BY Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Two years after making the final, Elinah Phillip made BVI sporting history on Tuesday, when she splashed to a bronze medal in the XXIX Carifta Games Swimming Championships in Aruba—the territory’s first medal in Swimming at this level.
Competing in the 13-14 Girls 100m Butterfly, Phillip who had the seventh fastest time of the finalist after in the prelims swim in 1 minute 10.21 seconds, covered the distance in 1:08.82 in the final. Phillip was a finalist in 2012 when Swimming made its inaugural splash in the championships. Her sister Amarah produced the 11th best time of 1:16.35 in the 15-17 Girls Butterfly prelims, but did not advance.
“I think its step in the right direction and a proud day for the BVI Swimming Federation,” stated Elsworth Phillip, BVISF President, Coach and father of the swimmers. “It’s a testament in my opinion to all that we have been pushing for and going through for the development of the sport in the country. This is our second time at Carifta and they both swam in the finals. We weren’t able to attend last year, but we are happy to be back at Carifta and really happy to be in the position to show BVI swimming is on the map.”
Philip said their counter parts from Jamaica, St. Lucia, Grenada and other commended them on the achievement and they were all happy for them. “They know the story. They know the struggle and are happy that the BVI could have actually bagged a medal,” he said.
BVI Swimming Federation General Secretary and mother of the swimmers Tracy Bradshaw, represented the BVI in track and field at the Carifta Games during the 90s in the 200 and 400m, said it was a higher level of excitement for her after her daughter earned bronze.
“I was proud and excited but mostly happy for her,” Bradshaw said. “It has been a long journey for all of us—most definitely for them as swimmers—the challenge of no facilities, having to relocate, missing Carifta last year—even from that first Carifta, they knew they could do it. But, there were too many hurdles to overcome. Now we are over that first hump.”