Swimmers from Turks and Caicos Islands are hoping to put on a good show as they bow into action on Wednesday, June 23, at the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships (CCCAN) being held in Puerto Rico.
The seven-member delegation left the territory on Sunday, June 20, to participate in the biennial aquatic event. Participation in the prestigious event, held every odd year, is a major accomplishment for the Federation and an historic moment for the Turks & Caicos Islands.
This will be the very first time that the TCI will be represented at the CCCAN and it is also the highest-level competitive swimming event that this group of swimmers has ever participated in.
Under the guidance of National Swim Coach, Ezekiel Hall and manager Latika Davis, Team TCI is comprised of five talented male swimmers ranging from ages 12-14 years old. The athletes are Tajarhi Williams, Sean Walters, Mateo Gardiner, Lenin Hamilton Jr and Jayden Davis.
They expressed joy at being given the opportunity to represent their country and the break to compete at such a high level, while swimming into the TCI history books.
They will be participating in free style, butterfly, backstroke breaststroke and individual medley events, ranging in distances from 50m to 1500m races where it is hoped that they will not only improve on personal best times and shatter TCI national records, but also make podium.
The managers declared that some of the teams from other countries against whom the TCI will be competing might have somewhat of an advantage, since those other representatives train in Olympic-size swimming pools, while swimmers in the TCI train in pools that are less than half the length of those pools.
Expectations are nevertheless high that the national team will make a very strong showing at the 5-day event.
Dan Redmond, President of the Turks and Caicos Islands Swimming Federation has high hopes for his charges. He expects them to put in some good times at the meet.
“It is a huge opportunity for our guys to prove themselves against the best swimmers in the region. We are all very excited because our swimmers are improving all of the time, and we have very limited opportunity to swim in a proper size pool. So, any time we go abroad we are coming back with great results. And these guys are following up on the tradition on previous teams that always done their best and come back with best times etcetera, and I hope they continue in that tradition,” Redmond said.
Redmond said the COVID-19 pandemic proved disruptive for the team’s preparation, saying that the athletes worked hard to compensate for the times they were not allowed to train.
“The guys have worked very hard to train in their own small groups. And this is the first opportunity we have had since the beginning of the lockdown to see where we are. I am hoping that the guys self-disciplined during training in their own small groups, and I think we are going to see some results in this event,” Redmond said.