New champ: Champion of the Maracas Open Water 5,000m swim, Marlins’ Christian Marsden, left, and teammate and former champ James Gillette, who finished third, display their trophies yesterday at the popular North Coast beach. Missing is Jivan Chee Foon who was a distant second to Marsden.

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Marsden creates Open Water history

By Mark Pouchet

Marlins Christian Marsden became the youngest ever champion of the Maracas Open Water event, when he splashed to a massive victory at the popular North Coast Beach yesterday.

Marsden, 14, romped to  an over two-minute victory over his rivals as he continued to  carve out his niche in open water swimming in Trinidad and Tobago.

Marsden had already created history by securing this country three spots for the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) Games in Veracruz, Mexico next year when he placed in the top 20 in the 10k at the CCCAN Games in Costa Rica in July.

And his win in the 5km main event yesterday added to his personal tally of Open Water triumphs as he crossed the line in one hour, nine minutes and 34.80 seconds

Marsden pulled ahead after the first pair of buoys in front the main pavilion, to establish an early lead with defending champion Jonathan Gillette dropping out after experiencing shoulder problems.

Marsden, the Carifta 5km bronze medallist in the Boys 14-17 age group at this year’s Carifta Games in Jamaica back in April, maintained a body length lead over Jivan Chee Foon all the way around the first circuit of the two-round race until an official in a kayak stopped the two leaders because their caps had come off. Marsden argued with the official before eventually continuing on his way but Chee Foon gave up 40 seconds when he headed towards the beach before re-diverting to the course.

Marsden extended his advantage mercilessly until the finish, ending more than four minutes ahead of Chee Foon.

Second on time was the female champion Caitlin Nolan of Canada (1:11.54.30), who started a staggered two minutes later than the men, with Chee Foon (1:13.45.30) in second among the males, and Marsden’s teammate James Gillette (1:13.46.70), third.

In the 2,650m race, David Wiltshire reversed places with Jabari Baptiste from last year (36:23.30 to 36:24.60) to win the event while Baptiste’s Marlins teammate Chirstian Gillette copped third in 37:30.50. John Littlepage (TT Aquatics, 37:30.70) and Christian’s younger brother from Marlins, Andrew (38:50.70), rounded out the top five.

In the 750m Kids event, Jada Chai of Atlantis Aquatics splashed to the winner’s podium in 10 minutes 29.50 seconds.

Tidal Wave’s Gabriel Bynoe (10.30.50) and Sabrina David (10:33.60) weren’t too far behind.

As opposed to last year’s poor visibility from heavy rains that prevented the 5,000m swim from being completed, swimmers were greeted with hot sunny weather and calm waters this year.
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