Tornadoes Swim Club revels in national awards
The three awards secured in the recently concluded RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards Ceremony have come as a boon of motivation for both athletes and members of the coaching staff of the Tornadoes Swim Club.
Last Friday, three swimmers of the club which is domiciled in Kingston, were named recipients of a national award for their successes in both swimming and triathlon over the past year.
Leading the pack in swimming is the now overseas-based, 18-year-old Sabrina Lyn, former Tornadoes Swim Club member, who copped the Woman Swimmer of the Year Award following gold medal performances and setting a national individual record for the 100 metres butterfly and a team relay meet record at the Carifta Swimming Championship last year.
Lyn also won other medals including gold at the inaugural Caribbean Games held in Guadeloupe and set the 200 metres butterfly record at the CCAN Swimming Championship in Barbados.
Lyn, who was recently accepted to Louisiana State University, said that receiving the award has been a "very honouring experience" and said that she felt inspired to walk in the footsteps of Jamaica's swimming doyenne Alia Atkinson, who also received the national honour.
"This makes me feel like I am on track to represent Jamaica and my club and to walk in her footsteps on the Olympic stage," she commented.
Rihanna Gayle was also celebrated as Woman Triathlete of the Year as she copped first place in the Jamaica National Championship Triathlon and was a silver medallist in the Carifta Aquathlon in Bermuda in November. Gayle also secured silver in the October World Triathlon Development Regional Cup hosted in Santa Domingo.
"It was a big motivation for me to be there at the ceremony and to be recognised among all the great athletes in Jamaica. Triathlon is a unique sport, and it takes a lot of work, but I am also willing to work hard to accomplish more and to go further in the Triathlon," said the 17-year-old St Andrew High School for Girls student.
Israel Allen,16, a student at Jamaica College and National Triathlon champion was elated to receive the men's award and is proud of his achievements in the sport. Allen has represented Jamaica on various occasions in both competitive swimming and triathlon and has won various awards including a bronze medal for Jamaica at the Carifta Aquathlon.
Head coach of the Tornadoes, Wendy Lee, was in a jubilant mood following last Friday's announcements and hailed the success of the three awardees who she says, "have been striving towards excellence since they were eight years old."
"These awards are indeed a physical manifestation of the hard work that we continue to put into producing Jamaica's best aquatics athletes and as head coach, I am extremely proud of the strides that all our athletes are taking, led of course by Sabrina, Rihanna and Israel," Lee said.