TWO new faces have been included in a 10 member squad by the Saint Lucia Amateur Swimming Association (SLASA) along with two officials for the 33rd edition of the CARIFTA Aquatics Championships scheduled from March 15 – April 4 at the National Aquatic Center Kingston, and James Bond Beach, St. Mary, Jamaica.
According to SLASA, all 10 swimmers have met the qualifying standard set by the SLASA Technical Committee.
Making their debut at this year’s championship are D’Andre Blanchard, who will compete in the 11 – 12 year age group for the first time at this level and Naekeisha Louis. D’Andre holds five Double A times of which he needed only 3 to qualify and Naekeisha holds a Triple A earned at the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ASATT) competition in Trinidad and Tobago last December.
Over 550 athletes are expected to vie for the Caribbean bragging rights in swimming, artistic (synchronized) swimming, water polo and open water swimming. There will be nine days of hard fought competition among the region’s elite age-group aspirants and many outstanding performances are expected.
The other members of the squad – Naima Hazel who recently entered her last year in the 11-12 year age group and a silver medalist in the 2017 Carifta Swim Meet in the Bahamas, is expected to perform exceptional at this years’ championship.
Allandre Cross entering his last year in the 13 -14 year age group, will be competing for the 2nd time at the Carifta Swim Championship. Mikaili Charlemagne entering her last year in this group and competing for the 3rd time at this meet; will be competing with only one intention in mind, which is to medal!
Entering into their 1st year in the 15 – 17 year age group is Jayhan Odlum – Smith who is expected to also represent Saint Lucia at the Youth Olympic Games later this year in Argentina, Jamaar Archibald eager to make his mark and Terrel Monplaisir silver medalist at the 2017 CARIFTA Swim Competition.
Devin Boodha entering his 2nd year in the 15 – 17 year age group looks forward to bringing home results at this years’ competition.
Participating for the second time in the Open Water segment is Veronica Brown; Brown will compete in the 5K at the James Bond Beach.
Absent from the team this year is Katie Kyle who also made the qualifying standard however she is currently preparing for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Australia slated for April 5 to 9, 2018. Katie is currently attending College in the United Kingdom.
The team will be under the watchful eyes of Head Coach Brian Charles; Charles was selected by the Technical Committee to lead the 10 member team on their journey to overcome their challenges and conquer their goals in Jamaica; while Constance Rene will take charge of the Saint Lucia Swim Delegation as Manager.
Meanwhile, SLASA’s President Eddie Hazel has expressed his confidence that the best performing swimmers have been selected to fight for success in the water and improve on last years’ medal count.
Last year at the Betty Kelly – Kenning Aquatic Centre in the Bahamas, Saint Lucia took home two silver and two bronze medals.