Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion
Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion Photo courtesy of carifta2016mque

Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas who has been the dominant swimmer in the sprint breaststroke events at the CARIFTA age group level for the last three years continued that good form at the World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis on August 25 when she lowered her 15-17 and senior national 100 metre breaststroke record for the second time this season.


Lilly recorded a time 1:11.18 to lower the mark she had set of 1:11.40 when she was a finalist at the Commonwealth Youth Games in July in The Bahamas. She was already the CARIFTA region’s best ever placed female performer in the event at the Global championships when she had placed 24th at the Singapore edition of the Championships. Higgs has raised the bar by moving the best placing to 22nd   and is almost 2 seconds faster than that swim.

Analysis of Lilly’s 2015 and 2017 world Championship performances

Date meet Venue First 50 metres Last 50 metres Final time Placing
 2015 World Juniors Singapore 34.54 38.46 1:13.00 24th
2017 World Juniors Indianapolis 33.89 37.29 1:11.18 22nd

Lilly was also the 2nd fastest swimmer from the CCCAN region finishing just behind Mexico’s Maria Jimenez who placed 20th in a time of 1:11.01 (split time 33.08).

Rounding out the top three in CCCAN was Puerto Rico’s Marissa Lugo Mojica who placed 39th in a time of 1:17.14 (split time 35.35).



The second day of the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis saw Aruban Patrick Groters leading the CCCAN region with the best individual placing with his effort in the 200 metre individual medley.


Patrick had given an idea as to what form he was in this season with a dominant display at the CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas which included a new 15-17 record and Aruban senior national record in the 200 individual medley. He won the Gold in 2:04.69.

Patrick Groters 100 metre backstroke Gold
Patrick Groters at 2017 CARIFTA Championships Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

He came close to lowering that mark when he stopped the clock in 2:04.73 to place 14th overall. This can only be seen in example to age group swimmers as to what happens in being persistent and aiming for excellence as two years ago in Singapore Patrick was 33rd in a time of 2:09.13.

Analysis of Patrick’s World Championship and CARIFTA swims

Year Venue butterfly backstroke breaststroke freestyle final time
2015 Singapore 27.46 32.21 39.23 30.23 2:09.13
2017 The Bahamas 26.97 30.92 36.85 29.95 2:04.69
2017 Indianapolis 26.18 30.74 36.84 30.97 2:04.73

Puerto Rico’s 15-17 reigning CCCAN Champion Jarrod Arroyo was the second best placed swimmer from the region with a time of 2:06.47 (split time 59.86). He was just off his Gold medal winning time of 2:06.44 in Trinidad and Tobago recently. He placed 23rd overall.

Jorge Cardenas Reyes of Mexico rounded out the top 3 from the region with a time of 2:09.34 (split time 1:00.40) to finish 33rd overall



Two years ago at the 2015 World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore Aruba’s Patrick Groters was 44th in a time of 59.88. Fast forward two years a much improved Groters crushed that time and placing with a good performance in Indianapolis today.

Patrick on podium
Patrick Groters on podium Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn


Patrick, who holds the 15-17 CARIFTA record and Aruban national record with a time of 57.17 bettered that time with a 57.01 clocking. That time placed him 17th overall. The top 16th  time was 56.75. Mere 26th hundredths from a second swim Patrick earned the accolade of being the top CCCAN swimmer at the Global Championships.

Analysis of Groters swims in 2015 and 2017

Year Venue First 50 Second 50 Final time Placing
2015 Singapore 28.86 31.02 59.88 44th
2017 Indianapolis 27.53 29.49 57.01 17th
Jack Kirby Barbados Aquatic centre
Jack Kirby Photo courtesy of Barbados Aquatic Centre

CCCAN  Champion in the 15-17 Jack Kirby of Barbados produced yet another sub 58 seconds clocking to win heat 4 convincingly in 57.63 (split time 28.27).That performance placed him 23rd overall and second overall from the CCCAN region

Other times from the CCCAN region in the event

Name Event Country CCCAN ranking  Overall ranking Time Split
Guillermo Cruz Zuniga Mexico 3 29 59.00 28.34
Thomas Bozzo US Virgin Islands 4 38 1:01.64 29.87
Alejandro Rosa Dominican Republic 5 41 1:03.92 30.63
Terel Monplaisir St Lucia 6 46 1:06.49 32.04
Zeniel Guzman Dominican Republic 7 47 1:07.14 32.25
Jason Bento Antigua & Barbuda 8 48 1:07.26 32.22
Alexander Bento Antigua & Barbuda 9 49 1:07.65 32.88




Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion
Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion Photo courtesy of carifta2016mque

As she did at the 2015 World Junior Championships in Singapore Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas was the CCCAN region’s top performer in the 50 metre breaststroke event today in Indianapolis.


Higgs, who is her country’s standard bearer in the event clocked 32.84 to be in place joint 20th overall with Australian Sarah Beale and be the top swimmer from the CCCAN region. For  Higgs who has been unbeaten in this race for the last three years at the CARIFTA Championships this was an improvement in time and placing from 2015 where she finished 21st in 33.19. Lilly was not far off making the semi-finals as it took 32.59 to make the top 16.

Mexico’s Maria Jiminez was 28th in a time of 33.32. Guatemala’s Jimina Ximin clocked in at 36.56 for 39th. It was a keen battle for who would be the top Honduran in the event. That accolade went Paola Cwu who was marginally ahead of countrywoman Angie Vilorio 37.21 to 37.36 to finish 43rd and 44th respectively.


On Saturday August 5 at the 2017 Futures Championships in Nashville Tennessee while representing the Pine Crest Swim Team Nicholas Vale became the fastest age group 400 metre freestyler Jamaica has ever produced when he clocked a time of 4:10.52.

D Walter  Cis courtesy of Tedra Bolger-Daoussis
Dominic Walter Photo courtesy of Tedra Bolger-Daoussis

That performance by Vale lowered the 15-17 boys’ record of 4:11.31 held by distance standout Dominic Walter when he competed at the 2010 CISC (Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships) in Cuba.

Nicholas lowered his personal best of 4:15.57 that doubles as the 13-14 national record that he set at the 2016 CISC in the Bahamas. He now holds five individual national records

Age Group Event Time
11-12 1500 metre freestyle 18:50.18
11-12 400 metre individual medley 5:13.78
13-14 400 metre freestyle 4:15.57
13-14 200 metre individual medley 2:16.17

Vale has been a regular fixture in the Jamaican swimming lineup since making his national debut at the 2013 CARIFTA Championships held in Kingston Jamaica.

Analysis of Vale’s 13-14 and 15-17 freestyle records

Meet Date First 100 metres Second 10 metres Third 100 metres Fourth 100 metres Final time
CISC July 4,2016 1:02.03 1:05.67 1:04.98 1:02.89 4:15.57
Futures Aug 5,2017 59.77 1:04.47 1:03.43 1:02.85 4:10.52
Nicholas Vale Pic by Mike C Lyn Futures 2017 Nashville
Nicholas Vale Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

At the same competition he registered the top times this season for the 15-17 Jamaican boys when he stopped the clock in 57.36 in the 100 metre butterfly and 2:13.03 in the 200 metre individual medley.

Vale relay takeover PC Mike Lyn Futures
Vale in relay action at Futures Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

In the relays Nicholas had two top 10 finishes with Pine Crest.

400 free relay PC N Vale
Sixth Placed Pine Crest 400 metre freestyle relay team From left to right Vale,Nico Ferrara Elvis Kotikovski and Aruban Daniel Jacobs Photo courtesy of Pine Crest Swimming

His 400 metre freestyle relay team placed 6th overall in 3:36.05  while the 400 metre medley team was 5th in 3:57.65

400 medley relay PC 5th N Vale
Fifth placed Pine Crest 400 metre medley relay from left to right Kotikovski,Ferrara,Jacob Silberman and Vale Photo courtesy of Pine Crest Swimming

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Nicholas he spoke about his achievement

“I actually didn’t know what the 15-17 400 free Jamaican National record was prior to the race. I found out afterwards that I had broken it by a second. I was very pleased with the swim considering that I still have two years left in the 15-17 age group to lower that 400 free record and hopefully break many more.

During the race I felt very controlled and smooth. My goal going into the race was to keep my splits as close as possible and I was successful in doing so. I was very pleased to have finally dropped my time of 4:15.57 from a year ago at the 2016 CISC Championships. I believe that all of my technique work along with the grueling distance sets have attributed to my success in this event. After this swim I plan on doing a lot more 400 specific pace”.




As this 2017 FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup continues Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson is getting faster and faster. On the first day of competition in Eindhoven she let the world know that the 100 scm breaststroke World record of 1:02.36 was in grave danger of being bettered. The same warning was issued in the 50 scm breaststroke.

Alia Atkinson
Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of Aurelien Menuuier/Getty Images Europe

In the morning preliminaries at the Pieter van den Hoogenband Swimming Stadium she eased into the Championship final with a time of 29.56. Her 50 scm split time of 29.32 in the 100 scm final yesterday was faster. Her swim was the only sub 30 second clocking as tour rival Lithuanian Rūta Meilutytė was more than half a second adrift in 30.13.

The only question would be not who would take Gold but how fast Alia would be in winning the event in the evening.

Alia Atkinson AliAtki
Alia Atkinson Photo taken from@AliAtki

Rūta would have the slightest of lead when she had a reaction time of 0.61 to 0.62.That would be the only lead she would have over the Jamaican as Alia took over the proceedings. She would take the race in a sizzling time of 28.84, the only sub 29 seconds performance . For Atkinson ,who is sponsored by Rainforest Seafoods, GKMS and National Bakery it was the second fastest performance of her career. Only her World record swim of 28.64 in Tokyo last year was faster. It was also the third fastest time ever swum on the World Cup Circuit. The second all-time fastest performance on the circuit being the 28.80 recorded by American Jessica Hardy when she set the World Record in 2009. Atkinson’s win was also her 26th on the tour.

Rivals Rūta and Dane Rikke Møller Pedersen finished with the Silver and Bronze medals in times of 29.57 and 30.25 respectively.

Atkinson ended the day with her second best career performance in the 50 metre butterfly when she placed 8th in the Championship final with a time of 26.03.



The World Record holder in the 100 scm breaststroke Alia Atkinson had given an early warning of things to come on the second stop of the 2017 FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup in Moscow when she said she was going to work on putting on the best race technically for this year’s tour . The first day of the Eindhoven leg was near perfection as she came close to her global standard of 1:02.36.


The script could not have been written any better as Eindhoven was the site of her first 100 scm breaststroke  World Cup win on Aug 7,2013 in 1:03.90.Also in the morning heats Alia and her long time tour rival and co world record holder Lithuanian Rūta Meilutytė    in the event  touched in the  same exact time  of 1:04.75.

Name heats First 50 split Last 50 split Final Time
Rūta Meilutytė August 11,2017 30.37 34.38 1:04.75
Alia Atkinson August 11,2017 30.40 34.35 1:04.75

Alia corporate sponsors 2017.PNG

As draftingthecaribbean had suggested when Alia swims the first 50 metres under 29.50 the World record will come under threat as her finishing speed is greatly improved. In the Championship final there would be no sharing as Atkinson, who is sponsored by Rainforest Seafoods, GKMS and National Bakery, covered the first 50 metres under World record pace as her 50 metres in 29.32.That was more than half a second faster than the chasing Rūta who split the race at 29.90. Her improved stamina was in evidence as she also had the fastest last 50 metres with a clocking of 33.35. Atkinson final time on the scoreboard read 1:02.67. That was Atkinson’s 8th time under 1:03 seconds and the 4th fastest time she has recorded on the World Cup Tour.

Alia getty images Netherlands
Alia Atkinson waves to the crowd after the 100 scm breaststroke at Pieter van den Hoogenband Swimming Stadium Pieter van den Hoogenband Swimming Stadium Photo courtesy of Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images Europe

Analysis of World Records swims and the 2017 Eindhoven performance

Venue Date First 50 split Last 50 split Final Time
Qatar Dec 6,2014 29.46 32.90 1:02.36
France Aug 26,2016 29.33 33.03 1:02.36
Netherlands Aug 11,2016 29.32 33.35 1:02.67

Silver went to Meilutytė in 1:03.79 and the Bronze to American Breeja Larson in 1:04.81.
Alia had earlier placed 17th in the heats of the 200 scm individual medley in a time of 2:14.94