Barbadian Olympian Alex Sobers had been expected to make a big impact in his freshman year at Division II school Emmanuel College in Georgia. The big man from Enterprise Christ Church has certain lived up to expectations as seen by his dominant performance at the 2017 Appalachian Swimming Conference Championships at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Virginia. Sobers competed in 7 events and won all 7 in new meet and school records.
The meet which ran from Feb 8 to 11 saw Sobers declaring his intentions from his very first race the 800 yard freestyle. Swimming the opening leg Alex swam the opening leg in 1:39.25. That gave his team an insurmountable lead of more than 2 seconds. It also broke his own school record of 1:39.41and the meet record for the 2016 200 yard freestyle meet record of 1:39.91 by teammate Camilo Mendoza. Sobers’ opening leg along with the efforts of Pedro Illescas (1:41.47), Stanislas Raczynski (1:43.01)and Mendoza (1:41.01) would help the Lions win in 6:44.74 ,a winning margin of over 10 seconds. The team was also under the 2016 meet record of West Virginia University Tech of 6:52.00 and the school record of 6:51.89.That team performance was also well under the Division II B cut of 6:50.10.
His next race, the 200 yard freestyle relay would be a much closer affair. Emmanuel with the efforts of Adrian Aleksandrowicz (20.53), Sobers (20.56), Jarred Stigant (20.75) and Rafael Mendes (20.71) would hold off a spirited Keiser team 1:22.55 to 1:22.74. Both teams were under the 2015 Saint Andrew’s University meet record of 1:23.64. Emmanuel crushed the school record of 1:23.80 .It also beat the Division II B standard of 1:23.46.
In the 500 yard freestyle the Division II B standard of 4:38.08,the 2015 school record of Raczynski and the 2016 meet record of 4:32.66 by Cameron Donaldson of UC were all bettered by Sobers in the Championship final. He registered a time of 4:30.93 to win by more than 3 seconds.
In the 400 yard medley relay the team of Adrian Aleksandrowicz backstroke (50.01), Mendoza breaststroke (56.43) , Illescas butterfly (48.60) and Sobers freestyle (44.18) turned back all challengers to win in 3:19.22. Again the Division 2 B standard of 3:20.76,the 2016 school record of 3:21.54 and the 2015 meet record by Wheeling Jesuit of 3:20.19 were all bettered. Alex had the fastest freestyle split of the competition.
In the 200 yard freestyle final Sobers lowered his school and meet record set in the 800 yard freestyle relay to stop the clock in 1:37.74 (split time 48.09). Again easily under the Division II B time of 1:41.44 and closing in on the A standard of 1:36.61. That time places him 10th overall in Division II. He won the race by over 4 seconds
In the 100 yard freestyle he yet again came close to making an A standard when he won Gold in a time of 44.45 (split time 21.70). The A standard in the event is 43.85. Teammate Aleksandrowicz’s meet and school records of 45.64 and 45.26 fell to the Bajan’s onslaught. Sobers was the only swimmer under the 45 second barrier.
In the final event the 400 yard freestyle relay the Lions again broke their own meet record 3:04.49 and 2016 school record of 3:04.16.This as the team of Aleksandrowicz (45.15),Mendoza (46.04),Mendes (47.20) and Sobers (44.25) posted a time of 3:02.64. This bettered the Division II B time of 3:03.97 beating the 2nd place Keiser by over 4 seconds. Sobers again had the fastest split of all relay teams.
The Lions won the Championships in men’s division with 680 points as well as the combined competition with 1,267.50 points.
Alex had the following thoughts about the training leading up the Championships as well as the meet itself
“Training was intense as we were going up against some really good teams in the conference. We as a team put in a lot of work to achieve this. I didn’t have any goal times, I was just in it to win it and have fun and set records”