Young Jamaican swimmer making waves in Florida
Young Jesse Marsh's national 13-14 age group 100 metres butterfly record, set at the long course time trial at the SPEEDO Winter Juniors in Atlanta, United States, last weekend, is causing a buzz in the local swimming fraternity.
The Florida-based St Andrew's student lowered the previous mark of 59.27 seconds to 58.49 and became the first local 13-14 age group swimmer to go below the 59 seconds marker.
Jesse's father and former Swim Jamaica vice-president, Allan Roy Marsh, described the young swimmer's achievement as surprising, noting that Jesse did not practise the 100 butterfly since July, and has basically been competing on his own.
"To some extent, it was (surprising). He has been working hard and working consistently. What was surprising is that he was able to go to the US junior nationals in Atlanta the week before and break the butterfly record, improving his time by a second-and-a-half.
"That was surprising, because it was such a big meet, and he was not at his best. But he has been putting in the work, and we are happy," he told The Gleaner.
"We knew he had the potential to do it, and he basically swam the race by himself and on the last day of the meet. This was the first butterfly he had competed in the long course pool since July, so he wasn't in practice for it, but he was able to carry his condition in from his training," he continued.
Marsh has been getting rave reviews from local swimming experts, who are hailing him as the next big thing from the pool. But his father is not so sure just now. He wants the young swimmer to develop and take things in stride.
"There is a positive feedback because we do not have many national age group records, and there are people reacting very positive towards this. He trains consistently. The coaches admire his work ethic. Among his current coaches at St Andrew's school in Boca Raton, Florida, is a former Jamaican swimmer, Ramon Walton. Walton says Jesse is very coachable and he works, and they told me he was the only swimmer who made every practice this high-school season.
"This is something he loves to do, I never had to push him. I just gave him support, and I am very pleased (with this achievement). But it's what he wants to do, because you can't really predict the future of young age group swimmers. So many things can happen, so many distractions can take place.
"So talent is only the beginning, work rate is what is important. The older the swimmer gets, his work ethic and being coachable are more important. Talent alone cannot take you to the highest level; you need work ethic and belief. But if you continue to work you will move up the ranks as you get older," he stated.