Record-breaker Sienna leads golden hat-trick for Team England at Trinbago 2023

Commonwealth Youth Games record-breaker Sienna Robinson said a desire to make her family proud and bring home a medal for Team England was the motivation for her golden performance at Trinbago 2023.

City of Sheffield swimmer Robinson set a new Commonwealth Youth Games best in the Women’s 50m Breaststroke twice on the same day during another excellent night for Team England at the National Aquatic Centre in Trinidad.

The young Lions won six medals in the pool to take their swimming tally to 12 – with Oscar Bilbao claiming his second gold of the competition with victory in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke and Reece Grady triumphing in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley.

The standout of performance of the second finals session for Team England, however, was Robinson’s stunning swim.

She clocked 32.09 to shave 0.02 seconds off the previous best she had set in the morning’s heats to touch home first by 0.25 seconds from South Africa’s Simone Moll.

Robinson said: “I just wanted to bring that gold medal home for England and make my family proud.

“That’s what was carrying me through that final. It was not the nerves – it was just touch that wall before anyone else does and bring it home for England.

“I’m just happy to be racing – I’m just happy to get out there and give it my all.

“Even if my all is not my best at the moment, I’m just happy to just be racing and enjoy it again as there have been times this season when I haven’t. 

“To race in such a good environment is helping me a lot to give me momentum to go from heats to finals. 

“I’m loving how the team is so united – we all have each other’s backs and were so closely knit. There is no-one in the squad bringing anyone down. 

“We’re all uplifting each other and it’s a really nice environment.”

Second gold for Oscar

Bilbao added the Men’s 50m Breaststroke title to his Commonwealth Youth Games collection after taking gold in the 200m race on day one.

He was the only swimmer to finish below 29 seconds, clocking a personal best of 28.60 as he touched home 0.48 clear of Jersey’s Filip Nowacki.

He said: “I’m very happy. 

“Both races went well. I swam them how I wanted to and overall I’m just really happy with the results. 

“I’ve got the 100m Breaststroke to come so I’ve got to focus on the heat and make sure I get it right, not get too eager on the first 50m, swim my own race and hopefully make the final and see what I can do then. 

“One thing I have noticed is the team is really together. There is a lot of togetherness and the support from everyone is really great.

“I’m finding it’s helping my swims but it’s helping my team mates also and having that connection is building the morale of the team.”

Reece goes one better

Grady also secured a second medal of Trinbago 2023 – but this time he went one better.

He followed his silver in the 1500m Freestyle with gold in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley – topping the podium from lane two in a time of 4:25.16.

That was an impressive 5.29 seconds quicker than his heat swim and he admitted he had no idea he had won the race.

Grady said: “Going into the race, I really didn’t have much that expectation or that many nerves – I just wanted to do the race and try and get a PB.

“I had no idea where I was – I was just trying to beat the guy next to me. I had no idea I had come first until I touched the wall and looked up at the scoreboard.

“I’ve got the 400m Freestyle next so I need to try and recover the best I can now because I want to get into the final and, hopefully, do another good swim. 

“Everyone is really supportive. When I was swimming, I could see people on the side cheering me on and it’s really nice to have that support.”

Three more podium places

Two silvers and a bronze completed the medal haul for Team England on day two – but it could have been more with three swimmers finishing just outside the podium places in fourth.

Blythe Kinsman was only 0.02 seconds away from a gold medal in the Women’s 50m Backstroke.

Her time of 28.73 was inside the Commonwealth Youth Games record of 28.74 set by New Zealand’s Gabrielle Fa’amausili in 2015 but Australia’s Zoe Ammundsen bettered that to take top spot in 28.71.

The Mixed 4x200m Freestyle Relay team of Harry Wynne-Jones, Reuben Rowbotham-Keating, Ashleigh Baillie and Erin Little also secured silver.

They clocked 7:51.41 to finish 5.67 seconds adrift of the gold-medal winning Australian team, with Little producing a fantastic final leg to ensure they clawed their way past Wales to take second spot.

Skye Carter and Adam Graham also played a key role in Team England’s relay silver after their strong swim in the heats.

It wasn’t the only success of the day for Carter as she hailed her team-mates for being a motivational factor following her bronze in the Women’s 100m Freestyle.

Carter finished in 56.21 to take third place – only 0.13 seconds ahead of her Team England colleague Little.

Basildon Phoenix swimmer Carter said: “I’m really happy to have been selected for this – it’s the best international competition I have been to literally in my whole life. 

“I find that it’s so much more teamy than other competitions and knowing that everyone is supporting you when you’re on the block is really motivational – and I feel it’s what is going to keep me going during these four days. 

“From the start, even from the opening ceremony, there was an atmosphere about the Games. It was more friendly than other competitions and it makes it easier to respond to your team mates.”

In the Men’s 100m Freestyle, Rowbotham-Keating was fourth in 50.63, while Nick Finch finished eighth in a time of 51.14.

Hannah Bowley was also fourth in the Women’s 50m Breaststroke in 32.69, while Edward Marcel-Whittles’s time of 4:25.82 was enough to claim fifth spot in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley.

View all the results from the Commonwealth Youth Games on the Trinbago 2023 website.