Alvaranga cops gold on final day at UANA Swimming Cup


Alvaranga cops gold on final day at UANA Swimming Cup

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

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Following a tough second day on Saturday when they failed to hit the podium, Jamaica's female swimmers came good on the final day Sunday of the second UANA Swimming Cup, copping one gold in record time courtesy of Zaneta Alvaranga at Videna Aquatic Complex in Lima, Peru.

That medal, added to the one gold and silver won on Friday's opening day, saw the Malta-sponsored Jamaica team ending the three-day meet with two gold and one silver, placing 11th on the medals standing.

Some 450 swimmers from 25 countries took part at the bi-annual championship, which was the first international event of the 2020 season.

After weathering the storm on Saturday, the five-member female team seemingly grasped encouraging words from Jamaica's champion swimmer Alia Atkinson, as they were all fired up ahead of Sunday's action.

Alvaranga, who won silver on the opening day, clocked a new national and UANA Championship record of 27.92 seconds on her way to victory in the girls' 15-17 50-metre butterfly.

The standout swimmer lowered the previous meet record of 27.97 seconds set by Lyon Lismar of Venezuela, as well as the national age group record of 28.52 seconds set by Shaun Johnson in 2018.

This was Jamaica's first time winning a medal in the event at the UANA Swimming Cup, with Alvaranga now owning the 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 and 15-17 age group records for the event.

Barbara Munos (28.78secs) of Colombia and Mexico's Celia Pulido Ortiz (28.87secs) were the runners-up.

“I feel really good about the performance, I am very happy that I went back into the 27-second region and that was the icing on the cake at this meet for me, which is a good learning experience. Yesterday (Saturday) was not the best day, but today (Sunday) was good and I am just looking forward to continue improving my times and represent Jamaica to the best of my ability,” Alvaranga told the Jamaica Observer.

Prior to that, Christanya Shirley once again got the show going in the girls' 11-12 50m backstroke, where she clocked a fast 34.37 seconds which was good enough for eighth place in the timed final event.

Shirley was back before the starter in the 11-12 100m freestyle and was just .82 seconds outside of her personal best, clocking 1:05.37 minutes for 17th overall in a field of 40 swimmers.

Alvaranga and Gabrianna Banks were drawn in lanes three and nine in the heat of the girls' 15-17 100m freestyle, where both secured points for the Jamaican team.

Alvaranga came home in 58.92 seconds for fourth, just missing a podium spot, while Banks was eighth in 1:00.54 minutes in a field of 34 competitors.

Shirley was back again in the 11-12 100m breaststroke, registering 1:28.95 minutes to finish 12 overall.

The duo of Kokolo Foster and Brook Hopkins placed 14th and 16th overall in the 13-14 100m breaststroke after clocking times of 1:21.51 and 1:22.26 minutes, respectively.

Another gallant effort came from Shirley in the 50m butterfly where she recorded a 32.19 seconds, ranking 15th of the over 30 competitors who contested the event.

Foster also gave a good account of herself in the 13-14 event, clocking 35.26 seconds, just .72 seconds off her personal best.

Banks, who swam alongside and pushed Alvaranga in the breath-taking swim, placed sixth in that heat in a time of 30.4 seconds, a mere .81 seconds off her personal best for 13th overall.

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