‘Warwick exceeded expectations’
Warwick Academy swimmers made history on their debut at the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming & Diving Championships in Pennsylvania last weekend.
The 16-strong team from the school's swimming programme, which started last September, became the first team to compete at the event outside of the United States and did so in style after coming away with three medals and several personal best times.
The boys' team finished fourteenth out of 28 schools, while the girls' team placed tenth out of 30.
“The big opportunity was just to be able to compete at this competition,” Ben Smith, the Bermuda coach, said. “This is an event that has been closed to just US high schools and to be the first high school outside of the US to be invited was obviously a huge milestone.”
Leading the charge at Franklin & Marshall College were Jesse Washington and Logan Watson-Brown, who accounted for the team's entire medal haul.
Washington captured gold in the 200 metres freestyle and silver in the 100 freestyle. Watson-Brown earned silver in the 100 freestyle and narrowly missed out on bronze after finishing fourth in the 200 freestyle.
The local contingent also held their own in the girls' 4x50 freestyle relay, reaching the A final where they finished eighth.
“From our perspective the athletes exceeded expectations,” Smith said.
“The athletes in the lower level of our team performed really well and the swimmers midway up exceeded by making finals. In many cases they were really young to be making finals already, especially in our first opportunity, and we are swimming yards as opposed to the metres that we train in. All of those things we were super excited about that.”
Smith said the atmosphere at the Kunkel Aquatic Centre was ideal for team building.
“It was important we gave them exposure to this kind of competition because when you go to Carifta, and the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Confederation Championships, there's a great atmosphere and most of it comes from the stands down,” he said. “People watching are super excited and are cheering, and it gives a good atmosphere.
“But when you do to this type of meet it was the athletes that are cheering.
“Everybody is on the side of the pool, so if we have one person in the pool 15 of our children are at the edge cheering them on, which is not how it normally works when we go to a competition. That excitement and team building is just a great lesson going forward.”
Gabriela Pitman, Skyler Powell, Taylor White, Tayla Horan, Amelie Argent, Talia Thompson, Ambya Smith, Jack Harvey, Brian Desmond, Lewis Sweeney, Caleb Ingham, Finn Moseley, Sam Williamson and Keagan Woolley were the remaining members of the team.