2018 SWIMMING ACHIEVEMENTS-KAEL YORKE NAMED JUNIOR SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR BY TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO OLYMPIC COMMITTEE

One of the region’s most distinguished swimmers in junior waters Kael Yorke was honoured by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee. Yorke was bestowed the award of being the Junior sportsman of the Year for 2018. The awards ceremony which is in its 24 year took place on Saturday December 29 at the  Hyatt Regency Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain saw Yorke’s sister Keaona accepting the award on his behalf.


Keona Yorke receiving the 2018 Junior Sportsman of the Year Award on behalf of her brother

He joins other past Junior Sportsperson from swimming to include Christian Homer and Cherelle Thompson

Junior Sportsman Awardees

2015 Junior sportsperson awardees Jeron Thompson and Khalifa St Fort.Photo courtesy of realworld fiction
2010Christian Homer
2013Dylan Carter
2015Jeron Thompson
right Kimberlee John Williams at the 2009 awards with other winner .Photo courtesy of TTOC

Junior Sportswoman awardees

2009Kimberlee John-Williams
2010Cherelle Thompson
Left Christian Homer and second from right Cherelle Thompson with other awardees for 2010. Photo courtesy of the Guardian

Kael Yorke had a fantastic year for his nation and has been extraordinarily consistent with top performances in his best stroke, the butterfly.

Kael Yorke

The year started with his first national meet at the UANA Cup in Coral Springs in Florida from January 18 to 21 where he was the number one swimmer for the English speaking Caribbean when he won Silver and Bronze in the 50 and 100 metre butterfly with times of 25.52 and 56.53.

Kael Yorke diving off the blocks in the heats of the 50 metre butterfly Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

Next on his list of international duties was the CARIFTA swimming Championships in Kingston Jamaica from April 1 to 4 where he kept up his remarkable butterfly record at the Championships.

Year50100200Age group
2017GoldGold Gold15-17
2016N/A9thBronze15-17
2015GoldGoldGold13-14
2014SilverBronzeGold13-14
2013GoldSilverBronze11-12
20125th10th4th11-12
CARIFTA 2018 15-17 100 metre butterfly medal podium.Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn
Meet50 butterfly100 butterfly200  butterfly
CARIFTA25.45 Silver55.57 Gold2:05.88 Gold

At his nation’s national Championships he had a long awaited break through in the 100 metre butterfly when he recorded his first sub 55 seconds clocking to take the national title in a time of 54.84 . That swim earned him his first senior team cap as it qualified him for the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla Colombia.

He would continue to rack up the international flying miles as he would continue to prove himself at the junior ranks at the CCCAN Championships from June 29 to July 4 in Aruba . There he again proved his mastery of the butterfly with podium spots in all three events

CCCAN 15-17 50 metre butterfly podium.Photo courtesy of C.C.C.A.N
EventTimeMedal
50 metre butterfly25.17Gold 
100 metre butterfly55.28Gold 
200 metre butterfly2:08.27Bronze

He would continue to improve in Colombia lowering his personal best in the 100 metre butterfly to 54.57 in the heats. That gave him another first in his CV , a major regional Championship final berth. In that final as the youngest swimmer he placed seventh in a time of 54.27 (split time 25.02).He would take well to the senior ranks as he would make the B final in the 200 metre butterfly and place sixth in yet another personal best of 2:05.20.

Kael at the University of Indianapolis

After those duties he was off to embark on a new journey in the collegiate ranks as he started school at the University of Indianapolis in the NCAA Division II.Despite the change in programmes and the long flight to the Argentina Yorke continued to give for his best for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago at the Youth Olympics from October 7 to 12. He was given the added honour of being the flag bearer. In the 50 metre butterfly he was the number one swimmer in the CCCAN region and 26th overall with a time of 25.20. The 100 metre butterfly saw him finishing second in the CCCAN region with a time 55.72 to finish 28th overall.

He would end his junior international career with the 15-17 record in the 200 metre butterfly with a time of 2:05.03 (split time 58.71). That ranked him 21st overall.

Kael is making impact already in the collegiate ranks as in November at the 15th House of Champions Invitational he won the 100 yard butterfly in a time of 48.53. That ranks him as number three in the Great Lakes Valley Conference and number four all time in the school history.

When draftingthecaribbean contacted Kael he gave his thoughts on winning the Junior Sportsman of the Year award

Junior Sportsman of the Year award

” It is an honour to receive this prestigious award of being the top Junior male Athlete of Trinidad and Tobago.It is something I have been working to for awhile now. It is something I really wanted to achieve to add to the accolades I have received during my junior years of competition and is the icing on top of the cake.My season this year has been really amazing probably one of my best years yet. My greatest achievement to me this year was my seventh place finish in the CAC Games final for the 100 metre butterfly.Competing against Olympians and national champions is something that was really a great experience for me as I was a junior and the youngest in the final. The Youth Olympic Games was another highlight for me although it was not my best Games it was still an opportunity to compete against some of the juniors I will be seeing at future World Championships and probably even the Olympics”.

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2018 SWIMMING ACHIEVEMENTS-IZAAK BASTIAN NAMED JUNIOR ATHLETE OF THE YEAR BY THE NASSAU GUARDIAN

Regional standout Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas was recently named the Nassau Guardian Junior Male Athlete of the Year for 2018.

Izaak Bastian Championship record holder in the 50 metre freestyle and CARIFTA’s fastest ever swimmer Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

Bastian who still has one of year of CARIFTA eligibility has stood as one of the region’s top breaststroker at the junior level and has started to compete regularly at the tough World Junior and senior level.

He started the year well proving invincible at the inaugural UANA Cup in Florida and the CARIFTA Championships ensuring his name was etched in the record books

Meet50 breastPlace100 breastsplitPlace
UANA29.23 CRGold1:04.37 CR30.29Gold
CARIFTA28.69 CRGold1:03.12CR30.12Gold
Meet200 breastsplitPlace
CARIFTA2:17.78 CR ,NR1:05.33Gold
Bastian celebrates Championship record breaking swim in Kingston Jamaica .Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

In addition to a five star performance in the breaststroke events which included a senior national record in the 200 metre event he also added a top class performance in the 50 metre freestyle. He won Gold and set the Championship record in the land of the sprinters with a time of 23.25 . That took down the record of the region’s number one sprinter for 2018 Renzo Tjon A Joe of Suriname

Renzo Tjon A Joe reacts to winning Gold in the 15-17 metre freestyle in 2013 in Kingston Jamaica. Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

https://draftingthecaribbean.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/scorching-summer-18-renzo-rules-the-pool-with-speed-completes-50-freestyle-trifecta-south-american-games-cccan-and-now-cac/

With a very short turnaround time Bastian was off to Australia to test his mettle against the best of the Commonwealth . In the 50 metre breaststroke he raced against the best in the world in the form of global standard bearer Adam Peaty of England. He maintained the Bahamian record of making the semi finals and recorded a time of 29.28

Dustin Tynes Photo courtesy of Ohio State Swimming
YearSemi final timeSwimmer
201429.53Dustin Tynes
200230.90Travano McPhee

There would be more senior meet action in store for Izaak as he would head to the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Colombia in the summer. His best result would be in the 100 metre breaststroke where he would make the Championship final and set a personal best of 1:02.91 to place seventh.

Izaak Bastian Photo courtesy of swimswam

Bastian would then start college at Florida State University and be back in competition for his nation at the Youth Olympics in Argentina in October. His best performance would in the 50 metre breaststroke. He would first record the fastest time ever from the English speaking Caribbean with a time with a 29.01. That would enable him to make the semifinal of the event, a first for a swimmer from the English speaking Caribbean . He would record a time of 29.35. He would also record the fastest time ever from the English speaking Caribbean in the 200 metre breaststroke with a clocking of 2:22.37.

At Florida State University he has made an impact on the programme. In the 100 yard breaststroke he is currently ranked 9th overall in the Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC) with a personal best and NCAA B time of 54.19. He is also just outside the Seminoles all time top ten performers in the event with the tenth fastest swimmer Ryan Telford having a time of 54.02.

The 200 yard breaststroke sees him holding number 5 on the ACC conference top times listing with a 1:57.29 . The all time top performers list also sees him at fifth place with fellow CCCAN representative Julio Horrego of Honduras at number 6 with a time of 1:57.96.

Julio Horrego .Photo courtesy of seminoles.com

When draftingthecaribbean contacted Izaak we got his thoughts on 2018

Jesse Marsh Jamaica second from right Izaak Bastian Bahamas third from right along with their St Andrew’s teammates of the 200 medley relay

“This year was actually pretty good for me it was actually one of my better years. It comes with different training as well. I was at Saint Andrews for four years which did very well for me and switching it up for me (being at college ) is going to help me. It started off with UANA and before the competition I had taken 3 to 4 weeks off so I could mentally reset to get this year in order and my training blocks in order and I actually swam better than I expected to there. With those swims it gave me the confidence going into the year. Even though I took time off I am capable of a lot more so that was always in the back of mind giving me a confidence boost there. For CARIFTA I wanted to put it all in the pool and see what I could do. I try to bring my best every year but 2018 I really wanted to bring it. So I talked to Sid Cassidy ( Head Coach at Saint Andrews) about it so that we were on the same page. I wanted to fully taper down , shave and be the best I could be for a meet at that time. I went to Jamaica and I honestly think I surpassed my expectations .I won every event I swum except for the 100 metre freestyle.

Jeron Thompson and Kael Yorke .Photo courtesy of Trinidad Express

I had a really good time racing all the guys like Kael Yorke and Jeron Thompson from Trinidad and Tobago, Luis Sebastian Weekes from Barbados, Tyler Russell from The Bahamas. After that I went straight to the Commonwealth Games , my first senior international meet. It was a great experience but not the best meet coming straight from CARIFTA , getting sick right after CARIFTA and flying two days. It was rough but I still wanted to go knowing I would miss some of my better events 200 metre breaststroke and 100 metre breaststroke.I still wanted to go to have my first senior international exposure to prepare for the rest of 2018 and 2019. It was my first time in a village and I had a lot of fun and getting to meet some of the older guys from the other sports like Shaunae Miller-Uibo and stars like that. I really wanted to test myself. Last summer I went to FSU and started to train long course there. We went to CAC Games with somewhat of a taper.It was not what I was used to for a taper . I went there with the same mentality as CARIFTA ,just bring it and see what I could do.Even though I had changed programmes still have the confidence to know the training made sense and was going to work out for me. I went best times and had a good time there.It was a great time in Colombia especially with the new training and learning to trust their process now instead of what I was normally used to because I will be working with them for the next four years.At the Youth Olympics I did my best and like the Commonwealth Games I made the semis in the 50 metre breaststroke. At FSU we had our mid season meet (the Georgia Tech Invite Nov 15 to 17) and it was good to see the team dynamics works at a championship meet. It was definitely more taxing than the normal one day duel meet. I am in training for our championship meet ACC’s which are the end of February and the beginning of March and NCAA hopefully in Austin Texas the end of March. At our training in Deerfield we ramped up the training and really got to see what we were made of”.

2018 SWIMMING ACHIEVEMENTS- NIGEL FORBES OF THE BAHAMAS LOWERS 11-12 ENGLISH SPEAKING BEST BUTTERFLY RECORD OF FRANZ HUGGINS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

On November 10 Nigel Forbes of the Bahamas representing the YMCA Waverunners created history for himself and his country when he recorded the fastest 100 metre butterfly time for an 11-12 boy from the English speaking Caribbean.

The calendar year 2018 had proven extremely successful for young Nigel with starting with the top CARIFTA region 11-12 100 metre butterfly performance at the inaugural UANA Cup in Florida where he won a Silver medal. After which he won the CARIFTA , REV National Championships and CCCAN crowns

MeetTimeSplitMedal
UANA1:03.3429.08Silver
CARIFTA1:04.0930.47Gold
Nationals1:03.27 CR28.99Gold
CCCAN1:01.9530.05Gold

Nigel though winning Gold had just missed the Championship records at CARIFTA and CCCAN

Boys 11-12 100 metre butterfly podium .Photo courtesy of C.C.C.A.N
MeetTime Record HolderYear
CARIFTA1:02.40Yael Touw Ngie Tjouw2014
CCCAN1:01.83Eumir Quintero2005

It would almost seem that it would be the case of that oft repeated swimming adage ” last one fast one” . The occasion would be the 2018 Barracuda Family Guardian Invitational. In that race Nigel produced the fastest time ever by an 11-12 boy in the 100 metre butterfly. He uncorked a time of 1:00.20 breaking the unofficial CARIFTA English speaking record of 1:00.29 set by Franz Huggins way back in July of 1992.

Nigel Forbes looking at his time after a victory in 2018

When draftingthecaribbean informed Nigel Forbes about his feat ” He said he was “shocked and suprised”. When asked to describe the race he said “coach told me to go out hard and see what he had coming back.I went out hard and felt good on the first 50 metres but everything hurt on the last 50 metres. My coach told me it was a good swim and I should continue doing what I was doing in practice”

Nigel Forbes

When asked about his plans re time in the event now that he is in the 13-14 age group he said ” I am looking to do a 59 low or 58 and will be trying to achieve that time a meet in Florida shortly”

Franz Huggins with his Marlins Swim club at camp in Florida in 2012

Draftingthecaribbean contacted the former record holder in the event Franz Huggins , the former age group coach of Dylan Carter and Joshua Romany . The year was 1992 and Huggins was being conditioned by Richard Knaggs, a Central American and Caribbean Games medallist.

Huggins described the type of training he was doing at the time and who his main challengers would be

” Heavy aerobic with a lot of speed endurance. Three times a week was racing. It was not only being able to race but repeat it in training . Patrick DaSilva was a training partner who was older in the 13-14 age group who helped push me in training on the swimming. Joel Seda and Arsenio Lopez of Puerto Rico , Enrico McConney of Barbados,Masai Zebechaka and Tshaka Douglas of Jamaica would be the main competition.

He also described the race and how he felt at the time

Franz Huggins swimming butterfly in 1992

The record was held by Jose Santa Puerto Rico at 1:02.13 set in 1986 in Curacao 1:02.13. My goal was to go faster than 1:02 and my previous best was 1:04.60 the previous year .I felt confident going out fast on the opening 50 metres and then the base training would help me to finish well .That year (the now defunct) Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships CISC was held in Trinidad and Tobago hosted by Marlins Swim. I have never experienced such a adrenaline rush before,. In the race there was no pain, went out in 28.4  and finished well in a time of 1:00.29 That year I went faster than everyone in 13-14 at the meet.That performance also got me nominated for the Sportsman of the Year.

Nomination letter for Sports personality of the year 1992

Huggins also gave advice for age group swimmers

” Most kids are still developmental cycle and need to have a structured work and rest cycle . Training should be generalized and not specialized at a young age. Swimmers should swim as many events as possible.They should also learn about different energy systems and the concept of proper nutrition.He also emphasized resistance training is important for injury prevention and Motor skills but not for gaining muscle mass.

He also had a few words for Nigel as well as other age group standouts

The one thing I would tell any swimmer who has had a measure of success at this age is that that really has not yet begun.There are so many things to achieve and goals to set. As a young swimmer there is still the Junior world Championships, Commonwealth Youth Games, Youth Olympics and then you get into senior swimming, those who go to college in the United States have many championships, then you get into senior swimming there are the Central american and Caribbean Games,PAN american Games,World Championships and Commonwealth Games and the ultimate being the Olympics so just take it one step at a time .Every success is a benchmark but it is a long road ahead.Stay grounded and keep working hard”.

2018 SWIMMING ACHIEVEMENTS JACK KIRBY NAMED JUNIOR SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR

Jack Kirby being honoured as the 2018 Junior Sportman of the year Photo courtesy of the Barbados Olympic Association

Jack Kirby of Barbados was recognized for his outstanding performances for the year 2018 by his nation’s Olympic Association on December 20 at  BOA and Flow awards ceremony at the Barbados Hilton when he was named Junior Sportsman of the Year. This is the second consecutive year he is being bestowed with this honour after being given the accolade in 2017 as well. This is the third year that a swimmer is being recognized as the top junior sportsman as Olympian Alex Sobers won the award in 2016

2016 Junior Sportsman of the year Olympian Alex Sobers .Photo courtesy of the Barbados Olympic Association

Kirby who is one of the top regional junior swimmers in the sprint freestyle events and sprint individual medley but is known primarily in regional circles as being the top swimmer in the backstroke record shows

Meet50 backPlace 100 back Place 200 backPlace
UANA26.63 CRGold56.34 CRGoldN/A
CARIFTA26.27 CRGold56.59 59 CRGold2:11.64, 205.22 NAGRGold
CAC 26.07 NR ,NAGR6th56.19 NAGR5th2:07.80heats only
Junior NationalsN/A56.756th
Start of the 15-17 50 metre backstroke final from left to right Carey Silver medallist and Jack Kirby of Barbados Gold medallist Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

In 2018 Kirby established himself as the fastest ever swimmer at UANA and CARIFTA swimming Championships in the sprint backstroke events. And in his senior international debut at the CAC Games he was the youngest swimmer in the 50 and the 100 metre backstroke Championship final. He is the best backstroker of all time in the 15-17 age group and the fastest backstroker of all time for Barbados with his 26.07 clocking in the 50 metre backstroke.

National records in 2018

National recordTime
50 metre backstroke26.07
15-17 National recordTime
50 metre backstroke26.07
100 metre backstroke56.19
200 metre backstroke2:05.22
50 metre freestyle23.46
100 metre backstroke50.97
CARIFTA recordsTime
50 metre backstroke26.27
100 metre backstroke56.59
200 metre backstroke2:05.22

At the 2018 SPEEDO Winter Junior Championships in North Carolina held in a 25 yard pool Kirby recorded a big personal best in the 100 yard backstroke heats. This as he dipped below the 48 seconds barrier for the first time in his career to record a time of 47.88. It also puts as him only the third swimmer from Baylor to break 48 seconds .

Jacky Kirby in action in the backstroke Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

Kirby represents Baylor both at school and club level in the United States. In February of last year he also captured Gold in the 100 yard backstroke by over a second in a then personal best at the Tennessee State Championships.

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Kirby and asked him for this thoughts on receiving this award and what was the high point for him in 2018

Jack Kirby UANA Gold medallist and Barbadian age group in the 100 metre backstroke

“I’m extremely very grateful to be chosen for the award because I know I was chosen amongst many Bajan athletes on the same level as me. The highlight for this year has to be (Central American and Caribbean) CAC Games in Barranquilla. I say CAC Games because my competitors were older than me and I was still able to compete with them in finals”.

University of Southern California (USC commit) Jack Kirby .Photo courtesy of swimswam

Not one to rest on his laurels the University of Southern California bound Kirby representing Baylor today Jan 10,2019 made the Championship final of the 50 metre backstroke at the 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series #1 – Knoxville