Two events that occurred last week Monday had an austere effect on the nation’s psyche.
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Thompson, Blackett shine on final night
Jeron Thompson and Joy Blackett saved the best for last, putting on superb performances on the final night of action in the National Short Course Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Balmain, Couva.
The four-day event which included 73 events was hosted by the Amateur Swimming Association of T&T (ASATT) and ended on Sunday with more record-breaking performances from the young local swimmers as in Liam Carrington, Kael Yorke and Jahmia Harley.
Thompson of Atlantis claimed three gold medals and a silver, to seal the top spot in the boys 11 and over rankings with 77 points. Kael Yorke of Tidal Wave Aquatics 60 points earned him second place and in third was Sea Hawks’ Aqeel Joseph with 44.
Thompson, a decorated national swimmer, opened with victory in the 400m freestyle in four minutes and 14.80 seconds ahead of Delroy Tyrrell of Tidal Wave in 4:24.03 and Malik Nelson (Atlantis) in 4:24.06.
He then touched the wall first in the 50m freestyle in 23.99 ahead of Yorke (Tidal Wave) in 24.04 and Mark Anthony Beckles (Flying Fish) in 24.11 and later in the 100m breaststroke in 1:04.97. Second was William Reyes (Tidal Wave) in 1:08.72 and Jamaal (Flying Fish) was third in 1:10.77.
Thompson copped a silver medal in the final event of the meet in the 200m freestyle relay, where each of the three teams which competed broke the meet record of 1:46.89. Flying Fish won with a 1:43.02-clocking followed by Atlantis in 1:45.16 and third was Tidal Wave in 1:46.25.
Thompson’s contribution helped his team place third overall with 147 points behind Tidal Wave (272.40) and Marlins (204), respectively.
Blackett of Tidal Wave was also outstanding, emerging the leading girls’ 10 and under swimmer racking up 81 points overall. On the final day, she pocketed five gold medals. Her clubmate Amelia Rajack was second in the rankings with 65 and third was Mya Wells of Sea Hawks with 42.
In fact both Blackett and Rajack finished one-two in all four individual events and then teamed up to better the meet record in the 200m freestyle relay.
Blackett first led in a Tidal Wave-sweep of the top three spots in the 200m individual medley (IM), winning in 2:52.51 with Rajack (2:54.34) and another clubmate Shauna Nelson (3.02.46), placing second and third, respectively.
She then won the 100m backstroke in 1:21.31 again ahead of Rajack in 1:24.55 with Wells (1:27.53) taking bronze and later in the 50m butterfly Blackett clocked 33.75 to win with Rajack taking silver in 34.63 and bronze went to Atiyah Walter also of Tidal Wave. Blackett got her fourth gold in the 50m freestyle in a time of 31.13, followed by Rajack in 31.41 and Wells in 32.92.
In the penultimate event, Blackett and Rajack partnered with Shaelen Reece and Quillon Leera to win the 200m freestyle in 2:10.43, erasing the previous meet record of 2:11.73 established last year by a Blue Dolphin unit.
Yorke broke his own meet record (2:10.20) in the boys 11 and over 200m butterfly with a time of 2:06.88 while Harley did it in the girls’ version of the race in 2:25.43, bettering the previous record of 2:26.82 established by Sariah David in 2013. Earlier Harley won the 200m backstroke in 2:35.96.
Carrington of Atlantis was also special on the night breaking two (eight and under age-group) records. First in the boys 10 and under 200m IM, the eight-year-old was second in 2:49.77, bettering the 2:53.25 mark, to place behind the eventual winner of the division nine-year-old Zachary Anthony (Marlins) in 2:47.09. The other was in the 100m backstroke when he clocked 1:23.45 to place fourth. Giovanni Rivas also nine, of Flying Fish (1:19.17), Anthony (1:21.38) and Point Fortin Aqua Darts 10-year-old Andre Sandy (1:23.05).
INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS (THROUGH EVENT 73)
10 and Under
1 Joy Blackett (Tidal Wave) - 81
2 Amelia Rajack (Tidal Wave) - 65
3 Mya Wells (Sea Hawks) - 42
1 Zachary Anthony (Marlins) - 75
2 Giovanni Rivas (Flying Fish) - 63
3 Liam Carrington (Atlantis) - 46
11 and Over
1 Jahmia Harley (Tidal Wave) - 76
2 Zoe Anthony (Marlins) - 58
3 Sabrina David (Tidal Wave) - 47
1 Jeron Thompson (Atlantis) - 77
2 Kael Yorke (Tidal Wave) - 60
3 Aqeel Joseph (Sea Hawks) - 44
1 Anton Gopaulsingh (T&T Aquatics) - 43
2 Daniel Newallo (T&T Aquatics) - 39
3 John Procope (YMCA Tobago) - 32
4 Richard Knaggs (T&T Aquatics) - 17
COMBINED TEAM SCORES
1 Tidal Wave - 272. 40
2 Marlins - 204
3 Atlantis Aquatics S - 147
4 Blue Dolphin Swim - 123. 50
5 Flying Fish - 106