Medal glory for Washington in Jamaica
Golden boy Jesse Washington showed just why he is Bermuda’s current top junior male athlete at the Carifta Swimming Championships in Jamaica yesterday.
The Warwick Academy student won the gold medal in the 13-14 boys’ 100 metres freestyle in record time at the National Stadium Pool in Kingston.
Washington’s blistering time of 54.71 bettered his own Bermuda record he set earlier in the day en route to qualifying for the final as the top seed.
The top swimmer shattered Gerri Mewitt ‘s record of 56.60 which had stood for 24 years.
Naturally, Washington was delighted with his record breaking exploits in the pool.
“I’m excited to break it (record) and overall I’m pleased with my performance,” he said.
As the youngest swimmer in his age group, Washington admitted the pressure was on during qualifiers for the 100 metres freestyle final.
“I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me because being the youngest in the age group it’s just different to be number one and be at the bottom,” he said.
“I didn’t know if they (rivals) put in old times to throw me off track. But once I swam the race (qualifier) and I PB (lowered personal best) by more than a second I felt all right going into the final. I had a pretty good start off the blocks, was neck and neck with another swimmer to about the 25 metre mark before I brought it home.”
National swim coach Ben Smith described Washington’s gold medal display as “spectacular”.
“The field couldn’t touch him,” he said. “By the time they got to 25 metres the race was over.”
Washington has so far won two medals at the ongoing regional swim meet having also won the bronze medal in the 100 metres butterfly at the weekend.
Perhaps making his achievement all the more remarkable is the fact he’s managed to compete at a high level while coping with the effects of a stomach bug.
“I haven’t eaten much and it’s been affecting me somewhat,” Washington said.
“My appetite has been on and off but coming towards the end (of the swim meet) I’m feeling a bit better and more comfortable.”
Also standing on the podium yesterday was Madelyn Moore who won the bronze medal in the 11-12 girls’ 100 metres freestyle in a time of 1:03.66 to take her overall medal haul in the Caribbean to three.
She won the gold medal in the 50 metres backstroke on Saturday and followed that up the next day by winning the silver medal in the 100 metres backstroke.
“She’s got a full set and has two more races so hopefully we can add another one,” added Smith.
Present to witness Washington and Moore’s medal winning exploits in the pool yesterday was Sports Minister Wayne Scott.
"It has been great witnessing our children performing well in Bahamas and now in Jamaica,” he said. “In witnessing these two medal performances I want to congratulate our athletes for a job well done.
“I'd also like to congratulate the coaches, parents and all of those involved in sports and in support of our children.”
Yesterday also saw several members of Bermuda’s team lower their personal best times in the pool.
Megan Lau, Ethan Daley, Vanessa Esposito and Alex McCallum all lowered their times in the Individual Medley.
Emma Harvey, Lau, Daley, Esposito, Shannon Botelho and Dejan Wellman all recorded personal best times in the 50 metres breaststroke.
Alex Pilgrim and Shannon Hassell lowered their times in the 100 metres freestyle while Esposito equalled hers.
Sophie Froud recorded a personal best time of 1:07 in the 100 metres freestyle.
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