What may have escaped many from the region is that one of our own holds the mantle of the fastest junior swimmer in the World over short course metres . That title belongs to Kenzo Simons who represented Suriname at the CARIFTA and the now defunct Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships meets but now represents The Netherlands.
The occasion of his ascent to the Greatest of all time is almost a year ago but more than worthy of mention with the recent exploits seen at the International Swimming League that ended recently in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.
Competing in Tilburg at the Dutch National Championships on December 19,2019 he actually lowered the World junior record in the 50 metre freestyle of 21.24 set by Russian Kliment Kolesnikov to an incredible 21.16 in the morning heats.
Kliment set the record when he competed at the 2017 European Championships. At that meet Kolesnikov also won Gold medals in the 100 and 200 metre backstroke in World junior records in times of 48.99 and 1:48.02. This past weekend in the ISL competing for the Energy Standard team he set the World senior record in the 100 backstroke in a time of 48.58.
Simons had even more in the tank for the afternoon’s final. In that race he tore past the senior national record of 21.05 of teammate Jesse Puts to become the first Dutchman under 21 seconds with a swim of 20.98.
Puts registered that time en route to winning Gold medal at the 2016 World Short Course Swimming Championships just ahead of the new Russian Rocket Vladimir Morozov 21.14. Puts actually finished the race with the Silver in a time of 21.49.The Bronze was won by another teammate Thom de Boer in 21.60.
That meet was a fantastic one for Kenzo as he also set new Netherlands junior record in the 100 metre freestyle as he hit the timing pads in 47.23 . The race was won by Kyle Stolk in 46.88. Another national junor record fell in the 50 metre butterfly as he took the national title in a time of 23.08.De Boer was runner up with a time of 23.45.
The list of the Fastest men ever from the region is headed by the legendary George Bovell III from Trinidad and Tobago with his blast of 20.82 from 2012.Kenzo is ranked second of all time
CARIFTA REGION MEN OF SPEED
|George Bovell III||Trinidad and Tobago||20.82||Oct 2012|
|Kenzo Simons||Suriname/Netherlands||20.98||Dec 2019|
|Dylan Carter||Trinidad and Tobago||21.21||Nov 2020|
|Julien Sicot||Martinique/France||21.62||Dec 2003|
|Roy-Allan Burch||Bermuda||21.81||Dec 2014|
|Mehdy Metella||French Guina/France||21.83||Nov 2016|
|Brett Fraser||Cayman Islands||21.78||Dec 2014|
|Renzo Tjon a Joe||Suriname||21.98||Dec 2014|
|Hanser Garcia||Cuba||22.04||Dec 2012|
|Joshua McLeod||Trinidad and Tobago||22.12||Dec 2014|
|Elvis Burrows||The Bahamas||22.18||Dec 2014|
|Joshua Laban||US Virgin Islands||22.22||Mar 2004|
|Sion Brinn||Jamaica||22.33||Jan 1997|
|Martyn Forde||Barbados||22.35||Feb 2010|
When draftingthecaribbean after the national championships he gave some insight about the race
“Like I said instantly after my race, it was perfect. From start till finish. The push off from the block was full of power, the turn was quick and the finish felt really good. Swimming that 50 free felt amazing”.
He asked if he felt he accomplished his goals for 2019
“I sure did. Winning silver at European Juniors( LCM) was such a good feeling and the time I swam there was good”. Kenzo clocked 22.10 , the fastest ever from a junior swimmer hailing from the CARIFTA region.
At that time he spoke about his training schedule , the Olympic goal and what he needed to do to make it a reality
“I do 10 sessions a week including weight sessions.Now I am focusing on making an Olympic cut. It would feel amazing if I could go to the
Olympics next year already, especially at this age. Hard practice, keep my focus during the season and just be busy with swimming”.