Alert, Barrett continue to bask in Carifta Swim Champs accomplishments; praise team effort

By April 09, 2024
Kia Alert (left) and Noland Barrett show off their high point trophies. Kia Alert (left) and Noland Barrett show off their high point trophies. (Photos: Loop Jamaica & Lynval Lowe)

The 37th Carifta Swimming Championships has come and gone, but the experience of representing one's country on one of the biggest stages in the region has left an indelible mark on the younger participants, in particular, to the point where they continue to revel in their accomplishments.

Jamaica's Kia Alert and Noland Barrett are two such swimmers, who though not new to national representation, basked in the fact that they rose to the occasion and displayed their immense potential with standout performances that assisted the country to its 45-medal tally, including 18 gold, 12 silver and 15 bronze.

The 27-member Jamaican team also placed fourth on the points standing with combined total of 559 points, behind host The Bahamas (1,096.50 points), who secured an unprecedented sixth-straight Carifta Swimming Championship victory. Cayman Islands (660 points), Trinidad and Tobago (639 points), and Barbados (486.50 points) were the other top five teams.

Alert, who competed in the girls’ 11-12 division, relished her second outing at the championship, as she earned most points for Jamaica. She copped gold in the 50m and 100m breaststroke, the 50m and 100m freestyle, as well as in the 50m butterfly, and those were complemented by silver in the 200m breaststroke and 200m individual medley (IM).

“I really felt like I was prepared enough to do really well, and I was excited just to put the hours of hard work on display, so I was really happy and proud hearing the National anthem after I won, knowing that all the hard work paid off,” Alert said.

“I also felt good about my other performances because I know I tried my hardest even on the third day when I had the 200m IM, 100m breast and 50m free, I tried my hardest and succeeded so I am really grateful that I came out healthy,” she added.

While delighted with her personal haul, Alert praised her teammates, Christanya Shirley and others, who in a consistent show of spirit and talent, also contributed significantly to Jamaica’s medal haul. That togetherness and pride she said is what swimmers count on to keep going, especially when things don’t go as expected in the pool.

“Team Jamaica’s performances deserve tremendous commendation. After a slow start, each member of the team gave their best and everyone contributed to our total points tally. For each day of the competitions there were several personal best performances seen, so even if swimmers did not medal, they did well enough to achieve PBs and that’s enough to be proud of,” Alert reasoned.

Meanwhile, the overseas-based Barrett, who had a credible outing at CCCAN last year, was making his debut at the Carifta Swimming Championships and contested finals in most of his events in the boys’ 13-14 category. He won gold in the 100m, 200m and the 400m freestyle events.

“Going into the Carifta Games I was excited to not only see my teammates I haven't seen in a while, but more importantly, to perform very well. I had a lot of fun being there and also dropping a lot of times and securing personal best, and while hearing the national anthem, I was proud that I was representing my country,” Barrett shared.

“So, I was really satisfied with my performances, I am more excited about the 400m free where I ended up dropping 11 seconds and I was really proud of how much I was able to accomplish on my first year and knowing that I have next year to do even better,” he noted.

Barrett contested the 13-14 age group alongside, Matthew Kennedy, Kai Radcliffe and others, who also produced credible performances.

Kennedy mined bronze in the 100m and 200m freestyle to go with his other top eight finishes, while Radcliffe, known for his breaststroke prowess, secured gold in the 50m and 100m breaststroke, and silver in the 200m breaststroke.

Radcliffe also flirted with the 50m breaststroke national age group record of 30.94s held by Kito Campbell, with his 30.98s-clocking.

Like Alert, Barrett, 14, pointed out that the team spirit was based on pride, passion and performance.

“I am proud of the team's performance, and I believe every athlete should be celebrated for their effort. All the coaches who prepared the swimmers for qualification and the championship should be proud of how they performed. We all stood strong, performed strong and gave out best to achieve what we did for Jamaica,” Barrett ended.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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