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T&T water polo teams start CCCAN quest
All four of this country’s age-group water polo teams will be in action when the highly anticipated 2017 Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) Swimming Championships splashes off today at the National Aquatic Centre in Balmain, Couva, from Thursday to June 28.
Host country will be represented in the Under-15, Under-18 and Open Men as well as the Open Women, after the Under-18 Women’s competition was cancelled due to a lack on entries, with T&T being the only team entered.
The first match for the locals is at 1.30pm this afternoon will see the Under-15 Boys come up against Bahamas in the first of their best-of-five series encounters.
Up next will be the Under-18 Boys in a clash with Barbados from 2.15pm after Jamaica squares up against Puerto Rico in the curtain raiser from 1pm.
The Under-15 Boys have been hard at training to rebound from their challenging Carifta Championship in Bahamas in April while the Under-18s skipped Carifta for the more challenging South American Swimming Confederation (CONSANAT) Tournament and performed creditably in preparation for the CCCAN Championship, a qualifier for the Under-18 teams for the 2018 Pan Am Junior Water Polo Championships in USA.
The Open Women category will take centre stage from 2.4pm with Cuba facing Mexico from 2.4pm followed by T&T and neighbours Venezuela at 4pm before the T&T Open Men’s team tangle with favourites Cuba at 8pm to close out the first night of action.
The T&T men’s Open squad is a fairly young and inexperienced one which competed at the UANA Cup in T&T in February.
However, it has been bolstered with the availability of several returning senior players while many of our age-group women have now graduated to the senior team which will see them competing for the first time at this level, a qualifier for the senior teams for the 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Colombia.
Overall, 21 teams representing ten countries have registered to compete in the water polo segment of the CCCAN Championships which will conclude June 28.
Following the completion of water polo action, Olympians Dylan Carter and Sharntelle McLean will spearhead a T&T squad of 64 athletes for swimming competition from June 28 to July 2 at the same venue.
A student at the University of Southern California and coming off a triple silver swimming performance at the Irvine Novaquatics Speedo Grand Challenge, Carter last participated in CCCAN in 2011 after which he skipped the 2013 and 2015 editions.
His absence from the 2013 CCCAN was due to his participation at the FINA World Junior Championship where he picked up a silver medal while Carter who made his Olympic debut in Brazil last time out missed 2015 due to academic commitments.
He is currently preparing for the 17th FINA World Championship which comes off in Budapest, Hungary from July 14-30 and will use the CCCAN meet at home as part of his final warm-up schedule.
Two-time Olympian McLean also missed the 2015 event in Barbados, but signalled her intent to return to compete in front her home crowd to provide added firepower to the 18 and Over age-group.
Other experienced campaigners in Abraham Mc Leod, who is a 2015 CCCAN gold medallist and record-holder is also part of the T&T team as well as Cherelle Thompson, Kristin Julien, Joshua Romany, Jeron Thompson, Jada Chatoor, Jada Chai, Kael Yorke, Kadon Williams, Amira Pilgrim, Gabriella Donahue and Jahmia Harley.
T&T will also be represented by 15 swimmers in the Open Water Championships on June 24 and 26 at Turtle Beach, Tobago as well as Synchronised Swimming and Diving, both from June 29 to July 2.
It ill consists of a 10k race on the June 24, with the 5k race two days later.
For the first time a 3k race has been added to the Open Water Championships to cater for the 13 and Under athletes.
Two years ago at the last CCCAN, T&T placed fifth in Barbados in the point standings but topped the medal table with 26 gold medals.
The water polo competition carries an entrance fee of US$15/$TT100 per adult and US$5/$TT30 per child while swimming/diving/synchronised swimming comes off from June 28 to July 2, at the same price per person.
Season passes are also available at US$80/$TT500 per adult and US$30/$TT200 per child for water polo and swimming while a full event pass is priced at US$125/$TT800 per adult and US$50/$TT300 per child.
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