Van Lange, Gaskin, Grant shine at GASA Mash competition

Olympian Britany van Lange, Hannibal Gaskin and Amy Grant were among the top performers when the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (GASA) staged its first major meet of 2014 last weekend at the National Aquatic Centre.

The four-day competition, which ended Tuesday, commenced on Saturday

with van Lange and Hannibal Gaskin of the Dorado Speed Swim Club dominating the first day’s action.

Van Lange, who represented Guyana at the London 2012 Olympics, fought off aggressive swimming by Onika George and Soroya Simmons to win the girls’ 15-17 100m freestyle event.

Simmons finished second after passing George in the last 10 metres.

Gaskin too was victorious in the boys’15-17 100m freestyle event streaking away to win from Omar Adams and Derrick Ramsaroop.

In the girls’ 9-10 freestyle event Jadyn George of the Silver Shark Aquatic Swim Club swam the 100m freestyle in a time of 1:34.16s to fend off her twin sister Danielle, and Lian Winter who was not far behind. Meanwhile emerging swimmer Aleka Persaud of the Orca Speed Swim Club won the girls 8 and under in 1:44.44 with Atonia Dey and Monique Watson finishing second and third respectively.

There were also wins for Leon Seaton (9-10) boys, Nkosi Beaton (11-12) boys, Amy Grant (11-12) girls, and Joseph deNobrega (13-14) boys.

The most anticipated race of Day Two  (Sunday) was the boys’ 18 years and over 50M freestyle race which brought together Joseph Seguina of the Dolphin Swim Club, Jaime Jabar and the Niall Roberts who represented Guyana in the 2012 Olympics in London.

The race was won by Roberts who clocked 25.49s, Seguina was second in 27.32s and Jaime Jabar, third in 28.75s.

In the boys’ 9 – 10 50M freestyle event Leon Seaton, who lost the 50M backstroke race in record time to Tzedeq Sekhel, was out to get revenge.

He did, winning the event in a record time of 33.47s breaking Shane Baksh’s 50M freestyle record.  Sekhel finished second and Shane Pearson third.

In the 50m freestyle girls’ 15 – 17 Onika George was looking to defeat Olympian Brittany van Lange who defeated her on the previous day in the 15-17 100m freestyle.

But van Lange won in 28.86s with George, 28.48s, second and Jamila Sanmoogan third.

In the girls’ 9 – 10 50M backstroke race, Donna Carter of the Dorado Swim Speed, Carter scraped home in a time of 50.22 Jadyn George was second and her twin sister Danielle third.

Tzedeq Sekhel smashed Shane Baksh’s December 2008 record of 43.35 in the boys’ 9-10 50m backstroke event. Sekhel didn’t only break the record, he arrested the title from Leon Seaton who was winning all of the backstroke titles and who led the race up to the 30m mark. Seaton finished second and David Scott third.

In an invited comment, representatives of GASA told Stabroek Sport that the competition was a success.

“We tried something different, we merged the 12 and under with the 13 and over, and that in itself was a success, along with the entire competition.” They also added that the hosting of the event was good for swimming and will encourage young people to get involved in swimming at the club level to give them the opportunity to compete at a higher level.

According to GASA a national training squad is to be selected from the persons who were successful last weekend that will be trimmed for the 20th Goodwill Games in Suriname in August, along with the Carifta Games in Aruba.

On April 5 there will be an inter club speed meet, while an Independence Meet is set to take place in May.

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