Thursday, April 18, 2024

HC, QC out front in swimming


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ALL THE SIGNS are pointing to another Harrison College/Queen’s College domination of the pool.
The reigning boys’ and girls’ title-holders start as strong favourites to repeat at next week’s Powerade Inter-Schools’ Swimming Championships finals following Friday’s uneventful preliminary sessions at the Aquatic Centre.
It’s been the same story line surrounding the championships for the better part of a decade, with the two powerhouses sitting atop both tables over the last six years.
But while the names are the same, the roles have been somewhat reversed.
Without the services of Sherry sisters Inayah and Sariyah, along with Deandre Small, “Kolij” will now be playing catch-up to their long-time Husbands rivals, who stunningly ended their nine-year reign at the last edition.
And Queen’s College have shown no signs of significant regress, especially in their two junior teams where the defending girls’ champs will be expecting to gain the bulk of their points.
Led by Hannah Gill and Reanna James, the 12-and-under category should prove a prosperous one, although Harrison College will put up a fight behind the duo of Tiffany Titus and Shannon Smith.
Gill, though, has announced her intent from early after qualifying first in the 100-metre freestyle, 100-metre IM, 50-metre fly, 50-metre breast and 50-metre free.
Queen’s College will also be expecting a lot from Alexis Clarke in the 13-14 division but she should have a harder time of it while dealing with the more highly-touted Kimberley Willoughby of Combermere.
The going won’t be so easy for Queen’s College’s senior queen Lee-Ann Rose, who now has to contend with the arrival of St Michael’s dynamic duo of Zabrina Holder and Amara Gibbs in the 15-and-over division.
Rose will have the advantage in the backstroke races as a specialist in that stroke but may struggle to hold off her younger competitors in the sprints.
On the other side of the action, Harrison College will also benefit from the absence of a main adversary as they look to consolidate on the boys’ title that they took from Queen’s College a year ago.
Minus division champ Christian Selby, who led all swimmers with a meet-best 54 points last year, Queen’s College should not prove to be a major challenge to “Kolij’s” hopes of repeating as kings.
Harrison College certainly won’t be threatened in the 12-and-under age group, where Luis Sebastian Weekes and Kent Mullins will give them a decisive advantage over Nicholas Hall.
However, they will have to spilt points with Combermere’s Damon St Prix, who currently stands as the division’s best swimmer.
Where they might lose ground is in the 13-14 category as Jelani Forde and Jordan Forde might not prove much of a match for Deighton’s Alex Sobers, St Michael’s Jonathan Manning or Brandon Thompson of Combermere.
But Queen’s College’s team in that division is even weaker, and “Kolij” can always rely on Gabriel Gunby and Tristan Ward to make up for that drop-off in the senior category.
Queen’s College will lean on the likes of Joshua Coles in that division but his efforts probably won’t garner enough points to hold off Gunby and Ward by himself.


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