Bermuda claim 13 medals to cap successful home Carifta

Solid performance: Marleigh Howes, who won silver in the Girls’ Aquathlon 13-15 (Photo by Blaire Simmons)

Bermuda’s athletes completed an impressive Carifta triathlon, aquathlon and mixed relay championship campaign with a total of 13 medals.

Fenella Wightman led the island’s charge, winning two individual gold medals in the girls’ 13-15 triathlon and aquathlon, while also taking silver as part of the four-man Bermuda 1 mixed relay team.

Her second gold in yesterday’s aquaathlon came as part of a Bermuda double as she finished just six seconds ahead of compatriot Marleigh Howes, who came out of the water first after the 500m swim before eventually having to face the challenge which was fast finishing Nina James of Grenada who finished second in the 2.5K with a brave performance.

“Before the race, I really didn’t have any expectations because I’m not a strong runner, so overall I’m very happy with the silver,” Howes said.

Solid performance: Marleigh Howes, who won silver in the Girls’ Aquathlon 13-15 (Photo by Blaire Simmons)

“I knew Fenella would catch up with me on the run because she’s just an incredible athlete. We said great job as she passed me and we smiled at each other. I was just happy that one of my Bermuda teammates passed me.

“I pushed so hard while running, my legs have never hurt so much. My coaches were yelling at me that there was another girl behind me and even though I was tired I’m super competitive so I just attacked again and pushed myself.

“It’s crazy to be on the podium at a home race. It’s an incredible feeling to have won a medal.”

The final day of the championships got off to an encouraging start with Daria Desmond winning bronze in the Aquathlon 16-21.

All out: Daria Desmond took bronze in Aquathlon 16-21. She had been led out of the water before going into a punitive run (Photo by Blaire Simmons)

It had looked like she was on track for gold after an incredible 1000m swim which saw her finish the 5K by a margin of 1min 37s over the rest of the field, but her efforts in the water ultimately showed how that lead had been cut by over a minute by the end of the first lap, with Trinidad & Tobago’s Kaya Beadle leading the chase.

As Desmond faded, Beadle seized the initiative and passed the Bermudian to claim victory ahead of Rihanna Gayle of Jamaica.

“I was fighting so hard in the swim because I knew I had to try to get as far forward as I could in the run,” Desmond said. “Coming out of the water I thought I had a good chance to win but after fighting so hard in the swim my legs obviously died trying to escape.

“But I’m just really happy to finish third and represent Bermuda on the podium at a home race, it’s really exciting.”

There was also an impressive performance from Connor Hupman to add another Silver medal from the 13-15 Boys Aquathlon.

Impressive performance: Connor Hupman adds another Silver medal from Boys’ Aquathlon 13-15. (Photo by Blaire Simmons)

After emerging from the water in fifth as part of a five-man chasing group behind Bahamas’ Malcolm Menzies, Hupman quickly set about closing the gap on the run.

Carifta Aquathon in Clearwater (photo by Blaire Simmons)

While passing Menzies, the Bermudian eventually had to settle for silver, finishing 23 seconds behind Barbados’ Luke McIntyre, while Aruba’s Christiaan Janssen completed the podium finishes.

The medals continued to flow as siblings Gaby and Joey Cechini both won bronzes in their respective 11-12 aquathlon races.

Medal joy: Joey Cechini won bronze in Aquathlon 11-12 (Photo by Blaire Simmons)

Gaby built on a strong swim after coming out of the water in second place behind compatriot Tallulah Bonard and held on in a spirited run to finish behind a Barbados double from Hailey Banfield and Laila McIntyre . Bonard was a very respectable fifth.

Medal joy: Gaby Cechini won bronze in Aquathlon 11-12 (Photo by Blaire Simmons)

In a hard fought boys race, Joey maintained his position from the swim and finished third behind Zindzele Renwick-Williams of the Bahamas and Aruba’s Jeon Fernandes.

There was disappointment for Bermuda’s Dominic Wright, who led out of the water but failed to finish the race and retired mid-run.

The day was rounded off with more medal celebrations as the Bermuda 1 team of Jamie Bedford, Bonard, Jacob Wright and Wightman finished second in the mixed team relay.

In a race firmly owned by Aruba 1, who won by a comfortable margin of just over a minute, Bermuda took silver while Wightman chased their Barbados rival in the final heat.

The race was also marked by the welcome return of Tommy Marshall to the start line. He had to endure a difficult triathlon on Saturday in which he was involved in a collision during the swim and finally retired during the run.

On this first day of action, the Bermudian athletes also made a big impression at the individual triathlon events.

Among them was Jens Drea, who made up a remarkable 18 places after the swim and won a silver medal in the boys’ race for the 11-12 year olds.

Close Finish: Jens Drea pictured in a hard fought finish with Bhamas Lauchlan Menzies for sixth place in the 11-12 Aquathlon after winning silver in the triathlon on the first day of action

Drea left the water 19th of the 22 competitors but made rapid progress through the field to finish second behind Renwick-Williams of the Bahamas. In the same race, Sanchez Smith of Bermuda finished fourth, with Makao Butterfield fifth.

Jamie Bedford had previously won Bermuda’s first medal of the day, finishing third in the boys 16-19 age group, while a strong performance by Bermuda in the boys 13-15 category came up just short as Jake Smith, Jacob Wright and Oliver Hayward finished sixth, seventh and eighth.

Medal joy: Jamie Bedford, who won Bermuda’s first medal, finished third in the 16-19 boys age group triathlon (Photo by Blaire Simmons)

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