Antigua and Barbuda’s National Swim Team returned from Lima, Peru on Tuesday after participating in the UANA Swimming Cup hosted by Union Americana de Natacion (UANA). The event was held at The Videna Aquatic Complex, February 21st – 23rd, 2020.
Leading the team’s stellar performance was Tivon Benjamin who returned home with one gold and one bronze medal in 100 meters freestyle and 50 meters butterfly respectively.
Swimming in the Boys 11 – 12 age-group, Tivon also delivered top-ten performances, and personal best times, in each of the six events that he swam. His gold-medal time of 56.98 in the 100 meters freestyle also gave him the new National Age Group Record (NAGR), and was his third NAGR record for the meet; the first being in the 400 meters freestyle where he posted a time of 4:42.52, and the other in the 100 meters backstroke with a time of 1:09.78.
Thrilling performances were also delivered by the other members of the team, including a AAA (triple-A) qualifying time by Sydnee Hesse in Girls 11 – 12 50 meters freestyle.
Sydnee’s time of 30.25 is the first step for her to qualify for the upcoming Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) Championships to be held later this year – a meet which requires two AAA times for participation.
Teammate Angelique Gittens swam to a personal best and new NAGR with a time of 1:09.34 in the Girls 13 – 14 100 meters butterfly event and secured a personal best of 2:22.05 in the 200 meters freestyle. She also secured her second AAA time, and CCCAN qualification, with a 31.33 in the 50 meters butterfly.
Tony Goodwin, swimming in the Boys 13 – 14 age-group, delivered personal best times in seven of the eight events that he swam, missing some AAA qualifying times by mere hundredths of a second in some cases. This puts him in a good position to secure his CCCAN qualifying times in the upcoming National Swimming Championships later this month.
Although Team Captain Olivia Fuller and teammate Selah Wilthsire fell ill during the meet, they both persevered and delivered brave performances in the pool, with Selah achieving a personal best in the 100 meters breaststroke and a top-ten performance in the 50 meters breaststroke.
Speaking of the swimmers’ performances, Head Coach Nelson Molina said, “I am extremely pleased by the focus that the swimmers had for this meet and I am proud of their performances. I would like to congratulate Tivon on his excellent medal performances and the entire team on a job well done. They competed against the best and they did extremely well.”
Adding to that praise was ABSF President Derek Marshall who said, “I would like to congratulate the entire team for their excellent performances. We fielded a small, young team but they delivered, and they represented Antigua and Barbuda with pride. It should be noted that the UANA Cup is a premier meet in the hemisphere with strong representation from the likes of Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.”
Local swimming action continues with the 7th National Swimming Championships, February,28th to March 1st, 2020 at the Viper’s Aquatic Facility located at Langfords.