15-y-o wants to shine spotlight on synchronised swimming
Fifteen-year-old Nyouka Baugh is still celebrating her fine performance in the Carifta Games synchronised swimming competition which ended at the National Aquatic Centre on Tuesday.
Baugh captured the 15-18 figures competition on Sunday with a score of 59.9391, ahead of Guadeloupe's Loredana Didon with 58.6967 and Barbados' Erika Loustric with 55.2652. Then on Monday she topped the solo event with a score of 63.3333, with Loustric second with 59.1333 and Martinique's Maeva Pivert third with 58.5000.
The Titchfield High student led the 15-18 category with a overall score of 121.9724, followed by Didon with 116.1957 and Loustric on 114.3985.
Although pleased with her personal success, the young swimmer still wants to do more to make the sport more visible and attractive in her country.
"I want to make synchronised swimming more popular in Jamaica and going to competitions will help that," she told STAR Sports.
"Many Jamaicans don't know about synchronised swimming, many of them don't even know we have a team in Jamaica. I would really love if more Jamaicans knew about this sport," she said after completing her competition on Monday.
Baugh who said she expected to top the 15-18 age group has been in synchronised swimming for more than seven years.
Coach Olga Novokshchenova, a two-time Olympic gold medallist for Russia, says Baugh is growing with every competition and insists that she must compete on a regular basis if she wants to go to the next level in the sport.
"She was pretty good. She gained confidence with every competition and that makes me happy.
"For ten years now Nyouka has been with me ... and she has made great progress. We are hoping that one day we make it to the Olympics but synchronised swimming is not very big in Jamaica, so basically you have no competition here. For her to go to the next level, we have to get her out of the country, we have to travel.
"Last year there were only two (overseas competition), because we can't afford any more, we don't have the money. This year I want to take her to Europe, there is a competition there called the Mediterranean Cup, which is a world championship for her age group. And I think she is ready for it," Novokshchenova said.