NASSAU, Bahamas, July 11. THOUGH her participation in the Commonwealth Games was never in question, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace was officially given the thumbs up by the Bahamas Olympic Committee Thursday to compete in Scotland. She’ll be joined by five other swimmers, some of whom could find themselves in semifinals races as the island nation works its way into international prominence.
The Bahamas did not send any swimmers to the 2010 edition in India, and the country’s return to the Commonwealth Games pool could result in multiple trips to the podium. Vanderpool-Wallace will be a serious medal contender in the 50 freestyle and 50 butterfly. She might also secure a lane in the 100 free final that is likely to be dominated by Australian sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell. Vanderpool-Wallace was a finalist in the 50 free at the 2012 Olympics and the 2013 world championships, with her highest finish being eighth in the London Games.
Elvis Burrows has been training with a purpose in 2014, looking to get a second swim in the 50 free in Glasgow. Burrows’ 23.93 from the Arena Grand Prix in Charlotte sits just outside the top 16 among Commonwealth swimmers expected to swim the 50 free, and a time under 23 seconds will give him a good chance to race at night.
The remaining swimmers on the roster will be looking for crucial senior-level international experience in the meet. Dustin Tynes swam at the junior world championships last summer and recently helped Baylor break the national high school record in the 200 medley relay, and he’ll mingle with some of the best breaststrokers in the world. Like Tynes, Joanna Evans also has some international racing experience, posting a national record in the 800 freestyle last summer at the junior world championships with an 8:58.64.
Laura Morley is also a high school swimmer in the United States, representing The Peddie School. She finished second in the 100 breast at the Eastern Interscholastic championships. Rounding out the roster is Ariel Weech, a University of Nebraska graduate who will join Vanderpool-Wallace in the sprint freestyle events.
Tynes, Morley and Evans will take their experience from Glasgow to the Youth Olympic Games in China two weeks later.
The swimming competition at the Commonwealth Games begins June 24. Click here for the schedule.