Sunday, July 25, 2021
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
COLLEGIAN Izaak Bastian said he’s getting the hang of being an Olympian, although his debut at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Japan was a little more than he had anticipated.
Bastian, competing in the third of seven heats at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, clocked 1:01.87 for eighth place in his heat, won by Matti Fin Mattson of Finland in 1:00.02.
“It wasn’t my best time, but I took a lot of good experienc away from it,” said Bastian, who went into the event with a national record lifetime best of 1:00.87.
“I can’t complain. It wasn’t my best race, but it was a great experience overall and I wouldn’t trade it in for anything else in the world.”
Except for the time after he did splits of 28.86 in his first 50m and came back and touched the wall in 33.01 for his final 50m to complete the event in 40th overall.
“I think I just need to let the nerves go and go a little more and enjoy the ride,” he said of the whole experience as an Olympian. “I was a little nervous before my race, but I feel like I now know what I’m walking into and so hopefully I can go out there and swim much faster.”
The 20-year-old student of Florida State University in Tallahassee adds this experience to his appearance at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2019; the World Championships in Guanghua, Korea in 2019 and twice at the World Junior Championships in Budapest, Hungary in 2019 and Indianapolis, Indiana in 2017.
“It already feels special because most people don’t make it this far in the sport,” said Bastian of his latest feat. “So to make it here and to be a part of something special is great for me.”
On Tuesday, Bastian will be back in the pool to compete in his final event in the 200m breaststroke where he will swim out of heat three in lane five with a national record seeded time of 2:15.14.
Bastian is one of two Bahamians competing in swimming for the Bahamas at the games. The other is Joanna Evans, who was co-bearer of the flag during the opening ceremony on Friday night at the Olympic Stadium and participant in the women’s 200 and 400m freestyle events.
The Athletics competition at the Olympic Stadium, featuring 14 Bahamians, will begin on Friday, July 30. It’s the only other discipline other than swimming that the Bahamas is participating in at the games that wrap up on August 8.