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Walter highlights Jamaica swimmers' need for speed

Published:Thursday | April 8, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Leanne McMaster.
Jackie Walter, coach of Jamaica's swimming team.
Kendese Nangle of Jamaica competes in the girls' 15-17 100-metre freestyle event during the 25th staging of the Carifta Swim Championships at the National Stadium pool on Monday. - Photos by Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer

Jackie Walter, coach of Jamaica's swimming team, says Jamaica have a lot of catching up to do if they are going to become the number-one team in the region.

Walter made her assessment following Jamaica's display at the just-concluded Carifta Swimming Championships, which ended at the National Stadium pool on Tuesday.

''I think that the whole standard of Carifta has risen and I see where we have a lot of work to do," said Walter. "Carifta also keeps getting faster and faster each year and so we will have to see how we get our swimmers to get faster."

The Jamaicans finished a disappointing fifth in the standings with 495 points, way behind champions Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), who amassed 1,011. They were followed by Guadeloupe (707), The Bahamas (603) and Martinique (545), respectively.

The hosts won 22 medals, which placed them seventh in the medals table. This consisted of six gold, five silver and 11 bronze.

T&T also topped the medals table with 94 - 46 gold, 31 silver and 17 bronze.

Proud of youngsters' achievements

However, Walter said that despite her team's failure to finish in the top three of both the medal and points table at the championships, she was very proud of her youngsters' achievements.

"I think it was a good championships for us because not having the pool for a year, I believe, that affected our performance," Walter said. "However, now that we do have back the National Stadium pool, we will now have to sit down and see how we can get our team back into the top three again."

Kevaughn Campbell was the most outstanding Jamaican swimmer, capturing three individual gold medals and two relay bronze medals.

"We had some outstanding swims because we had Kevaughn Campbell winning three gold medals, we had Timothy Wynter with his backstroke medals, Dominic Walter and Kendese Nangle and there were also several other swimmers getting medals. However, what we need is some more depth and we will certainly be looking to fix this," Walter said.

She added: "I think that on the final night we had some excellent relay swims. We had Timothy Wynter in the backstroke. Even though he was second, this was his first year in the 13-14 category and I thought he was outstanding for us."

Meanwhile, Hazel Hynes, head coach of T&T, who were celebrating their second consecutive hold on the trophy, said she was delighted with the overall performance of her team.

"I feel very happy with the result because I think that every swimmer on this team contributed positively to the success of the team," said Hynes.

"We had some outstanding swims and we broke a lot of records and we won a lot of medals and at the end of the day what was gratifying about the success that we had is the fact that everybody put their best foot forward and we were a unit from the start and we got the results that we were looking for," Hynes added.

Tyla Martin of T&T was the championships' Most Outstanding Swimmer after winning six individual gold medals, two silver and a bronze.