ON the heels of Saint Lucia CARIFTA Swim Team returning home with five medals — two more than last year — certainly it is something to be proud of as a Saint Lucian, knowing the challenges they underwent such as lack of support, dilapidated sporting facilities, volunteers still having to mop-up the playing surface at the Vigie Multipurpose Sports Complex whenever there is a regional championship.
The George Odlum Stadium in Vieux Fort comes to mind, now housing the St. Jude’s Hospital, the legacy left behind after the CARIFTA Games of 2009 and the coming- soon- promise of a National Aquatic Centre.
Such a fairy tale…
Nonetheless, we need to give kudos because one has to admit that we still have dedicated and hardworking athletes and with the support of their parents to make it happen, all in the name of Fair Helen, at the end of it all we can say ‘Well done, good job!’.
One name to look forward to for many years to come is 8-year-old Fayth Jeffrey, who is Saint Lucian by birth and previously attended the Tapion School (Private) and the Laborie Girls Primary School before going over to Barbados with her mother.
At present she attends the Ursuline Convent-St. Angela’s in Barbados, Upper 1 (equivalent to Grade 3 in Saint Lucia.
In Barbados, Fayth is under the watchful eyes of Class Teacher, Miss Emily Tabbert.
She caught my attention this past Sunday while participating in the Rodney Height Aquatic Centre 19th Invitational Caribbean Swim Meet.
This is what she had to say: “My favourite subject is Mathematics, because it is easy for me and there is Maths in everything. Other subjects are Science, Social Studies, Language, Grammar, Spanish, Music and Computers”.
VOICE: Name of Club and Coach?
Fayth: “Pirates Swim Club in Barbados under the watchful eyes of coach, Rolando Garcia and also I am registered with the Southern Flying Fish Swim Club in Saint Lucia”.
VOICE: How did it all happen for you in swimming?
Fayth: “I started from the ‘Learn to Swim’ Programme with Southern Flying Fish when I was about three years old. At five, I took part in my championship in 2015 at the Sea Jays Short Course Nationals. I was very scared.”
VOICE: Who encouraged you to swim?
Fayth: “My parents and my coach.”
VOICE: Do your parents encourage you… like, by supporting you at the various events?
Fayth: “Yes, my parents attend all my meets and practice.”
VOICE: What other sports have you participated in before and why the switch?
Fayth: “Swimming was my first sport; now I do swimming and just started Triathlon. I also do running at my school.”
VOICE: What is your biggest accomplishment in your sport?
Fayth: “Representing Saint Lucia at the Goodwill and OECS Championships in 2017 and breaking the RHAC meet records in 25-metre, 50-metre and 100-metre breaststroke, as well as the National Record in the 100-Fly-for-the 8 and under-age group.”
VOICE: Your favourite local swimmer, regional and international and why?
Fayth: “Local Swimmer is Katie Kyle, because she is fast and tall like me.”
VOICE: Who are your sports heroes and what do you admire most about them?
Fayth: “Katie Kyle is my local hero.”
VOICE: What is favourite event and why?
Fayth: “My favourite events are breaststroke and fly (all distances).”
VOICE: How do you prepare for a championship? For example the RHAC 19th Invitational.
Fayth: “I train hard and stay focussed.”
VOICE: How many times have you represented your club/Saint Lucia?
Fayth: “I have represented my clubs (Southern Flying Fish and Pirates) many times. I also represented Laborie Girls and my current school at swimming. I was the class swimming champion last year.”
“I represented Saint Lucia twice in 2017 (Goodwill Swim Championship in Guyana and OECS Championships in Saint Lucia). For Goodwill, I did not medal but improved most of my times. I did not medal in OECS but placed 6th overall in the girls 8 and under.”
VOICE: How many championships have you won? Meaning Club/OECS?
Fayth: “One Championship so far — Capri Sun 2017 Championships last year in Saint Lucia, I won the girls 8 and under. In 2016, I placed 5th overall in the girls 8 and under Capri Sun 2016 challenge. Also in 2016, I placed 3rd in the RHAC 2016 meet in the 6 and under age group; In 2017, I placed 6th overall in the girls 8 and under RHAC and in the Barbados Long Course Nationals 2018, I placed 3rd in the Girls 8 and under.”
VOICE: How was your performance this past weekend and what can one expect from you in the long run?
Fayth: “This weekend at RHAC I improved all my times. I broke 3 meet records for the 25 metre, 50 metre and 100 metre breaststroke in the girls 8 and under. I also set a new National Record in the Girls 8 and under 100m Fly. Overall, I placed 2nd in the Girls 8 and under. I want to continue to improve my swimming and represent my club and Saint Lucia.”
VOICE: How far would like to go in representing Saint Lucia in swimming (eg – OECS, CARIFTA, World and Olympics)?
Fayth: “My dream is to go to the Olympics. (10 years from now – 2028 Los Angles).”
VOICE: What do you think are keys to your success?
Fayth: “Training hard and enjoying swimming. I love the water”.
VOICE: From where do you draw your inspiration?
Fayth: “My parents and my coaches.”
VOICE: What are your favourite meals and drinks?
Fayth: “I like pizza and spaghetti. My favourite drink is passion fruit juice.”
VOICE: What do you do during your spare time, when not in training / competition?
Fayth: “I like riding, watching TV and reading.”
VOICE: Do you have a saying or a motto you live by?
Fayth: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
VOICE: What words of advice or encouragement do you have to share with younger athletes?
Fayth: “Continue to work hard and always believe in yourself and you can be good.”
VOICE: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Fayth: “Just believe in yourself.”