Sea Eagles soar in SVG

The Sea Eagles Academy of Barbados made an encouraging maiden appearance at the Gallagher Invitational Swim Meet in St Vincent and the Grenadines over the weekend.

The nine-member young Barbadian swim squad won a massive 35 medals in the Short Course meet at the Shrewsbury Aquatic Centre over the past four days from Thursday to yesterday.

Competing against two clubs from the host country, Blue Marlins and Black Sands, as well as a number of unattached swimmers, Sea Eagles Academy held their own over the four days of competition.

They finished with 244 points overall, while Blue Marlins amassed 698 and were followed by Black Sands on 434 while the Unattached swimmers gained 141 points.

St Gabriel’s schoolboy Blake Graham was the star performer as he swam his way to the Eight and under boys’ overall title with 81 points, gained from an amazing nine gold medals and a bronze. He was also the sprint champion after winning the Elimination for the fastest six swimmers in his age group.

Graham swept the 50-metre freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and backstroke races, while he also won the 25-metre breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly as well as the 100-metre freestyle and individual medley. His lone bronze was in the 25-metre freestyle.

Good Shepherd’s Zachary Lorde was second behind his club mate Graham in that age group with 51 points. Lorde swam to a gold medal in the 25-metre freestyle and also earned six silver medals in the 25-metre breast and back strokes; 50-metre back and breast strokes and the 100-metre freestyle and individual medley. He added a bronze medal in the 25-metre butterfly.

Happy Vale’s Tyler Clarke also gave a commendable showing in the Eight and under age category, with two silver medals and two bronze.

Another Eight and under competitor, Aidan Rock-Wall of St Cyprian’s Boys was third in the division with two silver medals and two bronze medals as well.

His St Cyprian’s schoolmate, Matai Atkins will be returning home with three medals, after swimming to a silver in the 200-metre breaststroke and bronze in the 100-metre breaststroke and 100-metre individual medal in 11-12 age group.

Providence Elementary Kaidyn Chandler-Henry also earned a silver in the 100-metre individual medley and bronze medals in the 100- and 200- metre butterfly and individual medley respectively competing in the 11-12 age category.

Arianna Greene of Queen’s College gave a good account of herself in the Girls’ 11-12 age division with four silver medals in the 100m backstroke and 50-metre freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke. She was also second overall in the sprint elimination challenge.

Wilkie Cumberbatch’s Emmari Goodman and Soniya Graham of Harrison College also made great strides, improving on their personal best times from last December’s Short Course Nationals at the Aquatic Centre in Wildey. 

Coach and founder of Sea Eagles Academy, Roydon Blades was extremely satisfied with the efforts of the young Bajan swimmers in their first overseas meet.

“Our swimmers did really well with a lot of personal best times. I chose this meet especially because it catered to the development of swimmers and enhanced their mental and physical capabilities, competing overseas,” Blades told NATION SPORT in an interview from their hotel yesterday.

“It really opened their eyes to what true and tough competition is about. The competition was very stiff and for our swimmers to taste some victories and podium places, it should inspire them to want to win when they return home and compete,” he noted.

Blades said they took advantage of the two-day mid-term break in the school calendar and the parents made sacrifices for the children to attend the meet.

“They not only competed, but had fun and some of our swimmers, who are normally shy, were able to open up and interact with their competitors and build friendships,” he added.

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