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Sam Williamson keen to sign off from Carifta Swimming Championships in style

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Sam Williamson
Sam Williamson (File photograph by Blaire Simmons).

The Carifta Swimming Championships always seem to bring the very best out of Sam Williamson.

The Bermudian has certainly left his mark on the annual regional championships having amassed ten medals, including five gold, and set the boys 11 to 12 records in the 50-metre breaststroke (32.42sec), 100 breaststroke (1:13.04) and 200 breaststroke (2:36.67) in Nassau, Bahamas in 2017.

“Carifta is fun and out of all of the meets I swim each year, it is the one that I look forward to the most,” Williamson told The Royal Gazette.“It is very loud, almost like a carnival atmosphere, the supporters are amazing. There are flags, air horns and cowbells, it really is something else.

“We swim a morning session and then a night-time finals session which runs late. It is quite exhausting but the adrenalin gets flowing and we keep on going.

“I have developed some really good friendships over the years. We are really competitive in the pool and then great friends as well.”

Williamson, who attends Mount Kelly School in Devon, England, made his debut at the championships in 2016 in Martinique, where he earned two bronze medals competing in the boys 11 to 12 age group.

“I remember my first Carifta where I did not know what to expect,” he added. “I only dreamt of making a final and yet I came away with two medals.

“I loved that first experience, getting my head shaved with Brian Desmond as a Carifta tradition, and after I won the medals could not wait to return the following year.”

Williamson stamped his authority at the Games in 2017 as he broke multiple records and earned eight medals, five of them gold, on the way to finishing as the top swimmer in his division.

“My second year at Carifta was a record-breaking one, I won high-points trophy and eight medals,” he said.

“My third and fourth Carifta appearances were also successful with more medals being won and high points again in the 13 to 14 age group. You can probably see why I love this competition.”

The championships are set to resume from a two-year hiatus owing to the global coronavirus pandemic at the Barbados Aquatic Centre in Wildey, Barbados, from April 16 to 20.

Williamson is among Bermuda’s team of 12 swimmers and hopes to achieve more success in what will be his fifth and final appearance at the event.

“I am really happy to be going again this year and having my final year at Carifta,” he said. “I will miss my team-mates Brian Desmond, Jack Harvey and Logan Watson-Brown as they aged out of the competition this year.

“I am determined to do my very best, swim well and get some personal bests and hopefully medals and make my team proud of me while, of course, enjoying my final experience.”

Elijah Daley, Flynn Watson-Brown, Finn Moseley, Brandon Adkins, Taylor White, Violet Smith, Myeisha Sharrieff, Arabella Newport Derbyshire, Imojen Judd and Marleigh and Bella Howes make up the rest of the island’s contingent.

White, Moseley and Williamson are the most senior members of the team at 17-years-old, while Derbyshire and Smith are the youngest at 12.

“I am excited to see the young swimmers joining the team,” Williamson said.

“It is the first time for Arabella, Violet and Marleigh and looking at their recent swims I know they are going to do really well and hope they enjoy the experience as much as I have done over the years.

“The older girls and boys have all been to Carifta before, so they know the routine and they are no less excited. There is a real buzz in our chat group.

“I think that as a team we will have some strong swims and bring home some medals.

“I am really looking forward to the relays, where we have both a boys and girls team in the older age groups.

“The relays are super exciting and really brings the team together.”

Bermuda’s swimmer will be accompanied in Barbados by coaches Ben Smith and Shona Palmer and manager Rebecca White.

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Published April 12, 2022 at 7:29 am (Updated April 12, 2022 at 7:29 am)

Sam Williamson keen to sign off from Carifta Swimming Championships in style

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