J'can swimmers in good spirits ahead of Pan Am Juniors — coachFriday, November 26, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
National Coach Wendy Lee says her swimmers are in good spirits as they brace for the competition to come in their respective events at the inaugural Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia.
Lee and her four-member team — Kyle Sinclair, Sabrina Lyn, Gabrianna Banks and Nathaniel Thomas — arrived in the South American nation on Wednesday for the Games scheduled to end on December 5.
Lyn will be the first Jamaican swimmer diving into action today when she contests the 100m breaststroke. She will also compete in the 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle, while Banks is set to compete in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle.
“These are experienced swimmers who were at World Juniors in Budapest in 2019. That was their first time competing at such a high level and it showed, but this time around I think they are a bit more mentally prepared and I just want them to go out there and swim with the confidence as they do when they are competing in the Caribbean,” said Lee.
“They have the ability to achieve national records and that is the goal for them individually but collectively we [are] looking forward to seeing some maturity as they compete. I always tell them that you are not here as a participant but as a competitor and that is what we are hoping to see,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
With some of the swimmers, particularly, Lyn, Sinclair and Banks, now in different training programmes at their respective high school and universities, Lee, who still coaches Thomas locally, pointed out that she is eager to see the results.
“Most of the athletes have changed their training programmes, so we will see the results of that. When it comes to Nathaniel, we have added weight training and we are going to see how his body responds in terms of how he changes his stroke techniques.
“But I do think that the performances of all the swimmers is going to be better, hopefully they follow the coaches wishes and step up their level of competition,” Lee noted.
“They are very relaxed in the environment at the moment because they have a strong bond having been competing together on Jamaica's teams from as far back as Carifta 2017. And they are all on the same page that the goal is to improve their regional rankings and to make qualifying times for major competitions in 2022,” she added.
Thomas, a Tornadoes Swim Club stalwart, will be the first male in action when he contests the 100m butterfly tomorrow. He is also down to contest the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke.
“I am feeling strong and fit right now, I have put in the work in training and I know that work is going to pay off. I believe I have improved a lot and because of the pandemic I took the time to focus more on strength and fitness but I know the other competitors would have also been doing their thing as well.
“So I am just going out there to do my best, represent my country well and lower my times which is the main aim. So I am hoping I will be able to do so,” Thomas told the Observer.
Meanwhile, Sinclair, who will dive into action on Sunday, will contest the 100m freestyle, 50m freestyle and the 100m backstroke.
The swimmers will also join forces to contest two mixed relays–the 4X100m freestyle and 4X100m medley.