On the final day of the meet the team aimed to finish with a bang and did not disappoint. Three swimmers were in the finals with their events back to back and the expectations were high.
Jesse Washington was up first in the premier sprint event with his focus on impressing his peers and showing what he could do on the big stage again. From the start he was out front with a strong straight arm swim and one breath to the touch over 50 meters. His time of 25.53 breaks the 13&14 record by 1 hundredth of a second, a record that has stood since 1989 from Gerri Mewitt. Roy was envious as that was a record that he had missed at that age. His gold medal swim also crushed the CISC record that was 26.28.
Next in the water was Lisa Blackburn with the 100 Breast and you could see the focus in her eyes as an Olympic qualifier from St Lucia was in the next lane. This was Lisa’s main event and she wanted it bad. Her competitor started fast and held a good lead at the 50 meter turn but the desire for gold was too strong and on every stroke Lisa gained on her. At the finish it was Bermuda’s second gold and second CISC record in a row.
Julian was the next in the water in his 100 breast and the water was already stirred up by Bermuda so he knew what he had to do. His first lap was strong and he had the lead at the 50. The pull-out saw his two closest competitors pull even and had his teammates wonder what Julian would do. As the swimmers raced for home Julian caught one of them in the corner of his eye and he surged on the last 10 meters. He took the CISC record and the third Bermuda gold in a row.
Stephanie Myles was next in the pool in her favorite event, the 800 free. and she set the pace from lap 1. She took it to the field pulling away and lowering her best time by 7 seconds coming very close to Kiera’s National record on her way to the fourth gold medal for Bermuda this evening.
The final event for Bermuda’s swimmers at the meet was the 200 IM with Nic Patterson, Stephanie Myles, Lisa Blackburn and Julian Fletcher ready to go. Nic swam first and swam a strong race finishing in 7th place.
Next up was Lisa and Stephanie and they were pushing right from the start. Stephanie finished off her meet with an impressive 4th finish. Lisa was looking to put a cap on an amazing 5 day meet. She battled in the fly and gave up a huge lead to a backstroke but her breastbone leg was so amazing, you could hear Bermuda’s small team screaming as she surged into the lead and then crushed the field on the free leg to take the Bermuda and CISC record along with her second gold of the night.
Julian wasn’t sure how he would do in this event as it has not been a focus for him. He, like Lisa, was behind after the breast but the lead looked insurmountable. Every stroke he gained and he tried hard to push for the lead but the silver was his.
The 34 medal count for the Bermuda team at the Caribbean Island Championships had our competitors complimenting our swim program. 10 swimmers produced this result. All of them were important as they supported each other and fed off each other’s success.
Thank you to all that have supported us in reaching this amazing finish and we hope to continue to build from strength to strength. Judy Hagen did a great job in keeping the team fed and well rested. Dominique Nanette did a great job as the team therapist as he kept them in the form over the last 5 days to allow them to swim fast in so many events. Doug Patterson is responsible for all the amazing photos in action and on the podium. Most of all thank you to these Bermuda swimmers who put their all into this meet and gave such great accolades to Bermuda. As the National Coach I am so proud that every one of the 10 swimmers scored in the meet and swam their best. The National program has been producing very well over the years but this was an amazing experience and shows what progress we have made at all levels.