Joy Blackett is remembered by many as being one of the successful swimmers returning from the Goodwill Swim Meet in Guyana with 12 medals.
Although she is soft-spoken, Joy is a determined and competitive 11-year-old. She shares her story of success with Newsday Kids.
Joy started swimming at the age of five at Sevilla Swimming Pool in Couva. She then went on to successfully complete a learn to swim programme with Central Athletic Club, Chaguanas.
“I knew swimming was the sport for me,” Joy said with a bright smile.
While swimming with Central Athletic, each training session would end with relays, where Joy would swim past older children in the club. Her mother Alicia, along with coaches at Central Athletic, realised she had the ability to become a competitive swimmer.
In 2013, she joined Tidal Wave Aquatics club, at a level higher than her age group. She continues to train and participate competitively in numerous local meets. She has represented TT at the Goodwill Swimming Championships in 2015 in TT and at the recently concluded 2017 championships in Guyana, where she ranked second place.
Some of her accomplishments include Tidal Wave Aquatics Most Promising Young Swimmer 2014, Most Outstanding Swimmer 2015, Atlantic 5th Annual Primary Schools’ Swim Meet-1st Place. Earlier this year, she also won gold at the Amateur Swimming Association of TT (ASATT) Long Course Pentathlon Meet, ASATT National Group Long Course and ASATT’s National Open Long Course Championships. Her most recent and prominent win was at the Goodwill Swim Meet in Guyana, where she won two gold, six silver and four bronze medals.
What motivated Joy to go the extra mile to win a competition? “I pray while swimming,” she said humbly.
Joy lives in Cunupia with her family and spends a total of ten hours per week, Monday to Saturday, training with Tidal Wave Aquatics at the pool in Centre of Excellence, Macoya. She is also a form one student at Miracle Ministries Pentecostal High School, Chaguanas.
Now that the academic year has begun, how does she intend to manage her time?
“I am persistent, so right after swimming sessions I will make sure I do my homework.”
Joy is putting out a lot of work when it comes to her passion for swimming, especially her favourite style. “I love to do backstroke.” She hopes to represent TT at the Olympics in the future.
Her coaches at Tidal Wave Aquatics are mother and daughter duo, Hazel and Chabeth Hanes.
And her support system includes her parents Alicia and Martin Blackett, her older brother Matthew, relatives and friends.
Joy’s hobbies include dancing, listening to music, gymnastics and running. She would like to become a flight attendant or teacher when she’s older. Joy advises others to be confident and calm when going for what they want to accomplish.
“You will make it once you set your mind to it.”