Shirley, Thomas star, but Y Speedos top Walter Lowi Swim Classic


Shirley, Thomas star, but Y Speedos top Walter Lowi Swim Classic

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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AFTER a one-year-hiatus, the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) Walter Lowi Memorial Swim Classic returned with a bang, as Jamaica's young sensations took to the return with great relish, establishing approximately 33 meet records at the National Aquatic Centre on Saturday.

The one-day event, which comprises only events over 50-metre and 100-metre distances, saw Y Speedos Swim Club maintaining their unbeaten run for this year by amassing 710 points to take top honours.

The dethroned Tornadoes Swim Club ended second with 575 points, while Swimaz Aquatics ended third with 252. Marlins Swim Club (208 points) and Aquamarine Ripples (168 points) completed the top five.

Young Christanya Shirley of the Marlins Swim Club was once again among the standout performers of the meet with another great showing in the girls' 9-10 age group.

Shirley, who will be eligible for Carifta selection in January, won four gold medals, all in meet record times, the most impressive of which came in the 100m freestyle.

She crushed the field by more than 10 seconds on her way to setting a new national record of 1:06.12, lowering the old national mark of 1:07.33 and meet record of 1:08.65, both set by Zaneta Alvaranga in 2015.

Shirley also threw down the gauntlet in the 50m backstroke which she won in in 36.21, lowering the previous meet record of 36.75 set by Stefani Webley in 2007, but just outside Webley's national record of 35.75.

Her other meet records in the 50m butterfly, 33.16, was enough to erase Kendese Nangle's old mark of 34.39 set in 2005, and in the 50m breaststroke she stopped the clock in 41.33 to lower Gabrielle Black's standard of 42.13 set in 2010.

Nathaniel Thomas of Tornadoes Swim Club also produced a number of top performances in the boys' 13-14 age group.

Thomas took his first scalp in the 50m butterfly when he won in 26.71 to lower Sidrell Williams' old mark of 27.78 set in 2010. His winning time was also the fastest time in the event on the day.

That performance speaks volumes about Thomas' rapid progress as he still has over a year remaining in the age group to go after the national record of 26.22 held by Olympian Timothy Wynter since 2011.

In the 100m freestyle, Thomas recorded his first sub 56-second clocking when he stopped the clock in 55.97 to erase another of Williams' standard of 58.55 set in 2010.

And he followed up with victory in the 100m butterfly, clocking 59.98, to wipe out the long-standing mark of 1:03.33 set in 2006 by Ramon Walton, before closing the meet with victory in the 50m freestyle. He stopped the clock in 25.09 to lower 26.03 set by Williams also in 2010.

“My performances at Walter Lowi this weekend were very good. I achieved a lot of best times and I think this meet, compared to Carifta this year, was much better mainly because I got fitter and faster,” Thomas said.

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