Washington leads the way with gold
Bermuda ended their Caribbean Swimming Championships campaign with a bang in Barbados yesterday, winning five more medals on the final day of competition to take their overall tally to 23.
Leading the charge was Jesse Washington who won the gold medal in the boys' 13 to 14 100 freestyle, slashing more than two seconds off the previous Bermuda 15 to 16 age group record held by Nick Thompson since 2008, after touching the wall in 53.90sec.
“That 100 freestyle by Jesse is quite a fantastic time,” Ben Smith, the Bermuda coach, said.
“That 53:90 is a really outstanding swim and he continues to be at the pace of the top swimmers — not just within our region — but everywhere. As a 15-year-old that is a really fast swim.
“Jesse did well at Carifta. But what he showed here goes back to where we were when he was an 11 and 12-year-old and he is definitely coming along nicely.”
Washington also won the silver in the 50 butterfly in a time of 26.62, which is also a new Bermuda 15-16 age group record, for added measure.
Also winning two medals yesterday was Rebecca Heyliger who won silver in the girls' 18 and over 100 freestyle and 50 butterfly.
Heyliger's time of 59.71 in the 100 freestyle met the B qualifying standard for the Central American and Caribbean Games while her time of 29.14 in the 50 butterfly eclipsed the previous Bermuda national record which she shared with former swimmer Ashley Aitken.
Also standing proudly on the podium was Ashley Irby who won silver in the girls' 11 to 12 100 freestyle after covering the distance in 1:02.48.
As well as earning 23 medals, Bermuda's swimmers achieved several personal best and national records in the pool at the Barbados Aquatics Centre.
“It was a spectacular performance by the team from the youngest that we have here getting medals to our senior athletes that are preparing for major competitions,” Smith added.
“Everybody performed well with lots of personal best times, records and obviously the medals. It's really exciting for our position right now within the region.”
As well as Washington's sterling performance in the 100 freestyle, coach Smith also hailed Julian Fletcher's gold medal winning exploits in the boys' 18 and over 100 and 200 breaststroke.
“Watching what Julian was able to do in his breaststroke has really given me great expectations for what we are going to see at Commonwealth Games with him and Roy-Allan [Burch],” Smith said.
Fletcher's time of 2;22.71 sec in the 200 breaststroke eclipsed the meet record, which he set in 2012, and also the national record previously held by Chris Flook that had stood for than two decades. His winning time also met the A qualifying standard for the CAC Games.