The 2016 RBC Bahamas Nationals Swimming Championships got off to a fantastic start at the Betty Kelly-Kenning Aquatic Centre in Nassau on Thursday June 23. The region’s most impressive distance freestyler Joanna Evans provided the highlight for the day when she made the automatic qualifying mark in the 800 metre freestyle by swimming a sensational 8:32.19 to be crowned national champion.Her performance now ranks her 40th in the world for the 2015-2016 season. That time blew away the Rio Olympics A standard of 8:33.97. She also destroyed her personal best and national record of 8:37.18. With that incredible swim the Swift Swimming competitor now passes CARIFTA legend Jamaican Janelle Atkinson’s 8:34.51 as the fastest English speaking woman from the region. Atkinson clocked her national record in a 9th place finish at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. The University of Texas standout who is not tapered for the meet raced stroke for stroke with exhibition swimmer Guatemalan Valerie Gruest who also went under the Olympic A standard` when she stroked 8:33.28.
Joanna had the following thoughts about the race “I’m thrilled to have made my Olympic A cut in my home pool and in front of my Bahamian fans. I am not tapered for this meet and just went out and raced”
The Barracudas men team were responsible for setting a new senior national record in the 200 metre freestyle relay. The old record of 1:36.35 had stood to the Freeport Aquatic Club since 2011 when the team of Elvis Burrows,Evante Gibson,Ashton Knowles and Michael McIntosh had set the standard.The new standard is now 1:34.77 set by the team of Gershwin Greene,N’Nhyn Fernander,Keith Lloyd and Kohen Kerr
Another collegiate standout who claimed a national Championship was Dustin Tynes . The Ohio State swimmer claimed senior title in a time of 2:23.00 . Tynes said “it was a great race for this point in my summer season being unshaved and untapered. This was my best in season 200 breaststroke ever .At this meet last year I was two seconds slower. It sets the tone for the rest of the season and that I’m in relative great shape relative to last year”.
The boys 13-14 title was claimed by Izaak Bastian in a time of 2:27.32. In a much anticipated race in the 15 and over girls 200 metre breaststroke Laura Morley won in 2:35.24. Silver and Bronze went to sisters Albury and Lilly Higgs in times of 2:37.16 and 2:41.93.
The senior 50 metre backstroke boys title went to Miller Albury in 28.19 with Dionsio Carey in 28.20 and N’nhyn Fernander the Bronze in 28.60.
The senior title in the 100 metre butterfly went to N’nhyn Fernander 57.87 ,Silver Evante Gibson 58.33 and Keith Lloyd 59.42.The women’s crown went to Bria Deveaux in 1:02.75. Albury won another Silver in 1:06.15 while Jasmine Gibson earned the Bronze 1:08.44.