Izaak Bastian continues to confirm his credentials as the top breaststroker in the CARIFTA region with the best individual performance on the first day of competition at the 2019 World Junior Championships in Budapest Hungary.
Coming to his second World Junior championships he was already the best Bahamian in the 100 metre breasstroke with his 1:04.37 effort and 34th placing from the 2017 edition at the Indianapolis Championships . In his opening salvo in Europe he established the best showing ever from a CARIFTA swimmer in the heats. He swam 1:02.55 split time 29.30 to finish 14th overall.The best a CARIFTA swimmer had been was 23rd in the very first World Championships in 2006 in the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro when Rodion Davelaar representing the Netherlands Antilles placed 23rd in a time of 1:11.18 (split time 32.36).
The swim also marked Izaak’s best performance at senior Championships bettering his 7th place finish effort of 1:02.91 at the 2018 CAC( Central American and Caribbean) Games in Barranquilla Colombia and the 1:03.60 he recorded at the senior World Championships in Gwangju ,South Korea.
In the semi final he would get his first swim under 1:02 flat when he touched the wall in 1:01.99.to finish 11th overall. This is the best ever CARIFTA showing in the race.It is also the best ever CCCAN showing as he bettered the 2006 12th place showing of CCCAN breaststroke stalwart Edgar Crespo of Panama. Crespo had touched the wall in the semis in a time of 1:07.23. He had qualified for the second round with a heats swim of 1:06.42.Ironically Crespo had finished one place higher that Bastian in the 2018 CAC Games Championship final.
Bastian , who is ending his final junior in style also lowers his record as the fastest CARIFTA region 15-17 swimmer of all time.His overall regional age group record was set at this summer’s REV National Championships when he took the senior crown in 1:02.41.
The semi final blast also saw him nearly becoming the fastest swimmer of all time as he missed the Bahamian and overall CARIFTA region record regardless of age of 1:01.56 set countryman Dustin Tynes set on March 27,2016.
It was Izaak’s aggression on the first 50 metres splitting sub 29 seconds that saw him getting under 1:02.Tynes was also very strong with his front end speed that allowed him to get the overall regional accolade.
BASTIAN’S BEST EFFORTS AND TYNES RECORD TIME COMPARISONS
As a number of Jamaican swimmers get set to take part in the 7th World Junior Championships in Budapest Hungary we look at other swimmers who have donned the Black, Green and Gold . Jamaica never made their appearance until the 2nd World Championships when the country sent two locally based swimmers Stefan Brown and Kendese Nangle to represent the island . At those Championships in Monterey Mexico which ran from July 8 to 12 in 2008.
Nangle’s best performance was in the 50 metre backstroke where she was 31st in 31.92. Brown’s best showing was in the 200 metre butterfly placing 39th in 2:26.81.At the 2008 CARIFTA Games in Aruba in March of that year she was in great form winning Gold and setting new championship marks in the 50 metre events for the butterfly and backstroke.
The nation would have to wait five years before entering the global junior championships. The Representatives in 2013 would be future Olympian Timothy Wynter (Rio 2016) and Sidrell Williams. The venue was Dubai , United Arab Emirates . The competition which ran August 26 to 31 saw Jamaica making its first and only semi final to date. This as Wynter made it through the heats of the 50 metre backstroke with a time of 26.81. He would eventually place 13th overall with a time of 26.71. winter earlier at the CARIFTA Games held in Jamaica had proven to be the best in the backstroke events sweeping the 50, 100 and 200 metre races.Williams’ best effort would be in the 100 metre butterfly when he placed 43rd in 58.78.
The last time Jamaica was on the World stage was in 2015 at the Singapore when Keanan Dols who swam at his first senior world Championships recently made his international debut. In Asia from August 25 to 30 he would lower the senior national record in the 200 metre backstroke.He would also have his highest placing in the race finishing 25th. He would also set age group records in the 100 metre backstroke , 50 metre butterfly as well as the 200 individual medley .He was also the heat winner in the 50 metre butterfly and 100 metre backstroke.
200 metre IM
400 metre IM
The standard of the competition is very high and the CCCAN region has only been on the medal podium twice in Championship history through the efforts of Panamanian Edgar Crespo and Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago.
This year’s squad of talented swimmers will be the largest contingent ever to leave Jamaica’s shores. That team includes Nicholas Vale, Sabrina Emily MacDonald, Kyle Sinclair, Zaneta Alvaranga, Cameron Brown, Nathaniel Thomas and Gabrianna Banks. They will be seeking to make their contribution to Jamaica’s aquatic footprint in international swimming.
When any swimmer gets the opportunity to don their national colours at the elite they will do their very best to make their mark to make their nation proud.This was certainly the case of the Giselle Gursoy who took on the honourable challenge of representing Trinidad and Tobago and the region at the recently concluded PAN AM Games in Lima. She was given the task of competing in the 200 and 400 metre freestyle and representing the twin island republic well. Was it mission accomplished ?The answer can only be resounding Yes as by the conclusion of the Games she established herself as the fastest woman of all times in both races.
In her very first race she lowered the national mark in the 400 metre freestyle of 4:30.94 of Tyla Martin set almost 4 years ago with her morning heat swim of 4:28.63.That qualified her for the B final.Giselle had a lot more left in the tank as she shattered her hours old national record to out duel Peruvian Azra Avdic Pinto 4:24.17 to 4:24.99 to place second in the race. The race was won by ColombianMaria Alvarez in 4:21.44.
COMPARISON OF RECORD SWIMS
The record breaking would continue with the 200 metre
freestyle. In the morning heats of the race she was mere .29 outside of the
national record of 2:07.09 with a final time of 2:07.38. That effort earned her
a lane in the B final.
This time she would ensure that the record belonged to her .She was behind national record pace until the final 50 metres where she closed in 32.34 to set the new national standard of 2:06.98 and be the first woman from Team TTO under 2 minutes and seven seconds of 2:06.98. She placed sixth overall with the Mexican Maria Mata Cocco winning in 2:03.32.
The old record was set by Olympian Karen Dieffenthaller at
the 1988 Seoul Olympics three decades ago. Karen had placed sixth in heat three
with a time of 2:07.09. She had taken a semester off from Brown University
where she was a standout swimmer to prepare for the Games . Karen
Dieffenthaller finished 31st and as the top swimmer from the CCCAN region. A year earlier at the 1987 PAN
AM Games in United States she had placed sixth in a then national record of
2:07.15. The swimming tradition continues at the PAN AM Games as daughter
Gabrielle Donahue was a member of the
2019 PAN AM team.
Draftingthecaribbean contacted Giselle and got her thoughts on her record
“I found out about making the PAN AM Team in the middle of
May and it was really exciting as it would be my first time representing Team
TTO and my first time being on a national team and I decided it was time for me
to crack down on my swimming and really focus on that until the Games. I ended
up doing a lot of extra practises and dry land just to prepare myself .I made
sure that I was not tapering, even for the qualifying meets for the Games just so
that I would be able to swim as best as I could as PAN AMs. I knew of the
national records coming in and I felt fairly confident with some training I
could break them .It was a goal of mine making the team to see if I could break
those barriers. After my 400 on the
first day in the prelims I really happy with it because I was able to break
that national record. It was really exciting because I felt I had a little bit
more in me .I felt the prelim was very smooth .I think that brought me a lot of
confidence going into my night swim .I knew I just needed to go out just a
little bit faster and that’s what I did .To come second was just such an
amazing experience. Being able to break those national barriers twice was
awesome, not only for my goals but to make such a big impact on Team TTO
swimming has really been an honour .In the 200 metre freestyle I knew that Mrs
Donahue still held the national record from the 1988 Olympics .I raced as hard
as I could and I was glad that I was able to break that second record .I think
the records have lot more to do with the team than me personally. Obviously
they were goals of mine but I had so much support. I think the national records
that were broken were just the start for this team . I know that there is more
to come and that is really good feeling. Now that the meet is over I am
thinking about the future and whatever upcoming meets .I do plan to be
competitive going into 2024 and I want to continue competing for Team TTO as
much as I can and I am really blessed with that opportunity”.
In the CARIFTA region there have been a number of sibling acts that have raised the standard of swimming in their countries with top swims, records and medal performances.
At the 1999 Winnipeg Games we hadBahamian brothers Allan and Christopher Murray who were Championship finalists in the 50 metre freestyle .Chris placed 6th in 23.22 and Allan 7th in 23.30. They also set set then national relay records of 3:58.37 in the medley relay and 3:31.46 in the 400 metre freestyle relay that was broken recently by the AWESOME FOUR of Fitzgerald, Greene ,Fernander and Carey.
Also at those Games was the Jamaican sister act of Janelle and Jilandre Atkinson .Janelle would have the best single Games performance for Jamaica when she won three Silver medals in the 200 2:01.11, 400 metre freestyle 4:10.83 and 800 metre freestyle 8:39.51.Janelle,Jilandre , Tamara Swaby and Dawn Kane then Chuck who is a coach at Brown University set a then national record in the 400 metre freestyle relay of 4:04.76.
In 2011 we had the Cayman Islands duo of Shaune and Brett Fraser who has made a return to competitive elite swimming at the 2019 Games winning Gold and Silver in the 200 metre freestyle.Brett took Gold in 1:47.18 and Shaune the Silver in 1:48.29.
Also from Team Trinidad and Tobago we have the brother and sister pair of Graham and Jada Chatoor. Jada became the first female swimmer to compete in swimming marathon the 10k in open water.Older Brother Graham became the fastest ever swimmer from the twin island republic in the 400 metre freestyle race at PAN AMs when he set a personal best of 4:02.77 to place fifth in the B final.
The above mentioned names are just a few of such CARIFTA region families who have competed in recent years.
In 2019 we have the Groters brother Jordy and Patrick. Jordy had retired from elite level competition having made his mark at the 2011 and 2015 Games. He played an integral in younger brother Patrick’s training this summer. It has worked tremendously with Patrick lowering his own national record in the 200 metre backstroke of 2:03.47 to set a standard of 2:02.32.He also became the first Aruban to make a Championship final in this event. He was just outside the top 8 with his 100 metre backstroke heats and national record swim of 56.20. In the B final he became the highest placed Aruban in the event with a second place and national record swim of 55.82.
Draftingthecaribbean contacted Jordy on Friday August 9 and he spoke about the path he charted for his brother for the summer of 2019
“Patrick swam the 200 on the 7th and swam a new PB and National record during prelims dropping 1.1s from 2:03.47 to 2:02.32. To the casual audience, that may not seem like a lot, but I am sure that I don’t have to tell you that dropping a full second from your PB doesn’t happen often, especially not at the elite level.
Though his swim in finals did not go as we would have hoped (let’s call it nerves from being in his first Pan Am Finals), we did see one positive takeaway: he had amazing front-end speed. He was out 1st at the 50m, which again, wasn’t what he was supposed to do.
He jumped the gun, which led to him fading hard and fast in the second 100. Of course he was disappointed not being able to replicate his morning swim, but we quickly shook it off and recognized the potential for the 100. We knew he had the endurance for the 200, and with a slight increase of stroke frequency, he could throw down a huge PB in the 100 as well.
We switched his regular meet warm up a bit to better suit the 100. During the warm up I also tried to point out where his 200 went wrong on the technical side (like his turns) and how he can correct it for the 100. I was very pleased to see that he was able to drop 0.7s from his PB and National Record in the morning from 56.92 to 56.20. We were already ecstatic with that swim but I recognized a few errors that could lead to a sub-56 swim. We tackled those in his meet warm up in the afternoon and were once again treated to a PB and National Record, dropping 0.4 from his morning swim (and, like his 200, 1.1 from his previous PB) to a 55.82.
As his coach, I’m constantly looking for areas to improve even when he drops big like that. His turn can still be so much better. Another positive, however, is that Patrick’s PB in the 50m is 26.32 and he split a 26.41 in the 100 at finals. No doubt in my mind that he could have been sub-26 had it been a 50.
These huge time drops, however, didn’t come out of nowhere. Due to unfortunate circumstances surrounding the coaching staff at his University (of Denver), Patrick decided that he would get better preparation for Pan Am while training at home for the summer. Thus, Patrick arrived on Aruba in June for our national meet and stayed afterwards to train under me. We knew that his summer meet schedule would be loaded as he was scheduled to go to Worlds and Pan AMs (which were basically back-to-back, on opposite ends of the globe). We quickly identified that the priority was Pan AMs as he could very well make finals there while he would just be attending worlds for the participation medal. Thus, I created a training routine around this idea and we also changed his flights so that he would spend as little time as possible in Korea. Patrick flew to Korea the day before his 200 IM (2:11.38 at Worlds, 7 seconds above his PB) and did the 200 back the following day (2:10.25 at Worlds, also 7 seconds above his old PB at the time). Patrick then immediately flew to Lima the day after the 200 Back (spending a total of 3 and a half days in Korea) and spent 11 days in Lima with me adjusting to the time zone, recovering from his trip, and making final preparations for Pan AMs. Even though his swims in Korea were abysmal in time, we were still able to look beyond that and see the positives (though few, there were still some positives). As I mentioned, we had created the program around his trip to Korea and fully expected the times there to not represent what he is capable of, so mentally moving past that was not difficult for us. With all that said, we are very pleased with the 2-for-2 on best times and national records for Patrick. However, the work isn’t done yet. He still has the 200 IM tomorrow, and if his Worlds to Lima conversion in the 200 back is any indication, it should be a really good effort as well. The last two months haven’t been easy. Breaking the “You’re my brother” barrier took a while for both of us but in the end we have a really good dynamic going on. I really put Patrick to work and he has accepted the challenge phenomenally and is currently reaping the rewards “.
Patrick continues to close in on the Olympic B standards in the 100 and 200 events of 55.47 and 2:01.03.
When Jared Fitzgerald took the senior title in 100 metre
freestyle in June in Nassau at the REV National Championships it marked his
second national crown and a new personal best time of 51.29. That personal best
took three years to achieve as he had not broken 52 second since.He had set a
personal standard of 51.67 in the morning heats That swim seemed to be the
catalyst for the good swims that were to follow.
He had booked his ticket to the World Championships with his
national title winning time. At those World Championships he was again sub 52
seconds with a 51.88 clocking.
Then came the 2019 PAN AM Games in Lima Peru. In a historic night he led his Bahamian team to new relay mark of 3:28.22 while also recording the second best time of his career of 51.52. He would lower that mark in the heats of the individual 100 metres with a new PB of 51.16. That gave him a lane in the B final. That was all Jared needed to create history not only for himself but for The Bahamas. Swimming from Lane Two he powered himself to the record books to a new national record of 50.81. That lowered the previous mark of 50.88 held by Elvis Burrows set ten years ago at the 2009 Rome World Champs.
THE ROAD TO THE NATIONAL RECORD
PAN AM Relay
PAN AM heats
Previous record holder had the faster opening 50 but Jared’s ability to finish well got him his first senior national record
PAN AM B Final
“The race felt amazing.I have been eyeing that record since I was 16 years old and it feels good to finally get what I have been working close to most of my swim career.After the race it felt really good to see my teammates and everyone supporting me,making my parents proud.The feeling is unbelievable.Really looking forward to what Team Bahamas can do next with the 400 medley relay on Saturday.I am very appreciative and grateful for this opportunity and looking for forward for what Team Bahamas can do for the rest of the meet”.
Fitzgerald has had a hand in the three of the four Bahamian national records to fall so far at the Games
At the 1999 Winnipeg ,Canada edition of the Pan American Games a formidable team of Bahamian Olympians Christopher Murray (Sydney 2000,Jeremy Knowles (Sydney 2000,Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 Christopher Vythoulkas (Athens 2004 )and Allan Murray (1992 Barcelona,1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney) set a national record in the 400 metre freestyle with a time of 3:31.46.
Twenty years and a day later a new generation of Bahamian swimming starts would crush that mark in good display of sprinting at the Aquatic Centre in Peru.The team of Jared Fitzgerald , Gershwin Greene,N’Nhyn Fernander and Davante Carey set a new national standard of 3:28.22 to place fifth overall.
Draftingthecaribbean contacted lead leg swimmer Jared Fitzgerald and got his thoughts on this great national accomplishment.
“Before the race Team Bahamas was really pumped.We knew we had a chance to break it.Everyone was excited to see what we could swim.The atmosphere and team environment before was great.Diving into the pool I felt amazing I just wanted to bring it home.Afterwards everthing kind of set in everyone realized what we did and we are just really excited for what the future of Bahamas holds becuase.Hopefully we can show the officials and executives of Bahamas swimming that we can send relays to these meets and do better than what was done before us”
Competing in the Laguna Bujama in Lima Peru on August 4 Trinidad and Tobago’s Jada Chatoor entered the history books not only for herself but the entire CARIFTA region . She took on the task of competing in the grueling 10 kilometre open water event. The course saw the competitors RACING the circuit eight times to finish the difficult event. Jada completed the marathon in swimming in a time of 2:14.50.6. Chatoor placed 14th overall.
Open water debuted in 2007.The rigorous nature of the event does not see all competitors being able to finish it.In this year’s edition 20 started but only 17 were able to finish.That speaks even more to the determination and grit of the young swimmer from twin island Republic.
Jada now becomes the first woman to swim and complete the tough event from the region and the second swimmer to compete in the swimming marathon following the 2015 participation of countryman Christian Marsden who finished 13th in Canada. Earlier this year Jada won the 15-17Bronze in a very close 5K open water event in Barbados at the CARIFTA Championships.
Draftingthecaribbean contacted the regional age group standout and got her reaction to her historic swim
“In preparation for this games, training was very intense as open water is still something relatively new to me so I needed to work on my endurance but luckily it wasn’t too much of a shock as I’m already a distance swimmer. I also had to work on my stroke a lot leading up to the race because my pool stroke is very fast paced and I needed a smoother and more lengthened stroke for the 10K. I’m super pleased with the race, I didn’t expect to do as well as I did. I was very nervous and intimidated at first because of all the big names in open water there and the temperature of the water really scared me but all in all it was a really good experience and I am happy I did it. To be the first woman from the CARIFTA to do so well in the 10K open water does make me feel very accomplished and excited for the future and hopefully there are more Caribbean participants in the open water at the games in the years to come”.
Jada will next be in action in the 800 metre freestyle on Thursday August 8 where she will be looking to make more history for Trinidad and Tobago. She has an entry time of 9:19.00 which is not far off the 9:14.78 set by Samantha Rahael which is the 15-17 age group national record and doubles as the senior national record