Sam Williamson makes a splash in Carifta Swimming Championships swansong
Sam Williamson bowed out of competing in the Carifta Swimming Championships in style in Barbados this week.
The 17-year-old came away with five individual medals, including two gold, as well as a two bronze in the relay events to cap his fifth and final appearance at the regional championships on a high note.
“It was fun being back at Carifta, and I am glad I was able to go one more time,” Williamson told The Royal Gazette. “There were still a lot of Covid restrictions, which meant we could not mix as much with other teams. But I got to see old friends in warm up and in the competition pool.”
The Mount Kelly School in Devon student won gold in the boys 15-17 200 breaststroke and 400 individual medley. He also earned silver in the 400 freestyle and bronze in the 50 and 100 breaststroke.
Williamson also won bronze medals alongside Finn Moseley, Flynn Watson-Brown and Brandon Adkins in the boys 15-17 4x100 freestyle and medley relays.
“I feel like I achieved most of my goals for the meet,” he said.
“I worked hard and was very happy to win five individual medals and two team medals in the relay.
“The relays were especially fun as the boys team had a complete team in our age group, which is not always the case.
“The crowd are loudest for the relays at the end of the night, and everyone swam some really fast legs in both our boys and girls relay teams.”
Coming from behind to snatch gold in the 400 individual medley proved to be a particular highlight for Williamson.
“The 400 individual medley was my most exciting race,” Williamson added.
“It was extremely close and I knew I would have to come from behind as Max Wilson is a great backstroker and would be ahead after the fly and back.
“I tried to catch him on the breaststroke but still had a lot to do, and was able to out touch him right at the end for the gold by 0.02 seconds.”
Williamson bows out with an impressive total of 23 medals overall.
He was among Bermuda’s team of 12 swimmers that came away from this year’s Carifta Swimming Championships with 19 medals and placed sixth among the 18 competing nations.
Siblings Marleigh and Bella Howes, Taylor White, Violet Smith, Myeisha Sharrieff and Arabella Newport Derbyshire secured the island’s remaining individual medals.
Marleigh Howes won gold in the girls 13-14 200 freestyle and silver in the 100 and 400 freestyle.
White secured silver in the girls 15-17 200 backstroke and bronze in the 400 freestyle.
Smith won gold in the girls 11-12 200 backstroke, silver in the 50 and 100 backstroke.
Bella Howes, the elder sister of Marleigh, took silver in the girls 15-17 100 freestyle.
Sharrieff also claimed silver in the girls 13-14 100 and 400 freestyle.
Derbyshire, the youngest member of the team at 12, won gold in the girls 11-12 200 butterfly at the championships that concluded at the Barbados Aquatic Centre in Wildey, Barbados, on Wednesday.
“The team as a whole did really well,” Williamson said. “I knew we could get a lot of medals; I think 19 was a good total and sixth place overall is pretty good compared to some of the bigger countries.
“Everyone swam well but especially the younger swimmers — both Violet and Arabella won golds in their first Carifta in great times and Marleigh’s 200 free for gold was also a really strong swim.
“I want to encourage every swimmer in Bermuda to work hard and try to achieve qualifying times for Carifta because it is such a great experience and worth the hard work to get there and be a part of the team.
“I want to thank coaches Ben Smith and Shona Palmer and, of course, team manager Rebecca White, who helped make my last Carifta what I hoped it would be.”