Jamaica was represented by Florida Southern College sophomore Nico Campbell and Florida Institute of Technology freshman Bryce Butler at the 2017 Sunshine State Conference Championships in Orlando Florida from February 16 to 19.
Campbell would come away with 5 medals at his 2nd Conference Championships and all personal bests in his individual events.
The 200 yard freestyle saw the former national record holder in the 200 metre freestyle winning Silver. He went from a season and personal best of 1:39.08 to new personal best of 1:38.24 (split time 48.66). The final saw him shaving off .01 of a second to record a time of 1:38.23 to finish just behind winner Franco Lupoli of Nova Southeastern University 1:37.91.
He would defeat Lupoli in the 800 yard freestyle relay .Both men would lead off their respective A teams. In that opening stanza it would be Nico who would get his hand to the wall first and have the fastest opening leg 1:38.20 to 1:38.22, yet another personal best. Nova would however win the event in 6:30.97. Nico’s teammates Noah Franz 1:38.56, Matthew Holmes 1:37.25 and Luka Planic 1:38.65 contributed to Silver medal winning effort of 6:33.55.
The 200 yard freestyle relay team of Diego Gimenez 20.44, Marco Palacios 19.94, Franz 20.10 and Campbell 20.09 helped the Moccasins to the Silver medal in a time of 1:20.57.
There would be yet another Silver medal in the 200 yard medley relay. This time the team composition would be Palacios backstroke 21.83, Sean Kim 25.43, Gimenez butterfly 21.35 and Campbell freestyle 20.16. The clock would register an overall team effort of 1:28.82.
The 400 yard freestyle relay team of Franz 44.56,Campbell 44.58,Holmes 45.07 and Gimenez 43.48 accounted for the Bronze medal in the event with a total team time of 2:57.69.
In the 100 yard freestyle ,the Exercise Science Major lowered both his season best of 45.48 and personal record of 45.28 in the morning heats to 45.03 (split time 21.66). That earned him a second swim in the B final .In that race he was able to record his first sub 45 time with a 3rd place finish of 44.96 (split time 21.44).
In the 50 yard freestyle Campbell recorded a personal best of 20.72 in the heats. That bettered his season best of 20.84. It also beat personal record of 20.81 that he registered when he placed 17th at the 2016 edition of the Conference Championships. That time put him in the B final where he was again faster. He finished 5th in a time of 20.59 well under the NCAA Division II B time of 20.83.
Nico spoke to draftingthecaribbean about his performances at the Conference Championships
“Overall it was a good meet for me. I made finals in every event I swam, which scored points for the team, and I achieved best times in all my events, which was one of my meet goals. I knew there was a chance to be in the top 5 in the 200 freestyle but I didn’t think I would finish second by a close amount. I am now part of the Florida Southern Mocs national team that will be traveling to Birmingham, Alabama for the Division II NCAA championships to be held from March 8-11”.
His countryman and teammate on the 2015 CARIFTA team that competed in Barbados, Bryce Butler competed in his Conference for the FIT Panthers. Swimming exhibition only Butler, a Biomedical Engineering student recorded personal best times in the in 50 yard freestyle 23.06, 100 yard butterfly 56.80 and 200 yard breaststroke 2:21.73. In the 100 yard breaststroke he was just off his personal best of 1:01.72 with a 1:02.01 clocking.When Butler spoke to draftingthecaribbean he had the following thoughts
“Coming off an injury of fractured toes I didn’t expect to do best times..I’m looking forward to next year where I hope to post better times”.
The Moccasins finished 2nd in the men’s competition with 841 points. The Panthers were 4th with 603 points.