Top Trinidad and Tobago Open Water swimmer Christian Marsden smashed the course record on his way to a convincing victory yesterday in the 11th Kia Around Gasparee Open Water swim.

Marsden,  who became the youngest qualifier for the Pan Am Games Men’s 10k at last November’s Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz,  México,  splashed to a one hour 15 minute and 27 second clocking for the 5.6k event to eclipse  Ryan Mendes’ one hour, 18 minute standard set in calmer conditions back in 2009.
The win represented back-to-back wins for the top T&T marathon swimmer after his win in one hour, 24 minutes last year.
The swell and rough current conditions that obtained in 2014 were less a factor in this year’s edition.
But strong currents still persisted on the southern side of the island as Marsden ploughed his way through the water with teammate Graham Chatoor in tow and Tidal Wave Aquatics’ Gabriel Bynoe and UTT’s Aleem Mohammed  a few metres back.
Marsden would soon drop Chatoor and establish an unassailable lead in a race against the clock, passing Winn’s Bay and Border Bay.
By the time the 16-year old reached Point Baleine,  he had overhauled the top swimmers in the first wave.  Marsden and fellow Carifta-aspiring swimmers had left in the fifth wave, 25 minutes after the first.
Marsden  was greeted by calmer waters on the coast side of the Isla D and stroked powerfully through, past St Madeleine before making the round past Goodwill’s Bay.
There he and the other swimmers encountered the toughest conditions of the race,  including choppy waters and swirling currents.  But Marsden dug in and weathered the rough seas before angling into Bombshell Bay for the finish.
Marsden was followed home by the plucky Bynoe who had surpassed Chatoor who finished third.  Mohammed and Bynoe’s teammate Sebastián Marchand competed stroke for stroke over the last 800m and could not be separated at the finish,  both swimmers being declared as tied for fourth place.
Among the girls,  Shania David took advantage of her elder sister Syriah’s absence to power to the win in one hour and 31 minutes.  She was followed in by her TWA teammate Briana Patterson and Chisara Santana.
And TWA girls rounded out the top five, with Toni Pierre and Sabrina David taking fourth and fifth respectively.
The Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ASATT) is expected to use the Kia swim to select the T&T 2015 Carifta Open Water squad for the Games scheduled to take place in Barbados from April 4-8.