November 21, 2014 – The swimming portion of the 2014 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games concluded last evening after spanning a total of five sessions over six days. The finals session scheduled for November 17th was canceled due to high winds, therefore, those events were sprinkled over the remaining days’ worth of competition. Several themes present themselves when reflecting on this year’s intense edition of the games.
1. Venezuela = CAC Games Superpower
The Venezuelan team exerted dominance throughout the swim competition, on both the men’s and the women’s side. Collectively, they’re walking away with the most hardware at 32 total swimming medals, 16 of those gold – that’s more than double the amount of golds by any other team. Runner-up is Mexico at 24 total medals (7 golds), and behind them is Colombia with 23 total medals (6 golds). The total swimming medal counts by country are below:
2. Andreina Pinto = Venezuela’s Version of Hosszu
23-year-old Pinto, from Venezuela, took on a wicked schedule of six events: 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle, 200m butterfly, 200m IM and 400m IM over the course of the swimming contest. She not only took on the impressive schedule, but she took home the gold in each of the events – yes six gold medals, out of six rather grueling events. Additionally, Pinto trounced two CAC Games records in the process, in the 400m IM and the 800m freestyle. Pinto’s performances are captured below:
200m freestyle 2:00.42 400m freestyle 4:11.65
800m freestyle 8:39.49 200m butterfly 2:11.34
200m IM 2:18.31 400m IM 4:48.80
3. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace = Sprint Queen
Another woman who earned several headlines was Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, the 24-year-old out of the Bahamas, who now trains with Coach David Marsh at SwimMACElite. Taking on the shorter 50m and 100m distances of both the freestyle and the butterfly, Vanderpool-Wallace came away with golds in each of the four events, clocking games records times in two of them, the 50m butterfly (26.46) and the 100m freestyle (54.87). The four golds listed in the table for the Bahamas? Yup, all Vaderpool-Wallace.
4. Veterans = Ongoing Threats
Several familiar names popped up throughout the week of competition, as their careers continue to not only endure, but flourish. 28-year-old Albert Subirats (Venezuela) made his mark on these games in several events, winning gold in the 50m butterfly, 50m backstroke, and 100m butterfly events. His 50m backstroke winning time of 25.72 was even fast enough to take down the old games record of 25.96. Subirats also earned silver in the 100m backstroke and bronze in the 100m freestyle, showing that he is still a steadfast force in the sport of swimming.
Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell, at 31-years-old, is one of the most revered veterans of the sport. He came, he saw, he conquered in the form of overpowering the 50m freestyle field for the win in 22.30, earning him a three-peat in this event (Bovell earned gold in 2006 and in 2010). Bovell also walked away with the 50m backstroke bronze medal at these games in a time of 25.91.
5. New Talent = New Records
There was some impressive newer talent on the scene in Veracruz this week as well, notably in the form of Venezuela’s Carlos Claverie. The 18-year-old, who currently swims in the NCAA as a University of Louisville Cardinal, raced his way to three gold medals, earning games records in two of them. Claverie’s 100m breaststroke time of 1:01.76 and his 200m breaststroke time of 2:12:44 left his signature on these games as the records to beat come 2018. His other gold came in the 400m IM, where he topped the field in a time of 4:24.61.