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Mikaili Charlemagne Photo courtesy of Brian Charles photography

On July 29 Mikaili Charlemagne of St Lucia recorded the fastest time by a St Lucian woman at the World championships when she stopped the clock in a time of 28.26 to place 60th overall. That bettered the previous best time of 28.59 recorded by Siona Huxley at the 2009 Rome World Championships.

Draftingthecaribbean got her reaction to her swim on Sunday July 31.

Although the outcome of the 50 freestyle was not what l expected I had fun and enjoyed racing. From looking at the heat that I was seeded in I knew that the competition would be stiff. From the start I broke out with my head down trying to go for my goal time. I was disappointed that I did not make my best time but this race was motivation for me to train hard to be able to do better the next time I swim”.

mikaili Charlemagne 1
Mikaili Charlemagne Photo courtesy of Brian Charles photography

On Thursday July 27 Mikaili became the first St Lucian woman to contest the 100 metre freestyle. In that race she posted a time of 1:02.59 to finish 66th. She gave draftingthecaribbean her impressions of competing at her first senior international competition

This meet has been a wonderful experience for me thus far. It all started with me seeing the competition pool, that alone was motivation for me to swim to the best of my ability. Another thing that motivated me was seeing world class athletes like Katinka   Hosszu, Katie Ledecky, Adam Peaty and Simone Manuel swim before me. The days leading up to my first event  I started to warm up in the competition pool and that also helped me get a better feel of the type of competition that I was about to go up against. I also started to visualize my race days before. I think visualizing my race was one of the factors that helped me perform how I did. When the morning of my race came I was a bit nervous. Going down to the call room was a totally new experience because I had never been to a call room like that before. Going to the call room was also a little intimidating for me because there were so many girl tapping themselves to keep their muscles warm. Thankfully I was able to block out that sound and focus on my race. I felt that I had a wonderful race and during the race I felt energized and happy although I was nervous. I am just so happy that I did a PB (personal best time) and made my country proud. I am looking forward to my next race and many other meets like this to come”.




Jamaica’s Cameron Brown continued his excellent form in the breaststroke events by lowering the 13-14 100 metre breaststroke for the fourth time at the Florida Gold Senior Championships in Coral Springs Florida. His previous records were established at the 2016 CISC (Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships) in July, the Gulliver Invitational in January and the SPEEDO sectionals in March .Competing in the heats of the event of the event he lowered the record from 1:09.66 to 1:09.48. In the final of the event he would be just off that time but still under the old record as he placed 5th in a time of 1:09.60.

Analysis of records swims at CISC and at Florida Senior champs

Date First 50 metres Second 50 metres Final time
July 2016 CISC 33.02 36.99 1:10.01
Florida Senior Champs July 2017 32.05 37.43 1:09.48
Alia and Cameron
Olympian Alia Atkinson and Cameron Brown Jamaican 13-14 100 metre breaststroke national age group record holders Photo courtesy of Nicole Parker

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Cameron after his record breaking swim on July 30 and got his insight about the race and the competition overall

“In my 50 metre breaststroke I came within .10 of the 13-14 age group National record (31.05 by Brad Hamilton), I was also 2 seconds shy of the 200 metre Breaststroke record (2:33.55). Feeling a little disappointed I knew I had an opportunity to touch the record again in my pet event, 100 metre breaststroke. My first 50 was the fastest of the field at 32.05,  my turn was good but I would’ve been happier if my 2nd 50 was faster. It was a 37.43. I ended up with the new record”.


Lavado off the blocks.PNG

Venezuela ‘s standard bearer in the 200 metre butterfly at the last two World Championships (Kazan and Barcelona)  Olympian Marcos Lavado (2012) continued to be the man to call on at 2017 Budapest World Championships as he again recorded the regional best time of 1:57.37 for 19th overall.

Not only did he better his best World Championship time and placing from 2013 of 1:58.69 and 22nd position he also recorded the fastest time ever done by a Venezuelan swimmer at the World Championships.


Lavado’s performance should come as no surprise as he broke the national record of 1:57.51 by Olympian Rafael Vidal when he won the Bronze medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Games with a swim of 1:56.98 at the Aquatic International Invitational in Barbados.

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Lavado he spoke about his performances and his plans

“I think it was a great meet for me, I was in good shape and I felt confident that I could drop my times… I swam 200 and 100 butterfly where I got 19th and (53.97) 45th place respectively. They weren’t my best times but I can take them and I know that I can do better with my coach Gianluca Alberani who has supported me since I arrive to this swimming club (Azura Florida Aquatics) in January 2016. Now I’d like to take a little break and start a new plan and talk with my coaches what are the most important meets to be focus on for next year”



After becoming the first Jamaican woman to swim the 100 metre butterfly in under a minute on July 7 Olympian Alia Atkinson (2004, 2008, 2012,2016) decided to break the 100 metre freestyle record as well for good measure. Competing on the opening day of the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships in Coral Springs today July 28 she became the first Jamaican woman to break the 56 seconds mark.

In the open women’s final ,Alia representing South Florida Aquatics, broke away from the field with the only split under 26.50 with a time of 26.48.She was also fastest coming home with a final 50 metres of 28.87 , the only sub 29 seconds time of the final . She clocked in a new personal best and national record of 55.35. Alia has gained more speed at both the start of the race and the back end compared to her record swim at the 2015 Arena Pro Swim Series Orlando

Analysis of Alia’s record swims

Date First 50 metres Second 50 metres Final time
Orlando  Feb 2015 27.11 28.95 56.06
Coral Springs July 2017 26.48 28.11 55.35

Second was Kyla Valls of Miami Swimming 56.33. Third went Victoria Fonville of Westminster Academy in 57.52.

Alia and Jamaican contingent
Alia Atkinson with Jamaican swimmers in Florida front row from let right Cheser Adams and Naomi Eaton back row from left to right Chester Adams Jr, Alia , Cameron Brown and Jordane Payne Photo courtesy of Nicole Parker

In  her speciality Atkinson clocked a season best of 30.54 for a win by over 2 seconds. That time places her as the 8th fastest woman in the world in the event.  Ironically that event will be swum at the World Long course (50 metre ) Championship (which she decided to by pass this time around )will be swum tomorrow.

Alia and Cameron
Alia Atkinson and Cameron Brown Photo courtesy of Nicole Parker

There was a national record scare for the 13-14 boy’s 50 metre breaststroke as Cameron Brown representing Azura Aquatics clocked 31.15 for the Silver in his race .That was just off the national record of 31.05 set by Brad Hamilton at the 2004 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships held in Jamaica.

Alia on her way to 50 metre gold in Berlin
Alia on her way to 50 metre Gold in Berlin Photo courtesy of FINA

Atkinson will be in excellent form as she seeks more international glory for Jamaica and the CARIFTA and CCCAN regions as she will take part in the first leg of the European cluster of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup Series in Moscow on August 2.Those series of meets are contested in






Competing in his first Long Course World Championships in Budapest Hungary sprinter Jean Luc Zephir made his presence for his nation St Lucia and provided evidence of his talent.

Racing in the 100 metre freestyle he produced an effort of 51.98 (split time 24.61) to place 65th overall. That performance was the 3rd fastest for the CARIFTA region swimmers and the 8th fastest among the CCCAN sprinters. It is also the 2nd fastest time ever recorded by a St Lucian at the World Championships. The fastest time for St Lucia is the 51.39 set by Olympian Jordan Augier at the 2015 Kazan Championships.


He placed 4th among CARIFTA sprinters today July 28 in the 50 metre freestyle and 8th for the CCCAN region with a time of 23.76. The only St Lucian faster than Jean Luc again is Augier who produced a 23.30 clocking also in Kazan.

Jean Luc Zephir
Jean Luc Zephir Photo courtesy of Brian Charles Photography

Zephir spoke about his performances at the biggest swim meet outside of the Olympics early today with draftingthecaribbean

“I had a range of emotions about the experience. I am happy and at the same time a little disappointed in my times.  I think that for my first World Championship in long course it is satisfactory. All these steps will allow me to progress and learn. I had great races in the 100 freestyle, and the 50 freestyle where I finished 3rd in my heat but I think I can do even better. This week I was very proud to swim in the St Lucian colours. I think my father and mother and my club Plymouth Leander will also be very proud of me”.




Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Jamaica’s fastest ever sprinter Justin Plaschka continues to etch his name further in the nation’s swimming history books. Already the quickest swimmer in short course yards (25 yards), short course metres (25 metres) and the long course pool (50 metres) he continues to solidify his top spot by recording the top time ever done by a Jamaican in all the meets he competes in. That trend started in his first meet, the 2015 CCCAN Championships in Barbados and continued at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming championships in The Bahamas and the 2016 World short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada. The 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest would just be a continuation of his hot streak.

He stroked his way to a time of 22.93 to place 49th overall. That performance is the fastest Jamaican time ever done at the World Championships. That bettered the 23.87 set by Brad Hamilton at the 2009 Rome Championships. The swim also marks the first time a Jamaican man has broken into the top 50 since 1994.  Justin also ranks as the fastest CARIFTA swimmer in Budapest and the 4th fastest amongst CCCAN sprinters

Justin Plaschka
Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of newsday.com

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Plaschka today and he gave his impressions on his performance and the Championship overall

“I was a little disappointed to not go a personal best but overall I executed my race strategy pretty well and was happy with that. My start wasn’t great which could have cost me a few tenths but other than that I could not complain. It was just an amazing experience to get to compete at world championships and all the experience it gave me is only going to help me hopefully in my future meets”.


Another promising athlete from the CARIFTA region Lauren Hew of the Cayman Islands competed in the 2017 World Championships in Budapest Hungary and made her mark by giving her home nation the best placing it has ever had in the women’s 100 metre backstroke.


The  reigning 15-17 CARIFTA Champion in the 100 metre backstroke Hew stopped the clock in in 1:08.38 for 50th position overall. That is the best a woman from the Cayman Islands has ever placed in the event surpassing the the 54th ranking by Lara Butler at the 2015 Kazan Championships. It was also the 4th fastest time from a CCCAN representative. In the 200 metre freestyle, an event which she is also the CARIFTA champion she placed 41st overall with a time of 2:08.91. She was again 4th among CCCAN swimmers at the global championships. Hew’s swim in the 200 metre freestyle is historic as it the first time a woman from the Cayman Islands has competed in the race at the long course World Championships.

Hew and Weathers
Lauren Hew and coach Bailey Weathers

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to her on Wednesday July 26 she gave her thoughts on her races and what experience she has gained from competing at the World Championships

“The 100 back was off but the 200 free was a better race. Although I added time in it as well, I was happy that I took the race out with a perfect easy speed and I just need to make sure I can make the second half where it needs to be. The atmosphere is definitely something special and one that is not often experienced. It is intimidating to race at this meet but of course it is an amazing experience and something to learn from. For this reason the focus isn’t greatly on my times but more on learning from the races. It’s very exciting and such an honour to be able to warm up and down in the same lanes as some of the world’s top swimmers. It’s also amazing to be able to train in the brand new facilities here surrounded by these amazing athletes for a few days before I head off to another competition”.