Nikoli Blackman of Marlins and Kristin Julien of Arieos Aquatechs etched themselves into the National Record books with impressive swims on Day Two (Friday) of the National Open Short Course Championships.
The meet was officially opened yesterday by the President of the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago Mr. Wendell Lai Hing following a March Past of participating teams. Lai Hing thanked all those who were in attendance for their participation, and to a lusty applause announced the all National Meets would be held at the National Aquatic Centre, the new home for Aquatics.
Blackman and Zarek Wilson of Blue Dolphins fought tooth and nail to the end, and when the white water had cleared, Blackman established a new 9 – 10 200m freestyle male mark of 2:11.51 to win gold with Wilson just behind in 2:11.62. Both athletes went under Blackman’s record of 2:15.39 which he set at the opening of the National Aquatic Centre in October.
Wilson and Blackman have had impressive success in the 200m free with both athletes holding the record at varying times during the year, with the record as at July being 2:20.36 set in 2008 by Jabari Baptiste. Later in the evening, Wilson turned the tables on Blackman in the 50m backstroke and 100m breastsroke events. Wilson won the 50m backstoke in 33.66 while he won the 100m breaststroke in 1:26.33.
Julien was apparently discontent with her record performance of 29.63 seconds 50m backstroke from Thursday evening, and smashed her own record establishing a time of to win in 28.87 seconds. This swim earned her the honour of being the first T&T female swimmer to dip under the 29 second barrier in the 50m backstroke short course event.
UTT’s Amira Pilgrim established a new meet record in the 100m fresstyle female. The multiple regional medallist sped to the wall in 56.84 seconds, erasing Sharntelle Mc Lean’s old mark of 57.31 seconds. Pilgrim was perilously close to the 15-17 girls national record of 56.66 which is held by Olympian Siobhan Cropper since 1995. Jeron Thompson of Atlantis Aquatics was a triple gold medallist on the evening winning the 200m individual medley (2:15.51), 100m freestyle (52.29) and the 200m breaststroke (2:25.11).
10 & under females saw three different winners on the night. Neishelah Caseman of Tidal Wave Aquatics won the 200m freestyle (2:27.36) while her teammate Gabrielle Vickles won 50m backstroke (33.53). Zoe Anthony of Marlins was the victor in the 100m breaststroke in 1:29.11.
800m freestyle gold medallist and record holder Graham Chatoor of Marlins continued his distance dominance winning the 1500m freestyle in 16:42.74. Ornella Walker of YMCA Tobago won the 200IM in 2:32.71. Jada Chai of Atlantis Aquatics won the 100m butterfly in 1:06.89, with Kael Yorke of Tidal Wave winning the male race in 56.38 seconds. Tsunami’s Gabriella Acosta won the 200m breaststroke in 3:03.84. Tidal Wave Aquatics won double gold in the inaugural 4 x 100m freestyle relays for 10& unders and 11 & overs.
The meet continues today (Saturday) with prelims and finals for 10 & under 50m breast, 100m free and 100 fly, and for the open 200m free, 50m fly, 100m back, 50m breast and 400m IM. The day’s proceedings will culminate with the medley relays.
Swim news courtesy of ASATT.