Laura Morley of The Bahamas showed her readiness for her National Championships and a possible CAC Games berth with a near record swim in the 200 metres breaststroke event over the weekend.
At the TYR Pro Swim Series meet held in Indianapolis she clocked 2:34.59 (split time 1:15.51) to earn herself a second swim in the event held on Thursday May 17. That performance earned Laura a lane in the B Final . In that she race she rattled her national record of 2:32.98 when she stopped the clock in a sixth place time of 2:33.50.She had set the Bahamian senior national record at the 2017 edition of the meet on March 2.
COMPARISON OF TIMES
When draftingthecaribbeancontacted her she spoke about training leading up to the meet , the race itself and plas for the rest of the season
“Before competition, training has been pretty hard. I didn’t get any rest for this meet so I was really pleased with my 200 breaststroke this weekend considering the circumstances.After my morning swim of the 200, I knew that I had a good chance to set up a good swim in finals. It was still a little choppy but a really good first swim of the long course season. Overall I am really pleased with the swim.Now that my first long course meet is in the books, my plan is to get right back into hard training for the rest of the summer. I will be going home for Nationals (2018 RBC National Championships to be held from June 16-19) in about a month and then hopefully I will get selected for the CAC Games in Columbia (July 19 to August 2).Looking forward to the rest of the long course season.
Morley has won the Bahamas senior national title in the 200 metre breaststroke three of the last four years with wins in 2017, 2016 and 2014.
She placed fifth in Indianapolis in the D final of the 100 metre breaststroke in a time of 1:14.26 (split time 35.47).
Kael Yorke continues to impress in the butterfly events and achieved a new milestone for himself when he went under the 55 seconds 100 metre butterfly barrier on Friday May 11 at the 2018 National Open Long Course Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Balmain Couva. .
The meet which ran from May 10 to 13 saw the reigning CARIFTA champion in this event lowering the meet record of 55.64 held by a former CARIFTA standout Cadell Lyons.
In the morning heats he swam a personal best of 55.26 lowering the old meet record . In the final he produced his best effort to date of 54.84. That swim moved him again past the Youth Olympic A standard of 55.59 and also his country’s CAC qualifying mark of 55.02.He also closes in on the national age group record of 54.21 set by Dylan Carter in 2014 at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
THE ROAD TO SUB 55
2016 CISC heats
ASATT Dec 2016
2017 March Nationals March
2017 CARIFTA heats
2017 Nationals heats
2017 World Juniors
ASATT Dec 2017
2018 UNANA Cup
2018 February Nationals
2018 CARIFTA heats
2018 Nationals heats
At the 2018 CARIFTA Championships just missed out on a historic treble in the butterfly events when he won Gold in the 200 butterfly , Gold in the 100 butterfly and Silver in the 50. The Gold in the 100.The Gold in the 100 metre butterfly in his final CARIFTA marked the Third Gold he won in the event and the fifth medal overall.
CARIFTA 100 METRE BUTTERFLY MEDAL TALLY
2017 The Bahamas
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Yorke on May 14 he gave his thoughts on the road to sub 55, the actual race and his training since CARIFTA
“The race was good one.The 54.84 was my best time and it was the first time I went under the 55 seconds barrier. My previous best time which I did in the heats was 55.26.Those times were great for me because I was at 55 for a good while now.I had done 55.78 at CCCAN (at home) so it is really a good feeling to do 54 finally. I changed my tactics for the race. Normally I would hold back a little bit for the first 50 metres. But this time I held a smooth constant pace and did a faster time in the first 50 and just held my normal pace going into the last 50.I also focused on my underwaters going off the turn. I made sure to hold my breath coming off the turn . I would normally breathe coming off the wall and not breathing aided my momentum.I also made the qualifying time for CAC which was 55.02and I also improved upon my time for the Youth Olympic Games.The time also broke the meet record .Even though it was not a national record it was still a great achievement for me. Training after CARIFTA intensified.I really started working on my dryland and strength training. I started to do more exercises to help strengthen my body for the butterfly .Also the training in the pool has been very extensive and more work has been put into the long course training.I have been doing more butterfly and freestyle sets and also more endurance sets for my races which has greatly helped in improving my times for the 100 and also the 200, The training has been going well.I have cut down training a little bit because of the CAPE examinations that have been going on. But after exams I will go on to my regular pool and strength sessions so I can be fully prepared for the CAC Games”.
When the pool swimming component of the CARIFTA Championships ended on April 3 Luis Sebastian Weekes had won the Silver in the 200 metre breaststroke, Silver in the 100 metre breaststroke and placed fourth in the 50 metre breaststroke .
He also ended his last CARIFTA Championships as the fastest breaststroker from Barbados to compete at the meet. With times of 30.60 (2018), 1:06.37 (2018) and 2:23.53 (2017) no other person from his country has been as quick in these events.
To add to his legacy at the regional competition he also took the Gold medals in the 200 and 400 metre individual medley races in times of 2:08.97 and 4:42.71 .
In the 400 IM he has won a complete set of medals 2016 Bronze 4:47.76, 2017 Silver 4:45.41. No other swimmer from Barbados has won a medal in this event for the 15-17 boys other than Weekes since Bradley Ally won Gold in The Bahamas in 2004.
The shorter medley witnessed the first time Barbados was winning two medals in the 15-17 age group with teammate and Baylor school mate Jack Kirby stopping the clock in 2:09.56 to win the Silver.
The last time this happened was again in 2004 when Ally completed the medley double and countryman Shawn Clarke collected the Bronze.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Weekes he described the 100 metre breaststroke as being his best event at the Championships as he improved his time. In his words, “the 200 was little bit stressful as because I haven’t really trained for it. I was training more for the Individual medleys”. He also described the 200 IM as a very fun race as he won from Lane one thought it was a second or two slower than what he wanted.
He also described his CARIFTA experience
“It’s been a fun ride with a lot of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t have traded the experiences for the world. I also made friendships that will last forever and I am eternally grateful”.
This September he will also be leaving ranks of high school and the Baylor School to be competing at NCAA Division III powerhouse Kenyon College. He will be joined by CARIFTA region standouts for their respective countries Joseph Black (Jamaica) and Eddie Weber (The Cayman Islands).
The recently concluded 2018 CARIFTA Championships saw a very strong contingent from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago dominating the 11-12 age group in Kingston.The 11-12 team included Nikoli Blackman,Zoe Anthony,Joy Blackett,Gabrielle Vickles,Josiah Changar,Amelia Rajack,Savannah Chee-Wah, Stachys Harley,Nieshelah Caseman, Caitlyn Look Fong ,Sheni St Hilaire and Zarek Wilson.
They were also the major force behind the squad earning 19 Gold 19 Silver and 7 Bronze as the youngsters hauled in 15 Gold, 14 Silver and Two Bronze.
In the relays Team TTO did not place below Silver for any relay and fittingly they won the 400 mixed freestyle relay . The team of Anthony , Changar ,Chee-Wah and Blackman swam under the old Championship record of 4:10.82 twice, in the heats 4:05.25 and final 4:08.60.
The 11-12’s got their CARIFTA 2018 off on a Golden note as Zoe Anthony won the 200 metre breaststroke in a time of 2:53.55
Leading the medal charge for the 11-12 age group was Zarek Wilson who won 13 Gold medals and set a CARIFTA record in the 400 metre freestyle on his way to winning the high point trophy .
In many of 11-12 victories for the boys Team TTO delivered a one –two punch for the boys as Wilson and his countryman Nikoli Blackman set a pace that gave their competitors too much to handle.
Draftingthecaribbean contacted Wilson and he gave us his thoughts
“After Carifta 2017 where I won 2 individual bronze and 2 relay golds I was both satisfied and disappointed at the same time. Satisfied to have qualified for Carifta after competing at the Goodwill level for several years. Disappointed because I wanted to achieve so much more. After the Bahamas, I was able to train more consistently and pay more attention to my dryland exercises, since the Secondary Entrance Exam was now behind me.
This year in Jamaica I was satisfied with what I had achieved, especially since this was my final year of the 11-12 age group.My coach, Edmund Pouchet, expanded my swim program, adding new events like the 400 metre freestyle and 400 metre individual medley. These two events ended up being memorable. The 400 metre freestyle was a battle with my friend Nikoli Blackman. We both went under the Championship record (4:29.92 Samson Boileau Guadeloupe), but I was able to out touch him at the end (4:27.78 to 4:27.89).
And the 400 metre individual medley was on the back end of a triple, which included the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Head Coach Shawn Pouchet really encouraged me when I was feeling tired. He reminded that I had actually been been practicing for days like this. His encouragement paid off for me. Even though it was painful, I was able to persevere and gain my third personal best of the day (5:10.41).
CARIFTA in Jamaica was a really enjoyable experience for me. The atmosphere was great and I was happy to share the podium with my team mate and friend Nikoli on multiple occasions. We have been swimming, competing and having fun together since we were 6 or 7 years old. Now that CARIFTA is over, I am preparing for CCCAN in Aruba. After that I will sit down with my coach, Edmund Pouchet, and begin planning for next year, which will be my first year in the 13-14 age group”.
In 2017 St Lucia’s Naima Hazell ended a more than decade long 11-12 50 metre breaststroke medal drought for her country when she won Bronze in the 50 metre breaststroke . The last time St Lucia was on the medal podium was through the efforts of Sara George when she took the Silver in 38.42 at the 2005 CARIFTA Championships in Curacao.She would keep the medal winning streak alive and match the quality of Sara’s medal with a Silver medal winning and a new age group record of 35.87.
In the 50 metre freestyle she showed showed great improvement by moving from 18th in 2017 to winning another Silver in a time of 27.87 a new age group national record and not far off from the senior national record of 27.63.
In 2017 Team St Lucia won four medals in The Bahamas Two Silver and Two Bronze medals. In Kingston they earned five medals Three Silver and Two Bronze medals,
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Naima she spoke to us about training before CARIFTA, if she knew what the senior record was before and gave us a description of her two medal winning efforts.
“My coaches started off with a plan which included morning training session and dryland session to compliment my afternoon training however we were faced with the a setback where the facility that we trained at had to be closed for about 1 month due to a leakage in the pool which had to be repaired. We used the beach and the Pool at a hotel for our training until we were able to return to the Aquatic Centre. Overall the training was difficult especially the early mornings however I knew it was necessary in order for me to be prepared especially since we do not have a 50m facility.To be honest I was not aware of what the Senior National record was. My goal is always to perform better at every meet and to PB. I also had high hopes of medalling.I was focused for both of my races. I knew I had to work hard if I had any chance of medalling. My 50 M breaststroke, I went in with the aim of getting that goal medal, however I had a bad breakout and this cost me the gold medal, I had to work extremely hard to catch up with the other swimmers to capture the silver medal. For my 50 freestyle I believe I had a very good swim and my execution was good. I kept my head down and did limited breathing until I touched that wall. My aim was to swim faster than the prelims.
In her plans for the rest of the year
The other major meets for this are as follow:
BASA Invitational in May
CCCAN Swimming Championships in June
OECS swimming Championships in November
ASATT in December
My goals for the 50 M freestyle and 50 M Breaststroke for the CCCAN championships is to PB and hopefully medal for my country and ASATT to work hard to break the existing records in both events.
Draftingthecaribbean also spoke to the President of the St Lucian Amateur Swimming Association Mr Eddie Hazell (who is her father) about her improvement since 2017
It’s a few things but namely it’s the added time in the pool, she is a bit more focused and with the added time she is building endurance and strength. The extra time In the pool makes the difference because now you could complete herworkout that we’ve been wanting to have. Before we work trying to fit that same workout in 1 hr and it just wasn’t feasible. But now we have the sufficient time so she could rest when needed and we’re able to get more meters in during the wk
He also commented on progress has been made in terms of the quality of the performances and new age group records what has accounted for the overall St Lucian progress and what formal plans are in place to direct these talented athletes towards Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
Since assuming office, my executive has taken a holistic approach towards the development of the sport. Currently we are working on providing our locally based national swimmers with opportunities to train in a 50m facility in neighboring Martinique. We are hoping to do so on a fortnightly basis. This is in addition to them following their club regiment of training. We have recognized that our swimmers needed to be exposed to both types of facilities. A rigorous dry land programme can also be held accountable for their success and will be stepped up in the long run. Strengthening our institutional framework is allowing us to provide a better balance between our learn to swim and competitive programmes. Our International governing body has made funding available for some of our initiatives. This will be filtered down to both the club and national programmes. Pool time and costs of training are critical issues which we are engaging all stake holders to find the best possible solutions. The quality of our coaches is also being addressed by affording them the opportunity to upgrade their skills using FINA sponsored clinics. We are also in talks with our French counterparts to assist us in this regard. We will continue to engage all stakeholders in an effort to improve the swimming product coming out of St. Lucia.
In 2017 it would be fair to say Bermuda’s Elan Daley had a great CARIFTA debut in the 11-12 age group . In The Bahamas she won 12 medals Six Gold ,Three Silver and Three Bronze on her way to winning the 11-12 High Point Trophy.She had accumulated more silverware in her first year than some swimmers had in their entire careers.It was expected that she would be at least as good as the previous year.
Elan proved everyone wrong as she was even better as she put on a masterclass in versatility, stamina and speed at the National Aquatic Centre in Kingston from March 31 to April 3.Her swims earned her the top swimmer trophy for the 11-12 girls.
The figures are staggering 11 Gold , One Bronze medal, CARIFTA Championship records broken 11 times and she now holds Eight of the fastest times ever recorded in Jamaica in the 11-12 age group.
Elan’s 11-12 CARIFTA records
50 metre freestyle
100 metre freestyle
200 metre freestyle
50 metre butterfly
100 metre butterfly
50 metre backstroke
200 metre backstroke
400 metre freestyle relay
After she had taught all the swimming lessons on the day of competition on April 3 draftingthecaribbean spoke to the age group star about her performances which included the best swim according to FINA points for the 11-12 girls and boys which was the 50 metre freeestyle where Elan scored 710 points.
“I tapered a little bit for CARIFTA. I was not happy with all my races .In some things I got what I wanted like the 50 metre freestyle ( she broke the Championship record of 27.42 twice with swims of 26.68 in the heats and 26.59 in the final, while leading off the Bermuda 200 freestyle relay in the preliminaries with times of 27.40 and 27.07).
I was a little disappointed in the 200 metre freestyle ( Championship record 2:10.26) 400 individual medley (5:26.47), 100 metre butterfly (Championship record 1:05.98) and 100 metre freestyle (she went under the Championship record of 1:00.58 leading off the Bermuda with a time of 1;00.06 and was again faster than those times in the individual 100 metre freestyle with times of 1:00.20 and then tying her own standard of 1:00.06).I wanted to break all the records in the events that I raced in as this was my last year in the age group.
When asked about the experience in Jamaica and her immediate plans she said
“ I got see family here (Elan’s father is Jamaican) My parents and grandparents watched and it was good that they came to support me. I have a lot more meets going into summer Eastern Nationals,Canadian nationals and Junior nationals
Through consistent hard work and determination Aruban Daniel Jacobs finally earned the honour of being on top of the podium in the 200 and 400 metre freestyle events at his final CARIFTA championships in Kingston.
The first part of the Gold medal mission in the 15-17 age group was achieved on April at the National Centre on April 1 in the 200 metre freestyle race. He put up the second fastest time in the morning when he stopped the clock in 1:57.66.
The final saw him making a decisive move on the first 50 metres splitting 26.64. The field could not recover from that early blast and Jacobs would go on to take the title in 1:55.85, the fastest time ever swum by an Aruban at CARIFTA.The Silver went to Mauricio Payne of Curacao in 1:56.82 and the Bronze to Graham Chatoor of Trinidad and Tobago in 1:57.15.
The road to victory in the 400 metre freestyle on April 3 was not as smooth as he battled Chatoor for all 8 laps before out sprinting him to the wall 4:05.64 to 4:06.10.The Bronze went to John Bodden of the Cayman Islands in 4:12.20
THE PATH TO CARIFTA 200 AND 400 METRE FREESTYLE GOLD
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to the Oranjestad native about representing Aruba at CARIFTA,heading to Georgia Tech to start his college career and what the future now holds for him
“I did not participate at last year’s CARIFTA as Aruba decided to go to another competition, so I am happy to have participated this year as CARIFTA is one of my favorite competitions in our region. To have ended my CARIFTA career and winning Gold in my two main events and hearing Aruba’s anthem play while standing on the podium was a great feeling. My CARIFTA career started as an 11 year old representing Aruba. It has been and always will be an honor to represent my country and I will take great memories with me for a life time. I have made many great friends over the years at CARIFTA and am sure we will continue this friendship into our next stage of our careers. Even though my CARIFTA career has ended, I am very excited to go on to the next level in my career, being college swimming. I will be swimming for Georgia Tech starting in August of this year and can’t wait to get started. Currently I am preparing for CCCAN which will be held in Aruba the end of June and afterwards hopefully I will be preparing for Youth Olympics 2018. So my summer will be mostly spend in the pool and gym”.
Olympian Alex Sobers (Rio 2016) added a second senior national record to his name when he lowered the more than decade old record of 1:52.30 in the 200 metre freestyle held by Olympian Bradley Ally (Athens 2004,Beijing 2008,and London 2012).
Sobers powered his way to a time of 1:51.87 in the 4 lap event to place 20th overall. That swim was also the number 1 CARIFTA region performance in the event at the Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast Australia. The previous fastest Barbadian performance at the Commonwealth Games was by another Olympian Damian Alleyne (Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004) at the 2002 Manchester Games who recorded a time of 1:53.61.
He would record another personal best and put the 100 metre freestyle record on notice when he stopped the clock in a time of 51.12 (split time 24.59). The national record stands at 50.40 to Shawn Clarke in 2009.
It was also the fastest time by a swimmer from Barbados at the Commonwealth Games as he bettered Alleyne’s 2002 effort of 52.48. Sobers was second fastest swimmer from the region placing 29th. It would be a hattrick of personal bests as he clocked 23.75 in the 50 metre freestyle to place 28th.
Alex recently earned the honour of being named the Male Athlete of the Year for his school Emmanuel College at the annual 4th Annual Leo Athletic Awards for his accomplishments which included being
a Six time Sun Coast Swimming Conference Champion
a Nine time Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Champion
Having an undefeated 26-0 dual meet record
Being the holder of Seven school records
Earning NCAA National Championship qualifying times in 9 different events this season
His performance at the 2017 World Aquatic Championships
His national record breaking performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games
When draftingthecaribbean got in touch with the record holder on April 26th he spoke about the 200 metre race and expectations heading into the competition
” I felt really good before the 200 free because I was confident in the training I put in .The heat had James Guy (2015 World champion in the event) in it so that really gave me a good push to do a best time. I didn’t necessarily set expectations for the meet .I was really excited to go Australia. The atmosphere was really exciting ,it was my first big (multisport) games since the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Coach at the Commonwealth Games Aisha Norville also spoke to draftingthecaribbean and gave her impressions of Sobers personal best swims and the outlook for her nation heading to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“Alex gave a commendable performance at the Games. His focus will shift to the Cac games where it is hoped that he makes a few finals.Looking towards 2020 I believe swimming in Barbados should be well represented but it’s still a bit early to say because a lot can still happen in 2 years. Jack Kirby continues to improve extremely well in his backstroke events and I’m sure he would be looking for an ‘A’ qualifying time for Tokyo. As for Alex I believe he would want to convert his ‘B’ time from Rio as a then 16 year old to an ‘A’ time. Barbados would also have backstroker Danielle Titus and Luis Sebastian Weekes aiming for qualifying times for Tokyo”