Six-year-old breaks long-standing Atkinson record
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Six-year-old swimmer Christanya Shirley broke two long-standing records at the Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) Preparatory and Primary Championships at the National Stadium pool recently.
The Wolmer's Preparatory School student erased Alia Atkinson 18-year record in the 50-metre freestyle. The grade-two student won the event in 39.46 seconds to set a new mark as she bettered Atkinson's 41.94 seconds.
Shirley returned later in the day and broke Kendese Nangle's 50-metre backstroke record with a new mark of 49.97. Nangle's time was 51.82.
Christopher Shirley, father of Christanya, said he was not surprised at her record-breaking performance.
"It was expected as she was swimming above her class. She received a standing ovation," he said.
Christanya practises five days per week. She trains with her school from Mondays to Thursdays, then on Saturdays she is under the guidance of personal coach Garfield 'Mario' Robinson.
"I schedule my work around her to take her to and back from the sessions. It is something she loves to do. Her mom, Suzette Whyte, is also intimately involved. We want the best and give full support," Shirley said.
The elder Shirley also disclosed that his daughter is on the honours list at Wolmer's. She earned the Gold Award in academics.
Her coach, who has been with the young swimmer for the past six months, says she is one for the future.
"Christanya has great potential. She trains very hard and also listens to instructions," Robinson disclosed.