A team of 11 consisting of 9 swimmers and 2 team officials attended the 2023 Goodwill Swimming Championship at the National Aquatics Center in Jamaica from August 18 to 20.
A number of TCI’s younger competitive swimmers made their debut for the national team, including Matthew Gardiner, Azaan Alleyne, Leniah Hamilton, Anaiah Alleyne, Isaac Farley, Ezekiel Martin, Gabriel Martin, and Jeffrey Joseph, with Sean Walters completing the squad.
Matthew Gardiner at a tender 6 years old, was the youngest participant overall in the Championship.
On day one of the competition, Mathew and his teammate Azaan were the first to enter the pool. Both athletes competed in the 8 and under category in the 100 m and 50 m freestyle events. The 9-10 age group was represented by Leniah Hamilton, Anaiah Alleyne, Isaac Farley, and Ezekiel Martin while Gabrielle Martin and Jeffrey Joseph competed in the 13-14 age group and Sean Walters in the 15 to 17 age group.
The team of nine competed in various events achieving personal best times in some of their events.
Reacting to competing in the event, Gabrielle Martin said she was happy to be representing TCI and to attend the competition. She said she was happy to achieve personal best times in her events, and that she would endeavor to improve her swims, and meet other competitive swimmers from around the region.
Leniah Hamilton said she felt good about her swims and hopes to participate in next year’s competition. Anaiah was excited to compete and said it was a good experience as she prepares to make the 2024 Carifta team. Leniah placed 2nd in her heat in the 100m Breast, 4th in her 50 Free and 50 Back heats.
Anaiah Alleyne place 2nd in her heats in the 50 Free, 100 Free and 50 Back; and 3rd in the 50 Breast, 100 Back, 50 Fly heats.
Ezekiel Martin said he was just happy to drop seconds and be at the competition. Jeffrey Joseph commented that it was his first time in a big pool and that the water felt heavy, but he was happy to be on the team and swim. He is looking forward to other competitions and representing Turks and Caicos.
Isaac Farley was happy to be on the team and looking forward to representing TCI again next year. The lone senior swimmer Sean Walters said overall the competition went well and he was most pleased with his 50 fly results where he won his heat and his back stroke placing 3rd in his heat. Sean also placed 10th overall in the 50m back earning team TCI its only point during the Championship.
Meanwhile, the TCI Swim Federation was pleased with its young prospects, stating in a news release that the young athletes were now looking ahead upcoming regional and international competitions.
“As for what lies ahead for our young swimmers, while some aspire to make the Carifta team in 2024, others will be preparing for the 2024 Goodwill Swimming Championship, which are only open to athletes who do not compete at CARIFTA,” the news release said.
The Goodwill Games featured six other countries with the Bahamas emerging as this year's champions, dethroning Trinidad and Tobago from its 8-year title reign. St Lucia is scheduled to host the competition next year.