By Dean Greenaway
The BVI Swimming Federation has become the fastest body in the territory’s history to have its athletes compete in a World Championships event organized by its governing body.
Merely six years into its existence since it was formed in 2008, sisters Elinah and Amarah Phillip are making the federation’s first splash in the 12th FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Doha, Qatar.
The Phillip’s who tuned up for the event at the OECS Championships in St. Lucia last month before returning to their training base in England, are joining more than 900 swimmers in the competition.
Both began competing in the 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly and the 100m freestyle and 100m butter fly events on Thursday and Saturday respectively.
Federation president Elsworth Philip said he thinks it’s a step in the right for his young federation, having two pretty decent swimmers going out to compete amongst the best in the world, hence they will be considered two of the best in the world.
“For our federation, it shows that we are making strides in the right direction,” Phillip said. “I know we have had a lot of challenges thus far in getting the sport off the ground, getting the swimmers to good meets and good competitions. But, I think this is a sign that we have people here with the talent who can represent the territory and the sport at these major events.”
Entering competition at this level for the first time, Phillip said no racing expectation has been set. He said one of the basic goals they would set for themselves when they compete is to always surpass their personal bests. He said that’s pretty much their basic mindset going to worlds.
Phillip said worlds bring together the cream of the crop and all the top sprinters together. At this time he said they are lucky to have two good sprinters representing the BVI and the OECS region.
“We are all excited based on the fact that they have the opportunity to go out there and perform,” he explained. “After tuning up in the OECS Championships last month with some remarkable times, when they returned to England, they were still chopping times off their personal bests. The age group competition does a lot in helping their development and that’s a route we will continue. Ever so often, we’ll let them go outside the age group to compete against the big girls to see how they’re progressing.”
Swimmers compete in VI Short Course Championships
Nine Makos Swim Swimmers completed their 2014 swim year with stellar performances at the USVI Short Course Championships, November 22-23 in St. Thomas.
Competing for Team BVI were Jaden Marshall, Keyon Sampson, Kdijah Sampson, Kyla Roberts, Tia Roberts, Kassia Haymer, Makiva Christopher, Makeda Christopher, Chakia Smith.
Coach Elsworth Phillip said he was happy with the way the swimmers performed at this two day event held annually in St. Thomas and is looking forward to seeing how they will perform in the VI Long Course Championship scheduled for next year in St Croix.