A number of the Caribbean’s emerging talent was on display at the prestigious Florida High School Athletic Association FHSAA Class 1a Championships at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center on Friday November 6, 2015.
Leading the pack was WestLake Prep’s Raiz Tjon A Joe of Suriname who won Gold and Silver. He took the title of the fastest swimmer at the 1A Championships when he won the 50 yard freestyle in 20.26 .He was even faster in the preliminaries clocking 20.10.
In the 100 breaststroke he took down the more than a decade old record of 54.72 by St Thomas Aquinas Barbados Standout Bradley Ally when he clocked 54.64. He was unable to replicate that sub 55 second performance and clocked 55.63 for the silver medal behind Bolles James Daugherty who clocked 54.79. The state record will however remain with a Caribbean swimmer.
At the 2015 CARIFTA championships Raiz won Gold in the 50 metre breaststroke and Silver in the 100 metre event in the 15-17 age group.
Another swimmer who worked his way to the top of the podium was University School’s Aruban swimmer Patrick Groters. Groters swam away with the title with a clocking of 1:50.22 .His margin of victory was more than a second. The state record is another 2004 record by Bradley Ally of 1:46.31.
Groters would also finish fourth in the 500 yard freestyle posting a time of 4:33.60. His other championship final included the 400 freestyle relay where he split 48.05 on the anchor leg to help University to seventh in a time of 3:13.82.University were also winners of the B finals of the 200 yard freestyle relay. This time Groters anchored the team in 21.11 with the team’s total time was 1:28.93.The national high school record also sees the involvement of a Caribbean swimmer as Trinidad and Tobago’s Emiro Goosen had a third leg split of 20.54 when the 2012 Bolles team set the standard of 1:19.27.
At CARIFTA 2015 Groters won Silver in the 400 metre freestyle .He also win Silver in the 200 metre individual medley finishing runner up to countryman Mikel Schreuders in the 15-17 category.
The Caribbean almost captured the both sprint titles at the championships as the region got the Silver in the girl’s 50 yard freestyle. Curaçao’s Chade Nercisio representing Trinity Christian stroked her way to the Silver in a time of 23.41.
Nercisio was the silver medallist in the 50 metre freestyle at this year’s CARIFTA championships in Barbados in the 13-14 girls age group .
Bahamas Izaak Bastian and Jamaica’s Jesse Marsh were members of the St Andrew’s School team that won the Silver in the 200 yard medley relay. The team was a runner up in a time of 1:34.33 which also a new school record. Marsh clocked 23.66 for his butterfly leg .Bastian had the second fastest breaststroke leg with a time of 25.74. The national high school record is 1:27.74 held by the 2014 Baylor team that included breaststroker Bahamian Dustin Tynes (Ohio State University) who split 24.83 and freestyler Barbadian Christian Selby (Auburn) who anchored the team in 20.08.
Bastian also won bronze in the 100 yard breaststroke when he clocked a time of 57.19. Bastian also featured in the championship final of the 400 yard freestyle relay where St Andrew’s placed sixth in 1:27.79 with Bastian clocking 21.87 for second leg duties.
Bastian swept the 13-14 boys sprint breaststroke events at this year’s CARIFTA championships.
Marsh would finish sixth in the B final of the 100 yard butterfly in 52.38.He had produced a 52.10 effort in the heats. Marsh would finish twenty-fourth in the 100 yard backstroke in 56.41.
Marsh won bronze for Jamaican in the 13-14 boys 100 metre butterfly at CARIFTA 2015.
Also making his way to a championship final was Jamaica’s Nicholas Vale. Vale’s Sagemont team finished sixth in the 200 yard medley relay in 1:39.88 with Vale clocking 23.98 on his butterfly leg. Vale clocked 49.41 on the second leg of the 400 yard freestyle B final to help Sagemont finish third in 3:19.53. He would place twenty-third in the 100 yard backstroke in 56.02. He had the same position in the 200 yard Individual medley with a time of 2:01.34.
Vale was seventh in the 200 metre individual medley his first year of the 13-14 age group in Barbados.
Barbados had their representative in the person of Alexis Clarke who represented St Andrew’s. Her best finish was sixth in both the 200 and 400 yard freestyle relays. In the 200 yard freestyle relay she clocked 24.58 on the third leg as her team posted a time of 1:39.02. In the longer freestyle event she was the second person in the water clocking 53.80 as St Andrew’s stopped the clock in 3:36.05. In individual events Clarke was fourth in the B final of the 500 yard freestyle in 5:10.91.She was faster in the heats as she swam 5:.07.70.The state record is 4:37.91 held by Janelle Atkinson of Jamaica and Bolles set in 1999. In the 200 yard freestyle B finals she was seventh in 1:56.11.Her morning effort was faster as she touched the pads in 1:55.56.
Clarke won the bronze medal in the 15-17 girls 400 metre freestyle at CARIFTA 2015.