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Golden boy Washington makes flying start

Jesse Washington took his personal medal tally to four after producing yet another dazzling display on day two of the 2012 Carifta Swimming Championships in Bahamas yesterday.

The Sandys Middle School student won gold medals in last night’s 11-12 boys 200 metre freestyle (2:07) and 50 metre butterfly (28:92) events to complete a superb treble of golds in only his second appearance at these championships.

Washington’s blistering times in both finals were new Bermuda records and personal bests.

On the opening day of the regional event the promising swimmer captured the Island’s first Carifta swimming gold medal in two years in the boys’ 11-12 100 metres butterfly in a new Bermuda record time of 1:06.34. He also won the silver medal in the 50 metres backstroke in a time of 32.00 flat to get his Carifta campaign off to a flyer.

Washington travelled to North Carolina in the lead up to this year’s Carifta Swimming Championships to train with Olympian Roy-Allan Burch and with each passing event his time in the United States has proven to be time well spent.

“I have been training very hard with Roy -Allan Burch for a week and I think that has helped me a bit,” he said. “This is my second Carifta and I have really been looking forward to it. I was expecting to do good.

“The competition here is really good and the conditions are good as well. I feel very relaxed in the pool and I am looking forward to competing in my main events (100m freestyle, 200m butterfly, 50m freestyle and 400m freestyle) that are coming up.”

National coach Ben Smith praised Washington’s superb exploits in the pool.

“Jesse’s performances are way past my expectations,” he said. “It was just unbelievable because finishing with a 2.07 in the 200 metre freestyle is an amazing time. He’s faster than our 13-14 record now and it was just a spectacular swim.

“He can’t take the 13-14 record because he’s only 12. But he’s now faster than the 13-14 record which is 2.11 and he swam a 2.07 which is a personal best for him.”

Washington will now look to further add to his already impressive medal haul when he competes in the 100 metre freestyle and 200 metre butterfly today.

“We are now just wondering what to expect going into tomorrow (today),” Smith added. “He hasn’t even started his favourite events yet.”

Also standing on the podium last night was Saltus Grammar School’s Shannon Hassell who won the silver medal in the 11-12 girls 100 metre backstroke in a personal best time of 1:13.72 respectively to take her overall medal haul in Bahamas to two.

Hassell won the bronze medal in the 11-12 girls 50 metres backstroke with a time of 34.08 on the opening day of the championships. She also set a new personal best time of 2:21.10 en route to qualifying for the 200 metre freestyle final where she placed fifth.

Also in action in the pool last night was Ashley Yearwood who placed fifth in the 17-18 girls 200 metre freestyle, 100 metre backstroke and 50 metre butterfly events. The Baylor School student set a new Bermuda record and personal best time of 2:10.0 in last night’s 200 metre freestyle final.

Saltus Grammar School’s Philip Hagen also put in a strong showing yesterday by making the qualifying standard for this summer’s Caribbean Island Swimming Championships with a personal best time of 2:10.74 in the 13-14 boys 200 metre freestyle.

“This is his first opportunity to be at this meet,” Smith said, “but you can see that every event he’s swimming he’s getting faster, so he’s starting to put things together.”

Three of the best: National swimming coach Ben Smith is flanked by Jesse Washington and Shannon Hassell. Washington has won three gold medals and a silver at the Carifta Swimming Championships in the Bahamas while Hassell has collected a silver medal and a bronze.

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Published April 14, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated April 14, 2012 at 8:59 am)

Golden boy Washington makes flying start

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