Youth Of A&B Nab Top Spots In A Major International Swim Meet

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Antigua & Barbuda has had an impressive showing at the 16th Annual Nevis to St Kitts Cross Channel Swim held yesterday.
Representing the country were Austin Vernon Osbourne, 15; Jonathan Edwards, 14; Joshua Edwards, 13; Alliana Spencer, 12; and Sharifa Peters, 10; all of the Marlins Swim Club.
The 2.5 miles swim from Oualie Beach Nevis to Spice Mill St Kitts, which kicked off at 8:30 am attracted over 200 participants from across the region and around the world, from as far as Vietnam. Among the competitors were Olympians and Ironman competitors alike.
Osbourne was the first Antiguan & Barbudan to cross the finish line with a time of 1hr:16mins:46s, making him the second in the boys Under 19 category and 35th overall.
Osbourne said, “The race was good and exciting, but it was difficult swimming against the current because it was pulling me back.”
He said he was proud of his fellow team members for putting on a great performance.
We had a goal to come out here and dominate and that’s what we did,” he added. He was followed closely by Jonathan, who completed the race in 1hr:20mins:03s. His time made him the 3rd place winner in the boys under 19 category and 47th overall.
Joshua crossed the finish line in 7th place for the boy’s under 19 category, with a time of 1hr:25min:10s.
Young Alliana completed the race in the 3rd place for the under 19 girls category with a time of 1hr:20mins:23s.
The team was met with loud cheers and applause from onlookers at the finish line, who were impressed with their performance.
Sharifa Peters who was the youngest unassisted swimmer, was unable to complete the race at the halfway mark, after she fell ill.
A teary-eyed Sharifa said while she was unable to complete the race, she was “proud” to have attempted the difficult swimming challenge.
Coach of the team and president of the swim club, Elizabeth Watkins said despite the 10 year old being determined to complete the race, she was visibly struggling.
“I am very, very proud of her. She really pushed through, even though she wasn’t feeling well she wanted to continue but I could see that she just couldn’t make it,” she added.
Watkins said she was happy with the overall team performance since they had been preparing since January.
The Marlins participated in the event in 2010 and 2011 as well. The 1996 Olympic gold medallist for the 4 x 200 relay, Ashley Whitney of the United States, was the overall winner of the event, after having completed the tiring swim in 55mins.
The race also saw participation from differently-abled persons from St Kitts & Nevis, who have also participated in the Special Olympics.
Chief organiser for the event Winston Crooke said he is hopeful that the race will not only help young people to have more interest in swimming, but help to improve the sport in the region.

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