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Connor Hupman credits coaches for seven-medal haul

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Medal haul: Connor Hupman with the medals he won at the Carifta Aquatics Championships in Nassau, Bahamas (Photograph by Laetitia Hupman)

Connor Hupman has attributed his trailblazing exploits at the Carifta Aquatics Championships in Nassau, Bahamas to exceptional mentorship from his coaches.

The 14-year-old was the star performer for Bermuda, winning seven individual medals in the boys 13-14 age group, to contribute to the island’s total of 24.

It was a complete turnaround for Hupman, who did not manage any podium finish in his maiden appearance at last year’s championships, held in Curaçao, and he was keen to attribute his success to coach Payton Brooks, at Baylor School in Tennessee, as well as Bermuda coaches Ben Smith and Shona Palmer.

“This year I put in a lot more work, especially with my coach from school and with the coaches in Bermuda,’’ Hupman told The Royal Gazette.

Connor Hupman in action (Photograph by Laetitia Hupman)

“The coaches helped me improve a lot with those tiny details in every race and we put in a whole lot more work in every area.

“Coach Shona and coach Ben really helped me set my mindset in the right position for the meet, and achieve what I did.”

Despite his pre-competition efforts, Hupman was still amazed to pick up a medal in each and every individual race he took part in.

“I was surprised to get a medal in the seven races,’’ Hupman said. “I'm really happy that putting in all the extra work finally paid off.

“What made it even more special is that my mum was there on deck with me as a photographer. Support from her and a few other people back in Bermuda cheering me on really helped encourage me to do well.”

Elijah Daley, third from left, before the start of the 50m butterfly (Photograph by Laetitia Hupman)

Hupman cherished the six days of training with the rest of the team in Bermuda before heading off to the Bahamas and felt it allowed the group to develop a spirit of togetherness, which proved crucial at the championships.

“I feel this year there were a lot more younger swimmers and we did a better job of team bonding,’’ he said.

“I felt at the meet and in Bermuda while training, we had a strong bond between all of us. That helped us feed off each other’s accomplishments and also helped us lift each other up when we didn’t have the greatest of races.

“This year I really did step up in terms of leadership, especially with three younger swimmers on the team, all of them first-timers.”

Hupman, who looks up to Brandon Adkins, another Bermudian swimmer, has big aspirations in the sport, with the ninth-grade student preparing to represent the island at the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships, which will be held in Mexico in June.

“For the rest of high school, I'm going to keep training as I’m doing right now,’’ Hupman said.

“Maybe when I'm 18 I’ll hopefully go to the Commonwealth Youth Games with the Bermuda team and that’s a goal that’s high up on my list.

“For the next three months, I'm going to continue training and looking towards the CCCAN.”

Elijah Daley, 17 was participating at the Carifta Aquatics championships for the fourth time and bagged agold, two silvers and a bronze medal despite not getting time to specifically focus on the championships as a result of a hectic schedule in Canada, where he is based.

Elijah Daley in action (Photograph by Laetitia Hupman)

“Being back in Carifta was amazing,’’ Daley said. “I was so excited and grateful to represent Bermuda again. The team and coaches were fantastic and the meet itself was so electric as always.

“I have to admit it was a little tough for me with my Canadian programme just coming off of a killer training camp, but I was really proud of what I was able to accomplish with no taper.

“I was especially happy about my breaststroke races, which are off events. Getting a gold in the 200m butterfly, which is my main event, when it was my seventh race of the day, was special.

“It’s really encouraging to have things coming back together for me after some setbacks especially now as I move out of the junior age group. I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can do in the future.”

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Published April 09, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated April 08, 2024 at 5:06 pm)

Connor Hupman credits coaches for seven-medal haul

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