Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of

Miss Alia Atkinson will formally be conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander on Jamaica’s Heroes Day from Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, at King’s House tomorrow October 15. She is being recognized for  outstanding representation of Jamaica in the field of swimming and being the first black woman to win a World Championships Title.

John Lopez Photo courtesy of Jamaica Information Service

The sport of swimming will also be represented tomorrow by veteran swim Coach John Lopez who will be awarded the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Officer for his  contribution to disability and paraplegic sports.Mr Lopez founded the Marlin Swim Club in 1959, and started a swimming programme at the Mona Rehabilitation Centre (now Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre) in 1963.

George Bovell
Goerge Bovell III Photo courtesy of

Alia covered herself in more glory by lowering her own world record in the 50 metre breaststroke ( 25 metre pool ) to 28.56 on October 6. With that record Atkinson extends her lead in having the most world record swims from the region. Also on this list are Olympians George Bovell III and Martinique’s Coralie Balmy.

Coralie Rio
Coralie Balmy Photo courtesy of Coralie Balmy
Name Country Event Time Date Location
George Bovell III Trinidad and Tobago 200 metre IM (scm) 1:53.93 March 25,2004 East Meadow NY USA
Coralie Balmy Martinique/France 200 metre freestyle (scm) 1:53.18 December 6,2008 Angers,France
Alia Atkinson Jamaica 100 metre breaststroke (scm) 1:02.36 December 2,2014 Doha, Qatar
Alia Atkinson Jamaica 100 metre breaststroke (scm) 1:02.36 August 26,2016 Chartes,France
Alia Atkinson Jamaica 50 metre breaststroke (scm) 28.64 October 26,2016 Tokyo,Japan
Alia Atkinson Jamaica 50 metre breaststroke (scm) 28.56 October 6,2018 Budapest ,Hungary
Maureen Croes
Maureen Croes General Secretary of CCCAN

Maureen Croes ,General Secretary of CCCAN , the regional governing body for swimming had the following thoughts on Atkinson’s World Record.

“Another very positive result for our region. Very proud to see Alia’s hard work and determination pay of and bring her in the well deserved spotlight. I hope that her story can bring excitement to our entire region, for the athletes, for our sport as a whole and  maybe even for the administrators, leaders and coaches  to see that it is possible to compete on the World stage”.

Eddie Hazell
The President of the St. Lucia Amateur Swimming Association, Eddie Hazell

The President of the St. Lucia Amateur Swimming Association, Eddie Hazell also offered congratulations and spoke of Alia’s impact on the region

“We in St.Lucia are elated at the success and achievements of Alia. She is well known to quite a few of our swimmers who has had the honor of both speaking too and receiving words of encouragement from her. Not surprising, her personal journey now acts as an inspiration to many of our competitive swimmers. St. Lucia Amateur Swimming Association extends congratulations to Alia on such a superb performance. We stand with you in pursuit of your goals and wishes you all the best. Thank you Miss Atkinson – you are a true inspiration to all”.

Jason Wickham
ASATT PRO Jason Wickham

Words of praise also came from the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago through its Public Relations Officer Jason Wickham

“On behalf of the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago we would like to extend our congratulations to Alia Atkinson on the establishment of a new world record. Alia has been flying the flag of Jamaica and the entire region for a number of years and this is testament to the hard work she has put in. She continues to bring glory to the Caribbean. Coming from this and the success of  Caribbean athletes on the world stage including our Dylan Carter that there will be a   region wide mentor ship initiative from our seasoned athletes so that will continue producing top class athletes that will excel on the global stage”.

Algernon Cargill Bahamas
President of The Bahamas Aquatics Federation Algernon Cargill

President of the Bahamas Aquatics Federation Algernon Cargill also lauded Atkinson

“The Caribbean has produced many firsts in sports certainly we know about all the successes in track and field and swimming has been producing  the same level of outstanding results. The Bahamas Aquatics Federation extends sincere congratulations to Alia Atkinson and our friends in the ASAJ on Alia’s outstanding world record. She has demonstrated that aquatic sports in the Caribbean is among the best in the world.Not only because of Alia’s outstanding swim in the breaststroke but moreso because we are always overshadowed by the results of track and field. Alia has broken through and again has set another world record .Her performance in the  50 metre breaststroke will be an example for many Caribbean swimmers to emulate in the future. What is outstanding is that she is achieving these results in the latter stages of her career and she has demonstrated that when you continue to work hard and compete clean that you will be blessed with outstanding results.The Bahamas Aquatics Federation recognizes that Alia’s started during her CARIFTA years and continued during her college career and of course the The World Championships and Olympic Games.She has continued to work hard and her diversity in swimming other events positions for an outstanding performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.So we congratulate Alia and wish her well and continue to pray that she will continue to represent the Caribbean of course Jamaica at the high standard as she has always done”.

King’s House serves both as the official residence of the Jamaican Head of State and as a Department of Government.





Like his 50 metre freestyle at the CCCAN Championships in Aruba things have been moving fast for the Cayman Islands Jordan Crooks. In the latter part of this year  he has recorded the fastest 50 metre freestyle by a Cayman Islands swimmer at CCCAN since Shaune Fraser competed at the 2005 edition of the Championships in the Dominican Republic, he has been selected to be the lone swimmer to represent his nation in swimming as well as being given the honour of the official flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

In a recent interview on Jamaican radio on Nationwide 90 FM’s flagship sports programme Sportsnation Live on September 29 he described his feelings leading up to the Games

“I think I just have to have fun and not worry about it and not stress about it. Some times I overthink the race and it does not happen like I would want it to.So I just have to relax because I have done everything to prepare now I just have to do it”.

In Aruba at CCCAN during the heats of the boys 15-17 50 metre freestyle Jordan had a massive time drop. Heading to the Championships his best stood at 25.20, that would be distant memory after his morning as he lowered his PR by over a second to record a time  of 23.96.That swim not only gave him a Youth Olympics Cut but also under the Pan American B time of 24.07. That swim announced Crooks as a name to be mentioned in the conversation with the top  age group regional sprinters.


Jordan posing at block
Jordan Crooks

Crooks will be competing in the 50 metre freestyle today and the 100 metre freestyle on Thursday October 11.

Lara Butler
 Olympian Lara Butler Photo courtesy of

Jordan’s participation in swimming at the Games marks a return to swimming for the Cayman Islands as there was no representation in 2014. In the inaugural competition in 2010 in Singapore there were two swimmers who competed,Seiji Groome and Olympian Lara Butler.



Kai Legband will be looking to put in another  series of top quality performances for Bermuda at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games when he dives into action today October 9 in the 50 metre freestyle .Legband will also be competing for top honours in 100 metre freestyle on Thursday October 11.

Since making his international debut for Bermuda at the CARIFTA Games in Kingston Jamaica Kai has been turning in medal winning performances.In the Jamaican capital .It took a new CARIFTA record in the 15-17 to deny him the Gold as he turned in a then personal best of 23.93. In the longer sprint he earned another hard earned Silver in a time of 52.51.

Kai Legband displaying the Bermuda Flag after winning CCCAN Gold in the 15-17 50 metre freestyle Photo courtesy of CCCAN

It would not take long for Kai to strike Gold for Bermuda in international competition.At the CCCAN Championships he won the 50 metre freestyle in what was then a personal best of 23.61. That enabled Bermuda to sweep both the 15-17 boys and girls 50 metre freestyle events as Youth Olympics teammate Madelyn Moore also took the girls crown. That completed the freestyle sprint Golden double for Kai as earlier in the competition he had won the 100 freestyle in 52.52.That 15-17 sprint double by Kai is the first for Bermuda at the CCCAN Championships in more than 2 decades .

Kai union
Kai Photo courtesy of

He would continue to prepare himself for this top level junior competition by setting a new Bermuda 17-18 50 metre freestyle when he stopped the clock in 23.45. That broke the record of 23.56 held by Jesse Washington .Washington was also the first swimmer to represent Bermuda at the Games when he competed at the 2014 Nanjing Games.

When draftingthecaribbean contacted Kai on October 6 he gave us the following thoughts about his Olympic experience “It’s great to be here in Argentina, meeting the rest of the members of the Bermuda team, training next to swimmers from so many different countries – this can be a little overwhelming at times, but I am determined to do my best in the competition”.



Madelyn Moore , the fastest female swimmer from Bermuda is excited and ready to race in Buenos Aires , Argentina. The speedster will be racing in the 100 metre freestyle Monday October 8, the 50 metre butterfly on Tuesday October 9 ,the 50 metre backstroke on Wednesday October 10, the 50 metre freestyle on Thursday October 11.

Madelyn Moore with the Usain Bolt pose
Madelyn Moore with the Usain Bolt pose Photo courtesy of Sharks Swim Club Bermuda


Moore holds the 17-18 and senior national record in the 50 metre freestyle with a time of 25.95 on May 6 at the Southwest Summer Championships in the United Kingdom. Breaking the the 26 seconds barrier is a significant achievement for a junior swimmer. Moore who is a freshman at the University of Northern Colorado spoke to draftingthecaribbean on Saturday October 6.

“The swimming facilities here in Argentina are exceptional. I am having a good time so far. I have enjoyed settling into the village and seeing old friends and finally I can’t wait for the the meet to begin”.

Moore is a seasoned campaigner at top level international junior competitions having swum at the 2016 Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii, the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in The Bahamas and the 2017 world Junior Swimming championships in  Indianapolis, United States.

Madelyn 15-17
CCCAN Championships 15-17 50 metre freestyle from left to right Gabrianna Banks Jamaica Bronze medallist, Moore Gold and Victoria Russell The Bahamas Silver medallist Photo courtesy of C.C.C.A.N

At the 2018 CCCAN Championships she equalled her senior national record in the 50 metre freestyle with yet another 25.97 showing.Moore would also take the one lap crowns in the butterfly and backstroke with times of 28.13 and 30.23 .She would would win the Silver in the 100 metre freestyle in 58.40.

Madelyn enters the Youth Olympic Games in good form . At her senior national debut at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Colombia she earned second swims in all her events. The 50 metre freestyle saw her placing 8th in the Championship final with a 26.09. She would leave Barranquilla with personal bests in the 100 metre freestyle 58.09, the 50 metre backstroke 30.09 and the 50 metre butterfly 28.10 respectively.

This will be second Youth Olympic Games that Bermuda will be competing in the swimming. She is the first female to compete in the sport for Bermuda. Team Bermuda is completed by teammate Kai Legband and Coach Ben Smith.


Jamaica’s Emily MacDonald will take part in her fourth and last international championship for the year today at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires Argentina. Today October 8 she will be competing in the 100 metre freestyle event.  Emily has represented the island at the UANA Championships in Coral Springs Florida in January, the Carifta Championship at home in Kingston late March to early April, the CCCAN Championships in Aruba June 25 to July 6 and then her first senior international meet in Barranquilla ,Colombia.

When draftinghthecaribbean spoke to Emily on September 28 she spoke about qualification for the Games

Emily 200 free
Emily MacDonald  Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

“I am very happy to have made the A qualifying time at the CAC Games held over the summer which allowed me to be picked for the Youth Olympic Games.This competition is a really big deal for me as the Youth Olympic Game is one of the most prestigious games in the world and I am very excited to be apart of it”.

In addition to the 100 metre freestyle she will also compete in the 50 metre freestyle on Thursday.Her best times in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle are 26.44 and 57.95 both the 13-14 age group records for Jamaica.Emily is the second girl to represent the island at the Youth Olympic Games following Kendese Nangle’s particpation in 2010 in Singapore. Other swimmers who have represented Jamaica at the Youth Olympics include Brian Forte (2010 Singapore), and Sidrell Williams and Olympian Timothy Wynter in 2014 in China.







When Commander Alia Atkinson spoke to the post race interviewer after her win in the 50 (short course metres) scm breaststroke at her first World Cup stop in Eindhoven she said knew she would get better as the FINA World Cup tour progressed. That would  turn out to be quite the understatement.

On the second day in Budapest when she won the Gold in the 100 scm breaststroke 1:02.80 over great rivals Yulia Efimova of Russia she did so in ominous fashion.She left the field over the first 50 metres with the only sub 30 seconds split of 29.75. The worrying part for her competitors was that she also out split them on the last 50 metres with a time of 33.05. Efimova finished in 1:03.41. With that speed endurance and her winning time in the Netherlands in the 50 scm being 29.18, a faster time was always on the books. But the fans on hand in the Hungarian capital were not expecting this today October 6.

She cruised in the morning heats with a time of 29.70 to.The only sub 30 seconds swim to top the field. Then came the final where she brought the heat from Jamaica and the Caribbean to to warm the hearts of her fans at home in the region and worldwide. At the starter’s gun she gave a lesson again to the field in explosiveness and and clinical underwater technique. Like bullet she was gone and so too would be the world record as she pulled away from the field to become the first woman under 28.60 as she lowered her global standard from 28.64 to 28.56. Some way behind was Efimova in 29.22 winning the Silver American Molly Hannis the bronze in 29.51.


.This record comes just shy of being broken exactly two years since the anniversary of her old world record swim of 28.64 set in Tokyo on October 26 2016.As the days get closer to Alia being formally awarded her national honour on October15 she reinforces the fact that she is deserving of this national accolade and so much more.



The CARIFTA Region has a good history at the Summer Youth Olympic Games with the talented swimmers performing well at the competition. One of those gifted athletes who will be displaying their skills in Buenos Aires Argentina is  Aruban rising star Anahi Schreuders

Anahi will be capping a very successful final year as a junior swimmer when she competes in the sprint breaststroke events. She will dive into the water in the 50 metre event on Sunday October 7 and the 100 metre race on Tuesday October 9.

She has been having a successful campaign in these events at the major Championships for the calendar year. At the CARIFTA championships in Kingston Jamaica in the 15-17 age group she set  a personal best of 1:15.82 to take the Bronze in the 100 and was just off her personal standard in the 50 to take the Silver in 33.82.

anahi at CCCAN
Anahi posing with 50 metre breaststroke Silver at the CCCAN Championships Photo courtesy of C.C.C.A.N

In her quest for excellence and competing in front of her home crowd in Aruba at the CCCAN Championships she would be even faster.She would retain her Silver medal in the 15-17 breaststroke but with a new personal best of 33.43 compared to the 34.02 recorded in Trinidad and Tobago a year earlier.

Anahi during the heats of the 100 metre breaststroke
Anahi concentrating before the heats of the 100 metre breaststroke at the CAC Games Photo courtesy of Comite Olimpico Arubano

There would be more personal bests in store as well as Aruban records. Making her senior national debut at the Central American and Caribbean records in Barranquilla Colombia.She would make her first Championship final when she became the first swimmer from Aruba under 33 seconds with a time of 32.98. She would place sixth in the final in the second fastest of her career of 33.33.

There would be another senior national record in the 100 metre breaststroke as she lowered her personal best in the morning heats to 1:14.02 to make the B Final. In that race she showed great speed endurance to have the fastest closing 50 metres of 38.50 to take the win 1:13.24. That equalled the 2009 record set by Ashley Groters at the Rome World Championships.

Anahi and Coach
Coach Ismael Santisesteban Espinsona and Anahi

Schreuders indicated to draftingthecaribbean that training heading into the Games has been going well .With that in mind one can expect more good performances from Anahi.

Daniella Van Den Berg Photo courtesy of

Past representatives for Aruba at the Summer Youth Olympics were Jonathan Ponson and Saskia Postma in 2010 in Singapore and Jordy Groters and Daniella van den Berg in 2014 in China.