TEAM Saint Lucia had to settle for second place for the fifth consecutive time when the curtains came down on the 29th edition of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Swim Championship held at the Shrewsbury Aquatic Centre in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Five islands competed including 2018 champions Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and host nation Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. A total of 34 swimmers from the various swim clubs in Saint Lucia proved to be the top swimmers after the OECS swim trials and were chosen to represent.
From the onset of the competition all swimmers were geared up with the intention to overthrow Grenada.
Day one of competition Saint Lucia’s swimmers amassed four gold, three silver and one bronze medal. Medal contributors included: Gold: Antoine Destang (1), Tristan Dorville (1), JayhanOdlum Smith (1), Jean Luc Zephir (1); Silver: Fayth Jeffery (1), Mikaili Charlemagne (1), D’Andre Blanchard (1); Bronze: Ethan Hazel (1).
Day one saw three new National Age Group Records set by three swimmers in the 400 metre Freestyle including Girls 9 – 10 Fayth Jeffrey, Boys 9 – 10 Antoine Destang and 18 and over Jean Luc Zephir.
Day two swimmers gave their best fight and took their podium positions in 19 gold, 7 silver and 18 bronze medal spots. The top swimmers on day two included:
Gold: Antoine Destang (4), Tristan Dorville (3), Mikaili Charlemagne (3), JayhanOdlum Smith (4), Jean Luc Zephir (2), Adam Stromberg (1), and Naima Hazel (2).
Silver: Mikaili Charlemagne (2), Jean Luc Zephir (2), Karic Charles (1), Naima Hazel (1), and Caitlin Polius (1).
Bronze: Tristan Dorville (2), Ethan Hazel (1), D’Andre Blanchard (3), JayhanOdlum Smith (1), Jean Luc Zephir (1), Adan Stromberg (3), Jasmin Steide (1) Karic Charles (1), Fayth Jeffery (1), Caitlin Polius (1), Shalini Joseph (1), Siona Huxley (1), and Naekeisha Louis (1).
Fourteen age group records were established on day two in the Girls 13 – 14 50 meter breaststroke by Naima Hazell, Girls 15 – 17 50 metre Freestyle Mikaili Charlemagne and 100 meter Backstroke Siona Huxley. Antoine Destang set four new records in the 50 and 100-metr Freestyle, 50 Backstroke and 50 Butterfly. Tristan Dorville also broke the 100-butterfly, 200 freestyle, 50 and 100 backstroke records with Jayhan Odlum Smith in the 100 metre and 50 metre butterfly. Jean Luc Zephir joined the pack by setting the 100-butterfly record.
On the final day of competition, when the curtains came down, the team dug deep and jacked up an additional fifteen gold, ten silver and seven bronze medals.
These medals were conquered by: Gold: Antoine Destang (3), Tristan Dorville (2), Mikaili Charlemagne (3), JayhanOdlum Smith (2), Jean Luc Zephir (3), Naima Hazell (1), Caitlin Polius (1)
Silver: Tristan Dorville (2), Mikaili Charlemagne (2), JayhanOdlum Smith (1), Jean Luc Zephir (1), Adam Stromberg (1), Karic Charles (1), Naima Hazell (1), Fayth Jeffery (1), Siona Huxley (1).
Bronze: Jayhan Odlum Smith (2), Adam Stromberg (1), Karic Charles (1), Caitlin Polius (1), Naekeisha Louis (1), D’Andre Blanchard (1).
Further National Age Group Records were set in the 50 meter breaststroke by 18 and over Adam Stromberg, Jean Luc Zephir in the 100 meter breaststroke and 200IM.
Despite Grenada achieving 39 gold, 49 silver and 36 bronze medals, Saint Lucia received 41 gold medals, 24 silver and 35 bronze.
In total, with the contribution of all the swimmers, team Saint Lucia posted 1121.5 points placing them in second position on the board with Grenada 128 points ahead, giving them a lead to retain the OECS swim title. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines placed third with 1116 points; Antigua and Barbuda achieved 794 points placing them in 4th and Saint Kitts and Nevis with 57.50 in 5th place.
First place high points were awarded to four dynamic Saint Lucian swimmers. Amongst them, 9 – 10 year old Antoine Destang, 15 – 17-year old Mikaili Charlemagne and Jayhan Odlum Smith, and 18 and over Jean Luc Zephir.
Notably Antoine Destang stood out with an incredible performance which saw him winning every race he swam and setting eight OECS swim records.
On the teams’ return President Eddie Hazell congratulated them on their efforts and accomplishments. He noted, “We knew it would be an extremely competitive competition. We took the necessary steps to bring in our top overseas swimmers. Though disappointed we were unable to bring the trophy home, our federation is extremely proud of the swimmers’ fight and determination to reach the top – second place is a mammoth achievement!”
The Saint Lucia Aquatics Federation (SLAF) has thanked the management team for their endless efforts in supporting the team. The federation also expresses its appreciation to the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee, National Lotteries Authority, Digicel, TOGS, Invest Saint Lucia and the parents of all the swimmers.
Saint Lucia will host the 30th edition of OECS Swim Championship in 2020.