Tornadoes Swim Club revels in 2022 national sports awards success

By Sports Desk January 25, 2023
Israel Allen, Rihanna Gayle and Sabrina Lyn all won awards at the 2022 RJR Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards held on January 20, 2023. Israel Allen, Rihanna Gayle and Sabrina Lyn all won awards at the 2022 RJR Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards held on January 20, 2023. Contributed

The three awards won at the recent 2022 RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards have come as a boon of motivation for both athletes and members of the coaching staff of the Tornadoes Swim Club.

On Friday, January 20, three swimmers of the Kingston-based club were recipients of a national award for their successes in both swimming and triathlon over the past year.

Leading the pack in swimming is the now overseas-based,18 -year-old Sabrina Lyn, former Tornadoes Swim Club member, who copped the 2022 Female Swimmer of the Year Award following gold medal performances at the 2022 Carifta Swimming Championships where she also set a personal best time the 100m Butterfly and set a meet record in the relay.

Lyn also won gold and other medals at the inaugural Caribbean Games held in Guadeloupe and set the 200m record in the butterfly at the CCAN Swimming Championship in Barbados.

The talented young swimmer, who was recently accepted to Louisiana State University (LSU) said that receiving the award has been a “very honouring experience”. She said that she felt inspired to walk in the footsteps of Jamaica’s swimming doyenne Alia Atkinson who also received the national honour.

“This makes me feel like I am on track to represent Jamaica and my club and to walk in her footsteps on the Olympic stage,” she said.

Female Triathlete of the Year is Rihanna Gayle copped first place at the the Jamaica National Championship Triathlon and was a silver medalist in the CARIFTA Aquathlon in Bermuda last November.

Gayle also secured silver in the World Triathlon Development Regional Cup hosted in Santa Domingo in October 2022.

“It was a big motivation for me to be there at the ceremony and to be recognized among all the great athletes in Jamaica,” said the 17-year-old, who is a student at the St. Andrew High School for Girls.

“Triathlon is a unique sport, and it takes a lot of work, but I am also willing to work hard to accomplish more and to go further in the Triathlon.”

Sixteen-year-old Israel Allen, a student at Jamaica College and National Triathlon Champion, was elated to receive the Male award and is proud of his achievements in the sport.

Allen has represented Jamaica on various occasions in both competitive swimming and triathlon and has won several awards including a bronze medal for Jamaica at the 2022 CARIFTA Aquathlon.

Head Coach of the Tornadoes, Wendy Lee was in a jubilant mood following last Friday’s announcements and hailed the success of the three awardees who she says, “Have been striving towards excellence since they were eight years old.”

 “These awards are indeed a physical manifestation of the hard work that we continue put in to producing Jamaica’s best aquatics athletes and as head coach, I am extremely proud of the strides that all our athletes are taking led of course by Sabrina, Rihanna, and Israel,” Lee said.

She credits the round of successes the club secured in 2022 to the holistic approach that the club takes to athlete development.

“All of our swimmers are actively pursuing big goals both in and outside of the pool,” Lee said.

“We are committed to age-appropriate training of the highest standards for all our swimmers, and we are truly honoured to continue to facilitate and nurture this tradition of excellence.”

In 2022, the Tornadoes secured victory in seven of nine local meets and are already preparing for what is expected to be continued success in 2023.

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