Barbados: Kaija Eastmond qualifies for 2024 CARIFTA Swimming Champs

Kaija Eastmond from Barbados has qualified for the 2024 CARIFTA Swimming Championship with eight 'A' qualifying times.

Barbados: Kaija Eastmond qualifies for 2024 CARIFTA Swimming Champs
Barbados: Kaija Eastmond qualifies for 2024 CARIFTA Swimming Champs

Barbados: Kaija Eastmond from Barbados has qualified for the 2024 CARIFTA Swimming Championship with eight ‘A’ qualifying times. She performed great in categories such as 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 200 Individual Medley, 200m breaststroke, 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly and the 50m backstroke.

She also has secured ‘B’ qualifying times in 50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke, 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke.  However, she will be competing in seven individual events in the 11-12 age namely, the 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 50m breaststroke, 50m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly as well as four relays.

Swimming Journey of Eastmond

Eastmond, who attends Codrington School, has an impressive bio for her eleven years, and her talent in the pool has also extended to regional meets such as the Goodwill Games and Rodney Heights Aquatic Center Games in St. Lucia.

Kaija started swimming at the age of six and within two months she competed in her first swimming competition. Representing her school she took to the pool in the 2018 Purity Primary School Swimming Championships in the six and under age group. Kaija swam with courage, ripping through her opposition, winning all of her races and she even broke the backstroke record in that meet and was awarded the 6 and under age title.

In 2018, a new water queen had surfaced in Barbados and she has continued to impress spectators, her coach, family and friends, who all admire the skills and determination of this talented young lady who has remained humble and modest despite her achievements.

At this time Kaija was also in Gymnastics, another sport which she loves, but after her success in her first swimming competition, she realized her talent in swimming and she made the decision to pursue that talent and she now puts in the work to reach the goals she has also set for herself.

In 2019, Eastmond was chosen to represent Barbados for the first time at the Goodwill Games which were held in Suriname that year and that was the beginning of what is now a string of national appearances.

She won her first gold, a silver and two bronze medals in those games which were held in Trinidad and she went on to dominate in her age group in local and regional tournaments.

She has become a household name in the swimming arena following a string of outstanding performances, with her repeatedly standing on the podium at the local long course and short course nationals, the Aquatic Centre International tournaments, School swimming championships and some regional tournaments.

At the just-concluded 2024 BASA Long Course Nationals, Eastmond competed in eleven events. She won three golds (50m butterfly, 100m butterfly, and 100m freestyle) and eight silvers (50m backstroke, 50m breaststroke, 50m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke, 200m freestyle, 200m backstroke, and 200m breaststroke). Kaija collected 82 points and was awarded the 11-12 age group champion.