Top Performers at bmobile Secondary Schools Swim Meet wisely balance academics and sport

Port of Spain, Trinidad, March 20, 2018


A planned escape from the sound of persistent gunfire has been the sole driving force behind fourteen-year old De-Nicha Lewis’ pursuit of academic and sporting excellence.

The Holy Name Convent, Port-of-Spain, student of Mango Rose, Laventille, is currently nurturing her blossoming swimming talent to pave a way out of the socially-challenged community. Having represented Trinidad and Tobago on six previous occasions, partnered with recent capture of three gold (50m backstroke, freestyle and butterfly) and one silver (50m breaststroke) at the bmobile National Secondary Schools Swim Meet, Lewis seems on course to achieving her intended target.

“The gunshots I hear on a daily basis inspire me to work harder so I can move out of this unsafe area,” she explained. “I try my best to manage my time properly because of the many assignments for school and my six days of training per week. It’s physically, mentally and emotionally draining sometimes, but I know what I’m working towards. I only want betterment for myself and my family.”

Lewis, of Flying Fish Swim Club, was one of two young swimmers who was recently honoured with a Top Performer Award and bursary by Secondary Schools Swim Meet sponsors, bmobile. Capturing the male equivalent was Sheni St. Hillaire of Presentation College San Fernando.

The versatile female athlete has also won dance titles at SanFest with the Malick Folk Performers. She presently maintains an ‘A’ grade at school and is determined to expand her competitive prowess on the international stage. 

“I’ve represented the red, white and black at many regional tournaments such as the CARIFTA Games, CISC, CCCAN and UANA. But, like most athletes, the Olympic Games are a main objective. Swimmers like George Bovell, Dylan Carter (T&T), Ian Thorpe (Australia), Michael Phelps (USA) and my coach Dexter Brown also prove to be great inspiration to me to get me there,” she added.

Meanwhile, St. Hillaire – a Form One student and representative of Point Fortin Aqua Darts – topped his 11-12 Boys division at the bmobile meet, bagging four gold medals (50m backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle). Last year, he represented T&T at the Goodwill Games in Guyana and finished third overall on his age group. He was introduced to the sport at the tender age of six when he joined the Learn to Swim Programme. The youngster though, has to commute from Point Fortin to San Fernando everyday, maintain good grades and train six days for the week.

“Training is difficult sometimes but it’s necessary,” he stated. “I have to train hard to achieve what I want. I study early in the morning because a lot of sacrifices have to be made. My goals are to make the national team, qualify for the Olympics and break records. Getting an education is significant because I’d like to get a scholarship. I need to train harder and have a lot of focus.”

Meanwhile, Vice President of Corporate Communications at TSTT, Marsha Caballero, expressed her delight with the pair of victorious swimmers.

“bmobile continues to support this wonderful developmental initiative because it serves as a platform for athletes like Sheni and De-Nicha among others. Every year, we highlight two swimmers who have done exceptionally well. 2018 was our fifteenth year of sponsorship to the Secondary Schools Meet and we are intent on continuity. Investing in opportunities for young people to pursue their dreams whether it is through sport, education or business, that is a top priority for bmobile,” she declared.