By Neto Baptiste
Having attained the country’s highest ever finish at an international meet when he placed fourth in heat 3 of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, national swimmer Stefano Mitchell believes the best is yet to come for the country’s swimmers at the Olympics.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Mitchell said that it has been tough year for swimmers and athletes in general but believes he did well despite the many challenges.
“It’s definitely been a challenge for everybody, not just Caribbean swimmers because with Covid training has been impacted with having to quarantine, having facilities being shut down so it’s definitely a challenge for everybody. I think that every year the Caribbean swimmers are improving and just to use Antigua as an example, I [fourth place finish] was the highest one of our swimmers have ever finished in the heats so we are constantly improving every year. I firmly believe that in the next four years we should be where we want to be,” he said.
Competing in heat 3 of the Men’s 100m Freestyle held at the Tokyo Aquatic Center, Mitchell finished fourth with a time of 51.64, which kept him out of the semifinal stage of the competition.
Making no excuses, Mitchell highlighted that swimmers here at often at a disadvantage given the lack of proper facilities.
“Just going off of my past experience I didn’t swim in an Olympic size pool until I was about 13 or 14 years old and it was a bit smack in the face because at the time, I didn’t even have a 25 meter pool to train in, it was a 25 yard pool so it was a whole different ball game for me,” the athlete said.
The athlete will now turn his attention to what he said should be a packed year.
“Pan American Games, Commonwealth Games, both short coast and long coast world, so it’s definitely going to be an eventful one for me. Now that I am [trying] to get in my prime shape and prime ability in the sport, these meets are going to be a lot more interesting for me because you’d be going to compete rather than to participate and trying to qualify,” he said.
National women’s swimmer, Samantha Roberts, is slated swim in Heat 5 of the Women’s 50m freestyle on Friday.
Also on Friday, female sprinter Joella Lloyd will compete in heat 3 of the women’s 100 meters events with the first three in each heat set to qualify for the next round. The men’s 100 meters heats are set to start on July 31.