By: Duke Sullivan
“Thursday is always Ladies Night at Carifta Swimming”
Coming off impressive performances at the 2022 Carifta Swimming Championships, the Cayman Islands Junior National Swim Team is determined to duplicate the feat this Easter weekend at the 36th Carifta Swim meet, taking place on the Southern Caribbean Island of Curacao.
Competing in the club-like atmosphere, with the sounds of drums, cowbells and horns ringing through the air, the quartet of Harper Barrowman, Sierrah Broadbelt, Jillian Crooks, and Lila Higgo set the tone on Thursday evening.
After Barrowman began the proceedings with gold in the 15 and over 800m Freestyle, Broadbelt held off her stiff competition to garner 2 gold medals in her 13-14 age-group, in the 50m Backstroke and the 100m Butterfly.
The dynamic duo of Crooks and Higgo battled one another as well as the field in their 15-17 age-group 50m Back and 100m Butterfly finals. Higgo captured the backstroke, edging Crooks in a Carifta record time of 29.51. Crooks responded by capturing the gold in the butterfly, leaving Higgo with the silver medal.
When you think the raucous crowd can’t get any louder, the relay portion of the evenings festivities brings the noise to a new level. The Cayman 15-17 women’s 4X100 Freestyle relay team of Higgo, Crooks, Sofia Bonati and Barrowman provided the electricity, leading their race from start to finish. They put their stamp in the history books with a new Carifta record time of 3:57.63.
The Cayman boy’s 11-12 relay team of Lev Fahy, Gabriel Bispath, Eli Bain and Chase Watson fought valiantly to secure silver in a highly entertaining relay. Fahy added an individual bronze medal in the 50m backstroke earlier in the evening, beating the long standing Cayman record (CIASA) of Olympian Andrew McKay.
Riley Watson impressed enroute to a bronze medal in her 13-14 800m Freestyle race. Other strong efforts in their final’s were provided by Will Sellars (1500m Freestyle), and Lucy Butler and Jordan Lisle in the 200m Breaststroke.