Lamar Taylor C.C.C.A.N
Lamar Taylor posing with the 13-14 CCCAN Gold medal in the 50 metre freestyle after setting a new championship record of 23.94 Photo courtesy of CCCAN

Lamar Taylor of The Bahamas has blazed a fiery trail in the 50 metre freestyle this year to earn the moniker of the “English Speaking Caribbean’s fastest swimmer in the 13-14 age group”

He earned this title with with a number of top performances at major competitions. His first meet the UANA Cup  In January in Coral Springs Florida saw him just edged for the Gold with a time of 24.57. The Gold went to Mexican Victor Salcedo Carrillo who clocked 24.56. Taylor’s swim saw him as the best from the CARIFTA region. He ensured that his favorite’s tag heading into the CARIFTA championships in April in Jamaica was no mistake as he won with the only sub 25 seconds clocking of 24.27. He took the sprint freestyle to a another level when he dipped under the 24 seconds barrier with a new national record  of 23.79 at his national championships in June. The CCCAN championships in Aruba in July would see him with another sub 24 clocking this time  recording a Championship record of 23.94.

When draftingthecaribbean caught up with Lamar Taylor we spoke about 2018 , how he trains and expectations heading into the 15-17 age group

“Currently I train nine times for the week four morning sessions and five afternoons. That DQ at CCCAN 2017 in Trinidad and Tobago changed me a lot and motivated me to train harder in practice , change my diet and watch tapes of my races more often. I looked at the slight imperfections I made to try and improve my stroke. The year started off well at UANA with a lot of the countries like Brazil. With God’s help I came home with a number of medals.The rest of the season I was focused and training hard  and going after my goal of making the Youth Olympic Games team. Unfortunately that did not happen as I only had one B cut but it has not stopped me from still training hard for the 2018-2019 season”

Lamar and Joshua Newry
Lamar and teammate Joshua Newry about to start a training set Photo courtesy of Gena Culmer -Taylor


“Going into the 15-17 age group I will not be thinking about who I will be racing against. I dive into the water , swim to the best of my ability and try to get the best outcome. My theory is when people overthinking a race they end up “choking ” and not achieving the best results. I just watch videos or play games on my phone before a race to get my mind off the race and my competitors. I know they are all amazing swimmers and I know that the slightest mistake will determine the color of my medal. In 2019 I will be entering my new age group with a lot of confidence in  100 metre freestyle and especially my 50 metre freestyle. At My national championships this summer my winning time was faster than the winning time in the 15 and over age group. That proved to me that age was just a number and that does not determine how fast you can swim and I have no worries at all going into 15-17″.


“I honestly think CCCAN was my best meet this year. The flight leaving Freeport got delayed and we did not leave until 4 am and Marvin Johnson and I  did had little warmup time before the first race which was the mixed relays. Despite that rough buildup to the meet I still performed well (Five Gold medals  and one Silver medal)


Lamar and Bert Bell
Coach Bert Bell and Lamar Photo courtesy of Gena Culmer -Taylor

Draftingthecaribbean also spoke to Mr Bert Bell who taught Lamar how to swim at the age of three at the Freeport Aquatic club and has been his only competitive coach since. Mr Bell, a fan of  Olympic Gold medallist and Czechoslovakian distance legend Emil Zátopek who originated interval training , spoke about expectations  of Lamar in the tougher 15-17 age group, his swims for 2018 and how he trains him to split his 100 metre races so well

Emil Zátopek Photo courtesy of wikipedia

2018 Rev National Champs race analysis

100 metre backstroke
First 50 30.11
Second 50 31.46
Final time 1:01.57
100 metre butterfly
First 50 29.97
Second 50 29.75
Final time 59.72


“There is no way to predict the future. We just have to encourage every individual to do the best they can with their God given potential.Lamar trains  nine times for the week four morning sessions and five afternoons.I ask my swimmers to set short term goals in the events they are interested in. Then we figure out the pace they need to swim = goal + 3 sec (adjust for dive) divide by number of 50’s Then they swim sets based on pace for the upcoming 2-3 months.We may do one or two sets (race/time specific) in every work out.We usually do 400 up free Mondays 200 Wednesday Timed swim Friday.The number of repeats and the rest interval will vary in each practice.We do similar sessions for alternate strokes Tuesday and Thursday.Saturday mornings we will work all strokes.

Lamar with Rommel and Ethan
Resting between sets from left to right Lamar and teammates Rommel Ferguson and Ethan Moxey Photo courtesy of Gena Culmer-Taylor


Pace specific (high intensity) is worked every day but the sets are limited and different every workout.Aim – set specific, doable goals with specific pace we r working at 200 or 100 etc race pace sets limited to 15 to 20 minutes.”WE ARE TRAINING THE MIND” be intellectual – remember the best results come from maintaining your best consistent pace from start to finish at whatever distance beyond 20 seconds.Concept – what is your PR – where do you want to go – what pace do you need?Design sets that are based on specifics – involve the swimmer in the calculations.

Lamar ended the summer with national records in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle freestyle 23.79 and 53.09 as well as 23 medals from the four Championship meets UANA,CARIFTA, Nationals and CCCAN 17 Gold,  Silver and One Bronze. He is also within striking distance of four national records

Event NR PB
200 metre freestyle 2:02.72 2:03.33
50 metre butterfly 25.98 26.09
50 metre backstroke 27.61 27.66
100 metre backstroke 1:00.57 1:01.41
Romany roster pic iuhoosiers
Joshua Romany Photo courtesy of

One mark that will be on Taylor’s mind as he heads to the 15-17 age group will be the overall 13-14 English speaking mark of 23.77 held by Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany who was member of the Fantastic Four that won Bronze at the CAC Games in Colombia this summer. Team Bahamas with Taylor in their ranks will continue to be a regional age group powerhouse for the year 2019.




When the CCCAN open water swimming competition concluded in Aruba history was created for Jamaica as Daniel Mair became the first ever medallist in this discipline .This as he won the Silver medal in the 12-13 age group in the 3K event held at Mangel Halto.

Dols Open water 2015
Michelle Dols 2015 CARIFTA 15-17 5K Open Water Silver medallist Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn


Prior to this the only medals won in  age group competition was  Dominic Walter who won the Silver in the 5 K event at the now defunct Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships  at the 2010 edition in Cuba in a time of 104.5.33 ,Michelle Dols who earned a Silver medal in the 2015 in the 5K event at CARIFTA in Barbados and Annabella Lyn who won CARIFTA Bronze at home in Jamaica in the same event this year.

Anna 5K Bronze Jamaica
Annabella Lyn CARIFTA 2018 15-17 5K Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn


Dominic Walter 2011
Dominic Walter 2010 CISC 14-17 5k Open Water Silver medallist


When draftingthecaribbean contacted Mair on July 18 he spoke about qualification for the competition as well events of the day of the swim from getting off the bus to the actual race


“The truth is I really wasn’t trying to qualify for CCCAN Open Water. In an effort to improve on my 1500 metre freestyle free I achieved a time that qualified me for the  open water event. So training for the open water event had to be somewhat of a crash course as it was going to be my first time. I trained at Port Royal three Sunday mornings with a group of adults who knew how to swim open water, and sometimes with competitive swimmers. We swam between 1,000-3,000 metres up and down the shoreline. I also did one session in the pool where I learned how to start, turnaround the buoys and spot . One of my main objectives during training was getting over my fear of what lives in the sea and I would say after my first training session in the ocean I quickly overcame that fear. I am 100% sure that these sessions helped my performance”.


“When I got out of the bus and went to look at the course, it was a lot larger than I expected and honestly that made me very nervous. Also that morning I had to go through many different stages to get ready for the race. For instance, I had to go to a medical check, cut my nails, get my number put on me, Vaseline my body, put my tracker on, and all of this was happening very fast and everybody was frantic and trying to get everything done.It was a bit distracting at the time but a few minutes before the race I just tuned everything out and focused on my race and doing my best”.

Mair in action H wilson
Daniel Mair in action during the 3K Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson


“So as I mentioned already the track looked very large in real life, it was a rectangle and one lap around it would be equal to 1 km so we had to do three laps And at the time it seemed like a lot. My start was not very good because I didn’t know what was going on so when they blew the whistle to go I was confused and started at the back of the pack. As I settled I was able to secure a second place spot. First place seemed out of reach because the person in first place had gone way before me from the start. In the first quarter of the first lap I was racing a Trinidadian girl and she fell back quite quickly and after she fell back Aruban Ronald Fun  caught up to me and for about two laps we were staying head to head. He was in front of me sometimes, I was in front of him sometimes but after the second lap he fell back and I went forward. After the second lap I felt really good, I started to warm up and as a result my legs started to feel energized and ready to kick so I kicked and pulled and I just went all out on the third lap and when I saw the finish on the last quarter I just went full speed and when I touched that pad I gave it my all”.

Daniel Mair with Mom
Daniel celebrating his Silver medal medal performance with mother Jodi Photo courtesy of C.C.C.AN


“When I got out of the ocean and walked back up to my coach and mom  I was glad  that the race was finally over and I could rest because CCCAN was now officially over. I went up to my coach and my mom and sat down, took some deep breaths, drank some water and relaxed and I looked over to my coach. She showed me my time and my placement and I asked her if that was a silver medal and she said yes.  I was very happy. Later on I was awarded the medal and that’s when it clicked. That I had won an individual medal at CCCAN and that every long, hard distance set that I had done in training had finally paid off”.


The medal podium saw Trinidad and Tobago’s Nikoli Blackman topping the event with a time of 45.15.01 , Mair the Silver in 48.11.73 and Fun the Bronze in 48.55.95.

12-13 CCCAN open water
Medallists in the 12-13 3K event from left to right Mair Silver medallist, Nikoli Blackman of Trinidad and Tobago Gold Medallist and Aruban Ronald Fun Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of C.C.C,A.N