Thom swims 50 metres under 24 seconds
Other records tumble at National Swim meet By Faizool Deo
Guyana Chronicle
December 4, 2006

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GUYANA’S lone Olympic swimmer, Onan Thom, after a-five-year absence from the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (GASA) National Swim Meet, stamped his authority on the prestigious competition at the Castellani Pool last weekend by breaking five records in the 15-99 age category.

Of the lot, the 22-year-old was a shark in the 50 metres freestyle yesterday, eating up the old record of 24.60 seconds held by 16-year-old Earlando McRae and spitting out a new time of 23.83 seconds. In the race, Thom had an excellent start, and stayed slightly ahead of both McRae (24.90 seconds) and another 16-year-old Yannick Roberts (24.84), but in the last 10 metres he darted home.

FINA, the international swimming body to which GASA is affiliated, has the world record on its website as 20.98 (short course record) made by South African swimmer Roland Schoeman in August of this year in Germany.

Thom, who has qualified to represent Guyana at the Pan-Am Games next year July in Rio de Janeiro, said he was extremely happy to be back in the pool where he started his career.

Also yesterday, Thom smashed Jamaal Sobers’ (another excellent 16-year-old swimmer) 100m backstroke record of 1:04.95 made in August of this year. Thom swam the race in 1:01.12 seconds and had time to dry off before Sobers finished in 1:06.90 seconds and Roberts in 1:10.93 seconds. The other record broken yesterday was a 26-year longstanding 200m backstroke record. In 1980 Maurice Faria swam the event in 3:01.10 minutes but Thom did the race in 2:32.46 minutes much faster than Alan Lowe’s second place time of 3:07.12.

On Saturday, Thom swan three events, of which two were record-breaking feats.

He broke McRae’s 31.98 seconds in the 50m breaststroke with a time of 30.14. In that race, credit must also go to McRae who finished second with a time of 31.69.

In the 100m freestyle Thom broke his own record of 55.13 made in 2001, with a time of 54.47 seconds. The Dolphin Speed Swim Club swimmer only lost was to Roberts in the 400m freestyle competition. Roberts who holds the record for that event (4:37.74 minutes) swam the race in 4:40.13 seconds compared to Thom’s second place time of 4:40.94 minutes.

Ronaldo Rodrigues, competing in the 9-10 years age group, broke three records on Saturday. He swam the 400m freestyle in 5:50.37 minutes, surpassing the old record of 7:01.48 made by Errol van Lange in 2000. He also erased his old record of 41.10 seconds in the 50m breaststroke with a time of 41.07 seconds and his time of 1:15.46 minutes in the 100m freestyle with a new time of 1:13.84 minutes.

Noelle Smith is the new 11-12 100m butterfly record-holder; the Dorado Club swimmer clocked 1:22.80 compared to Launa Dickson’s time of 1:27.64 made in 2001. She broke Dickson’s record of 1:12.03 in the 100m freestyle with a time of 1:11.19 minutes. Smith who finished with the most wins for a female swimmer (11) was also in action yesterday, breaking the 2000 record (31.95) of Asanti Mickle in the 50m freestyle race with a time of 31.23 seconds.

Niall Roberts, the younger brother of Yannick, was also in a record-breaking mood last weekend, adding to his three records the previous week.

The 14-year-old, swimming in the Boys’ 13-14 years category, broke his own record in the 100m freestyle (1:04.70) with a time of 1:03.41. He bettered another of his records in the 50m breaststroke, swimming a time of 35.12 compared to his previous time of 37.48. McRae’s record in the 100m freestyle in 2004 of 59.06 was also wiped out by the younger Roberts who swam the race in 57.89 seconds.

Yesterday Niall eclipsed another of his records, this time in the 50m freestyle where he clocked 25.75 seconds, compared to his 26.39 in July.

Eighteen-year-old Asanti Mickle also inked her name in the record books. On Saturday she erased Yulanda Armstrong’s time of 43.97 made in 2001 (15-99 age group) in the 50m breaststroke with a time of 38.60 seconds. Mickle also got past Kristyl Robinson’s record of 1:08.98 in the 100m freestyle made in July with a time of 1:07.27. Robinson (15-year-old) swimming in the same event clocked a time of 1:07.99.

Yesterday Mickle passed another of Robinson’s records, this time the 50m freestyle (24.60) with a time of 23.82.

Britney van Lange (9-10 girls) and Serrano Gonsalves also broke records last weekend. van Lange swam 1:37.21 in the 100m backstroke compared to Amanda Harris-Logie’s time of 1:38.37 while Gonsalves clocked 1:24.99 seconds swimming in the same age group and same event. He surpassed Rodrigues’ record of 1:27.77 made earlier this year.

Linden Wickham (11-12 age group), even though not breaking any records last weekend, finished with 12 wins the most for the two weeks of competition.