One of the young stars emerging from CARIFTA 2018 in the 11-12 age group was Trinidad and Tobago’s Nikoli Blackman who continued his excellent form at the National Long Course Open championships held last month at the National Aquatic Centre in Balmain Couva. He had a national age group record breaking swim in the 800 metre freestyle. What made the feat even more remarkable was that it was the young swimmer’s first attempt swimming the grueling event.
Competing in the open mixed 800 metre freestyle on May 10 Blackman won Silver in 9:23.30 lowering the old age group mark of 9:29.06 by Kael Yorke. That record was set back in 2013. The Gold was won by local distance star Graham Chatoor in 8:53.06 who is his final year of the 15-17 age group. The Bronze was won by Delroy Tyrell who is in his first year of the 15-17 age group in a time of 9:53.78. Third person overall in the race however was Graham’s sister Jada who stopped the clock in 9:26.70
Blackman ,while competing in Kingston at CARIFTA swam 3900 metres on his way to winning 12 medals, Three Gold, Eight Silver and One Bronze in 16 events. The versatile athlete has been named to the 2018 CCCAN team in both the pool and open water events.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Nikoli he gave his opinion about his performance
“When CARIFTA ended I had to reduce my training from 9 sessions per week to 5 as I had to prepare for the Secondary Entrance Assessment Exams (SEA). Though my fitness was down a bit my strategy for the race was to work my kick and try and stay ahead of my teammate, Jada Chatoor, who was in the lane next to me. I was aware of the record as My Dad and I have discussed it for a while now. When the race was over I was happy to see that I had lowered the record from 9:29.06 to 9:23.30”.