Using sport as a vehicle through which to incite change is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a part of the health & fitness industry. Being an event that attracts athletes from all over the globe, the Mack Cycle Escape to Miami Triathlon presented by Voler is proud to partner with organizations and groups involved in fundraising efforts to help those in need.

The members of the Granada Scholastic Swim Team are O.E.C.S (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) Champions who train in a 20 yard, three-lane pool and, unfortunately, do not have access to the funds nor availability of swim caps and googles.

At the 2018 Escape to Miami Tri (Sept. 30), we will be partnering with Richard Hallam (Grenada National Triathlon Board member) and Team Full Circle to host a collection bin for any unwanted swim caps and goggles to donate to the Grenada Swim Team and other athletes in need.

Our goal is to collect at least 200 to donate, but any amount counts. Together, we can help those in need become equipped with the proper gear in order to train for and participate in the sport.

We look forward to seeing Richard, Team Full Circle and all of our athletes out there at the end of September! Check out a bit of the team’s highlights over the past year:

CARIFTA 2018: For the Grenada National Swim Team on the 4th and final day of the swimming competition at the 33rd CARIFTA Aquatic Championship in Kingston, Jamaica, Grenada’s medal count moved to 6. Grenada’s 2018 showing at the CARIFTA Championship has been recorded as the best yet with a total of 6 medals: 1 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze medals.

In addition to the medals won, the entire team had an excellent showing earning placement in 30 final events, two 4th place finishes and six 5th place finishes. The Grenada team placed 13th overall with a total of 107 points ahead of all other OECS countries, reinforcing its position as the champions in the OECS region.

Grenada’s national team preparation has been guided by Coach Gerson Escobar and involves weeks of intense training in preparation for CARIFTA. The swimmers were also supported in combined pool and dry land training by Ronald Charles and personal trainer Suzanne LaTouche, as well as the many hours of dedicated support by the technical team, parents, administrators, corporate sponsors, and the Government of Grenada. 

CCCAN 2018: Grenada’s swimmers continued to propel the sport to higher levels with sterling performances at the Central American & Caribbean Swimming Federation Swim Championship (CCCAN) in Aruba. Taking to the pool on June 29 and wrapping up their competition on July 3rd the 16-member team (the largest team from Grenada to qualify to participate in CCCAN) departed the island on June 23rd in preparation for the competition.

Over the 5 days of competition, Grenada advanced to the finals in 30 events resulting in the swimmers making it to podium with 6 medals. Kimberly Ince, the team’s first medal winner, secured a bronze medal in the girls 13-14 50M backstroke. On the same night, Jenebi Benoit missed the gold medal by 100th of a second securing a silver medal in the boys 13-14 100M butterfly behind the Bahamian swimmer with a time of 59.46 (winning time 59.45 seconds).

On day four, Anaika Charles secured her silver medal position in the girls 11-12 50M breaststroke in a time of 35.69 seconds. The night’s competition was crowned when Delron Felix swam a spectacular race in the boys 15-17 100M freestyle. Although placing 4th in this event, Felix’s time of 53.14 seconds qualified him for the Youth Olympic Games carded for Buenos Aires, Argentina in October 2018. Felix has been attending the SPIRE Institute in Ohio, where he has received advanced training in support of his swimming development.

The fifth and final day of CCCAN saw 6 team members and a relay team advance to the final. Team Grenada rose to the occasion and showed their determination to excel and stamped their authority in the girls 11-12 400M freestyle with a silver and bronze medal performance from Anaika Charles and Gabrielle Hyson, respectively. With this win, two Grenadians from the same age group graced the podium for the same event – the first time this has happened since 2014. Anaika later went on to earn another silver medal in the girls 11-12 100M breaststroke.

In addition to the medal count, Team Grenada put out an overall impressive performance with six 4th place finishes from Parshawn Haynes, Anaika Charles, Kimberly Ince, Gabrielle Hyson and Delron Felix and numerous personal best showings from all swimmers.

This year, the team doubled the medal count and more swimmers medaled as compared to a single swimmer in 2017. Grenada’s swimmers continue to do wonders in the region and internationally despite the dire state of the swimming facilities currently available for training and development.

While the performances of the swimmers continue to improve, it is not without challenge. The Grenada Amateur Swimming Association (GASA) remains saddled with inadequate facilities for the training of these athletes. GASA continues to call for the support for the establishment of a proper aquatic facility to support the development of the swimming in Grenada.

While Grenada continues to demonstrate their strength in the sport of swimming locally, regionally and internationally, this all continues to be accomplished in the most adverse conditions. Top on the agenda will be further engagement of government and the private sector for the construction of an aquatic center in order to advance the development of the sport.

Accomplishments

National Team Stats 2013-2018:

OECS Champs 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, runner-up 2014

OECS 2013-2017:

230 gold, 197 silver, 165 bronze

Carifta, CCCAN, CISC 2013-2018:

7 gold, 13 silver, 23 bronze

Each year, the Grenada Swim Team attends the Caribbean Championships in Key Biscayne, FL and typically medals. We know the donations collected at the 2018 Escape to Miami Triathlon will go to good use and we wish the team the best of luck in their future endeavors!

Information provided by Richard Hallam of the Grenada National Triathlon Board and edited for publication. (August, 2018).