The fourth night of action the at the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia on Saturday night at the Eduardo Movilla Aquatic Complex saw three CARIFTA region ladies as they won the first ever medals for their nations in their respective events.
Starting the medal run Was Albury Higgs of The Bahamas. Albury has been having quite the summer lowering the national records in the 100 and 200 metre breaststroke right before the Games . She was expected to be in form at the meet and she was. She qualified for the 200 metre breaststroke Championship final with a time of 2:32.90 just her national standard of 2:32.30 set at the Bahamian REV national championships in June. Joining in her in the final was countrywoman 2:33.90 Laura Morley who made the Championship finals in all the breaststroke events, the 50,100 and 200 .
With increased speed evidenced by her national record of 1:10.77 in the 100 metre event in the United States Albury pushed the pace in the final turning at the 100 metre mark in a time of 1:12.59 in the Silver medal position.She held that placing until the last couple of metres when Mexico’s Esther Gonzalez Medina passed her. That early front end speed would pay off as she just just held off Morley to take the Bronze in 2:30.83 to 2:31.02 .Both ladies went well under the old national mark and were well under the 2019 Lima PAN AM Games automatic qualifying standard of 2:34.43. Both swimmers achieved the 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course Swimming Championships and 2019 Gwangju World Championships B standard of 2:31.02. With her Bronze medal she becomes the first Bahamian man or woman to win a medal in the event.She also becomes the fastest ever CARIFTA region swimmer at the Games as she bettered Alia Atkinson’s 2006 effort of 2:30.99. Only Atkinson and now Higgs have ever medalled in the event for the ladies. It also marks the first medal for Albury in the senior ranks
Higgs offered this reaction to her historic swim
“It was an exciting swim and I was very happy with the best time and record, as well as a bronze for team Bahamas!”
Gold went to the Mexican duo of Byanca Melissa Rodriguez Villanuez in a Games record of 2:25.60 and the Silver to Gonzalez Medina in 2:29.72.
Known primarily for her distance exploits Joanna Evans has taken the opportunity to add a few other events to her schedule and it has resulted in medal winning performances.In the 100 metre freestyle she set a new personal best to win the Silver medal. She had set the national record of 4:59.25 in the 400 metre individual medley as a junior swimmer at the 2015 CARIFTA Games in Barbados which still stands today. in qualification she cleared that mark with a time of 4:57.56. In the final she blew that mark away with a swim of 4:50.38 to land the Silver. Joanna becomes the first Bahamian woman to medal in the event. Both record breaking swims were under the 2019 LIMA PAN AM Games mark of 4:57.99. The only other swimmers from the CARIFTA region to medal at the Games are Gold was won by Puerto Rico’s Kristen Romano in 4:46.31 and the Bronze by Monika Gonzalez Hermosillo in 4:52.13. She gave an assessment of the race and the humid conditions to draftingthecaribbean
“Honestly there was not much of a strategy except to go out and race and see what I can do.It is really hot .We are just hydrating and trying to stay out of the sun”.
CARIFTA REGION MEDALLISTS THROUGH THE YEARS
|1986||Rhett Chee Ping||4:39.14||Trinidad and Tobago||Bronze|
|2006||Jeremy Knowles||4:23.83||The Bahamas||Silver|
|2006||Bradley Ally||4:22.86 GR||Barbados||Gold|
|2010||Bradley Ally||4:21.49 GR||Barbados||Gold|
Competing in her third CAC Games Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson created another first by medalling in the 100 metre butterfly. No Jamaican man or woman has ever made it to the podium in the event . Last night she took the Bronze medal in the event in a time of 1:00.13 (split time 27.34). Silver went to Venezuela’s Isabella Paez 1:00.04 and Gold to Miriam Guevara Hernandez in 59.13. Alia’s medal winning time was the second best effort of her career as her national record stands at 59.94 (split time 28.44) when she beat Paez (1:00.47) for the Gold at the 2017 Southern Zone Sectional Championship.
FEMALE CARIFTA REGION MEDALLISTS THROUGH THE YEARS
|1993||Siobhan Cropper||1:03.01||Trinidad and Tobago||Gold|
|2010||Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace||59.74 GR||The Bahamas||Gold|
|2014||Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace||1:00.17||The Bahamas||Gold|