Lisa Blackburn congratulates Ashley Yearwood after the Bermuda 4x50m freestyle team win gold at the Island Games on Monday night. *Photo by James Burton.
Lisa Blackburn congratulates Ashley Yearwood after the Bermuda 4x50m freestyle team win gold at the Island Games on Monday night. *Photo by James Burton.

Lisa Blackburn savoured a ‘special’ night in her career after winning a gold and two bronze in the pool at the Island Games.

Blackburn, 41, helped break the Bermuda national record in the 4x50m freestyle alongside Maddie Moore, Rebecca Heyliger and Ashley Yearwood as the relay team took gold in 1min 46.04sec.

She also set a new national record in the women’s 400m IM (5:02.40) and claimed third in the 50m breaststroke (33.05).

“Nothing is ever guaranteed so you always have to do your best and perform in the moment, so all of us did that (in the relay), we all swam a great race, and it came together really well," Blackburn told the Bermuda Sun.

“The girls have great potential. Maddie’s just turned 13, the girls are young, we got together and we did it. We performed and it’s great. I hope I can give back to the girls and they can learn something from me and, you know what, I never stop learning either so it’s special for me."

She added: “I was really happy with the 400 IM, I haven’t done that time in about 10 years so I’m really pleased with that — it’s also a Bermuda national record so that’s a bonus right there, and the 50m breaststroke was pretty good, too.”

Blackburn was recently at loggerheads with the Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association and its decision not to award her a wildcard entry for the upcoming World Championships in Barcelona this month.

But she said all the attention at the moment must be on the home Island Games: “I don’t really want to talk about the Worlds right now, I really want to focus on the Island Games and on doing well for my country and I hope we did that on the first night.”

For the rest of the relay team, it was the perfect start to the meet.

Heyliger said: “It feels so good because we’ve medalled at relays at Island Games before but we never got gold so it’s good to do it at home.”

For Yearwood, she knew the race was hers to lose after she took over from Blackburn to swim the final leg: “After Lisa dove in before I took over I thought we had it. I was kind of confident we were out far enough ahead but you never really know with relays.”

Moore added: “It’s great to have the home crowd cheering for you and it’s a real confidence-booster. I was pretty confident – we knew we wanted it!”