Rivas/Blackett capture bmobile Top Performer awards
Two of Trinidad and Tobago’s standout young swimmers, Giovanni Rivas (Hillview College Spartans) and Joy Blackett (Miracle Ministries), captured the 2019 bmobile Secondary Schools’ Swim Meet Top Performer awards when the annual tourney climaxed at the National Aquatic Centre in Couva recently.
Vying for honours in the Competitive Division, both athletes dominated their respective male and female 12 & Under categories. Rivas remained unbeaten and amassed a flawless 36 points after securing emphatic victories in the Boys 50m freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and his pet event, backstroke. The youngster concluded his 2018 campaign by re-writing three National records in mid-December and has now followed up with another commanding display at the start of the 2019 season. He is the holder of five Boys 9-10 National records; 50m and 100m back (Short Course), 50m and 100m back (Long Course) and 100m butterfly.
Meanwhile Blackett also impressed in the Girls equivalent as she splashed to double-gold in the 50m back and butterfly, bagged silver in the breaststroke and a bronze in freestyle. The slender swimmer also mesmerised at the inaugural Torpedoes Swim Club Invitational on February 3 by topping the 11-12 Women division. She has already represented T&T at two Goodwill Swim Meets (2015 & 2017) and has since racked up over a dozen medals in the process.
The pair was presented with their individual trophies by TSTT’s Manager of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations, Anjanie Ramesar-Soom. bmobile Foundation is now in its 16th year of sponsorship with the National Secondary Schools’ Swim Meet and remain committed to the cause.“Our support for young and upcoming swimmers is longstanding. We remain dedicated to creating platforms for this nation’s budding athletes to excel. Sport is one of the key elements that make up our bmobile Foundation and we are passionate about joining communities and schools through these initiatives,” revealed Ramesar-Soom.
Meanwhile, cheering on his son from the sidelines was Giovanni’s father and coach, Mark, who expressed pleasure with his overall performance. He credited the telecom giants for providing an avenue for young swimmers to assist in a smooth transition from juveniles into the junior and senior divisions. “I just want him to achieve his full potential,” said the elder Rivas. “I know he dreams of representing his home country on the Olympic stage and it will take a lot of hard work and commitment. I have implemented the use of modern technology in his training regime which I use to assess his turns, pulls, types of stroke and stroke rates. This helps us focus more on his technique which plays an integral role in evaluating his progress,” he explained.
Rivas’ secret to success? The young Spartan begins his daily routine by hitting the Centre of Excellence swimming pool at around 5:00 a.m. followed by a full day of school. He then strikes the right balance between his sporting development and academics by completing his schoolwork in the early afternoon, before returning to training with some dry-land exercises.
Similarly, Blackett’s mom, Alicia, ensures that her daughter creates a synchronised harmony between her swim routine and schooling. “Balancing her academics and swimming is crucial to building an all-round athlete,” she said. “Joy prioritizes her education above her sporting discipline before she trains or competes. She is also goal-bound on repping T&T at the Olympic Games. Joy has a long-term plan and she has strong support from her family towards achieving this goal. It’s an honour for her to be recognised for her herd work by bmobile,” said Mrs. Blackett.The 13-year old Form Two student began swimming at Sevilla Private Primary at age five, then moved to Central Athletic Club and now competes for Tidal Wave Aquatics. Her regime runs from Monday to Saturday and is led by the mother/daughter team of Hazel and Chabeth Haynes.
Both Rivas and Blackett share a rigorous training itinerary and have acknowledged the hard work and dedication implemented by their parents throughout the years. It is their intention to capitalise on tournaments such as the bmobile Secondary Schools’ Swim Meet, among others, to help pave the way for success on the international circuit.