By Sharon Robb
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS, June 27, 2019—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Sebastian Lares of Panama and Gaby Banks of Jamaica will compete in the 32nd Central American and Caribbean Aquatic Championships [CCCAN] at National Aquatic Centre.
Lares, 14, will compete in four individual events and two relays. He will compete in the 13-14 100-meter backstroke, 400-meter individual medley, 200-meter individual medley and 200-meter backstroke.
Banks, 16, is seeded second in the 50-meter freestyle in 26.65. She will also swim the 50-meter butterfly, 200-meter breaststroke, 100-meter butterfly, 50-meter breaststroke, 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter breaststroke.
Pine Crest alum and Kenyon College-bound Nicholas Vale will represent Jamaica. He will be joined by his younger sister, Simone Vale, 15, and Sidrell Williams, another Florida Gold Coast swimmer. Renzo Tjon A Joe, 23, will represent Suriname. Cathy Cooper, 19, will compete for Panama. Lauren Hew will represent the Cayman Islands.
Banks and Vale are also shortlisted for the FINA Junior World Championship set for August 20-25 in Budapest, Hungary.
An estimated 500 athletes from 29 countries are expected to compete in pool swimming. Several participants will try to qualify for the World Championship and Pan American Games before the July 3 deadline.
Twenty eight countries will be represented at the swimming championships including Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vicente and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, and US Virgin Islands.
Barbados Aquatic Sports Association president Tony Selby said during the meet’s press conference that he expects a competitive meet.
“There is going to be a lot of competition in swimming,” Selby said. “I have had a look at the psych sheet and the competition is going to be stiff. Obviously, the powerhouses of the Caribbean are Trinidad and Bahamas, they will all be here as well trying to maintain glory to the English-speaking Caribbean over the Central American countries.”
According to Selby, Mexico has not competed in CCCAN for several years, and they are coming to make a statement with a large group of 81 athletes.
CCCAN is an age group swimming championship with 11-12, 13-14, 15-17 and 18-and-over age categories.
The swimming will be held from Friday to July 2. The races will be swam as preliminary qualifying heats in the morning and finals at night, a similar format to CARIFTA and other four- or five-day swim meets.
The Championships, which also features synchronized swimming, open water swimming and water polo, began on Monday.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org