Alvaranga on target at Age Group Swim Champs

Monday, February 19, 2018

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After being kept fairly quiet by her standards over the first two days, young sensation Zaneta Alvaranga sounded the alarm when she stole the spotlight on day three of the Walter Rogers National Age Group Swimming Championships with a national record clocking at the National Aquatic Centre on Friday.

Alvaranga, representing the recently formed Kaizen Swim Club coached by her father Rory, has now officially introduced herself to the girls' 13-14 age group with the record clocking in the 50-metre butterfly.

The record tally at the five-day meet now stands at seven as the rising stars are now peaking ahead of the upcoming 33rd Carifta Swimming Championships to be hosted here at the National Aquatic Centre in March.

After dominating the event locally and regionally in the girls' 11-12 age group last year and establishing herself as the Carifta region's all-time best, Alvaranga continued her unbeaten streak when she stopped the clock in 29.55 seconds in the preliminary round.

With that, she lowered the previous national record of 29.57 set by Kendese Nangle when she won silver at the 2008 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships (CISC) in Kingston, as well as the previous meet record of 29.68 set by Emily MacDonald last year.

But she wasn't finished, and with more in the tank, she returned in the final to lower her 29.55 to an impressive 29.19. She won ahead of Paige Lewis (30.88) of Y-Speedos and Sabrina Lyn (32.32) of Tornadoes.

The performance was the fastest time to be recorded by a girl at the championships and with more improvement expected, Alvaranga is certainly expected to be among the medals come Carifta.

“My aim was to get as close to my gold medal winning and CCCAN time from last year and I did. I focused on the start so I could get out with as little arm strokes as possible and have rested shoulders, and breathe as little as possible so I would not break streamline.

“I expected the record because I broke it this morning (Friday) and I came back prepared to put in an even better performance than that,” Alvaranga said in her assessment.

In 2017 Alvaranga was the most prolific female age-group record-breaker, having setting the 11-12 50m butterfly record four times and the 100m freestyle once.

Nathaniel Thomas of Tornadoes won the boys' 13-14 50m butterfly in 27.65 ahead of the Y-Speedos pair of Kito Campbell (29.00) and Rajiv Redhi (29.63).

Brianna Anderson of Y-Speedos continued her rich vein of form in the girls' 15 and over 50m butterfly when she clocked a new meet record of 30.07, lowering Danielle Boothe's 2013 mark of 30.32 in the preliminary round of the event.

Anderson then justified her favourites tag in the final by taking gold in 30.47 ahead of teammate Naomi Eaton (31.68) and Annastazia Chin (31.76) of Tornadoes Swim Club.

Jordane Payne also added the boys' 15 and over 50m butterfly gold to his tally when he won the event in 27.91 ahead of his Y-Speedos teammates Chester Adams (27.98) and Kyle Sinclair (28.11).

The upstanding Christanya Shirley of the Marlins had earlier clocked 33.35 to take down Alvaranga's old mark of 34.86 in the girls' 9-10 50m butterfly. Shirley was followed in by Renae Chung (41.28) of Y-Speedos and Sailfish's Loren-Ann Patterson (42.22).

Meanwhile, Angara Sinclair, representing the Baylor Swim club, was also in record-breaking form when she clocked 1:10.52 minutes in the girls' 15 and over 100m backstroke to lower Boothe's old mark of 1:07.93 set in 2014. She finished ahead of Britney Williams (1:11.65) of Swimaz Aquatics and Anderson (1:14.19).

— Sherdon Cowan

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