Mexico Sweeps Open Distance Events; Panama Wins Relay With Cooper; SOFLO’s Lares, Banks, Nazario Swim Saturday

By Sharon Robb

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS, June 28, 2019—Mexico got off to a good start in the distance events and mixed relays on opening day of the 32nd Central American and Caribbean Aquatic Championships [CCCAN] Friday at National Aquatic Centre.

Cathy Cooper led off Panama’s winning mixed 4×50-meter freestyle relay that won in 1:41.90.

SOFLO’s Gaby Banks and Nicholas Vale were relay members of Jamaica’s second place 15-17 4×50-meter freestyle relay in 1:43.08, lower than its entry time of 1:43.70.

Mexico swept three of the four mixed 4×50-meter freestyle relays.

Venezuela’s Maria Yegres, 13, had the fastest time in all age groups, winning the 13-14 800-meter freestyle in 9:04.80.

Mexico’s Axxel Salgado Salinas, 18, won the 18-and-over 1500-meter freestyle in 16:02.80, fastest time in all age groups.

Weather permitting, South Florida Aquatic Club and Florida Gold Coast swimmers race on Saturday.

Sebastian Lares, 14, will compete in four individual events and two relays: 13-14 100-meter backstroke, 400-meter individual medley, 200-meter individual medley and 200-meter backstroke.

Gaby 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.

SOFLO’s Diego Nazario, 12, making his CCCAN debut, will represent Puerto Rico. The Silver Group swimmer is entered in the 100-meter butterfly, 50-meter butterfly, 100-meter freestyle, 200-meter butterfly and 50-meter freestyle.

Pine Crest alum and Kenyon College-bound Nicholas Vale are representing 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, is competing 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 competing. Several participants are trying to qualify for the World Championship and Pan American Games before the July 3 deadline.

Twenty eight countries are 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.

CCCAN is an age group swimming championship with 11-12, 13-14, 15-17 and 18-and-over age categories. The meet ends Tuesday.


800-meter freestyle:
13-14, 1. Maria Yegres, VEN 9:04.80; 15-17, 1. Michelle Ramirez, HOND 9:14.59; 18-and-over, 1. Mariajose Lopez Lizarraga, MEX 9:14.70.

4×50-meter freestyle relay: 11-12, 1. Mexico 1:51.27, 2. Bahamas 1:52.00, 3. Dominican Republic 1:52.35; 13-14, 1. Mexico 1:45.09, 2. Bermuda 1:45.95, 3. Jamaica 1:46.72; 15-17, 1. Mexico 1:42.089, 2. Jamaica 1:43.08, 3. Puerto Rico 1:44.15; 18-and-over, 1. Panama 1:41.90, 2. Mexico 1:42.41, 3. Honduras 1:43.44.


1500-meter freestyle:
13-14, 1. Alan Alejandro Gonzalez Mujica, MEX 16:23.56; 15-17, 1. Chance Conde, PUR 16:25.00; 18-and-over, 1. Axxel Salgado Salinas, MEX 16:02.80

Sharon Robb can be reached at