 metre freestyle (3:00.18) and the 100 metre backstroke (1:39.46).
Moving up in age, the girls kept the record-breaking momentum going. Selah Wiltshire,
swimming in the 11 – 12 age group, posted a NAGR in the 200 metre breaststroke (3:12.69), besting her previous record set in January. Selah also set a AAA (triple-A) time in the 50 metre freestyle (29.36) in the 50 metre freestyle.
Meanwhile, Hailey Derrick swam hard to claim the high points trophy in the girls 13 – 14
age-group, securing four NAGRs and one national record (NR) along the way. Hailey’s NR and NAGR record came in the 200 metre butterfly with a time of 2:30.49, while her NAGRs were accomplished in the 100 metre butterfly (1:07.36), the 200 metre freestyle (2:12.04) and the 400 metre freestyle (4:40.69). Hailey also obtained her second AAA time, which qualifies her for CCCAN later this year.
On the boys’ side, Tivon Benjamin continued his winning ways with two NAGRs and a
NR. Tivon, although only 12 and swimming the 11 -12 age-group, set the NR in the 800 metre freestyle, where he swam an impressive time of 9:31.35. He also set the 100 metre freeetyle NAGR (57.13), and swam personal bests in 11 of 12 events on his way to capturing the high points trophy in his age category.
Jamie Tranter captured the high points champion title in the boys 8 and under age
category and set a NAGR in the Jamie NAGR in 100 metre backstroke (1:34.65).
Brandon Derrick also swam his way to the title of high points champion in the boys 15 –
17 age category, also set a new NAGR when he eclipsed his past record in the 800 metre
freestyle and with a time of 9:41.33.
Addressing the record breaking performances over the weekend, President of the ABSF
Dr. Derek Marshall, said, “The Nationals produced outstanding results, especially from the girls. Young Kaylee’s six record breaking performances proves that the future of swimming is bright in Antigua and Barbuda”. He added, “I would like to congratulate all the swimmers – especially the high point champions and records setters in each age group category. They swam with purpose and delivered an excellent show for the spectators.”
Beyond the broken records, the meets also saw outstanding performances by the likes of
Davien Barton who had 100% improvement in times and qualified for CARIFTA with two AA
(doube-A) times in the 50 metre and 200 metre freestyle. Ethan Stubbs-Green also qualified for CARIFTA with 2 AA times in the 100 metre butterfly and the 400 metre freestyle. Meanwhile, Arianna John lifted the high points trophy in the girls 15 – 17 age group, while Jamie Trantor (high points champion 8 and under, boys) and Tony Goodwin (high points champion 13 – 14 boys) had perfect weekends scoring 10 golds each. Adrian Karam had a near perfect weekend on his way to boys’ high points champion in the 9 – 10 age group with nine golds and one silver.
While reflecting on the meet, Vice President of Pools Darren Derrick, stated, “We had
three days of glorious weather during the meet and I would like to thank all the sponsors,
officials, volunteers and screaming supporters that made the event successful. We had 93
swimmers compete in the ABSF Nationals and 17 national age group records were broken. Most of those were in the younger age-groups, so that is an excellent sign for the future of swimming.”
Derrick confirmed that the high point champions in each age category are restricted to nationals of Antigua and Barbuda.
High point champions: 8 and under – Keitonya Skepple (Girls) and Jamie Trantor
(Boys), 9 – 10 years old – Davina Barton (Girls) and Adrian Karam (Boys), 11 – 12 year old –
Aungelique Liddie (Girls) and Tivon Benjamin (Boys), 13 – 14 years old – Hailey Derrick
(Girls) and Tony Goodwin (Boys), 15 – 17 years old – Arianna John (Girls) and Brandon
Derrick (Boys), 18 and over – Darryl Appleton (Boys). There was no 18 and over female
The ABSF National Swimming Championships was the last local qualifying event for
CARIFTA 2020. The ABSF Selection Committee will review the results from the meet and
those of overseas qualifiers and name the national swimming team to head to Barbados.
CARIFTA 2020 is scheduled to occur on Easter Weekend (April 10th – 14th) in
Barbados. The meet is an approved qualified for the XXXII Olympiad 2020 to be held in Tokyo, Japan this summer.