18TH GOODWILL SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIP…Golden Britney glides relay team to victory, bronze for males
- George earns first silver medal
By Juanita Hooper
Guyana’s Olympian, Britney van Lange anchor leg in the girls 15-17 freestyle 400 meters relay had all spectators and athletes on their feet at the 18th edition of the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (GASA) Goodwill Swimming Championship at the National Aquatic Centre yesterday afternoon.
The event, which was the second to last on the programme, saw Guyana’s opponent, Trinidad and Tobago taking a slight lead in the first leg of the relay when their swimmer, Marie Marcano faced off with Athena Gaskin. Trinidad’s lead which was extended in the second leg by Colleen Parag gave their supporters something to chant about as they thought their victory was secured.
Guyana turned the tables on their opponents in the third leg when Soroya Simmons entered the pool with determination to close the gap which was created by the previous swimmers. Simmons energetic kicks in the international pool were almost three body lengths behind to surpass Trinidad’s Kieranne Ramtahal who finished first in the third leg.
But those body lengths were no more when van Lange plunged into the pool to outdo Richelle Roberts in the anchor leg to win gold for her team in 4:34.65 seconds.
The boys 13-14 400 meters freestyle relay team was equally impressive as the girls when the secured a bronze medal in 4:15.10 seconds with a spectacular swim from behind by Hannibal Gaskin who picked up from where his team mates, Selwyn Miller, Omari Dunn and Omar Adams left off. Suriname took a commanding win in 3:57.80 seconds, Trinidad finished second in 4:01.56 seconds.
van Lange and Onika George also took first and second podium places in the 15-17 and 13-14 50 meters Backstroke respectively. Van Lange, the only athlete to earn gold for Guyana in the individual segment of Championship continued her dominance by winning the 50 meters Backstroke in a Goodwill time of 33.09 seconds and also to record a new personal best time (her previous time was 33.81 seconds). The Goodwill record which is now held by van Lange was recorded by Suriname’s Faye Schuitemaker in 2009 in 32.38 seconds.
George took her first medal (silver) in the Championship. The exciting race saw Guyana’s silver medalist finishing in 33.66 seconds, Suriname’s Megan DeFreitas took gold in 33.65 seconds.
The Olympian also added another Goodwill gold medal to her collection in the girls 15-17 200 meters IM in 2:39.05 seconds leaving Trinidad and Tobago’s Marie Marcano (2:41.07 seconds) and Colleen Parag (2:51.68 seconds) to fight for second and third.
The Championship will conclude today at the National Aquatic Centre. Races commence at 10am.
Below are the team rankings through yesterday’s events:
Girls Team Scores
1 SURINAME 339
2 TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 321. 50
3 BARBADOS 253. 50
4 GUYANA 120
Boys – Team Scores
1 SURINAME 378
2 TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 348
3 BARBADOS 184
4 GUYANA 98
Combined Team Scores
1 SURINAME 717
2 TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 669. 50
3 BARBADOS 437. 50
4 GUYANA 218