At the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart, Florida on Nov 11 Jamaica was represented by 2019 World Junior Championships representatives  Emily MacDonald of the Bolles School and Cameron Brown of the University School.

Emily’s Bolles School won the State Championship for the girls for the 29th consecutive year. In the 400 yard freestyle relay the Grade 11 student along with her teammates created history to lower the school standard en route to Gold in the relay.

Emily MacDonald preparing to race Photo courtesy of Art Kozel

Emily, who was drafted into the final for her first ever swim on this relay at States made the best use of it with a big personal best. She led off the relay in a time of 50.81, beating her lifetime best by almost a second. That gave the Bulldogs a lead that they would not relinquish to hold off the Saint Andrews team in a new school record of 3:23.18 to  the Scots 3:24.00. The last time a Jamaican was on the podium was through Annabella Lyn and her Pine Crest team in 2017 when they won Silver in 3:27.02.

The old 1A Champs best was set in 2014. The 2019 winning time now stands as the fastest time ever done at the 1A championships.

MacDonald is just outside the top five fastest Jamaican women of all time in the 100 yard freestyle.

Janelle Atkinson Photo courtesy of panamericanworld.com

The time also has Bolles as the fastest team in Florida when compared to the other teams in 2A, 3A and 4A.

In the 200 yard medley relay the 2018 team repeated the Gold medal performance with a change in legs to produce a faster time in 2019.This time Emily and Sasha Ramey switched freestyle and butterfly legs. The result saw Emily producing the first butterfly sub 25 second split since 2017 at States. Their winning time of 1:43.43 is the fastest Gold medal performance since 2015.

The Bulldogs were again the fastest of all the State Champions.

In the 200 yard freestyle relay MacDonald now has a complete set of medals. In 2017 she won the Bronze with her team touching in 1:35.67. In 2018 they were in the runner up spot stopping the clock in 1:34.39. This time they had no equal at the meet or in Florida as they record a time of 1:33.61 to take the Gold . The time is the second fastest time ever recorded at the 1A state Championships . Only the 2013 Bolles team with their school record of 1:32.74 has been faster.

In the morning heats Emily recorded her first sub 23 seconds relay split of 22.94 to push the team to the number one seed for the final with a time of 1:35.37.

The Bolles team were again the Champion of Champions with the fastest time of all the four meets.

In the 50 yard freestyle the Pan Am Games B finalist recorded a personal best in the heats of 23.43. In the final she recorded the second fastest time of her career to place fourth in 23.53. She has steadily improved at the State championships with an 8th place finish in 2017 with a time of 23.97, then finishing 5th in 2017 with a swim of 23.68. MacDonald is now tied with Shaun Johnson on the list of the fastest Jamaican woman of all time. The list is again headed by Natasha Moodie with her blast from the 2011 NCAA Division I champs.

Natasha Moodie Photo courtesy of mgoblue.com
Cameron Brown .Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Her teammate Cameron Brown, who has been Jamaica’s best age group breaststroker for a number of years, recorded his best time in the 100 yard event at the State Champs in the heats with a swim of 59.45. In the final Brown recorded his highest ever placing punching in a time of 59.64. That bettered his best showing of 7th in 2017 in 1:00.08.

In the 200 medley and freestyle relay Brown recorded his best splits at the State championships for his best ever relay showing.

In the 200 yard medley relay he was timed at 27.49 that helped University School hold off Saint Andrews 1:40.11 to 1:40.32 to top the B final. Last year the team was 5th in 1:42.80. His breaststroke leg was the fastest of the B finalists.

In the 200 yard freestyle relay Brown’s team were the victors in the B final with a time of 1:29.45. Cameron’s second leg was 22.01. This is major improvement from 2018 when the team placed 8th in the B final with a total effort of 1:31.91.

The Bolles topped the girls field amassing 489 points, Saint Andrews was second with 280 and PK Yonge third with a total of 152.5.

On the boys side University School was 13th with 63 points. The winners were Bolles with 337 points, Second Episcopal(Jacksonville) 209.5 and Berkeley Prep with 169.


Annabella Lyn of the Swarthmore College in Pennsylvannia continues to make strides in her collegiate career.

She was recently won the Centennial Conference Swimmer of the week honours .

Annabella started her way to the Conference honours in a meet against the defending Conference Champions Ursinus College on Friday Nov 1. She was second in the 200 yard freestyle in a time of 1:58.06 . That topped her season opener as a freshman of 1:58.83.

She again earned second place honours in the 100 yard freestyle with a swim of 55.07.

Anna competing in the 200 yard freestyle Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

The 500 yard freestyle saw her making a late push in the last 150 yards to take the top podium spot 5:20.48 to Ursinus college’s Katie Schultz 5:20.87

She kept it close on her opening leg of the 400 yard freestyle relay to ensure that her team’s depth would prevail 3:39.50 to 3:44.14.

That propelled Swarthmore to a historic win 156 to 142 as the Conference Champions had been undefeated in dual meet competition since 2012

Saturday November 2 she would be Golden in a meet with Franklin & Marshall  and Bryn Mawr College .She opened with a win in the 200 yard medley relay. She anchored her team of Stephanie Tilneac, Annabella Boardman and Saya Vaules with a  freestyle split of 24.33 to a total time and win of 1:49.42.

It would be another winning performance  in the 200 yard freestyle as she won by over three seconds to stop the clock in 1:57.02.

She employed an aggressive opening strategy in the first 50 yards in the 100 yard freestyle to again be the victor in a time of 53.81.

The final scores saw Lyn’s college beating Franklin &Marshall 145 to 116 and Bryn Mawr College 215 to 41.

2018 CARIFTA Championships 15-17 Gold and Silver medallists Britney Williams and Anna Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Annabella about her accolade and her outlook for the season

“I was honored to get Swimmer of the Week, it was very special to me because it was my first time getting it. It also fell into place with a hard week of swimming as well as a weekend with two meets in two days. I think this season is going to be exciting, Swarthmore Women broke the Conference Champs 6 year winning streak this past Saturday (the second meet of our weekend). So the future is looking bright.  Right now the focus in the pool is all mental toughness and bringing the best with every swim. And my training plan has switched from a more sprint oriented program to distance and some IM. This season is one were a lot of changing is happening in the program and our team community, so everyone is looking forward with a smile”.

Annabella who ended her CARIFTA career in 2018 in front of her crowd in Kingston Jamaica with a Bronze in the 200 metre freestyle  is the reigning Conference Bronze medallist in the 200 yard freestyle.

She is currently the top swimmer in the Conference in the 100, 200 and 500 yard freestyle events. In her freshman year she made quite an impact with the Garnet helping to rewrite the record books in the 200 (1:37.08), 400 (3:32.32) ,800 (7:40.88) and 400 yard medley (3:54.72) relays.


The recently concluded Dean Martin Memorial swim meet in Kingston Jamaica saw the continued rise of Cayman’s Jordan Crooks.

The only swimmer with senior level international meet credentials to his resume he showed his class with a six Gold medal performance all in meet record time.

Jordan Crooks

In the land of the sprinters Jordan crossed the 24 seconds barrier in the 50 metre freestyle to be the fastest ever swimmer at this meet in 23.87. He easily crushed his 2018 record in the 15 -16 age group of 24.60. The swim takes on even greater significance as this is his season opener in the 50 metre pool and he was battling illness at the time of his 50 metre blast.

The Camana Bay Aquatics swimmer started his Gold medal run at the meet in the 100 metre backstroke lowering both the meet record of 1:03.75 and his personal best of 1:02.27 to 1:01.70 .

The reigning CARIFTA Champion in the 200 metre freestyle Crooks crushed the meet record of 2:01.75 to become the first person under 2 minutes at the meet with a time of 1:58.98.

He smashed his meet record and his old personal best of 52.36 set at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju South Korea to stop the clock in 52.26.At the 2019 CARIFTA Championships in Barbados earlier this year he won the Silver medal in this event in 53.24.

There would be a big personal best in the 100 metre butterfly when he took more than a second off his personal best to land the Gold in 57.60 destroying his meet record of 59.83.

In an event he rarely competes in the 400 metre freestyle Jordan set a new personal best and meet record of 4:30.30.The last time he swam it was in 2017 at this meet where he was was timed in 4:46.58.

Draftingthecaribbean got his reaction to his efforts over the weekend

“I was very satisfied with my races this weekend.My results were better than I initially expected.I think my stamina has room for improvement in races like the 100 and 200 metre freestyle.The 50  metre freestyle was my favorite race of the meet and I was happy with the result”.

Zaneta Alvaranga, fastest ever 13-14 CARIFTA region swimmer at the Dean Martin meet Photo courtesy of Cheser Adams

The 50 metre freestyle series proved to be quite quick as Zaneta Alvaranga of the Kaizen swim club set yet another sprint national record when she  lowered the 13-14 standard in the 50 metre freestyle held by Emily MacDonald to 26.34 .She bettered the 26.44 set at the CAC Games in 2018. With the swim she now assumes the mantle of the fastest swimmer from the CARIFTA region. Zaneta had won the 13-14 CARIFTA sprint title in 26.76. Her swim this past weekend would have won her the Gold in the 15-17 age group and puts her in touching distance of the 15-17 record of 26.12 by Olympian Chinyere Pigot of Suriname.

Fastest CARIFTA region 13-14 Girls

BermudaElan Daley26.562019
Trinidad and TobagoSobahn Cropper26.661993
The BahamasDelany Mizell26.962019
ArubaElisbet Timmer27.012016
St LuciaNaima Hazell27.472019
Nathaniel Thomas Photo courtesy of Lynval Lowe

In the 13-14 boys 2019 CARIFTA and CCCAN Champion Nathaniel Thomas beat his meet record of 25.12 with a swim of 24.72. That also bettered the 24.87 he produced to win the CARIFTA title in Barbados earlier this year. It speaks to the possibility of a sub 24 seconds swim in 2020. Nathaniel was also faster than his CARIFTA Gold medal performance in the 100 metre butterfly 59.10 compared to 59.22. He was also joined under the minute mark by Kaheem Lozer of Kaizen who produced a huge personal best to touch in 59.92.

Jillian Crooks fastest ever 11-12 swimmer in the event in Jamaica Photo courtesy of Cheser Adams

In the 11-12 girls race Jillian, sister of Jordan took the event in 27.71.That swim would have won the Gold medal in Barbados in her age group.

With her victories as this meet she has put a number of her national records on notice if given the chance to swim in the Olympic sized pool again before 2020.

Nathan Wright of Sailfish Swim Academy Photo courtesy of Arlett Campbell

One of the swimmers from the West making a name for his name at the meet was Nathan Wright of the Sailfish Swim Academy. He won the splash and dash in 29.76 lowering the meet standard of 29.83. In his sights for the the rest of the calendar year will be the national record of 29.27.

Over 20 meet records were set

Name ClubEvent Age groupNew Record Old Record
Britney WilliamsSwimmaz100 metre backstroke17-181:17.881:20.99
Nathaniel ThomasTornadoes100 metre backstroke13-141:01.491:04.89
Jordan CrooksCamana Bay Aquatics100 metre backstroke15-161:01.701:03.75
Jordan CrooksCamana Bay Aquatics200 metre freestyle15-161:58.982:01.05
Britney WilliamsSwimmaz200 metre freestyle17-182:13.822:44.16
Kokolo FosterTornadoes100 metre breaststroke11-121:22.061:23.18
Kito CampbellY Speedos100 metre breaststroke15-161:11.801:12.26
Waldon McIntoshAquamarine Ripples400 metre IM10 and under6:33.217:38.57
Jillian CrooksCamana Bay Aquatics100 metre freestyle11-121:00.061:01.66
Britney WilliamsSwimmaz100 metre freestyle17-181:01.611:10.20
Nathaniel ThomasTornadoes100 metre freestyle13-1455.0155.77
Jordan CrooksCamana Bay Aquatics100 metre freestyle15-1652.2654.42
Amore Hunter,Sabrina Lyn,Aliyah Heaven,Ireland HunterTornadoes200 metre medley relay13 and over2:11.382:11.72
Jillian CrooksCamana Bay Aquatics400 metre freestyle11-124:54.904:55.28
Nathan WrightSailfish Swim Academy400 metre freestyle10 and under5:35.825:42.98
Jordan CrooksCamana Bay Aquatics400 metre freestyle15-164:30.304:30.93
Waldon McIntoshAquamarine Ripples50 metre breatstsroke9-1039.3440.02
Kokolo FosterTornadoes200 metre breaststroke11-122:59.683:00.88
Zaneta AlvarangaKaizen 200 metre breaststroke13-142:59.863:00.23
Nathaniel ThomasTornadoes100 metre butterfly13-1459.101:00.54
Kaheem LozerKaizen 100 metre butterfly13-1459.921:00.54
Jordan CrooksCamana Bay Aquatics100 metre butterfly15-1657.9059.83
Morgan CogleJupiter Sea Dragons200 metre backstroke13-142:37.582:37.70
Britney WilliamsSwimmaz200 metre backstroke15-162:41.542:54.95
Nathan WrightSailfish Swim Academy50 metre freestyle9-1029.7629.83
Jillian CrooksCamana Bay Aquatics50 metre freestyle11-1227.7127.78
Zaneta AlvarangaKaizen 50 metre freestyle13-1426.3427.23
Nathaniel ThomasTornadoes50 metre freestyle13-1424.7225.12
Jordan CrooksCamana Bay Aquatics50 metre freestyle15-1623.8724.60
Kyle SinclairY Speedos50 metre freestyle15-1624.3224.61
Safiya Officer,Britney Williams,Paris ClareBrooke HopkinsSwimmaz200 metre freestyle relay13 and over1:54.841:56.45
Jada Latibeaudiere,Amore Hunter,Sabrina Lyn,IrelandHunterTornadoes200 metre freestyle relay13 and over1:54.941:56.45

When the final race was swum Tornadoes Swim Club emerged victors with 802 points. Second went to the Y Speedos with 725 points and the Sailfish Swim Academy third on 215 points.


One of the great men of speed from the CARIFTA region Renzo Tjon A Joe of Suriname set his sights on Europe to fine tune his speed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He would go on the FINA World Cup Tour stops in Hungary and Berlin.

At the Budapest leg held from October 4 to 6.He fired his opening salvo in his Tokyo mission with a 50 freestyle swim in 22.79.That would place him 10th . He was only 0.14 of a second away from his first World Cup Final berth. In the 100 metre freestyle he recorded splits of 23.87 and 26.32 to be even closer to the final with a total time of 50.19 for 9th spot.

Renzo’s date with history would be on the very first day of competition in Berlin at Schwimm- und Sprunghalle im Europasportpark (SSE) on October 11. In the heats of the 50 metre freestyle he sprinted to a time of 22.43 to earn the 5th seed heading into the final. In that final he would maintain his place but swim even faster as he touched in a time of 22.35.

Gold went to Russian record holder Vladimir Morozov in 21.55, Silver to Kosuke Matsui of Japan in 21.93 and the Bronze to American Michael Andrew in 22.03.

In the 100 metre freestyle he was just off his Budapest time touching in 50.53 (split 23.83) for 14th overall.

Draftingthecaribbean spoke Renzo and got his reaction to of the tour

“It has the same World Championship feel with just less pressure.   I would definitely encourage all Caribbean swimmers to be a part of it to gain more international exposure and experience”.

When asked about his role as an ambassador he said

“I focus on being a hard working athlete and good person. I’m also committed on seeing through what I’ve set out for myself in the sport. I’d like to only further set the bar so that other CARIFTA” athletes in the nearby future can surpass it”.

Renzo readies for Tokyo in Trinidad and Tobago .Photo courtesy of Renzo Tjon A Joe

He put in the background work for that final berth with another regional speedster Dylan Carter in Trinidad and Tobago. He spent a number of weeks in the twin island Republic honing his skills and pushing him against his great rival and friend. Their races against each other from age group competition to senior international competition have always helped them to new levels of excellence and this training set up worked well for them and the region.

Dylan and Renzo at the National Aquatic Centre

Renzo spoke of the work put in by the duo

“Our strength and conditioning is being done at the Elite Development Performance Unit at the Hasley Crawford Stadium led by Antonia Burton. Trinidad  built a beautiful new Olympic Pool the National Aquatic Centre  I believe it’s called. In this stage we’re focused on further building power and conditioning. Dylan will be shooting for the 100 metre freestyle and 100 metre backstroke. My focus will be on the 50 metre freestyle. Dylan is preparing for the ISL meets and I will be doing World Cups in October”.

He also spoke of his friendship with Carter

“We first met at the Goodwill Games in Guyana 2009. We’ve been friends ever since. We also trained together at Davie Nadadores in preparation for the Junior world championships in 2013 under Alexandre Pussieldi”.

Renzo signing deal with GOw2  representative .Photo courtesy of the Suriname Herald

As a professional swimmer Renzo’s accomplishments has garnered the support of Suriname’s supplier of premium diesel and gasoline GOw2. In September he signed a  deal where  he will receive financial compensation for the costs of living, training camps and participation in competitions. This has further strengthened Renzo’s resolve to do well in Tokyo.


Last weekend Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson made her debut in the International Swimming league. The league is a franchise based competition which has teams facing off in a 25 metre pool over two days. The franchises are European and American based. Atkinson is a part of Team Iron which has is the Team of Olympian and World Record holder Katinka Hosszú “The Iron Lady” .

LA Current’s Trinidad and Tobago star Dylan Carter .Photo courtesy of Dylan Carter

Atkinson’s team faced off against teams such as the LA Current home of Trinidad and Tobago star Dylan Carter, the New York Breakers and the London Roar in Lewisville Texas from October 19 to 20.

Team Iron’s Alia Atkinson

As she has become accustomed to in her career Commander Atkinson became the first person from the CARIFTA region to compete in the League when she contested the 50 metre breaststroke. She was at her imperious best turning back the field to take the win in 29.31. Breeja Larson of the New York Breakers was second in 29.70 and third spot was locked by Sarah Vasey of the London Roar.

Video of win

In the longer sprint, the 100 metres the top two positions were reversed as Larson won in 1:03.80 followed by Atkinson in 1:04.23. Annie Lazor of the LA Current took third in 1:04.75.

In the 4 x 100 medley relay Atkinson and her  Olympic teammates Mie Nelson of Denmark, Hosszú and Ranomi Kromowidjojo 2012 Dutch Double Olympic sprint freestyle Champion placed third in 3:51.85.

In the 50 metre butterfly she was sixth in 26.30. In the 4 x100 metre freestyle swimming for Iron 2 she swam her fastest 100 metre freestyle split of 55.86 as they placed eighth in3:40.63.

The final team score was

London Roar – 484.5

LA Current – 457.0

Iron – 402.0

NY Breakers – 278.5

The next meet date for Alia and Team Iron will beat their home ground in Budapest Hungary from October 26 to 27


The competition at the upcoming Dean Martin Memoria swim meet which will be held this upcoming weekend from October 25 to 27 will be enhanced by the presence of World Championships representative Jordan Crooks of Camana Bay Aquatics from the Cayman Islands. Jordan who along with sister Jillian will be representing their club at the three day competition.

Jordan and Jillian Crooks

Jordan, whose parents are Jamaicans had a breakout season for the calendar year 2019. At the CARIFTA Championships held in Barbados in April he won five individual medals including Gold in the 200 metre freestyle in a then season best of 1:57.45.

After that he was handed his first individual senior cap when he was selected for the Island Games in Gibraltar in July. The island Games .The Games are a multisport event held by International Island Games Association whose members include Alderney, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Froya, Gibraltar, Gotland, Guernsey, Greenland, Hitra, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Jersey, Menorca, Orkney, Rhodes, Saaremaa, St. Helena, Sark, Shetland, Western Isle, Ynys Mon and Åland.

He justified the faith shown in him by his nation’s selectors with a five medal haul ..His medal tally in the meet contested in the 25 metre pool saw him being crowned the champion in the 100 metre freestyle in a time of 49.94 .

Jordan posing with Island Games Gold medal .Photo courtesy of CIASA swimming
EventTime Place
100 metre freestyle49.94Gold
200 metre mixed freestyle relay1:38.41Silver
100 metre backstroke56.40Bronze
50 metre backstroke25.45Bronze
50 metre freestyle22.96Bronze

Later that month he was given his biggest assignment to date ,the World Championships in Gwangju South Korea. He raced to personal best times in both individual events he contested the 100 and 200 metre freestyle touching the wall in 52.36 and 1:56.33.

For his accomplishments he was recently awarded the 15-18- National Junior Swimmer of the Year and Open National Junior Swimmer of the Year on October 6.

President of CIASA Michael Lockwood presenting Jordan with one of his awards.Photo courtesy of CIASA swimming

Crooks spoke about the year 2019 so far and what his expectations are for the meet in Jamaica

“My experience at the Island Games and the World Championships was amazing.I was able to compete with elite and professional swimmers who pushed me  to swim faster.I was satisfied with my performances this past year and Iam grateful for the awards that I received from CIASA ( Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association)At the Dean Martin meet this weekend I will be swimming the 100 metre backstroke , the 50, 100, 200 and 400 metre freestyle  and the 100 metre butterfly.My hopes are to achieve some personal best times during the competition”.

Jordan who is no stranger to the meet already holds the 15-16 records in the 100 metre butterfly, 200 metre freestyle and 50 metre freestyle.

Event Best timesMeet records
100 metre backstroke1:02.271:03.75
50 metre freestyle23.4924.60
100metre freestyle52.3654.42
200 metre freestyle1:56.332:01.75
100metre butterfly59.3059.83

In 2018 Y Speedos won the overall trophy with 845 points, followed by Tornadoes with 768 points and then the Marlins with 256 points. The meet serves as the first swim meet for the local 2019-2020 season .The meet starts at 6pm on Friday with starting times for Saturday 8:30 am and 1pm and 9am on Sunday.


Jamaica’s Michael Gunning opened the 2019-2020 season in the best possible fashion by setting a new national record.  The 25 year old who competes for Stockport Metro competing in the 2019 Manchester International Swim Meet  set a new national standard in the 200 metre butterfly.

The meet which ran from October 18 to 19 which was contested in short course metres saw Gunning qualifying seventh for the final in a time of 2:05.27.In the final he blew past his opening salvo in the morning heats to win the Bronze in a time of 1:59.98. In doing so he became the first Jamaican under the 2 minutes. He bettered his old national standard of 2:00.07 set in 2017.

Michael Gunning

By going out aggressively Gunning ensured himself a new national standard .

Comparison of record splits

First 5026.6326.98
Second 5030.3631.02
Third 5031.0432.31
Fourth 5031.9529.76
Total time1:59.982:00.07

Gold went Richard Nagy of City of Sheffield in 1:58.67 and the Silver to Tom Beely of Plymouth Leander in 1:58.84.

Gunning spoke to draftingthecaribbean about the national record swim after the race

“I am really happy to set that Jamaican record in the 200 metre butterfly tonight. Now that it is the Olympic cycle everyone wants to swim fast.Everyone is going for the fast times.To get a Bronze medal at the Manchester International I am really pleased with that as I did not expect it. My coach Sean Kelly has been pushing me in training. This meet was just to swim through it and see what times I could post when I am in hard training. I am excited for things to come”

Gunning who placed 16th in the 200 metre freestyle in a time of 1:53.10 .He is also the national record holder with a time of 1:48.28.

He also spoke about his training programme

Michael Gunning

“I am currently training out here in the United Kingdom,Training is going very well. I am in the water 10 times a week and each session is about two and a half hours.I am covering a lot of metres  .I averaging 75 to 80,000 metres a week.I also have three gym sessions as well.Training is going well .I am really training very hard . The result came as a surprise because I am not rested or tapered. The result came after a week of 80,000 metres. Things are looking good for the Olympic cycle so I can qualify for Tokyo”.