On Dec 3,2016 Jamaican Christian Alberga’s school Phillips Academy (Andover) competed against Choate Rosemary Hall in their first dual meet of the NEPSSA (New England Prep School Swimming and Diving Association) season. It would be prove to be a historic event as the Andover school would claim the 200 short course metres (25 metre ) medley relay record.
The meet which was held on the Choate Rosemary Hall school grounds in Wallingford, Connecticut saw the Andover team of Jack Warden backstroke (27.98),Neil Simpson breaststroke (30.25),Arnold Su butterfly (25.26) and team Captain Christian Alberga freestyle (23.66) set a new mark of 1:47.22. That beat the old record of 1:47.23 set by Deerfield.
Alberga who has committed to attend Williams College this September had the following thoughts about the team’s record performance
“I was pleased with my anchor leg. We had only been training about a week before as a team so I was not a fit as I would’ve liked. It was my first race since March so I was a little nervous going in but I knew that I had to come through for my team. I still have a lot to work on in the execution of my race in terms of starts and turns but it was a good first race. I sent a message to my team a few days before the meet saying that I wanted the record but I knew that it would be a huge challenge. I was extremely pleased and a little surprised that we got it, which was the perfect way to begin my final high school season.”
Christian who will be seeking a place on the Jamaican team to CCCAN in Trinidad and Tobago from July 1-6 finished 3rd in the 100 and 50 metre freestyle events with times of 55.40 and 24.56 respectively. Andover would go on to win the contest 104 to 77.
For the calendar year 2016 Jamaica’s swimmers rewrote the national record books more than 30 times in the long course (50metre pool). It was not be hard to imagine another national standard would fall again in 2017. It took exactly 14 days for that to happen. The first person to start off the new round of record setting was Cameron Brown of Azura Florida Aquatics in Miami Florida.
Brown became the first 13-14 Jamaican swimmer to swim under 1 minute 10 seconds in the 100 metre breaststroke. On the first day of the 2 day Gulliver Senior Invitational on Saturday January 14 Cameron had his best placing of the meet when he won the Bronze medal in the breastroke event in a time of 1:09.93. He had held the old national standard of 1:10.01. Brown set that mark at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships in Bahamas when he won Bronze in the boys’ 13-14 age group.
In speaking about his record breaking feat Cameron had the following thoughts
“Being in the final heat 9 of 9 of the boys 100 Breaststroke was great. I was up for the challenge and my aim really was to lower the 13-14 boys National record of 1:10.01 I set at CISC 2016. I had a great start, and my first 50 was fast. The next 50 was challenging but I kept pushing, I didn’t even realize I was in the 3rd spot until I checked the board at end of the race. Felt great that I actually medalled too.”
Coach Marco Bellardi in describing Cameron’s race and his work ethic said
“He had an amazing reaction on the block and really worked the last 15 metres into the finish. Cameron was very focused behind the blocks before the start of the race. He is a hard worker in the practices and he is very clear on his goals“.
The improvement Cameron has made over the last year is seen in the comparison of his times at this meet and his times in January 2016 below. It also presents a strong case for his inclusion on the teams heading to CARIFTA to The Bahamas in April and CCCAN in Trinidad and Tobago in July respectively.