Sport

Swimmer Johnson clocks Youth Olympic qualifying mark

Sunday, February 04, 2018

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Jamaica's young sensations set the pool alight on the final day of competition as they rewrote the record books and achieved Youth Olympic qualifying times at the recently concluded UANA Cup in Coral Springs, Florida.

Overseas-based Shaun Johnson was at the pinnacle of both achievements as she led the 15-17 mixed 200-metre freestyle relay team to a new senior and age group record of 1:43.70.

Despite their exploits, the Jamaican team of Johnson (27.37s), Jesse Marsh (24.46s), Gabrianna Banks (27.12s) and Nicholas Vale (24.75s), placed fourth overall, but was the highest-placed Carifta region quartet in their age group.

But they managed to erase the previous record of 1:45.25, which was set at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships (CISC) by the team of Keanan Dols (24.62s), Bryanna Renuart (28.13s), Marsh (25.57s) and Kelsie Campbell (26.93s).

By way of her blistering first leg, Johnson, a student at Georgetown University in Washington DC, achieved a Youth Olympic B time in the 50-metre freestyle.

The 17-year-old, who was a member of last year's Carifta “Golden Girls”, went under the Youth Olympics 'B' qualifying mark of 27.39 with her opening leg.

At the Carifta Championships last year, Jamaica's 15-17 girls' team, the Golden Girls, won all their relay events including the 200m, 400m, and 800m freestyle relays, as well as the 400m medley relay.

Johnson, who was also Jamaica's flag-bearer for the event, was left beaming about her accomplishments.

“I was a little nervous because I had never done a mixed relay before and I rarely ever lead off. But coach Gillian [Millwood] decided to place me in the relay and said she was confident of seeing a great 50m time from me, especially considering I didn't do the 50m free this weekend,” Johnson explained.

“So seeing 27.37 seconds was surprising because my personal best for last year was a 27.72s at Carifta, and right now I'm in the middle of my high school season so things look exciting in that event. Also being the flag-bearer was a fun part of the weekend as well….that was really cool,” she added.

Meanwhile, Britney Williams was joint top Carifta region performer in the girls' 15-17 100 metre freestyle with Alison Jackson of the Cayman Islands, after both clocked 59.55s for fifth place.

Team Jamaica finished the competition adding six best times to their tally on the final day to end with 20 new personal records overall, two age group records, and one senior national record.

Emily MacDonald was the best-placed Jamaican in the high-point scoring for the age group, placing eighth with 22 points.

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