Trinidad and Tobago’s impressive run at the Central American and Caribbean Confederation (CCCAN) Swimming Championships, continued on the penultimate day of action, with the in-form Liam Carrington leading the way in El Salvador on Thursday.

Carrington’s exploits in the boys’ 13-14 age group, saw Trinidad and Tobago in third position as the highest ranked Caribbean Island with seven gold, three silver and 11 bronze medals, followed by Haiti with three gold, two silver and one bronze, while Jamaica, who also had some decent performances in patches, comes next with three gold and six bronze. Dominican Republic (one gold, three silver and seven bronze), are next.

Mexico with 69 gold, 62 silver and 31 bronze, head the medal standings ahead of El Salvador (eight gold, six silver and nine bronze).

Carrington continued his impressive vein of form, as he topped the boys’ 13-14 400m individual medley (IM) in a new personal best 4:42.35, which saw him become the third fastest Caribbean athlete in the event.

It was Carrington’s third gold medal of the five-day championship at that point, as he won ahead of the Mexican pair of Hector Zamora Monzon (4:46.34) and Fernando Rodriguez Cuevas (4:48.95).

The Jamaican pair of Kia Alert and Noland Barrett also showed fine form, as both extended the Caribbean celebrations with back-to-back gold medal performances in the girls’ and boys’ 11-12 50m freestyle.

Alert, who entered the final with the fastest time of 28.05s, justified favouritism, as she outclassed rivals to win in 27.79s, not too far off the record of 27.46s held by Jillian Crooks of Cayman Islands since 2018. Mexico’s Carolina Romero Ojeda (28.01s) was second, with Trinidad and Tobago’s Breanna Belmar (29.09s) third.

In the boys’ event, Barrett, who earlier clocked a personal best of 2:07.21 for bronze in the 200m freestyle – Jamaica’s first medal in the age-group event in 20 years –proved more formidable in the shorter format. He stopped the clock in 26.29s, ahead of Mexico’s Bernardo Gomez Gonzalez (26.44s) and Felipe Alvarez (26.58s).

Jamaica had another bronze in the girls’ 13-14 event courtesy of Rianna Scott, who touched in 27.71s, behind the Mexican pair of Valeria Tarin (27.22s) and Sylvanna Luna Casillas (27.31s).

Darren Belfon (24.33s) and Carrington (24.52s) then secured a one-three finish for the twin island republic in the boys’ 13-14 50m freestyle, with Mexico’s Carlos Moreno Sarmiento (24.48s), separating them.

Trinidad and Tobago had more success in the girls’ 15-17 50m freestyle where Amari Ash, left rivals in her wake to win in 26.71s, bettering Mexico’s Valeri Villarreal Rodriguez (26.95s) and Habbi Abrin Vargas (27.04s).

The boys’ 15-17 50m freestyle was won by Panama’s Julio Rodriguez Rosales (23.43s), ahead of Haiti’s Raphael Grand Pierre (23.68s) and Javier Nunez Barreras (23.75s) of Dominican Republic.

Carrington was again the Caribbean’s top performer in the 100m backstroke sequence, as he won the 13-14 event in 59.21s, again denying a Mexican duo in Oliver Lund Centelles (59.36s) and Matt William Flores Mora (59.47s).

The Caribbean’s next best performances came in the boys’ 11-12 event where Zion John Baptiste of Virgin Islands Swimming placed third in 1:05.66, behind Matias Rojas (1:04.91) of Costa Rica and Felipe Alvarez (1:05.66).

Trinidad and Tobago’s Johann-Matthew Matamoro (58.83s) was also third in the boys’ 18 and over event, behind Costa Rica’s Guido Montero (58.33s) and Diego Angel Montoya Arias (58.70s) of Mexico.

Haiti’s Christian Jerome was the Caribbean’s lone medallist in the 200m butterfly sequence. He topped the boys’ 13-14 event in 2:10.51, turning back the challenge of another Mexican duo Franco Santiago Soria Marquez (2:12.13) and Erick Raul Villalpando Frausto (2:14.95).

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago brought the curtains down on the penultimate day of action with a bronze medal finish in the boys’ 13-14 4X200m freestyle relays. The team of Carrington, Anpherne Bernard, Liam Roberts and Belfon, clocked 8:28.03, behind Mexico (8:08.99) and Costa Rica (8:24.33).

With the Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) championships beckoning, Jamaica's swimmers and officials are buzzing about the possibilities, as they gear up for tough competition in El Salvador.

The 17-member team to be headed by coach Kafia Rapley is currently very active in preparation and will have another week or two to put the final pieces in place ahead of their August 12 departure.

During that build up period, the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) will also be seeking to bridge the gap in $6.1 million budget to ease pressure off the parents in getting the team to the championships scheduled for August 14-18.

Though they have made some inroads, with other potential sponsors making commitments to come on board, ASAJ president Martin Lyn says they welcome those who would want to offer further assistance at this point.

“CCCAN is a parent supported event with a very big budget, we have gotten some of that money so far and we have other sponsors coming on board. But we certainly welcome if anybody else wants to come on board because that would only be good for us and the swimmers because the reality is that this is a very big championship for us,” Lyn told reporters during a press briefing at the National Aquatic Centre on Thursday.

While the administration oversees that aspect of things, Head coach Rapley is more focused on having the athletes mentally and physically prepared to showcase their prowess against the likes of Panama, Mexico, Puerto Rico, as well as Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas, Barbados, and of course, the host nation, among others.

A few of the country’s standout swimmers in last year’s team captain Zaneta Alvaranga, Sabrina Lyn, who recently competed at the World Aquatic Championships and Kito Campbell, who recently broke a national record, are noticeably absentees from the team.

“Preparation has been going well, we currently meet twice per week to do team building, bonding and also training. Not having some of the more senior swimmers is beyond our control and their presence will certainly be missed, but the swimmers that will travel are expected to be competitive,” Rapley told journalists.

Following a number of superb performances at the Carifta Swimming Championships earlier this year, Jamaica's contingent will no doubt embark on a quest to make further inroads on the regional rankings.

Though admitting that matching and, by extension, surpassing last year’s 25-medal haul, will take some doing with this small contingent, she believes a number of personal best times could certainly be rewritten when the Jamaicans take to the pool at this year's five-day championship.

Jamaica also placed fifth on the point standings last year, with 418.5 points, behind Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Bahamas, in that order.

“With a smaller team it's going to be very difficult to match or surpass last year's tally, but what I am looking forward to is our relay teams because those combinations will be very competitive. I don't see why we shouldn't come out with podium finishes there. Individually, the swimmers are doing well but again, to match last year's haul will be a stretch,” Rapley shared.

That said, Rianna Scott, the lone female in the 13-14 age group, overseas-based Carolyn Levy-Powell and 15-17 swimmers Leanna Wainwright and Devaughn Robe, who both qualified for the World Aquatic Junior Championships, are expected to lead the medal charge.

“Some of these swimmers are the future of Jamaica's Aquatics, they are coming from the Carifta Games and most if not all of them competed at the Goodwill Games last year, so they have literally been through every phase of competition representing the country,” Rapley said.

“You have swimmers like Jessica Denniston, who won gold at the Carifta Games, Kai Radcliffe, who has several regional medals and Waldon McIntosh, who has won several medals at this very championship. We also have a few first-timers for CCCAN and we are going to see how they do and what they are made of. So, I'm satisfied with what I have, I'm liaising with the overseas athletes and their coaches to ensure that they are in good health and good spirits,” she ended.

Team: Kia Alert, Jessica Denniston, Nolan Barrett, Cameron Brown, Adlaine Nixon, Rianna Scott, Kai Radcliffe, Waldon McIntosh, Nathan Wright, Zack-Andre Johnson, Carolyn Levy-Powell, Leanna Wainwright, Benjamin Davis, Charles McIntosh, Devaughn Robe, Lia Forrester, Kaheem Lozer

Jamaica’s 15-17 200m freestyle mixed relay team was in record-breaking form at the 2022 CCCAN Swimming Championships on Monday’s opening day in Barbados.

The team of Devaughn Robe (24.84), Zaneta Alvaranga (25.63), Sabrina Lyn (26.43) and Nelson Denny (24.15) took the victory in 1:41.05, a new national record.

At the Pan Am aquatics Age Group Championships in June in Trinidad and Tobago, the team of Nelson Denny (24.48), Leanna Wainwright (27.75), Morgan Cogle (27.21) and Zachary Jackson-Blaine (24.11) had set the previous mark of 1:43.55 to take silver.

Individually, Kabiki Thomas took bronze in the Boys’ 13-14 100m breaststroke on Wednesday.

Thomas, swimming from lane eight, achieved a personal best 1:11.88 to win bronze. Thomas also took silver in the same discipline in 1:12.45 at the Pan Am Age Group Championships in June after a fifth-place effort at April’s CARIFTA Swimming Championships in Barbados.

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