National coach Ben Smith hails first swim meet of 2021
Veteran swimmer Jesse Washington, preparing for upcoming Olympic trials, won four finals in the Schroders Long Course Swimming Championships which finished at the National Sports Centre.
The 22-year-old college student has been back in Bermuda doing an internship and took the opportunity to be a part of the four-day event, showing his experience on his way to winning four events on the weekend.
Washington, who represented Bermuda at the World Aquatics Championships in South Korea in late July 2019 and then flew immediately to Lima, Peru, for the Pan Am Games a few days later, won the 15 and over 200 metres freestyle yesterday in a time of 1min 59.56sec. He finished ahead of Brandon Adkins, of Harbour Swim Club (2:04.94), and Sharks Swim Club team-mate Brian Desmond (2:05.20).
The Sharks pair also did battled in the 50 metres freestyle, with Washington touching the wall in 25.26 with Desmond, 17, second in 26.16 and Keagan Woolley, of Harbour Swim Club, third in 26.35.
Washington also picked up a couple of wins in finals on Saturday, claiming the 15 and over 100 metres freestyle in 52.58. Desmond finished second in 57.38 while Adkins, of Harbour Swim Club, was third in 58.55.
Washington also won the 400 metres freestyle in 4:26.56 with Desmond second in 4:35.88 and Joseph Vallis, also of Sharks, third in 5:27.92.
Desmond, 17, picked up wins in the 50 metres backstroke (29.51) and 50 metres butterfly (28.39) on Saturday.
Logan Watson-Brown of Sharks also had double success on Saturday, taking the girls 15 and over 50 metres backstroke over Myeisha Sharrieff in 31.44 while Sharrieff clocked 32.05.
Sharrieff, of Harbour Swim Club, won the 100 metres backstroke yesterday in 1:09.54 while Taylor White of Sharks, was second in 1:12.39. Sharrieff also won the 50 freestyle yesterday, edging out Tayla Horan, of Sharks, after clocking 28.97 to Horan’s 29.10.
Watson-Brown added the 100 freestyle after clocking 59.00 to beat out Josephine Duerden, of Harbour (1:01:86), and Taylor White, of Sharks (1:01:90).
Ben Smith, the national coach, called the meet a success, after being given clearance by the Government to hold the first major meet in six months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association would like to thank the departments of health, national security, and youth and sport for working with us to get an exemption for a championship meet,” Smith said.
“The last championship meet we were able to hold was the first week of December 2020. It was great to see all the swimmers back in competition and the performances were very impressive.
“Considering all the stops and starts of training due to interruptions from Covid and restrictions on gathering size preventing competitions, there were lots of fast swims.“
Smith added: “The most important thing was seeing so many happy swimmers as they had the chance to return to the sport that they love. Jesse Washington participated where he continued his fine-tuning before making his attempt at Olympic qualification in a few weeks.
“It is important to thank all of the volunteers that enabled us to have this official meet under Covid regulations. Thank you to the meet sponsor, Schroders, for their continued support which helps after such a year of lost revenue.”
Bella Howes, 14, of Sharks Swim Club, had an outstanding meet, claiming four wins on the weekend. She finished second behind team-mate Imojen Judd in the 13-14 50 metres butterfly on Saturday and then won the 100 metres freestyle ahead of Judd with her winning time of 1:01.37.
Howes had even more success yesterday, winning the 200 metres freestyle in a time of 2:16.55, exactly four seconds ahead of team-mate Adriana Argent and younger sister Marleigh. Howes also picked up wins in the 50 breaststroke (37.44) and 50 metres freestyle in 28 second, with Marleigh, 13, second in 28.44.
Howes was third in the 100 metres backstroke won by Judd in a time of 1:12:08.
It was also a successful meet for the Cechini siblings of Harbour Swim Club, with Thomas, 13, winning the 50 backstroke 50 butterfly and 100 freestyle on Saturday. Joey Cechini, 10, won the 50 backstroke on Saturday while twin sister Gaby won the 50 butterfly, 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke on Saturday.
On Sunday, Thomas added the 200 metres freestyle, while Joe won the 200 free and 50 free and Gaby the 50 freestyle.