The CARIFTA region has reason to be very proud of its swimmers this conference season in the NCAA. One of the swimmers bringing joy to the US Virgin Islands and the wider region was Adriel Sanes . Representing the Denver University Pioneers Sanes was on fire for the Summit League championships presented by United States Air Force Special Operations which ran from Feb 19 to 22 at the Midco Aquatic Center in Sioux Falls.
He started the meet with a new a Championship record in the 200 yard medley relay. The Pioneers A team of Cameron Auchinachie backstroke 21.33, Cy Jager breaststroke 23.49 , Sanes butterfly 21.05 and Sid Farber 19.00 handling anchor freestyle duties had no problems winning by over four seconds in a total time of 1:24.87, a NCAA B time. The team swim also took down the Championship record of 1:26.02 set by the 2017 Pioneers team. Each member of the team had the fastest splits for their respective strokes. The Pioneers also came close to their school record of 1:24.63 set at the Princeton Invitational in December last year.
Day two saw the same quartet knocking over yet another 2017 Pioneer record .This time it was in the 200 yard freestyle relay. The relay saw Cameron opening up the proceedings with a time of 19.33, followed by Sid 19.02,Jager 19.50 and then Sanes cementing the win with a split of 19.63. The total time was 1:17.48 erasing the old Championship mark of 1:17.62.It was done in yet another NCAA B standard time and came withing touching distance of the school record and NCAA time they produced in December of 1:17.09.
In the 200 yard individual medley the Pioneers and the CARIFTA region occupied the top two spots. Aruban teammate Patrick Groters took down the school and Championship of 1:46.95 set by Tim Cottam in 2017 to record a new standard of 1:46.24. Sanes took the Silver in a time of 1:47.90 just off his personal best.He had the fastest breaststroke split of the field with a time of 30.50.
It was back to regular programming for Sanes on Day three. In the 100 yard breaststroke he negative split the race 26.76 and 26.45 to record a new personal record of 53.21. In the final that strategy would not be employed as he and defending champion and teammate Cy Jager let it all hang out on the first 50 yards. Sanes had the slight edge 24.52 to Jager’s 24.53. Adriel’s strong last 50 yards of 27.80, the only sub 28 seconds of the Championships decided the winner. He touched in 52.32 , a new school,Championship and CARIFTA region best.The old school and Championship record belonged to Cottam at 53.00. The Pioneers dominated the event taking the top four spots.
The final day would see yet another personal record, school record, NCAA B cut and CARIFTA region best in the 200 yard breaststroke. Sanes had the best splits on all four 50’s and had a total time of 1:55.70. He is the only swimmer from the CARIFTA region under 1:56.00.
He ended the meet anchoring the 400 yard freestyle relay with a split of 45.75.The team had a total time of 2:55.83.
For his great efforts Adriel was named the Championship Swimming MVP.
The Pioneers won the men’s title with 1,082.50 points.The University of South Dakota were runner up with 706.5. Third place was won by South Dakota State University with a total of 645.50 points.
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to the talented Sanes in March about his swims
What has been the difference from last years Summit Champs to now mentally and in terms of training?
“So last season, the team went through some issues and it took a toll on me mentally. The training was great, but training could only get you so far if you’re not mentally ready. So last year’s Summit League Champs, it wasn’t as good as I trained for as I only went one best time. Still won the relays and the 200 breast, but it wasn’t as great, especially with the 200 breast being my best event. As with this year’s Summit League Champs, it was much different. Coming off of a great mid season meet that I had in Princeton where I went best times in all my events and helped qualify 3 relays to the NCAA Championships, it boosted my mental toughness to believing I could even do better at this year’s Summit League Champs. The training leading up to the meet was the best I’ve ever had and the week of the meet, I knew I was ready to dominate”.
He was also quizzed about his 100 breaststroke tactics
Your endurance has improved greatly.You negative split the heats coming back in 26.45.And in the final you really went after it splitting 24.5.What sets have you been working on to build this speed endurance and describe that race
“The result of that race was a real shocker to me. I know I’ve put in a lot of hard work over the season, over many years actually, but the result of that race still shocks me to this day. I normally train mid distance, but there are still plenty of opportunities I’ve had to train for the speed of the 100. Sets I’ve done that has helped are sets that I would do 50s at fast pace and hold that pace on short intervals of rest. Other sets are ones we wear cords and do 8-12 strokes fast against a strong resistance.Now with that 100 breast race, at Princeton, I already dropped .50 seconds off my best time going 53.50. So in prelims, I wanted to go as close to 53.00 or even break the barrier. I went 53.21 with good splitting and my teammate went 53.09, so I knew it was going to be a great race at finals. I was nervous before the race as I knew it was a race to break the 53 barrier and win the race. Knowing my teammate is more of the sprinter and takes it out strong, if I stayed right with him, I knew I could win the race as I have a great back half that I’ve trained for and especially since I’m great at the 200. The buzzer goes off and the first 50 was how I wanted/needed it to be. I could see I was right with my teammate and I told myself “I got this.” My walls and pullouts were tremendous and helped being able to take the race out in a 24.52 and bringing it back in a 27.80. Touching the wall to see a time of 52.32 was exciting, but shocking as I didn’t have any idea that I was swimming that fast. I couldn’t believe it honestly. It was a school and conference record by a wide margin. Now with that time, it is a strong possibility that it will be an invite time to the NCAA Championships and I could go to swim individually and not just on the relays, which is still exciting to this day”.
HISTORICAL IMPACT Of BREASTSTROKES RACES
Sanes was already the fastest of all time in the 200 yard breaststroke from 2018 when he overtook Aruban Jordy Groters best of 1:56.60 with a swim of 1:56.24. Jordy set that time at the 2016 NCAA Division I championships.He continues to be the best of all time and the first swimmer under 1:56.00 with his PB of 1:55.70.
He is also the fastest swimmer ever from the CARIFTA region in the 100 breaststroke as he got under another Groters standard from the 2016 NCAA Division I Champs of 52.70 with his swim of 52.32.
Sanes was selected for All American honours by College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) and will also be a team captain for the 2020 -2021 season.