When the swimming delegation departed on September 4th for the Isle of Man there was no doubt about the goals for the competition. Clearly articulated by the Chef de Mission, Colonel Trevor Browne from the perspective of the Olympic Association, he expected each athlete to be the best he or she can be. More specifically the Swimming Association’s goals for this young delegation had requested them to take the sport to the next level through establishing new marks, making a final in a least one event and of course improving times. The swimmers rose to the occasion and grasp the task at hand and fulfilled this mandate in at least one event.

Mathew Courtis the lone male participant established a new age group 15-17 and men’s open record n the 1500 SCM freestyle in 16:34.75 and finished his heat in this event in 1st position while scorching 18.15 seconds off his seed time. He was a finalist in the 400 SCM IM and in the 200 SCM butterfly placing 5th and 8th respectively and securing best times in the process. His time in the 400 SCM IM was lowered to 4:42.22 a reduction of 4 seconds and in the final of the 200 SCM fly he further shaved 2 seconds off his preliminary time to post 2:14.15. Courtis also improved his performance in the 200 SCM IM posting in on 2:15.22 and in the 200 SCM backstroke in a time of 2:13.78. Courtis had a successful meet.

Zabrina Holder, the youngest of the female swimmers established three new age group records and a new women’s open record in the three events swum. In the 50 SCM butterfly Zabrina’s time of 29.07 which placed her as the 1st alternate in 9th position erased the old record 30:21 established by her in 2010. In the 200 SCM IM she posted 2:25.12 lowering the old record from 2:26.09. In the 100 SCM butterfly Holder romped home 6th in the final to further shave a few splits off her prelim time to 1:02.51 for a new national age group and women’s open record. Both Holder and Courtis posed with Prince Edward on the opening day of the Games.

Lee-Ann Rose started Barbados’ record breaking ball rolling as she established the first record taking the sport up yet another notch. In the 200 SCM backstroke her time of 2:22.28 lowered the old record from 2:22.51 to establish a new 15-17 age group record. Rose also posted a personal best in the 50 SCM backstroke event in 31.45 down from 31.78.

Amara Gibbs also secured her goal in the 200 SCM butterfly where she was awarded a final spot in this event.

The team returns home on Wednesday, September 14th

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4th Commonwealth Youth Games 2011

4th Commonwealth Youth Games 2011

Pictured in this photograph at the Grantley Adams Int’l Airport prior to departure are:
L-r: Zabrina Holder, Amara Gibbs, Lee-Ann Rose and Coach Enrico Mcconney. Matthew Courtis joins the team in London for onward travel to the Isle of Man.

Three of the 4 swimmers representing Barbados at the 4th Commonwealth Youth Games departed Barbados with rest of the Barbados Delegation on Sunday, September 4th bound for the ISLE OF MAN. The three day short course competition will begin on September 9th and conclude on September 11th. The swimming delegation led by Coach Enrico Mcconney is made up of lone male swimmer MATHEW COURTIS, LEE-ANN ROSE, AMARA GIBBS & ZABRINA HOLDER. Among the 4 swimmers 15 events will be contested. They will be competing against 41 other Commonwealth Countries which includes Australia, England, New Zealand, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Africa, Pacific and Caribbean Countries. This meet will be used as a precursor to the Panamercan Games scheduled to be held in Guadalajara from October 13-30th 2011 for which the team has clinched qualifying status.

Matthew Courtis represented Barbados at The Carifta and Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships. He also participated in the Scottish Nationals as well as many local and regional competitions. He will be contesting 6 events:1500 & 400 SCM free, 400 SCM individual medley, 200 SCM butterfly, 200 SCM backstroke and 200 SCM individual medley. He currently holds the Barbados national 15-17 short course record in the 800 & 1500 SCM freestyle events. Matthew also enjoys sailing which he does both competitively and for leisure and has acquired enough knowledge and experience which he shares as a Coach with other youngsters. He also participates in biathlons and loves to read and study as the basis for enhancing his store of knowledge.

Lee Ann Rose’s highlight in the sport so far has been her qualification and participation in the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore last year. Rose also clinched qualifying status for the CAC Games held in Mayaguez , Puerto Rico and was part of the record breaking relay to establish a new women’s open national record. In addition, Rose has represented Barbados at the Carifta and Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships and CCCAN and has participated in many regional competitions and all local championships. Rose currently holds the women’s open national short course record in the 100 backstroke and the 100 & 200 SCM 15-17 backstroke records. When not swimming Lee-Ann watches television, draws, enjoys drama, skateboarding, dancing and a good laugh. She has also listed social networking, schoolwork and stretching as part of the activities she does when not swimming. Rose will be competing in the all of the backstroke events and the 200 M freestyle.

Participating in her 1st Youth Games outside of the region Zabrina Holder is eagerly looking forward to the competition. Entered to compete in the 50 & 100 SCM butterfly as well as the 200 SCM individual medley at the Youth Games she will be testing her mettle against her youth counterparts in the Commonwealth. Listing climbing trees, shopping & eating to be among her hobbies Holder had a taste of senior open competition at the CAC Games last year where she was one of the 4 females who took part in the record breaking relay performance. She currently has her name stamped on 7 short course women’s open national records and 9 records in the 13-14 age group in the freestyle, butterfly and individual medley which is indicative of the versatility she brings to the sport. Holder never misses an opportunity to represent her Country and has done so quite ably at Carifta, Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships and CCCAN as well. She participates in as many regional meets as possible and at all local championships.

Emerging as equally competent in the butterfly stroke Amara Gibbs has demonstrated that she is a versatile swimmer having made her debut in the backstroke. Indeed she holds the women’s open short course national record in the 200 SCM distance of that stroke and all of the backstroke records in the 13-14 age group. Gibbs will be flexing her versatility in three events-200 SCM butterfly, 200SCM backstroke and the 200 SCM individual medley. This being her first Youth Games outing her initiation at the senior Games had been at the CAC Games in 2010 where she contributed 1/4th of the success towards the record breaking relay performance. Gibbs represented Barbados at several Carifta and Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships, CCCAN as well as participated in several regional invitationals and local meets. Reading is her pastime and when not training she likes to go out with friends, study or simply stay at home with the family and rest.

The team returns home on September 14th

The entire Barbados Delegation is pictured above with Assistant Chef de Mission Gail Craig-Archer and Team Doctor Dr Renee Best at the Grantley Adams International Airport before departure.