Day 2 of the Arena Pro Swim Series at Mesa in Arizona on Friday April 15 saw the national record holders from the Bahamas Joanna Evans and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace taking centre. Both ladies at different ends of the freestyle spectrum made Championship finals .Evans would make the 400 freestyle final and Vanderpool-Wallace the 50 freestyle final. The meet had been hit by heavy winds which seemed to have an effect on the times produced.
Joanna Evans who is on course to become the best distance freestyler the CARIFTA region has produced had broken her national record in the 200 metre freestyle on the opening day and seemed on course to break her national record in the morning heats of the 400 freestyle. On August 22, 2014 Evans had set her country’s standard of 4:12.14 in Nanjing China at the 2014 Youth Olympics with her historic 5th place finish. In 2014 she had gone out in 2:04.46 for the first 200 metres. In 2016 she covered the first half of the race in 2:04.14 .She would finish with a 2:08.33 split for a total time of 4:12.47 just missing her national mark. That would crush her season best of 4:17.06 recorded in Texas in January and be easily under the 2016 Rio Olympics B time of 4:17.80.In a very competitive final which featured World Record Holder American Katie Ledecky, 2008 Olympic Silver medallist Denmark’s Lotte Friis, Hungarian Katinka Hosszu , 2012 Olympic 400 freestyle Silver medallist Allison Schmitt Evans finished 8th in a time of 4:18.73.
Her countrywoman Vanderpool-Wallace (SwimMac Carolina) who is ranked 20th in the world this season with her season best of 24.80 worked her way into the final of the one lap sprint with 25.22 clocking . In that final improved her morning time in what would be choppy waters due to the wind. With the same reaction time of .63 from the morning she lowered her time to 25.14 to place 6th overall.
Bermuda’s top breaststroker Julian Fletcher (Trojan Swim club) who recently lowered his 200 metre breaststroke record to 2:18.54 at the Canadian Olympic trials was another regional swimmer earning an evening swim. In the morning his split was 1:08.04 on his way to a time of 2:19.34. That earned him a place in the B final where he finished 7th in a time of 2:22.51.
Aruba’s breastroke standard bearer Jordy Groters earned a second swim when he clocked 2:23.11 (split time 1:08.11).In the D final he finished 6th in a time of 2:25.37.
In the men’s 50 freestyle Trinidad and Tobago representative Caryle Blondell was the region’s top sprinter at the meet. After clocking 23.41 in the heats he would go on to win the D final in 23.23. A man working his way back to top form after a serious injury layoff was Bermuda’s Roy Burch. After clocking a season best of 23.78 at the Canadian Olympic trials he recorded another season best of 23.43. In the D final he was just off that time with 23.63 placing him 5th.
Jamaica’s Timothy Wynter competing in the 100 metre backstroke just missed his season best of 57.66 in the morning heats. He clocked a time of 57.97 (split 27.55) to make it to the C final. In that evening swim he finished 2nd in a time of 58.85.
Countrywoman Olympian Alia Atkinson posted a time of 2:38.11 (split 1:15.01) in the 200 metre breaststroke. In the D final she finished 8th in a time of 2:45.68.
Aruban national record holder in the 50 metre freestyle Mikel Schreuders finished 57th in a time of 24.66.