The best swimmers in the Caribbean will gather in Nassau, Bahamas, this week to celebrate the 32nd annual CARIFTA Swimming Championships.
Featuring athletes from 26 different countries, the CARIFTA Games concept first started in 1972, with the first swimming championship taking place in 1985. The Caribbean has a rich tradition of fast swimming, as evidenced by the names that litter the psych sheet for the event, which runs from Saturday, April 15, through Tuesday, April 18. Some of names of the past and present include Shaune Fraser, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Dylan Carter, Joanna Evans, Elvis Burrows, and Bradley Ally among others.
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Even given this slew of Caribbean greats who currently hold records, there are records that will be threatened at the championships later this week. Below is a list of swimmers to watch for starting Saturday:
Lilly Higgs, Bahamas -- Higgs is the shining star of the breaststroke events at the CARIFTA Games. Lilly will be chasing after her older sister's 15-17 100m breaststroke record of 1:12.12, a time that she has already eclipsed at another meet with a 1:12.07. She is also seeded well under the 200 record time with a 2:31.99.
Gabriela Donahue, Trinidad and Tobago -- Donahue is set up to shatter the girls 13-14 age-group 50m backstroke record of 30.86. Her current seed time is a 30.37.
Lauren Hew, Cayman Islands -- Lauren is currently seeded faster than the existing girls 15-17 50m backstroke record of 29.84 with a swift 29.46. Watch for to her to breakthrough in the other 15- to 17-year-old girls backstrokes events as well.
Davante Carey, Bahamas -- Although Davante is not currently seeded under any record times, he may have the best chance on the boys side of the meet to beat any of the evasive record times set by Dylan Carter. Carey is most likely to threaten the boys 13-14 50m backstroke record of 27.76.
Elinah Phillip, British Virgin Islands -- Elinah is the closest to taking down the sprint freestyle record across the board. Her seed time of 26.26 is just off the record of 26.12 set by Chinyere Pigot. Additionally, Elinah is seeded under the 50m butterfly record of 28.72 with her 28.16.
Shaun Johnson, Jamaica -- Shaun is seeded well under the girls 15-17 100m backstroke record of 1:06.00 with her 1:03.24. Look for her to challenge the 1:02 range as she threatens to totally wipe out the existing record.
Elan Daley, Bermuda -- Elan is a very fast 11-12 girls 50m freestyler. Elan is seeded at 27.07, well under the existing record of 27.42. She could certainly dip into 26 territory, incredibly fast for a 12-year-old.
Stay tuned on April 15-18 for the 32nd CARIFTA Games. CARIFTA has produced some of the fastest athletes in recent years, including Olympic finalists and NCAA champions. Don't miss out!
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