Yearwood Bermuda’s medal queen
It’s often said big things come wrapped in tiny packages.
And that adage certainly sprang to mind at last week’s NatWest Island Games where swimmer Ashley Yearwood, who stands just over five feet, captured the most medals by a local athlete.
The teenage swimmer copped nine medals, five in the individual women’s events and a further four in the relay.
Yearwood’s impressive medal haul included four gold, and for added measure she set a Games’ record (26:50) in the women’s 50 metre freestyle and recorded personal bests in every competition she entered.
“I’m definitely still shocked at what I achieved,” the diminutive swimmer told
The Royal Gazette. “I definitely put in the work to achieve the results that I did, but it’s still amazing to me to think that I was able to drop so much time.
“I haven’t got personal bests in a short course pool in a long time, so to go out and break my personal bests by so much time is definitely surprising to me.”
Yearwood won a gold medal in the 50 metres freestyle, silver in the 50 metres butterfly and 100 metres freestyle as well as bronze in the 100 and 50 metres backstroke. She also won three gold medals and a silver as a member of Bermuda’s women’s relay team.
“We’re just extremely proud of what Ashley has achieved,” said the swimmer’s proud mom, Vivian. “I don’t think Ashley realises what she has done and the impact of what she has done here in Bermuda in front of the home crowd.
“You hear about what she’s done in the news, but for people to actually see her in the pool and see what she’s actually accomplished has been tremendous. Our whole family are living off the ceiling and just very, very proud of Ashley.”
Yearwood, who attends Denison University, said her performance at last week’s Games ranks high on her all-time lost of achievements.
“This is definitely high up,” she added. “I did really well at the NCAA’s this year and I think this meet will definitely tie or surpass what I did there.”
The 18-year old athlete reached the finals of the women’s 50 and 100 metre freestyle final and helped her university to a top five finish in the relay at this year’s NCAA Division 3 Swimming Championships in Houston, Texas.
When asked which achievement at last week’s Island Games stands out most in her memory, Yearwood replied: “The 50 metre freestyle was one of my proudest races of the meet. I’m also really proud of my time in the 100 metre backstroke (1:03.62) because that’s something I just started getting into.”
Yearwood said standing on the podium in front of family, friends and the home crowd was a very proud moment for her.
“It felt great because while I was standing on the podium as I looked out I could see familiar faces and people I didn’t know and everyone was there looking at me while our national song was being played and our flag raised higher than everybody else,” she said.
Bermuda’s swimmers won 16 medals at last week’s swim meet, the Island’s best showing at the Island Games to date.
“I think we did extremely well,” Yearwood said. “We got all those medals, but even the people that didn’t get medals like Jesse Washington, Shannon Hassell and Madelyn Moore also swam well.”
Yearwood attributed some of the team’s success to the overwhelming support they received from the home crowd.
“The home crowd support was definitely a major factor, especially with the relays,” she said. “We had everyone in the stands cheering for us and it helped with the relays and my individual races too. Listening to them calling my name or somebody else from Bermuda so loud really gave us a boost.”