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Dylan Carter Photo courtesy of

On Friday March 24, 2017 Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter earned his first ever medal at the NCAA Division I Championships when he won Silver in the 200 yard freestyle. In Indianapolis the University of Southern California Junior won his first medal in second individual Championships final.

In the final he had race splits of race 44.00 and 47.16 to tie for the Silver in a time of 1:31.16 with Indiana’s Blake Pieroni. The Gold went to Townley Haas of Texas in 1:30.65.  Carter’s previous best showing at the Championships was 7th on the B final in 2014.

Dylan joins the Fraser brothers of the Cayman Islands and the University of Florida as the only CARIFTA region swimmers to have won medals in this event at the Championships. Shaune won Gold in 2009 then won Silver in 2010. Brett won Gold in 2011.

Carter also continues a strong tradition at USC of producing Championship finalists. The Trojans have medalled in this event 5 of the last 6 years.


Mikel Schreuders Photo courtesy of

Day 3 of the NCAA Division I Championships saw Aruban Olympian Mikel Schreuders and Jamaican Justin Plaschka achieving their best ever placings at the NCAA Division I championships in the 200 yard freestyle and 100 yard butterfly respectively.

Competing in the heats of the 200 yard freestyle at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis the Oranjestad native Schreuders split 46.38 on his way to a total time of 1:34.26 for 23rd place. That is a better placing position than 2016 when he finished 27th overall in a time of 1:35.27 (split time 46.24).  The improved time is clear indication of University of Missour improved sprint endurance. Mikel was also just off his personal best time of 1:34.06.

Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Plaschka’s best performance at the NCAA Division I championships was his 2016 debut effort of 47.26 9 (split time 21.73). That swim had placed him 41st overall. This year he was under the 47 seconds mark posting a time of 46.84 (split time 21.53). Plaschka is the fastest Jamaican of all time in the 100 butterfly in yards, short course metres (25 metre pool) and long course metres.

Event Time
100 yard butterfly 46.05
100 scm butterfly 52.31
100 lcm butterfly 54.71

The Fighting Irish 200 yard medley relay, with Justin on the butterfly leg (split 20.39) finished 24th in a time of 1:26.20. That is the fastest time by Notre Dame at the Championships in over 5 years.


Carter NCAA 2017
Dylan Carter Photo courtesy of usctrojans and Walt Middleton

On Day 2 of the 2017 NCAA Division I Championships being held in Indiana the CARIFTA region sprint force was on show with top swimmers from Aruba, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago in action. It would be Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago who would become the fastest ever swimmer CARIFTA Region to compete at the collegiate level in the 50 yard freestyle.


Heading to Indiana Carter who represents the University of Southern California Trojans was tied with legendary Olympian George Bovell III as the fastest sprinters from the twin island republic at the collegiate level with identical times of 19.32. Dylan recorded that time at the Texas Invite in Dec 2016.

On Thursday March 23 during the heats of the 200 yard freestyle relay Dylan led off the Trojans with a split of 19.08 (split time 9.31). The team was unfortunately disqualified.

In the heats of the individual 50 yard freestyle he would subsequently swim faster. Carter would clock a CARIFTA region best of 19.04 (split time 9.18).This would allow the 6’3 junior to make his first ever NCAA Championship final .It also bettered his best showing and time at the meet.His previous best was 19th in 2014 in a time of 19.41 (split time 9.39). He would maintain that position in the night posting a time of 19.08 (split 9.21). The previous best time from the region was 19.30 by Shaune Fraser of the Cayman Islands who recorded 19.30 while representing the University of Florida in 2009. Dylan’s swim also marked the first Championship finalist in the event for the Trojans since 2013 when Vlad Morozov won the event. Carter is now the 2nd fastest swimmer of all time at USC.

In the 400 yard medley relay Championship final the Trojan team of Ralf Tribuntsov backstroke 44.76, Carsten Vissering breaststroke 51.23, Carter butterfly 44.81 and Santo Condorelli freestyle placed 4th in a new school record of 3:02.20. That crushed the old mark of 3:04.51 set at the PAC -12 championships earlier this month. Carter’s butterfly split then was 45.23. It is the best placing for the Trojans at Championships since 2013 when they placed 4th in 3:04.98.


Justin Plaschka und NCAA Division 1
Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of

Day 2 of the 2017 NCAA Division I Swimming Championships in Indiana saw a number of the CARIFTA region’s top sprinters in action including Jamaica’s number 1 sprinter Justin Plaschka. Justin who is a Junior at the University of Notre Dame was in record setting form on Thursday March 23.

The first standard to fall was the 200 yard freestyle relay mark in the morning heats .The team of Plaschka 19.66 (split time 9.38),Daniel Speers18.85,Reed Fujan 19.37 and Tabahn Afrik 19.41 recorded a total time of 1:17.29. That performance placed them 13th overall and bettered their previous standard of 1:17.37.

In the individual 50 yard freestyle event Plaschka went faster than his lead off leg to place 33rd in a time of 19.58 (split time 9.34).

The second record to fall would be in the 400 yard medley relay. The team of Robert Whitacre backstroke 46.67, Trent Jackson breaststroke 52.06,Plaschka  butterfly 45.89 and Afrik freestyle 42.18  set a new school mark of 3:06.90.That bettered their old record of 3:07.99 set the ACC’s (Atlantic Coast Championships).Justin’s butterfly split then was 46.36.After the preliminaries in the event Notre Dame was 15th .

In the 200 yard freestyle relay B Finals in the afternoon Justin would set 2 records in one event. Leading off the relay Plaschka would lower his own school record of 19.38 with a time of 19.35 (split time 9.25). His teammates Speers 18.73, Fujan 19.50 and Afrik 19.39 helped Notre to a total effort of 1:16.97. It was also the best showing ever for the school at the Championships in the event as they placed 3rd .

The 400 yard medley relay team was disqualified in the B final.


Joshua Romany hoosiers
Joshua Romany Photo courtesy of

Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany helped the Indiana Hoosiers set a new school record in the 200 yard freestyle relay on Day 2 at the 2017 NCAA Division I Swimming Championships.

On Thursday March 23 Joshua was given the anchor leg duties during the morning heats. The team of Ali Khalafalla 19.37, Blake Pieroni 18.96, Sam Lorentz 18.96 and Joshua 19.24 set a new school mark of 1:16.53. That bettered the previous standard of 1:16.72 set at the 2017 BIG TEN Championships and had them 6th overall. That same quartet would tie for 7th in the Championship final in a time 1:16.78.Romany’s anchor leg split in the final was 19.41. That 7th place finish for the Hoosiers is their best performance in the event in more than 5 years.




The second day of competition on Thursday March 23 at the 2017 NCAA Division I Championships in Indiana saw Suriname’s Raiz Tjon-A- Joe and Aruba’s Mikel Schreuders helping their teams secure second swims in the 200 yard freestyle relay.


Raiz, a freshman at Texas A&M University handled the anchor leg duties for the Aggies in the morning heats. He swam 19.95 to help them secure 15 place overall in a time of 1:17.59 .That team performance was not far off the school record of 1:17.37. The team without Raiz in the afternoon secured 4th place in the B final in a time of 1:17.19 breaking the school record. The Aggies had not qualified a team in this event last year.

Mikel Schreuders
Mikel Schreuders Photo courtesy of

Schreuders also only swam in the preliminaries of the 200 yard freestyle relay. He too was entrusted with anchor leg duties. He recorded a 19.61 split to help the University of Missouri Tigers set a total time of 1:16.78 and break the 2016 school record of 1:16.87 to place 7th overall. The team would retain the same place and record the exact same time of 1:16.78.

Mikel, who is a sophomore, competing in the 50 yard freestyle for the first time at the NCAA Division I championships placed 47th in the 50 yard freestyle in a personal best time of 20.13 .That bettered his previous personal standard of 20.15 set this year at the SEC (Southeastern Conference Championships).



Mikel Schreuders Photo courtesy of

The first day of the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming Championships on Wednesday March 22, 2017 saw competitors in action in the 800 yard freestyle relay .The competition being held at IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis saw Aruban Mikel Schreuders lead off the University of Missouri Tigers to a total team time of 6:18.62.

The team of Mikel Schreuders 1:34.71, Carter Griffin 1:34.60, Nick Davis 1:34.95 and Sam Coffman 1:34.36 just missed the school record of 6:18.25.The Tigers placed 16th overall. Their 2017 performance made it the 2nd year in a row that the Tigers were scoring in the 800 yard freestyle. The 2016 record setting team also included Schreuders. Prior to their 2016 performance the Tigers had not scored in that event in more than 6 years.


Yesterday Wednesday March 22,2017 Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago  established himself as the 3rd fastest swimmer in the 200 yard freestyle at the NCAA Division I championships being held in Indiana. Carter swam to a new school record of 1:30.98 as the lead off leg for the University of Southern California during heat 2 of the 3 timed finals of the 800 yard freestyle relay.

Dylan has been in superb form this season in the event established a personal best and season at the Texas Invite in November 2016 with a time of 1:32.61 see splits below

Intervals Texas Invite splits by 50
50 21.80 21.80
100 45.21 23.41
150 1:08.88 23.67
200 1:32.61 23.73

He would lower that time at the PAC 12 Conference championships a time of 1:31.98 . That time helped to better the 1:32.21 set in 2011 by the Cayman Islands Brett Fraser (University of Florida) and become the 2nd fastest swimmer all from the CARIFTA region in the event .See PAC 12 splits below

Intervals Pac 12 splits by 50
50 21.33 21.33
100 44.45 23.12
150 1:08.23 23.78
200 1:31.98 23.75

His swim of 1:30.98 last night which had him briefly as 2nd fastest all time before Indiana’s Blake Pieroni beat his time with the Hoosier’s lead leg split of 1:30.87. It does however establish Carter as the fastest swimmer from the CARIFTA region as he bettered the former regional standard  of 1:31.98 set by the Cayman Islands Shaune Fraser (Univeristy of Florida) in 2009.See Carter’s splits from last night

intervals NCAA splits by 50
50 21.00 21.00
100 43.79 22.79
150 1:07.14 23.35
200 1:30.95 23.81

Carter spoke to about the race yesterday.


The Trinidad and Tobago Junior along with teammates Patrick Mulcare1:33.14,Reed Malone1:32.75 and Santo Condorelli1:34.13 established a new school record 6:10.97 for 5th place overall. That bettered the 2014 NCAA winning school record time of 6:11.14.

Dylan Carter Photo courtesy of

Carter now is the fastest swimmer from Trinidad and Tobago in the 200 yard freestyle, 200 short course metre (25 metre pool) and long course metre pool as well as holding the age group long course record in the 11-12,13-14 and 15-17 age groups.

Event Time
200 yard freestyle 1:30.98
200 scm freestyle 1:42.48
200 lcm freestyle 1:48.44
Age Group Event Time
15-17 200 lcm freestyle 1:49.39
13-14 200 lcm freestyle 1:55.55
11-12 200 lcm freestyle 2:01.46


Photo 7
Justin Plaschka Silver medallist in the 50 yard freestyle Photo courtesy of Perry McIntyre and Nancy Bradley

Jamaica’s Justin Plaschka will join a number of the CARIFTA region’s best male swimmers who will be competing at the NCAA Division I Championships to be held from March 22-25 at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis. Before Justin competed as freshman on the Notre Dame 200 yard medley relay at the Championships in 2015 the last Jamaican to compete at the highest level in Division I was Olympian Sion Brinn in 1995 for Louisiana State University. In 2016 he emulated Brinn’s feat in qualification for an individual event when he met the standard for the 50 and 100 yard freestyle as well as the 100 yard butterfly. In addition to that he swam Fighting Irish teams in the 200 and 400 yard freestyle relays. For 2017 he will be competing in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle, the 200 and 400 yard medley relays as well as the 200 and 400 yard freestyle relays.

Qualification for the Championships in Indianapolis was possible due to Justin’s good showing at the ACC Championships held in Atlanta Georgia from Feb 27 to March 2.The school record book at Notre Dame now features the name Justin Plaschka prominently in 7 events.

Photo 2 Justin
Justin reacting to new school record and pb in the 50 yard freestyle Photo courtesy of Perry McIntyre and Nancy Bradley

In the 50 yard freestyle Plaschka earned his first medal in the 50 yard freestyle at the Championships when he won Silver in the event. He swam to a PB of 19.54 (split time 9.41) in the heats. In the final he was out even faster in 9.32 to win Silver in another PB of 19.38.In winning the medal he bettered the school record of 19.45 set by teammate Daniel Speers in the morning preliminaries.

When draftingthecaribbean spoke the Notre Dame junior on March 4 he spoke about his achievement

I went into the final knowing that it was going to be a super close race and I knew that I’d have to have to really try to focus to get my hand on the wall first so in the race I really worked on hitting my underwater properly and not burying my head too much and it worked out pretty well. I was really happy with my time and also how my teammate, Dan Speers did as well because we were both on the bubble for NCAA invite times

In 2015 Plaschka finished 26th in the race in 20.12 .Last year he was 8th in 19.72.

Photo 6 Justin
ACC 200yard freestyle relay Bronze medallists from left to right Dan Speers, Reed Fujan, Taban Afrik and Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of Perry McIntyre and Nancy Bradley

In the 200 yard freestyle relay the Fighting Irish team of Justin 19.61, Speers 18.86, Tabahn Afrik 19.61 and Reed Fujan 19.29 posted a total time of 1:17.37 to win the Bronze. That bettered the NCAA A standard of 1:17.77 as well as the old school record of 1:18.46 which was set at last year’s championships.

Photo 5 Justin
ACC 400 yard frestyle relay Bronze medallists from left to right Daniel Speers, Justin Plaschka, sprint coach April Woo, Afrik Tabhan and Reed Fujan Photo courtesy of Perry McIntyre and Nancy Bradley

The same quartet would be assembled for the 400 yard freestyle relay. They would again be faster than the NCAA A standard of 2:52.45 as well as the school record from the 2016 ACC Championships of 2:52.18. Plaschka 43.54, Afrik 42.52, Fujan 42.96 and Speers 42.54 had a total effort of 2:51.56 to win the Bronze medal.

The consistency of being under the NCAA A standard of 1:25.05 and the 2014 school record of 1:25.46 was again exhibited in the 200 yard medley relay. The team in this race was Robert Whitacre backstroke 21.87, Trent Jackson breaststroke 23.66, Justin butterfly 20.63 and Speers freestyle 18.72.Their combined effort of 1:24.88 won the Bronze.

The 100 yard freestyle saw Justin breaking 43 seconds for the first and setting a school record. He accomplished the feat by winning the B final in a time of 42.87 (split time 20.11). The previous record of 42.96 was set by teammate Afrik in the morning heats. He gave his thoughts about the event

“In the 100 freestyle I was pretty disappointed with my morning swim and had really wanted to make it into the a-final so I was really determined to go faster at night. Also going into the final session we were in a super tight team race for third place so I knew that any points mattered. I really just layed everything on the line and went out as hard as I could and tried to hold on and it was a super painful race but it went pretty well. I was happy with my time but more happy that I was able to win the heat for my team”.

The 100 yard butterfly saw Justin just missing out being the first swimmer from Notre Dame to clock a sub 46 second time. He swam to 46.05 (split time 21.40) .The old school record was 46.37.In the Championship final he 4th in 46.19 (split time 21.35). He gave his insight on the race

“The 100 fly actually surprised me with how well I did in the morning session. I am usually a much better performer in the night session so I was very happy with how I swam in the morning and to go a best time. In finals my coach just wanted me to take it out hard and I tried to which is what hurt me a little on the back half but I’m still very happy with how I swam”.

Photo 4 Justin
New school record holders in 200 and 400 yard medley relay Dan Speers, Justin Plaschka, Robert Whitacre and Trent Jackson Photo courtesy of Perry McIntyre and Nancy Bradley

The 400 yard medley relay team of Whitacre backstroke 46.56, Jackson breaststroke 52.03, Justin butterfly 46.36 and Speers freestyle 43.04 sped to a new school record of 3:07.99 to place 4th overall.Notre Dame had their highest position ever of 3rd at the ACC’s with 923.5 points.


Plaschka told of training leading up to ACC’s and the reasons behind the faster collegiate times this year

Training up to ACC’s was great. This year we have a great sprint group and everyone was training hard and competing and everyone was swimming well in practice so the mood was very upbeat. This year is the first under our new head coach (Mike Litzinger) and the atmosphere on deck has been totally different from the years in the past. Everyone has really been working hard and working as a team and striving to be better and I think the fact that everyone has been doing so well together and working so hard for each other has really made the team improve how it has this year. We wanted to go into conference and surprise people and I think we did that.

He also spoke about the impact of representing Jamaica and plans for the summer

I think it has definitely helped me out in certain ways. It gave me experience and confidence competing at such high level meets and under the spotlights and it is definitely helpful at meets where there is a lot of pressure on you. I think that I am hoping to compete at the world championships this summer. Hopefully that will be my Big meet for the summer”

Justin, who is the fastest swimmer Jamaica, has ever produced in the yards as 19.38, short course metres 22.51 and long course metres 22.77 will be first be in action in the heats of the 50 yard freestyle on Thursday March 23.



Rafael Van Leeuwaarde Photo courtesy of

The 2017 Southern Zone SPEEDO Sectionals in Plantation Florida saw the standard of regional swimming being lifted once again as national records were lowered. Those countries that saw improvement through the efforts of their swimmers included Rafael Van Leeuwaarde for Suriname, Lauren Hew for the Cayman Islands, Cameron Brown for Jamaica and Chadé Nercisio for Curaçao. The meet which was contested in long course metres at the Plantation Aquatic Complex was held from March 9 to 12.

Rafael, who is a junior at Florida State set national records in the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke. In the 50 metre breaststroke he lowered his own record from 29.07 to 28.84 in the heats of the event. He would go on to win Gold in the Final in a time of 29.16. The 100 metre breaststroke saw him lowering his 2016 record 1:04.84 to 1:04.36.It was a CARIFTA region exacta as Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas finished with the Silver medals in both races. Rafael who was a guest recently on Jamaica’s SportsNation Live on Nationwide 90 radio with host Leighton Levy spoke about his 50 metre record

Seeing myself go under 29 seconds for the first time was quite an accomplishment because I just did not see it happening .Everything just clicked and I got the best out of that race

Rafael Van Leeuwaarde interview

Lauren Hew Photo courtesy of

CARIFTA bound Lauren Hew would also be a part of the record breaking spree.  In the 100 metre freestyle Lauren became the first Cayman Islands woman to swim under 59 seconds. She swam 58.78 in the heats of the event. That broke the 2016 record of Lara Butler set at the British University Long Course Championships. That performance qualified Lauren for the Championship final where she placed 8th in 59.13. She would lower her own 2016 national mark of 2:07.81 in the 200 metre freestyle in the morning preliminaries. Lauren sped to a time of 2:07.79. The Championship final saw her placing 8th in a time of 2:08.45. Lauren who had placed 8th at the 2016 Martinique CARIFTA championships in the 15-17 girls’ 100 metre freestyle in 1:00.89 spoke to draftingthecaribbean about her performances after the meet

I was happy to lower my 200 free record even if it was by hundredths of a seconds Any improvement is a good sign and I was especially happy to drop time in 200 back because it is one of my main events. Sectionals was a good meet to have swam as a set up for CARIFTA so that I know what I need to work on for April.”

The 2016 CARIFTA Gold medals in the 15-17 girls category in the 100 and 200 metre freestyle events were won in times of 58.57 and 2:06.96.

Cameron Brown focusing before his race Photo courtesy of Ofelia Hamilton

Jamaican Cameron Brown is another swimmer set to compete at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships to be held in Nassau Bahamas from April 14-19.Brown who placed 8th in the 13-14 boys’ 100 metre breaststroke at CARIFTA in Martinique in 1:12.66 lowered his breaststroke mark again. After lowering the record to 1:09.93 in January he lowered the 13-14 age group mark again to 1:09.66. He has now set the national mark 3 times. He was the youngest qualifier for the B final at age 14 years old. In that race he touched in 7th place in a time of 1:10.46.In 2016 to medal in the 13-14 boys race it took 1:11.17 or faster.

Chadé Nercisio  Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Ace Sprinter from Curaçao Chadé Nercisioaçao who is now competing in the 15-17 age group set national records in 50 metre butterfly and 100 metre freestyle. In Martinique she was 5th in the 50 metre butterfly in 29.66 and a Bronze medallist in the 100 freestyle in 1:00.89 13-14 age. At the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships in Bahamas later in the summer she was significantly faster posting times of 28.65 for Silver in the 50 metre butterfly and 58.45 for Gold in a Championship record. Both swims were national records. In Florida she would lower the butterfly record twice .In the morning she posted a time of 28.45. She got faster in the evening to win Gold in the Championship final in 28.22. In the B final of the 100 metre freestyle she won the event in a time of 58.21. The winning time in the 15 17 age group last year was 29.00.