CARIFTA Games Swimming Championships gold medalist Jessica Stephenson yesterday opened Guyana’s performance in the swimming segment of the 14th annual FINA (International Swimming Federation) World Championships, being held at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Centre in Shanghai, China.
Stehpenson was seeded seventh in heat two with a entry time of 1:15.57s, alongside seven other swimmers. But it was a luckless day for the 16-year-old who came last in her heats after finishing with a time of 1:16.54s which placed her 40 out of the 46 swimmers in the event.
The heat was won by Moldova’s Evghenia Tanasienco in 1:11.03 seconds, while America’s Rebecca Soni appears poised for a win of the overall event after topping the semi-finals in 1:04.91s. Stephanie Fraser, manager for the Guyana team, which also comprises Britany van Lange and Niall Roberts, explained that nervousness had a lot to do with Stephenson’s performance. She also noted that Stephenson had a slow reaction time which further played a part in Stephenson’s performance. “It was the first event for our team, and could have been due to nervousness. These championships can be overwhelming especially when rubbing shoulders with all the world champions, I videoed her race and she seem to have a bad start,” Fraser said
Stephenson is expected to return to the pool on Thursday to be a part of the women’s 200m breaststroke event. Meanwhile, van Lange was expected to take part in the women’s 200m freestyle late last night local time, with Shanghai being 12 hours ahead of Guyana, the Goodwill Games gold medalists is also listed to take part in the women’s 100m freestyle, which will also be held on Thursday.
Roberts is schedule to begin his performance at the event tomorrow, taking part in the men’s 100m freestyle, and then again on Friday in the men’s 50m freestyle.(Tamica Garnett)