Youth Olympic qualifiers Jabari Baptiste, Kristin julien and David McLeod all splash into action today when the first day of the 29th Carifta Swimming Championships gets underway at the Roly Bislik Olympic Pook in Savanetta, Orajestad, Aruba.
Carifta has already been approved as a qualifying meet for Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) in Veracruz, Mexico in October and the Youth Olympic Games in China from August 16-28. This morning preliminaries should be a warm up for tonight’s final for many of the T&T swimmers.
And Trinidad and Tobago’s first medal could come from youngster Jada Chai in the Girls 11-12 50m backstroke. Her team Jahmia Harley lines up with her in that event. Chai and teammate Vrisnelit Faure are also ranked 1-2 in the Girls 11-12 100m butterfly. Faure also has the second fastest seed time for the Girls 200m breaststroke, an event in which T&T’s other representative is Sabrina David.
Other swimmers will also be looking to fill the void left by the absence of seven major points and medal winners from last year’s team that included historic World Junior Swimming Championship silver medallist Dylan Carter, out through scholastic commitments to his University of Southern California.
Justin Samlalsingh has a great shot at gold given that he crashed into the lane rope during his qualification for the Boys 13-14 50m backstroke and still achieved the ‘A’ qualifying standard (the equivalent of the median third place time for the last three editions of (Carifta). Julien is the top-seed in the Girls 15-17 50m backstroke and a favourite for gold. Teammate Ariel Cape is seeded fifth.
McLeod’s Youth Olympics ‘A’ qualifying standard earned him the top seed with teammate Baptiste ranked third in the Boys 15-17 50m backstroke. Baptiste is seeded second in the Boys 15-17 100m butterfly, a similar seed for Kael Yorke in the Boys 13-14 100m fly.
And in the Boys 11-12 , Aqeel Joseph and Gabriel Bynoe line up in the 50m backstroke while Joseph and Luke Gillette face the starter in the 100m butterfly. T&T will also be represented in three of six relays on the night featuring the 4 x 100m freestyle relay—the Girls 11-12, the Boys 13 -14 and the Boys 15-17.