The national swim teams to both the Carifta Swimming Championships and the Commonwealth Games in April, will be without key athletes after two senior swimmers were forced to forgo the meets for varying reasons.
This is according to Vice President and Technical Director for the Antigua and Barbuda Swimming Federation (ABSF), Edith Clashing, who said England-based female swimmer, Chelsea Winter and top male swimmer, Noah Mascoll-Gomes, will not be representing the twin-island state at the meets.
Winter was slated to attend the Carifta Swimming Championships, while Gomes was to attend the Commonwealth Games.
Gomes’ unavailability, Clashing said, is work related.
“He [Gomes] is actually here in Antigua, however, because he is now working, and I think whatever it is he wants to accomplish, and with the season being very busy for him at the moment, and it’s a new job, so he has chosen not to go. He’s not swimming as actively but he is planning to start back more actively after the season,” she said.
The federation, on Tuesday, named a six-member Carifta team ahead of the event in Jamaica.
Bianca Mitchell, Gabriella Gittens, Hailey Derrick, Olivia Fuller, Daryl Appleton and Jason Bento have all been selected to represent the twin-island state. They were chosen from a pool of 14 swimmers who would have all made the qualifying standards.
The technical director explained the reason for such a small team given the high number of qualifiers.
“Some of them are going to the Commonwealth Games, which is right after [Carifta], and you just can’t do both. Others have injuries and some have CXCs like our Lleyton Martin, for example, is not on the team because of his preparation for CXCs. He’s actually doing 16 subjects and with the load and the demand, he has chosen not to go,” Clashing said.
Meanwhile, Stefano Mitchell, Jadon Wuilliez, Makaela Holowchak and Aliah Maginley will represent Antigua and Barbuda at the 4-15 April Commonwealth Games in Australia. Maginley replaced Samantha Roberts who is recovering from an injury.
The athletes will prepare with their various clubs ahead of the meets but will also have some sessions with the selected national coach.
“In our structure, because we don’t have an official or an ongoing national team, they will be training in their clubs with their own club coaches and then we will come together for, at least, two or three practices together so that they get familiar with the warm-up routine and those who are not training with the coach selected to go, they get used to his style and that sort of thing,” Clashing said.
The teams were finalised following last weekend’s National Swimming Championships held at the Antigua Athletic Club.