LOOKING BACK AT THE 2017 WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES BAHAMIAN JOANNA EVANS WINS HISTORIC MEDALS IN THE 400 AND 800 METRE FREESTYLE EVENTS LOWERS NATIONAL RECORDS IN THE 200 AND 800 METRE FREESTYLE EVENTS

Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016) continued to make history for herself, The Bahamas and the CARIFTA and CCCAN regions with historic medal winning performances at the Summer Universiade in Taipei Taiwan this past August.

Before this year’s competition the last medal won in swimming from the CCCAN region had come from countryman Jeremy Knowles with his historic 200 metre butterfly Bronze medal winning performance in 1:59.21 at the 2003 Daegu South Korea Games .Jeremy was the first and only swimmer from the CARIFTA region to win medal at the Championships.

Evans with 800 metre freestyle medallists Bahamas Aquatics
800 metre freestyle medallists From left to right German Sarah Koehler Silver medallist,Italian Gold medallist Simona Quadarella and Bahamian Bronze medallist Joanna Evans

That all changed on August 25, 2017 at the Taiwan Sports University Arena when Evans touched the wall in a new National record of 8:31.18 to win the Bronze medal. That time lowered her previous record of 8:32.18 set at 2016 The Bahamas Nationals before her debut performance at the Rio Olympics. That medal win broke a 14 year medal drought for the CARIFTA and CCCAN regions. She also put more distance between herself and the other swimmers as she was already the fastest ever swimmer from a CARIFTA or CCCAN nation.

Analysis of Joanna’s top 800 metre freestyle swims

Date and venue First 200 Second 200 Third 200 Fourth 200 Final time
Atlanta May 2017 2:06.13 2:09.49 2:10.81 2:09.67 8:36.10
Nassau 2016 2:06.65 2:08.89 2:08.22 2:08.43 8:32.19
WUGs Aug 25 2:04.04 2:08.95 2:08.86 2:09.33 8:31.18

Gold went to Simona Quadarella of Italy in 8:20.54 and the Silver was won by Sarah Koehler of Germany in 8:21.67

Evans had given a hint before of what was to come when she lowered her national record in the 200 metre freestyle to 1:59.19 to make the Championship final. That record swim solidified her position as the fastest CARIFTA swimmer in the event as she had passed the previous CARIFTA best of 2:01.11 by Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004) at the Atlanta Pro Swim Series  meet on May 6. At that meet she had performances of 2:00.37 and 1:59.91. In the final on August 25 she placed 8th in a time of 2:00.70 less than 30 minutes after winning Bronze in the gruelling 800 metre freestyle.

 

Analysis of Joanna’s top 200 metre freestyle swims

Date and venue First 100 Second 100 Final time
Olympics  Aug 2016 59.23 1:02.04 2:01.27
Atlanta May 2017 59.22 1:01.15 2:00.37
Austin July 2017 58.89 1:01.02 1:59.91
WUGS Aug 24 2017 58.23 1:00.83 1:59.19
WUGs Aug 25 58.05 1:02.65 2:00.70
Joanna Evans Bronze medal nassau Guardian
B medallists in the 400 metre freestyle from left to right American Sierra Schmidt Bronze medallist, German Sarah Koehler Gold medallist and Bahamian Joanna Evans Silver medallist Photo courtesy of nassauguardian

A day later of August 26 she would go one better on the medal podium when she won the Silver medal in the 400 metre freestyle with a time of 4:08.52.Gold went to Sarah Koehler in 4:03.96 and the Bronze to America’s Sierra Schmidt in 4:09.82.

With that performance Joanna became the FIRST and ONLY CARIFTA swimmer male or female to win TWO medals at the Championships, the ONLY CARIFTA swimmer male or female to win a SILVER medal. In the CCCAN region she became the FIRST and ONLY CCCAN woman to win TWO medals at the Championship, and the ONLY CCCAN woman to win a SILVER medal at the Championships.

 

Bent and Falcon 100 metre backstroke medallists
Atlanta 1996 100 metre backstroke medallists from left to right Rodolfo A. Falcón Cabrera Silver medallist,American Jeff Rouse Gold medallist and Neisser S. Bent Vázquez Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of gettyimages

She has also tied the Cuban Olympic duo of Rodolfo A. Falcón Cabrera  (Barcelona 1992 ,Atlanta 1996 , Sydney 2000) and Neisser S. Bent Vázquez ( Atlanta 1996 , Sydney 2000) for Most Medals won at Two.

Rodolfo had won Gold in the 100 and 200 metre backstroke events in times of 55.60 and 1:59.90 at the 1993 Buffalo Games. Neisser won Gold and Silver in the same events at the 1997 Sicily Italy Games with performances of 55.82 and 2:00.37. Both would win Silver and Bronze respectively in the 100 metre backstroke at the 1996 Olympics

When Draftingthecaribbean spoke the region’s best distance freestyler she gave the following thoughts about her performances

“I was pleased with them. The times weren’t excellent but given the circumstances and line-up I was very happy”

The best in the region over the middle to long distance freestyle events also placed 23rd in the 100 metre freestyle 56.99 split time 27.87 just off her best time of 56.74. In her sights will be the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne where the best CARIFTA region performance in her signature events are two Bronze medals.

Janelle Atkinson and 800 metre freestyle Silver medallists 2002 gettyimages uk
2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games 800 metre freestyle medallists from left to right Australian Amanda Pascoe Bronze medallist, England’s Rebecca Cooke Gold medallist and Jamaican Bronze medallist Janelle Atkinson Photo courtesy of gettyimages

Those medals were won by Jamaican Janelle Atkinson at the 2002 Manchester Games in the 400 (4:13.24) and 800 metre (8:36.18) freestyle races.

It would be hard not to see her medalling in those events with her form that consistently improves each season.

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