Top Swimmers Recognized at ABSF Awards Ceremony

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Mininster of Sports Hon. Daryll Matthew (right) and ABSF President Dr. Derek Marshall (Photo credit: Brandon Derrick)

The Antigua and Barbuda Swimming Federation (ABSF) recently hosted its
awards ceremony at the Antigua and Barbuda Health and Fitness Club to recognize its top
swimmers in a variety of categories.

The ABSF awards was conceived as a way of recognizing the Federations athletes for the
dedication and the hard work they put into the sport during the year under review. The awards also feed into the annual National Sports Awards held by the Ministry of Sports.
Unlike other associations and federations, the ABSF acts a facilitator to the awards
process.

Coaches and clubs are responsible for making nominations to the Awards Committee
which is comprised of independent members who are knowledgeable of the sport of swimming but not actively involved in any day-to-day activities or committees. According to the President of the ABSF, Dr. Derek Marshall, “The awards process guarantees transparency and impartiality.

It is important to note that ABSF Executive members do not nominate swimmers or coaches and they do not vote on the nominations. This is a process that is driven by the clubs for their benefit and for the benefit of their members.” He added, “I would like to thank this year’s Awards Committee members, Chairman Craig Walter, Ms. Gillian Bigler and Ms. Diana Watt for their hard work.

Swimming is a sport that is successful because of committed volunteers and
the Committee members have certainly demonstrated their commitment to the sport.”
The age group category winners for this year’s ABSF Awards were: Keitonya Skepple
(female) and Zahid Derrick (male) for 8 & Under. Selah Wiltshire (female) and Adrian Karam (male) for the 9 – 10 age group. Jermaria Jackson (female) and Tivon Benjamin (male) for the 11 – 12 age group. Hailey Derrick (female) and Tony Goodwin (male) for 13 – 14 age group, and Olivia Fuller for 15 – 17 females.

The ABSF also provided age group awards for “Most Improved” swimmers. In the 8 &
Under age group, Anushree Sapute (female) and Leo Warne (male) were recognized for their improvement over the year. The 9-10 age group saw Madison MacMillan (female) and Osahar Browne (male) top the lists of worthy recipients. While Mila Slekis-Monton (female) and Arianna John (female) took home the most improved swimmer awards for the 11 -12 and 13-14 age group categories respectively.Coach of the year went to Mark Mitchell of the Antigua Swim School/Riptide and Club of the Year went to the Riptide Swim Club.

The overall junior and senior swimmers of the year went to Jadon Wuilliez and Olivia
Fuller for Junior male and Junior female respectively. While Senior male swimmer went to

Noah Mascoll-Gomes and Senior Female Swimmer of the Year was awarded to Samantha
Roberts.

ABSF Vice-President of Pool Based Swimming Darren Derrick, congratulated all of the
nominees and winners, saying, “Swimming is growing and on the rise. I would like to
congratulate all of the nominees and the eventual winners. They are all deserving. Our crop of junior and senior sportspersons of the year awardees are strong contenders. They have all broken several national records this year and continue to excel. I am very proud of the slate of nominees that we will present for consideration at the National Awards.”
A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the two-time, past Vice President of Pool Based Swimming, Mr. Roy Bento in recognition of his outstanding
accomplishments, contributions and dedication to the sport of swimming in Antigua and
Barbuda. Mr. Bento was praised for his hard work in developing pool-based swimming and for laying the foundation for the Federation and the constitution upon which it now sits.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, the Minister of Sports, Culture, National Festivals and
the Arts, Honourable Daryll Matthew, complimented the Federations for its good work in
advancing the sport of swimming in the twin-island nation and the consistent performance of the ABSF. He said, “The ABSF should be commended for consistently being one of the top associations in the country”.

The Minister also pledged to work alongside the swimming fraternity to promote the sport and to help realize the dream of establishing an aquatic center in Antigua and Barbuda.
As usual, the ABSF invites anyone with an interest in learning to swim or wanting to
improve their strokes to visit a local swimming club and enquire about their programmes.

The Antigua and Barbuda National Swim Team next travels to Peru to take part in the UANA
Swimming Cup hosted by Union Americana de Natacion (UANA). The event is scheduled to be held at The Videna Aquatic Complex, in Lima, Peru, February 21st – 23rd, 2020.

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