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Stateside roar from two Tigers

Swimming | Published:

JERSEY Commonwealth Games swimmers Harry Shalamon and Gemma Atherley have produced outstanding performances for their respective USA university teams, bringing an annual award and healthy medal hauls.

Gemma Atherley and Harry Shalamon have both impressed for their universities in America Pictures: MORAG OBARSKA

Both on scholarships, Atherley in NCAA Division 1 and Shalamon in Division 2, the pair have settled in to the high-quality college sport system and these performances have put them in a strong position leading into the 2019 Island Games and national competitions in the UK.

Shalamon won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Year award after a stellar performance at their swimming championships.

The conference features 12 universities from the Great Lakes area, and Shalamon, swimming for Grand Valley State University, won gold in the 100m and 200m backstroke – with record-breaking times.

In the 100 back, Shalamon’s 46.82 sec was nearly half a second quicker than his nearest competitor, and over the longer distance the margin was closer to a second, with his 1 min 43.38 effort a stand-out performance. Both times were meet, university, and all-time conference records, and PBs for the Calligo Tigers man. Both swims have earned him NCAA D2 A-cut qualification, with the US Nationals starting in a few weeks’ time. Shalamon was also a vital member of three relay squads, 4x50 free, 4x50 and 4x100 IM, which all medalled.

Atherley, a student at George Washington University, won her first individual gold at the A-10 Championships in the 200m backstroke and took silver in a close 200 freestyle, where the top three were separated by just 0.02 seconds. She was also a member of the record-breaking 4x100 relay team which took home gold on the last swim of the championships. Atherley’s efforts ensured her team finished second in the ladies section, their best performance in recent years.

Calligo Tigers coach Nathan Jegou said: ‘Both are really competitive divisions, so to win races is not an easy feat, and to take records is pretty special.

‘For Harry it is great to see that his club and the conference is celebrating his achievements. To break records in such style at that level is awesome and it also proves that he is a big relay swimmer as well as an outstanding individual.

‘In Gemma’s case she is in a higher division, so to win her first individual medals is a massive deal. She has also proved her talent as part of a relay team, and the fact that she has matured each season is really becoming visible now.

‘We are lucky to have them as Jersey swimmers, and if they choose to go to the Island Games they will be massive assets to the team and real medal contenders.’

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