It was an emotional return for thirteen-year-old Jewel Pinder as she was greeted at the Leonard Thompson International Airport by dozens of friends and family cheering the success she and the Bahamas Swim Team enjoyed in winning the second CARIFTA Swimming Championship in as many years.
Jewel Pinder, member of the Abaco Swim Club, was the only Abaco representative on the CARIFTA team this year and said she really enjoyed the experience. Fellow Abaco swimmer, Miller Albury, made CARIFTA times but was unable to attend due to school obligations.
“It was awesome (to represent the country) but I did miss my family and friends. It was a completely new experience for me; it taught me a lot of new things that I could learn and pass on to my friends.”
She said she was very overwhelmed by the reception she received at the Marsh Harbour Airport.
Chris Pinder, Jewel’s father who accompanied her to Barbados on the trip, said that the event was great and that “every kid showed up and dominated.”
He said that by the third day The Bahamas’ team was up by enough points to know that they could safely win, and on the final day won by 100 points.
Mr. Pinder said he was very proud of his daughter. He said she was not expected to make finals but she surpassed expectations and goals; she made finals in three events in 11-12 Girls, which earned points for the team.
Jewel was the second highest ranking girl for points in this meet and the highest ranking in all events all around from this meet.
She placed fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth in 100M and 200M Freestyle, 200M and 400M Individual Medley, 50M, 100M and 200M Backstroke. She swam the highest amount of events in her age group.
Mr. Pinder said she has already qualified in two CARIFTA events for next year when she will move up to 13-14 Girls.