Rain and travel affected the start of the 26th OECS Swimming Championships at the Shrewsbury Aquatic Centre in St Vincent & the Grenadines on Thursday.
Travel to the host country was hampered by inclement weather which saw flooding close the E T Joshua Airport on Wednesday. Teams, including Antigua & Barbuda’s, were delayed in Barbados for many hours before a small contingent was able to travel when the airport opened.
Unfortunately, the team was separated and the coaches, some team members and supporters were left stranded in Barbados. With LIAT unable to accommodate a contingency plan, alternative travel was being investigated in order to get the delayed contingent into St Vincent.
Although rain continued to fall, the organizers of the event continued as planned with modifications to the night races on Thursday. It was decided that swimmers would compete for individual medals and points but team points would not be considered. This concession was made to ensure that the teams that were at a disadvantage due to stranded members would not be adversely affected in team calculations.
Races for the evening were also curtailed to 100 metre freestyle and 400 metre freestyle. The planned team relays in the 400 meter medley relay were postponed to allow absent teammates to arrive.
Results of evening’s races were unavailable due to the mixed age group race format.
The team consists of Lola Norwood-Perkins, Madison MacMillan, Selah Wiltshire and Emily Gaillard who will carry the country’s flag in the girls’ eight and under category, while Tivon Benjamin, Alister Knoblauch and William Tranter will represent in the boys’ equivalent.
In the 9-10 category, Hailey Derrick, Angelique Gittens, Kimberlee Warner and Jaya Isaac-Carr will battle in the girls’ division, while Luke Pollen-Brooks, Naeem DeSouza, Kalan Christopher and Lucah Mascoll-Gomes are set to swim in the boys’ category.
Leading the country’s charge in the girls’ division of the 11-12 pool are Olivia Fuller, Maia Nord-Hadeed and Arianna John. Joshua Edwards, Tanner Esty and Kyle Christopher will compete in the boys’ category of the 11-12 age group.
Antigua & Barbuda will also compete in the 13-14 age category with Bianca Mitchell, Gabriella Gittens, Zoe Dennis and Sally Benjamin diving into the pool for team Antigua & Barbuda. Lleyton Martin, Jadon Wuilliez, Alexander Bento and Diallo Marshall will represent in the boys’ equivalent.
The rest of the OECS team includes, from the 15-17 age category (girls); Devon Wuilliez, Joie Zriebe, Aliah Maginley; (boys) Stefano Mitchell, Nathan Marshall and Daryl Appleton.
In the 18 and over category, there will be Camaria Sampson (girls) and (boys) J’Air Smith and Robert Watkins.
The team will be coached by Terrell Bruno with assistance from Nelson Molina and Wayne Mitchell.
Meanwhile, six swimmers will contest the Open Water Championships, slated for November 13.
The athletes are Sally Benjamin in the 14-15 girls’ division. She will be joined by Sebastian Gobinet and Brandon Derrick in the boys division of the said age group.
In the 16-17 age category, Joie Zriebe will contest the girls’ category with Appleton in the boys’ race. Aliah Maginley will be the country’s lone participant in the 18 and over category as she swims in the women’s division.