Christopher Courtis
Christopher Courtis Photo courtesy of

The 3rd day of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada saw a number of Barbados swimming records threatened by Chris Courtis, Danielle Titus and Alex Sobers.


On Thursday Dec 8 Courtis swam 24.94 in the morning heats of the 50 metre backstroke to place 36th . That swim just missed his senior national record of 24.79 set this Feb. Courtis was also the highest ranked Caribbean swimmer in the event. It also betters the best time by Barbadian man in the event since 2000. The previous best time was 25.71 by Nicky Neckles at the 2002 Moscow Championships.

13-14 50 backstroke champion and senior natior record holder Danielle Titus of Barbados
Danielle Titus 

Danielle Titus also put the senior national record in the 200 metre backstroke record on notice while also just missing the 13-14 age group mark. The senior national mark of 2:21.08 by Lee Ann Rose and the 13-14 age group record of 2:21.18 by Amara Gibbs barely survived. This as Titus touched in a time of 2:22.76 (split time 1:08.99). However it was the best time and placing by a Barbadian woman at these Championships. The previous best was 2:24.22 and 43rd  by Deandre Small in  2014 in Doha.

Alex Sobers CISC Gold
Alex Sobers 

Teammate Alex Sobers was just off the 15-17 50 metre freestyle record when he clocked 23.50 for 72nd . The record stands at 23.32 set Christian Selby in 2014.He beat the best time by a Barbadian in the event since 2000 when he bettered the 24.98 he did in Doha. Sobers is the now best placed Barbadian man in the event .He betters the 80th plac showing by Andrew Jones from the 2006 Championships in China



alex Barbados Aquatic Centre
Alex Sobers Photo courtesy of Barbados Aquatic Centre

The 2nd day of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada saw Alex Sobers of Barbados just missing the senior national and 15-17 record in the 200 metre freestyle.


Swimming in the heats of the event on Dec 7 Sobers stopped the clock in a time of 1:49.69 (split time 53.27) . That performance put him just outside of the 2001 record of 1:48.98 by Damian Alleyne. However it was the best time by a Barbadian male swimmer at the World championships since 2000. The previous best  time was by national record holder Damian Alleyne who clocked 1:51.38 at the 2002 Moscow Championships. Speaking after the swim Alex said

“ I felt really good entering the 200 free knowing that I was really close to the national record .I was a little disappointed after the race because I didn’t break the record but I was still pleased that I won my heat and did a best time”.

Teammates Lani Cabrera and McKayla Treasure competed in the heats of the 100 metre freestyle. They had times of 1:00.69 (split time 29.20) and 1:01.12 (split time 29.34).


Lauren Hew Photo courtesy of

Lauren Hew’s record breaking streak continued on Day 5 of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada. On Saturday Dec 10 Hew became the first Cayman Islands woman to go below 27 seconds in the 50 metre freestyle.


Lauren set a new mark of 26.49 lowering her own record 27.14 done at the Island Games in July 2015. That swim placed her joint 52nd with Izzy Joachim of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It also betters her Cayman Islands top placing and time at the World Championships of 65th and 27.19 done at the 2014 Doha Championships. After the race Lauren said

“I enjoyed my final race because 50 free isn’t one of my main events but I always have fun with it and just see how fast I can go. It was great to finish with another record and I’m happy that I could be the first to break the 27 second barrier for other Caymanian girls to chase after”.

That swim marked the 5th senior national record Hew broke at the World Championships. The other standards were set in the 100 and 200 metre freestyle and the 50 and 100 metre backstroke.

Compatriot Alison Jackson came close to lowering her own 13-14 age group record of 27.01.Jackson hit the pads in a time of 27.13 to place 68th marginally off the mark she set in Feb of this year. Her thoughts afterwards were as follows

“Even though this meet isn’t what I wanted I had a great time watching professional swimmers compete, break world records and experience the competitive atmosphere”.

Countryman Alex McCallum raced in the heats of the 100 metre freestyle. He stopped the clock in a time of 52.20 (split time 24.91). Speaking afterwards Alex said

“I was extremely happy with how I ended my races and my first world championships as a whole. I was able to get best times in every event and it was a good experience seeing old friends and meeting new people”.

Team Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands contingent ended the Championships with 5 new senior national records , 1 age group record and more than 12 personal bests times recorded.


Lauren Hew Photo courtesy of

On day 4 of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada Lauren Hew completed the sprint backstroke record double.


Hew had already established anew mark in the 100 metre backstroke by edging Lara Butler’s mark of 1:03.36 to 1:03.35. In the 50 metre event she would lift the standard of swimming from the Cayman Islands by lowering her own personal best and national record of 29.82. In the morning heats Lauren had the 7th fastest reaction time of 0.56 of the 81 competitors that assisted greatly in producing a time of 28.86 to place 42nd  .That performance bettered the old record by almost a second .In the process she bettered  her own Cayman Islands best placing and time at the World Championships of 29.82 and  43rd .Lauren was also the highest placed Caribbean swimmer at the competition. Her performance also moves the Cayman Islands to 4th fastest English speaking national record in the event as seen in the table below.


Rank Country Name Time
1 Jamaica Alia Atkinson 27.37
2 Bermuda Kiera Aitken 27.72
3 Bahamas Alana Dillette 28.36
4 Cayman Islands Lauren Hew 28.86
5 Trinidad and Tobago Kristin Julien 28.87

Speaking after her record performance Hew said

“My backstroke start and finish didn’t go how I planned however, I was still happy with my time in the race but I know with fine tuning I could have been faster. 50 back is always a fun race especially in such a nice pool that is deep enough and has the backstroke ledge”.

Alison Jackson in her debut World Short Course Swimming championships was 63rd in the event in a time of 31.25.  Her thoughts about her swim were as follows

“50 back is always exciting to swim, even though I was only slightly under my personal best I was happy with my time. It wasn’t what I hoping for but it’s still an improvement”.


Lauren Hew Senior national record holder in the 200 metre freestyle and 100 metre backstroke Photo courtesy of

The 3rd  day of the World short Course Swimming championships on Dec 8 saw two national records threatened by Lauren Hew and Alison Jackson.

In the heats of the 200 metre backstroke in Windsor, Canada Lauren Hew clocked a time of 2:16.59 (split time 1:04.62) to place 30th. That considerably bettered her performance and Cayman Islands best placing of 2014. At the 2014 Doha Championships Hew had placed 44th in a time of 2:24.38. She also closed in on the national record of Lara Butler of 2:14.38. That performance had her ranked as the highest placing swimmer from the CARIFTA region. Speaking after the race Hew said

“This is the first time have been under my best short course 200 back time in a while so I was pleased with my time but I know I can have a lot faster second half of the 200 in the future”.


Teammate Alison Jackson was even closer to setting a national record in the 13-14 age group in the 100 metre individual medley. She stopped the clock in a time of 1:09.38 (split time 31.79). The 2009 standard of 1:09.06 belonging to Butler barley survived Jackson’s assault. Her thoughts on the race were

“I was very pleased with my swim today, with a 3 second PB in my 100IM”.

Alex McCallum had to pull double duty racing in both the 50 metre freestyle and 50 metre backstroke. In the freestyle he was 95th in 24.14 and 60th in the backstroke in 27.48. In talking about his performances Alex said

“I was really happy with my swims today and I feel I am progressing throughout the meet. Considering I only had 40 minutes between my races, to get 2 personal bests was a fantastic result”.



On Dec 10, 2016 at the 13th edition of the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago held up his hand to be counted as one of the best swimmers the region has ever  had competing at the World Short Course Swimming Championships.

Dylan Carter 13th World short Course Swimming Championships Windsor Canada Photo courtesy of Gregory Shamus/gettyimages

In setting a new national record of 22.85 in the heats by lowering Joshua McLeod’s 2014 record of 23.08 he also became the fastest swimmer from the English Speaking Caribbean .This as he surpassed the Cayman Islands Brett Fraser’s national mark of 22.95 set at the Doha World Championships in 2014. He would better that regional record in the semi-finals when he lowered the standard to 22.53. By making the final he also would have the best ranking of an English Speaking Caribbean swimmer as the regional best was by Fraser who placed 14th in 2014.

In the final Dylan placed 7th in a time of 22.68.That bettered the Caribbean’s best placing in the event. The previous best was 8th  by Puerto Rican Ricardo Busquets at 2000 World Championships in Athens, Greece.


Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of Grace Kennedy Money Services

On Saturday Dec 10, 2016 Alia Atkinson gave herself an early birthday present by winning a historic 100 metre breaststroke Gold medal that brought more pride to Jamaica, the CARIFTA region and the wider Caribbean.

Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of deepbluemedia/ Giorgio Scala

The 13th edition of the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada we saw effect of Atkinson’s excellent underwater work at each turn to lead the race from start to finish. She resisted at late charge from eventual Silver medallist American Lilly King to beat her to the wall but the work was already done. She would have the fastest splits for both 50’s of 29.82 and 33.21 to take defend her World title in a time of 1:03.03. Lilly would win the Silver in 1:03.35. Her compatriot Molly Hannis would take the Bronze in 1:03.89.

Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of deepbluemedia/ Giorgio Scala

The journey to becoming a Double World Champion in the event was not easy and sure. In her foray at these World Championships in 2004 in the United States she finished 19th .But with hard work and determination she moved her way to the top of her sport which other swimmers from the region can use as inspiration for their goals in the sport. Her journey at the these World Championships are seen below

2016 Windsor 100 metre breaststroke 1:03.03 Gold
2014 Doha 100 metre breaststroke 1:02.36 Gold
2012 Turkey 100 metre breaststroke 1:03.80 Silver
2010 Dubai 100 metre breaststroke 1:06.05 9th
2004 Indianapolis 100 metre breaststroke 1:12.12 19th

Atkinson’s Gold medal was historic for a number of reasons. Firstly she becomes the first woman to defend the 100 metre breaststroke title. She also ties Australian Jade Edmistone as the only woman to win 3 medals in this event at the World Championships. Alia extends her records as the most decorated swimmer from the English speaking Caribbean. Atkinson also is the most decorated female swimmer from the Caribbean. With the win in the 100 metre breaststroke she ties legendary Cuban backstroker Rodolfo Falcón for the most medals at the World short Course Swimming championships with 7.

General Secretary of CCCAN Maureen Croes had the following thoughts about Atkinson’s achievement

“It was the most wonderful feeling seeing Alia race and dominate. Watching that smile on the screen showed such genuine happiness. And then to have (Canadian Olympian) Ryan Cochrane say that Alia is probably the nicest swimmer in the world just made it perfect. It is the story of persistence, incredibly hard work against many odds. Just absolutely wonderful,  and a TRUE role model and example for all of the Caribbean swimmers”.


Happy Birthday Alia Atkinson and Congratulations.