The 26th Annual OECS Swimming Championships were hosted by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Swimming Federation at the Shrewsbury Aquatic Centre (SAC) for the first time from November 10th to 13th inclusive. This year the Championships featured over 180 swimmers from Antigua & Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Martinique, St Lucia and SVG. St Martin (French) and Sint Maarten (Dutch) also competed this year as guest team. This is the first year Martinique entered as a competitive team. With all of these participants, the result was the largest ever OECS Swimming Championships.
The event was a tremendous success despite torrential rains on the first two days. The pool championship was retained by Grenada while Antigua stepped up to second place and St Lucia slipped to third this year. At this stage in our swimming development, SVG simply does not have the depth of swimmers to compete for the team championships and we are at least four years away from being in a position to compete for the overall team championship.
SVG continues to improve in both points attained and in the individual age group competitions. We had some outstanding individual performances. SVG won a total of 49 medals versus our previous best last year of 33. Nine different SVG swimmers were able to win medals this year. Both of those figures are best ever figures for SVG swimming; illustrating continued improvement, effort and talent or skill development in different swimmers.
The Open Water (ocean) swimming component of the Championships event was held on Villa beach on Sunday morning and comprised of a 5K race. Cruz Halbich of SVG retained the overall (and the age group13-15) Championship which he won last year by placing first in a time of 1 hour, 11 minutes and 49 seconds. He was followed in second place by a margin of 6 seconds by Antiguan Sabastien Gobinet. Tyrell Raguette of SVG was third overall (and first in the men 16 to 17 age group) in a time of 1 hour, 13 minutes and 49 seconds. The Girls champion came from Taffi Illis of Sint Marteen swimming in the 13 to 15 age group in a time of 1 hour, 18 minutes and 35 seconds. She was followed by Antiguan Joie Zriebe in second.
In the pool competition we saw the following significant performances from Vincentian swimmers:
- Our Caribbean Gold medalist and CARIFTA record holder, Shné Joachim, returned from school in Canada for the weekend and despite not being at 100% fitness she won seven of her nine races, broke 5 OECS records and tied a sixth record. At the swimming age of 15, Shne also walked away with the overall championship in the girls 15 to 17 age group. Shné swam against several CARIFTA swimmers in her age group.
- Alex Joachim, also a multiple Caribbean and CARIFTA medallist, won 3 Gold medals, 7 silvers and 1 bronze. Alex placed second in the boys 11 to 12 age group behind Jenebi Benoit of Grenada.
- Kennice Greene was outstanding in the girls 8 & Under category and grabbed 2 gold medals, 3 silvers and 1 bronze while placing a very close second in the overall championship for her age group.
- Mya Defreitas was tremendous in winning 2 gold medals in the 200 and 400 meter freestyle races in the girls 9 to 10 age group.
- Our male Olympic swimmer, Nikolas Sylvester, won gold in his strongest race (50 meter Breaststroke) while adding 2 bronze medals in the 50 Freestyle and 100 meter Breaststroke events for the boys 15 to 17 age.
- The boys age 10 and Under relay team brought us Gold in the 200 meter freestyle race. This team comprised Tavonte Forde, Jayson Sandy, Tristan Ballah and Eltonté Leonard.
- Our Caribbean medal winner, Shane Cadogan, swimming in the boys age 13 to 14 group, won 3 silver medals in the 50 meter Freestyle, 50 meter Breaststroke and 100 meter Breaststroke events. Shane’s age group featured several CARIFTA swimmers from Martinque and he finished second in the overall championship for his age group.
- Tavonte Forde swam in the boys age 9 to 10 category and was the surprise of the meet when he won 4 bronze medals in his first OECS swimming championships.
- Other SVG medals winners included a silver for Tristan Ballah, silver for Jamie Joachim and bronze for Eltonte Leonard. Gerard Geowarsingh swam in men age 18 & over and brought us 1 silver and 3 bronze medals.
- Our Girls 10 & Under, Boys age 11 to 14 and Boys 15 & Over each won a bronze medal in the 200 freestyle relay events.
The SVGSF also took this opportunity to hold its 1.5 kilometer open water national championships at the same time as the OECS Open Water 5 kilometer race. Mya Defrietas represented Black Sands Swim Squad and was outstanding in continuing her brilliant swimming from the pool longer distance events. Mya, swimming as a 10 year old, completed the race in an amazing 24 minutes and 49 seconds. Very few swimmers were faster than Mya with one being her 14 year-old brother Aaron who won Gold in the 13 to 14 age group in 23 minutes and 50 seconds and another was Kenus Tally of Bequia United Swim Club (BUSC) who took home the Gold in 24 minutes and 24 seconds in the Boys 15 to 17 age group. Sinke Micah and Emma Marshall of St Martin won gold medals in the Girls 11 to 12 and 13 to 14 age groups respectively. Tavonte Forde of BUSC took the Gold in the Boys 9 to 10 age group and Kenale Alleyne of Blue Marlins Swim Club won Gold in the Boys 11 to 12 age group. Kara Randall of BUSC won the women age 26 & over age group while SVGSF President Stephen Joachim, representing the old folks, took Gold in the Mens 26 & Over category in a time of 33 minutes and 58 seconds.
Hosting an event such as the OECS Swimming Championships is an expensive proposition and the SVGSF wishes to express our appreciation to our major supporters including FLOW, CGM Gallagher Insurance Brokers, Scotiabank, the National Lottery and the SVG Olympic Committee. Without this support we would be unable to host this event.
The President of the SVGSF stated that “these championships were an incredible success in large part because of the volunteers and officials who sacrificed innumerable days and hours in the months leading up to the event. It was a great opportunity to demonstrate how well SVG can host a major regional sporting event”. He further stated that “the hosting of these Championships brought significant revenues into the island economy and provided a chance for visitors to see our island. The friendships developed by these young athletes will in many cases last a lifetime and certainly many fond memories will be had.”
| Complete Results 26th Annual OECS
| 26th Annual OECS Swimming Championships –
SVG swimmers’ Results