The team of nine TCI swimmers had their best showing ever in the 2018 CARIFTA swim competition in Kingston, Jamaica last weekend. Stand out swimmer Luke Haywood, 14, made it to three ﬁnals in the breaststroke events: 200 meter, 100 meter (1:13.82 ), and 50 meter (33.09). Top female swimmer Arleigha Hall, 17, swam to a top 16 place ﬁnish in the 50 meter free style (28.46).
All nine swimmers achieved Personal Bests in 43 out of 45 events they entered. The TCI team also for the ﬁrst time ﬁelded two female relay teams in the 400 meter and 200 meter freestyle distances, with two of the female athletes swimming above their age group.
Six of the nine TCI swimmers train in Provo (Leon Cummings, Jack Parlee, Alex Maclaren, Georgia Greatrex, Calen Castillo, and Lillian Taylor), while three (Luke Haywood, Arleigha Hall, and Raine Monet Williams) train in UK, Bahamas, and US respectively.
National Coach Jessica Soderquist stated: “I am incredibly proud of our swimmers, not just for their commendable performance in the pool, but as athletes and outstanding individuals in and out of the water. As it is with all competitive sport, swimmers face challenges and roadblocks, disappointments and successes. This competition was no diﬀerent and all of our athletes showed resilience, courage, commitment, sportsmanship and humility. The people and the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands should be very pleased to have them out there competing as ambassadors for this growing sport.”
Team Manager Caren Castillo said, “It was a great pleasure spending a week in Jamaica with the TCI CARIFTA Swim Team that not only made Turks & Caicos sports history, but served as wonderful ambassadors for the country. We can be proud of all of them.”
Ben Stubenberg, President of the TCI Swim Federation added, “We are very happy with our swimmers who took on Caribbean swim powerhouses like Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guadeloupe, and Jamaica, among others. With proper competition swim facilities, we have no doubt there will be many more TCI swimmers in the ﬁnals and on the podium.”
Jarrett Forbes, Director of Sports, expressed, “We are very proud of our CARIFTA Swim Team! They represented the TCI well, in performance as well as ambassadors to our country. We appreciate the effort that the athletes and coaches put into training and competition and we are aware of the challenges our swimmers face in not having access to high performance training facilities. So we applaud the athletes and coaches for such a stellar performance in CARIFTA 2018. As we aim to develop swimming facilities in the TCI, we encourage young aspiring athletes to consider swimming and help us to continue to develop swimming in the TCI.”
Hon. Minister responsible for Sports, Edwin Astwood congratulated the athletes stating; "I commend the swimmers and coaches on competing well and achieving their personal best. No doubt that swimming is an up and coming sport in the TCI. The Ministry commits to providing support to the Swimming Federation and would like to encourage young persons to choose swimming."
The Hon. Minister expressed that swimming should be encouraged as a means of survival, as an avenue for healthy living and as a competitive sport. Hon. Minister Astwood hopes to have swimming as a sport representing the Turks and Caicos Islands at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.