A nine-member swim team and four officials will leave Saint Lucia for Aruba to compete at the Central American and Caribbean Championship (CCCAN) scheduled for June 26th to July 6th, 2018.
The Saint Lucian swimmers will compete against athletes from Colombia, Guyana, Surinam, and Venezuela of the South American Confederation, Guadeloupe and Martinique of the French Swimming Federation.
According to Saint Lucia Amateur Swimming Association Public Relations Officer Sue Monplaisir, the squad also includes CARIFTA medalist D’Andre Blanchard and Naima Hazell.
Debutant at the CARIFTA Swim Championship in Jamaica, D’Andre will compete in the 100 metre butterfly, 200 freestyle, 50 metre butterfly, 50 metre breaststroke, 100 metre freestyle, 50 metre freestyle and 100 metre breaststroke.
Naima Hazell, the junior female swimmer for 2017 will compete in the 200 metre breaststroke, 50 metre backstroke, 100 metre butterfly, 50 metre butterfly, 50 metre breaststroke, 100 metre freestyle, 50 metre freestyle and 100 metre breaststroke.
Katie Kayle represented Saint Lucia at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in mid-April, she will compete in the 50 metre backstroke, 100 metre fly, 50 metre butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 metre freestyle and 50 metre freestyle.
Naekeisha Louis, 50 metre backstroke, 100 metre fly, 50 metre fly, 50 breaststroke, 100 metre freestyle and 50 metre freestyle.
Mikaili Charlemagne will battle it out in the 100-metre fly, 50-metre backstroke, 50-metre butterfly, 100-metre backstroke, 50-metre breaststroke, 100 metre freestyle and 50 freestyle.
Currently attending Sir Roberts High School in Toronto, Canada, Ethan Dyke-Elliot will compete in the 400 Individual Medley (IM), 200 metre freestyle, 100 freestyle and 50-freestyle.
Devin Boodha -200 metre breaststroke, 100 metre butterfly, 50 metre butterfly, 200 Individual Medley (IM), 50 breaststroke, 100 metre freestyle, 50 metre freestyle and 100 metre breaststroke.
Jayhan Odlum-Smith the senior male swimmer for 2017 will compete in the 50 metre backstroke, 100 butterfly, 200 metre freestyle, 50 metre butterfly, 100 metre freestyle, 200 metre butterfly, 400 metre freestyle and 50 metre freestyle
This time round Jamarr Archibald will compete in the Open Water competition.
Monplaisir said, “Leading to the championship, preparation will include team building, massage session, mental building and motivational talks.”
On the heels of visiting Martinique swimming officials by a SLASA contingent which also included President Eddie Hazell in May as to the way forward for the development of swimming between Martinique and Saint Lucia, the Saint Lucia squad will be engaged in two training sessions in Martinique’s 50 metre pool before heading to Aruba.
While in Aruba, the team will be under the watchful eyes of Head Coach- Peter James, Team Manager – Sabrina Odol and Chaperone-Tessa Louis; while President Eddie Hazell is SLASA representative at Congress.
Peter James, Head Coach for the team spoke to the VOICE as to his expectations in Aruba, He said, “We have a very good chance, the athlete have been training extremely hard with their respective clubs Mondays to Fridays. In terms of team training, we train every Wednesday morning for 1 hour and very Saturday afternoon for 2 hours; we have been doing that for the past three weeks.”
“I have no doubt the nine member team will all swim personal best times; some of them have a good chance in getting into the final of their respective events. It is going to be stiff, because we will be competing against some of the powerhouses in the Caribbean likewise South America, but I have no doubt we can make a few finals with the hard work and dedication the swimmers have been showing thus far, there is a strong possibility we can come home with a medal or two.”
VOICE: Your thoughts on young Naima Hazell and D’Andre Blanchard, Saint Lucia two medalists at this year’s CARIFTA Swim Championship held in Jamaica over the Easter weekend?
James: “I have very high expectations for them; reason been because of their performance at CARIFTA this year, they have already competed against some of the athlete that will be competiting at CCCAN, the fact they have already set the bar, it means that they are one step ahead. It’s just for them to go out and execute everything they have been training for.”
Competing at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia in April, James expect Katie Kyle to come out firing in her best events, the 50 and 100 metre butterfly; while young Ethan Dyke Elliott is back in national colours.
James said, “The entire team will be training over two weekends in a 50 metre pool in Martinique before going to Aruba; the weekend of the 23rd -24th the team will be participating in a swim meet as well and the aim is to see where we are at the moment and to do any fine tuning if necessary before going to Aruba.”