By Sharon Robb
May 19, 2016—Teenager Octavia Lau of the Canadian Youth Team won the 800-meter freestyle Thursday on the opening day of the Validus Bermuda National Long Course Championships at the National Aquatic Centre.
Lau won in a lifetime best 9:04.90, shaving 3.60 seconds off her previous best. Lau is entered in six other events over the next three days.
Canadian Youth Team has entered 12 members to compete against some of the top Caribbean swimmers.
Five South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers, led by Bermuda national record holder Lisa Blackburn, will begin competing on Friday.
The meet has been sanctioned by FINA, the sport’s international governing body, as one of the last few qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and will also serve as a final qualifier for the Caribbean Island Swimming Championships.
Blackburn, 44, one of the oldest swimmers in the meet, will be joined by 2012 U.S. Olympic relay gold medalist Claire Donahue, American Kile Aukerman, Alina Schulhofer of Austria and Timothy Wynter of Jamaica.
Swimmers from Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, Panama, Guam, Syria, Jamaica, Austria, Venezuela and U.S. are expected to compete. Nine swim clubs are entered.
12-and-under, 1. Elan Daley, Sharks 4:54.86, 2. Logan Watson-Brown, Sharks 5:09.90, 3. Taylor White, Harbor Amateur Swim Club 5:14.77.
Open, 1.Octavia Lau, Canadian Youth Team 9:04.90, 2. Kayla Sanchez, Canadian Youth Team 9:13.15, 3. Maria Far Nunez, LaSalle Swim Team 9:29.76.
12-and-under, 1. Brian Desmond, Sharks 4:49.64, 2. Elijah Daley, Sharks 5:18.74, 3. Neil Budge, Sharks 6:01.92.
12-and-under, 1. Brian Desmond, Sharks 19:22.13: 13-and-over, 1. Ruslan Gaziev, Canadian Youth Team 16:50.35, 2. Mackenzie Flowers, Canadian Youth Team 16:52.68, 3. Joshua Young, Canadian Youth Team 17:05.19.
Mixed 50-meter time trial:
1.Roberto Gomez, Unattached 23.40, 2. Rebecca Heyliger, Sharks 26.13, 3. Madelyn Moore, Sharks 26.36.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org