Caitlyn Bobb surprised by record-breaking performance
Breaking records was the furthest thing from Caitlyn Bobb’s mind, as she took her position in the starting block for the women’s 400 metres event, at the recent Penn State National Open.
However, that is precisely what she accomplished, as the University of Maryland, Baltimore County freshman, blazed a new school and Bermuda indoor record, on the way to victory in the one-lap event, in a time of 54.86 seconds.
Bobb’s time eclipsed the previous national 400m indoor record of 55.71, which she already held going into the meet, and the school record of 55.80, which was set by Kirsten Jones in 2013.
“I was surprised that I had set a new school record and national record in the 400m,” Bobb told The Royal Gazette.
“The crazy thing is that my mind was fixated on first place and running a good time, but you cannot be too surprised when you are running with the Lord, because he throws many surprises and blessings your way.”
The Bermudian sprinter also won the 200 metres event in 24.44, to complete an impressive double at the meet, which was held at University Park, Pennsylvania, from January 21 to 22.
Success did not come without its share of challenges for the promising athlete.
“Last weekend was a bit of an emotional challenge for me,” Bobb added. “Prior to my 400m I cried because I was very nervous and anxious for my first 400m indoors and I wanted to run a fast time.
“Reflecting on my Covid-19 running season, it was mediocre. I finished the season with a 53 in the 400m and a 24 in the 200m. However, I am running some of those same times I was struggling to run outdoor on an indoor track.
“If you just run your race without thinking of a particular time or even just thinking too much, you run faster. My 200m and 400m times were a result of doing so and winning the 200m and 400m on the weekend is building my confidence again,” she said.
Bobb’s times in the 200m and 400m also qualified her for the 2022 Carifta Games, set be held in Jamaica from April 16 to 18.
“I am very excited to represent Bermuda at my last Carifta in Jamaica,” she said.
Bobb started her collegiate career with a bang, after storming to victory in the 500m on her school debut, at the 2021-22 season-opening Navy Invitational.
Her winning time of 1:14.14, is the fifth fastest in her school’s history and the fifth fastest in the nation. The time also earned her America East Female Track Performer of the Week accolades and punched her ticket to the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships.
The 18-year-old’s season then gained further momentum with victory in the 300m at the Penn State Nittany Lion Challenge with a time of 39.39 seconds.
Bobb says the transition from high school to collegiate athletics has been relatively seamless.
“All in all, the transition from high school to college has been pretty smooth,” she added. “The only shaky transition was mentally adjusting to the collegiate level of track and field.
“In high school you had your standout athletes that would compete and would dominate. Practices were also a little bit more relaxed,” said Bobb.
“In college, it’s serious business. Everyone you compete against is pretty fast, practice is serious business and my team-mates and I are too busy dying from the workout to goof off.
“Coming to the realisation of being in a bigger league with better and faster people is nerve-wrecking. However, I have God on my side, so there is no reason to fear.”
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