Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas representing SwimMac Carolina got yet another medal for the CARIFTA region on Thursday December 7, Day 2 of the 2017 Speedo Winter Junior Championships East .Swimming the breaststroke leg of the 400 yard medley relay at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville Tennessee the ladies of SwimMac Carolina won Bronze. The team of Julia Menkhaus backstroke 54.21, Higgs 1:01.14, Sophie Lindner butterfly 53.89 Olywin Bartis freestyle 49.31 had total time of 3:38.55.

Higgs on way to sprint breaststroke double at CARIFTA 2017
Lilly en route to the 50 metre breaststroke Gold medal at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas Photo courtesy of Micheal C Lyn

When the results are combined with the competition being held in the West Higgs, who is the reigning 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champions had the 7th fastest overall breaststroke split of the 107 competing teams. The Gold medal in the East went to Nashville Aquatics in 3:36.88 and the Silver to Cardinal Aquatics in 3:37.39.

Chade in action
Chade Nercisio Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Chade Nercisio of Curacao who represents East Coast Aquatics earned a second swim in the 50 yard freestyle  qualifying for the C final .In that night’s final she topped the field with a time of 22.97 just of her personal best of 22.93.

Lauren Hewe Photo courtesy of

The Cayman Islands Lauren Hew representing Saint Andrews recorded the 3rd fastest time of her career in the 50 yard freestyle when she stopped the clock in 23.44 to finish 32nd . Higgs recorded the 2nd fastest time of her career when she stopped the clock in 24.15 to place 125th .

In the 200 yard individual medley Higgs recorded her 3rd fastest time ever when she hit the wall in 2:03.06 to place 33rd.

In the 400 yard medley relay Nersicio put in another strong performance to help her East Coast Aquatics team to 25th overall. She split 50.25 on the freestyle leg  to help the team to 3:49.15



On the first day of the 2017 SPEEDO Winter Junior Championships – East at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville Tennessee on Dec 6 the CARIFTA region had reason to celebrate through the medal winning performances of regional standouts Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas representing SwimMac Carolina and Jack Kirby of Barbados representing Baylor Swim Club.

Lilly Higgs North Carolina

Higgs , a University of North Carolina commit, swimming as a member of the 200 yard medley relay A team won the Bronze medal. The squad of Julia Menkhaus backstroke 25.05, Higgs breaststroke 28.07, Sophie Lindner butterfly 23.96 and Olywyn Bartis 22.64 recorded a total time of 1:39.07. Being held simultaneously in University of Iowa Recreation Center in Iowa City Iowa is the competition for the West. When the results from meets in both the East and West are combined the SwimMac time was the 4th fastest of the 104 competing teams. Lilly also recorded the 8th fastest breaststroke split overall.

Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion
Lilly Higgs looks back at the clock after capturing the 15-17 100 metre breaststroke title at the 2016 CARIFTA Championships

She is also the reigning 15-17 CARIFTA champion in the 50 metre breaststroke and has been unbeaten in the sprint breaststroke events  for the last three years.

Kirby would win the same colour medal as his regional counterpart as his Baylor team won the Bronze in the 200 yard medley relay as well. With the combined results the team was also the 5th fastest overall.

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

Jack crushed his previous personal best of 23.70 in the 50 yard backstroke with a lead off swim of 23.03.His teammates Piotr Kurleto breaststroke 25.28, Zachariah Althoff butterfly 22.32 and Robert Freeman freestyle 19.92 finished in a time of 1:30.55.

Jack Kirby Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

Kirby, who is the reigning CARIFTA Silver medallist in the 15-17 50 metre backstroke had the 18th fastest backstroke split of 101 competing teams.

Bronze medal winning Baylor team
Kirby with members of his Baylor relay team Photo courtesy of Baylor swimming

There would be more success for Kirby as his 800 yard freestyle relay team the held the 800 yard freestyle championship record briefly before their time was bettered by two other teams to finish with the Bronze medal. The same team from the medley relay team Althoff 1:39.20,Kirby 1:39.17,Kurleto 1:37.84 and Freeman 1:34.44 stopped the clock in 6:30.65. That bettered the 2016 Scottsdale Aquatics meet record 6:31.93. Silver went Mason Manta Rays in 6:28.95 and Gold to the Carmel Swim Club in 6:28.25.

Chadé Nercisio  Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Others in action from the region on the day was Curaçao’s star sprinter Chadé Nercisio who anchored her East Coast Aquatics Swim club to 29th spot in the East Championships with a quick split of 22.92. The 20 fastest overall anchor from both meets. The final team time was 1:45.52.At her last CARIFTA Championship in 2016 she won the 13-14 50 metre freestyle.

Irvin via Rafael
Irvin Hoost Photo courtesy of Rafael Van Leeuwaarde

Irvin Hoost of Suriname provided the 7th fastest freestyle anchor split of both meets with his time of 20.01 .That powered his Metro Aquatics Swim club to 10th in the East with a time of 1:31.55.Hoost recently won the Florida 2A State Championship in the 50 yard freestyle and was 6th in the 50 metre freestyle at his last CARIFTA Championships.

Joseph black M Lyn
Joseph Black .Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

In the 800 yard freestyle relay Jamaican Joseph Black gave his Peddie Aquatics team a second leg of 1:42.84 to help to 6:51.92 and 27th overall in the East. Black was a member of the 800 metre freestyle team that won Jamaica’s first Gold medal in the 15-17 age group.



Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas captured the 100 yard breaststroke title at the Florida at his final high school meet on November 4 at the 1A State championships in Stuart Florida.

Saint Andrews coaches Sid and Quinn Cassidy and Jamaican Ramon Walton cheering on their young charges at Regionals
Saint Andrews coaches Sid and Quinn Cassidy and Jamaican Ramon Walton cheering on their young charges at Regionals Photo courtesy of Saint Andrew’s Aquatics

The road to Gold had been a four year road under the tutelage of his coaches at Saint Andrew’s in Boca Raton.

In his first individual Championship final in 2014 competing in the 100 yard breaststroke ,which would be the source of his greatest  individual high school  triumph he placed 8th in the B final in a time of 1:00.83 (split time 28.94).The next year would see a turnaround in fortunes as he would earn a place on the medal podium taking the Bronze in 57.19 (split time 27.06).

Izaak Bastian swimswam
Izaak Bastian Photo courtesy of swimswam

Bastian, a Florida State commit would drop two seconds but he maintained his medal position taking the Bronze again in 55.68 (split time 26.46)

Izaak on his way to 100 breaststroke Gold at CARIFTA
Izaak on his way to 100 metre breaststroke Gold at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Then came 2017 at  the CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas he extended his Gold medal winning streak in the 100 metre breaststroke with a near record performance .

Izaak and Lilly Shelly Bas productions
History makers for the The Bahamas at the Commonwealth Youth Games Medallists Bastian and Lilly Higgs Photo courtesy of Shelly Bastian


Later in the year he would create history he would become the only Bahamian male medallist in the 100 metre breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games when he won the Bronze at the Youth Games in his home country. In his final long course meet for the year he recorded the best time and placing for a Bahamian at the World Junior championships.

It was that form that he brought to his last high school season. It would be an unbeaten run leading up the to the state Championships. He would take the Palm Beach County title in 56.27. At that competition he would also be named outstanding male performer. He added the District title in a time of 57.73 breaking his year old record of 58.25. A week later at the Regional meet on October 27 he would win in 56.43.

On the day of reckoning he eased into the final with 55.67 (split time 26.18) performance. That just lowered his 2016 school record of 55.68 when he won the Bronze medal. In the final it was 2016 Silver Medallist Paul DeGrado of the Bolles school and Izaak that separated themselves from the field with 50  splits of 25.99 and 25.80 respectively. There would be no denying Bastian as he split 28.71 on to take the Gold in 54.54 in a personal best, school record and the second fastest time in Florida high school history . The state record stands at 54.33 set by  James Daugherty of the Bolles School.DeGrado repeated as the Silver medallist with a time of 54.90.

Year Time Placing
2017 54.54 Gold
2016 55.68 Bronze
2015 57.19 Bronze
2014 1:00.83 8th B final

Bastian’s name will join the names such Olympian Bradly Ally of Barbados and Ansel Tjin-A-Tam who be crowned state Champions in the 100 yard breaststroke.

breast florida swimnetwork tampaspartns uconnhuskies
Past Regional 100 yard breaststroke champions from left to right Jordy Groters,Wayne Denswil ,Diguan Pigot Photos courtesy of floridaswimnetwork, and
breast boys panamericanworld linkedin
Past regional 100 yard breaststroke champions from left to right Bradley Ally and Ansel Tjin-A-Tam Photos courtesy of panamericaworld and linkedin


There would be more records and medals earned on the day for Izaak. In the 200 yard medley relay Izaak along with Jamaican Jesse Marsh continued the Scots CARIFTA region medal winning streak for the consecutive year. The Boca Raton based school won their third Silver medal in the event in a school record time of 1:31.86.

Caribbean connect Bastian and Marsh Saint andrews Aquatics
Saint Andrews 200 yard medley relay Caribbean Connection from left to right Marsh and Bastian Photo courtesy of Saint Andrew’s Aquatics

All three teams that won medals had Bastian on breaststroke duties and Marsh handling the butterfly leg. This year’s team lowered the 2016 Silver medal winning record time of 1:33.21.

Bastian en route to the fastest 50 split in Florida high school history
Bastian en route to the fastest 50 split in Florida high school history Photo courtesy of Shelly Bastian



Bastian created history when he recorded the fastest breaststroke split in the history of the Championships of 24.48. That bettered the time of 24.49 done by Daugherty in 2016.

Silver medal 50 free Shelly Bas
Izaak Bastian with Silver medal Photo courtesy of Shelly Bastian

The third school record in the 50 yard freestyle of 20.86 would fall in the Championship final of the event. Izaak would clock 20.53 to win the Silver . The Gold went to Cole Crane of Episcopal in 20.40.


The fourth Scots record would fall in the 200 yard freestyle relay . The team which included Bahamian countryman Samuel Gibson set a new mark of 1:24.73 to win the Silver .Trinity Prep won the Gold in a time of 1:23.64.

For his efforts he would earn the CBS 12 Athlete of the week honours

Bastian and Gibson holding the trophy after placing 2nd overall in the boys competition
 Bastian and Gibson holding the trophy for placing 2nd overall in the boys competition

The boys from Saint Andrew’s would place 2nd overall with 202 points.


Patrick warimg up Woodson
Patrick Groters warming up at the Woodson Invitational in Sep Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

The year 2017 will remain in Aruban Patrick Groters mind as one of his best at the age group level with top performances at the CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas and a strong showing at the World Junior Championships. The run of good performances would continue in his final year of high school in Florida where he would repeat as the 100 yard backstroke champion in the 1A State Championships on November.

In 2016  he ended a more than decade long drought for the CARIFTA region when he took the victory in the event.

George Bovell III
George Bovell III Photo courtesy of

The last swimmer to win the event was the legendary Olympian George Bovell III of Trinidad and Tobago when he won the title for the Bolles School in 2000.

It would be a Golden path to double success in the event for the University school student at the State Championships in Stuart Florida. He would take the race on September 23 at the Woodson Invitational easily in a time of 51.77 (split time 25.80).

Patrick Groters and Jessica Nava of Westminister Academy
Top male and female performer at the 2017 Woodson Invitational Groters of the University School and Jessica Nava of Westminster Academy Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

He would also earn the accolade of top male performer of the meet for winning the 200 yard individual medley as well.

Patrick Groters top performer with Algernon Cargill
Top male performer at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas from left to right Algernon Cargill President of The Bahamas Swimming Federation presenting the award to Patrick Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Receiving the top performer award is not a new experience for Patrick who earned that honour as well at CARIFTA 2017.


He would take the district title on October 20 in 52.86 (split time 26.54) and a week later the regional title in 50.80 (split time 24.93).

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In the Championship final held at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center Patrick lay in 3rd place at the 50 yard mark with a split of 24.58.

Patrick in Denver shirt.PNG

The University of Denver commit then turned out a back half of 25.65 to which the field could not respond and he took the title again in 50.23.

The 200 yard individual medley saw him earning the Silver in a time of 1:49.02 (split time 49.56).That performance made it three consecutive medal winning performance for Groters after winning the title in 2015 and 2016.


Jacobs and Groters
University School top performers Arubans Daniel Jacobs and Patrick Groters Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

In the relays it was the powerful combination of Groters and countryman Daniel Jacobs that aided the team to strong positions. In the 200 yard freestyle relay Patrick had the fastest opening leg split of both the preliminaries and finals of 20.51. The unit of Groters and Jacobs had the 2nd fastest 100 yards of the competition and that propelled their school to 3rd in the  B final in a total time of 1:29.42.It would be that same Aruban one –two punch at the front half of the 400 yard freestyle that pushed the University school to 6th in the Championship final in a time of 3:15.38. Patrick’s first leg split was timed at 45.97 (split time 22.28).

The University School boys finished 6th overall with 108 points.


At the two day Yellow Jacket Invitational which ran from Dec 1-2 Jamaica’s Sidrell Williams put up his hand up to get attention of  the selection panel for overseas international competition with a strong return to form setting two school records for Howard and recording personal bests in all his events.


Sidrell Howard picture
Sidrell Wiliams Photo courtesy of Johnson

The meet which was contested in a 25 yard pool at the Randolph-Macon College in Chesterfield Virginia saw Sidrell on the medal podium 7 times and breaking the school record in the 100 yard freestyle and as a member of the 400 yard medley relay team.

Sidrell and Tim Kazan 2015
Kazan 2015 World championship representatives from left to right Williams, member of Russian organizing committee Axinya Melekhova, Olympian Timothy Wynter Photo courtesy of Axinya Melekhova

In the 100 yard freestyle, Sidrell a 2015 World Championships representative bested the field by over a second to win the event in a time of 45.22 (split time 21.82). That crushed his personal best of 46.43 and lowered the Bison school record of 45.31 set by Jared Miller when he placed 3rd in the B final at the 2017 CCSA (Coastal College Sports Association Championships).

Williams, a graduate of the Wolmer’s Boys’ School would combine with Don Brazelton backstroke 53.21, William Smith breaststroke 58.19 and Alex Barnes butterfly 50.89 to place 2nd in the 400 yard medley relay in a time of 3:27.38. Sidrell provided the fastest anchor freestyle leg of 45.09. That downed the old school record of 3:27.84.

Xavier Philips Photo courtesy of

The old record stood at 3:27.84 set the 2017 CCSA and included on breaststroke leg duties Wolmer’s alumnus Xavier Phillips. In 2016 Williams was member of the CISC ( Caribbean Islands Swimming championships) team in the 18 and over category that set new national record in the 400 metre (50 metre pool )  medley relay of 3:58.77.

The freestyle sprint double would be completed when he took the win in the 50 in time of 20.79. It would be his first time under the 21 seconds barrier and just off the 1989 school record of 20.79 set by Chris Gayle. His previous personal standard stood at 21.33.

His Bison A team would place second in the 200 yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:26.01. It is the 3rd fastest time in school history .

2013 CARIFTa team
200 metre freestyle relay record holders from left to right Wynter, Jason -Craig Burnett, Cameron Chow and Williams

In 2013 Williams was a member of the CARIFTA team that set the 200 metre freestyle relay national record of 1:39.21.

His A team would post another top ten school time in the 400 yard freestyle relay. The team stopped the clock in 3:10.09 with Sidrell anchoring the team with the fastest time of the relays of 45.09.It would earn the Bison squad the runner up spot and the 3rd falsest time in programme history. In 2016 the 6’3 sophomore was member of the national record breaking team in the 400 metre freestyle relay that set the standard of 3:30.61.

Another 2nd place position would be earned in the 100 yard butterfly when he stopped the clock in a personal best of 50.47 (split time 23.60). He is now within sight of the school record of 49.80 set by Miller at the 2017 CCSA.

The 800 yard freestyle relay saw Williams recording the fastest opening leg and personal best of 1:44.21. That places him the 5th fastest Bison swimmer in the 200 yard freestyle of all time.

Nicholas Haughton Howard University Swimming and Diving website
Nicholas Haughton courtesy of Howard University Swimming and Diving

The team which included Jamaican Nicholas Haughton on second leg duties has total time of 7:06.57 that placed them 3rd and 4th overall in school history.

For his great performances in the pool Sidrell was named CCSA athlete of the week


Coach Nic Askew Howard Head Coach
Howard University Head Coach Nic Askew Photo courtesy of

Coach Nic Askew’s men topped the competition with 1333.5 points just edging out Washington College. The Bison ladies placed 5th overall.  Askew’s team which includes Caribbean student athletes Xavier Phillips, Orane Garrick, Keith –Jordan Wilkinson , Nicholas Haughton, Leanne Mc Master from Jamaica, Kegan Ford from Trinidad and Tobago, Farion Cooper and Andreas Weech from the Bahamas set 5 school records,12 overall personal bests, 91 season bests and one meet record.





The flag of the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago was proudly flown by yet another swimmer in a different part of the globe. This time the swimmer raising the swimming stocks of his country and the CARIFTA region was Jonathan Ramkissoon. While competing for the University of Waterloo at the 2017 deBray Divisional Championships he captured 6 medals, 5 of which were Gold .Included in those wins was a meet record in the 50 metre breaststroke.

The meet which was contested in a 25 metre pool was hosted by Brock University from November 25 to 26. In his 5 Gold medal rush Ramkissoon, a Mathematics student swept the breaststroke events. He won the 50 metre event in a time of 28.37 beating the competition by more than a second and lowering his 2016 meet record of 28.68. The performance also ranks him 5th in the Canadian collegiate system.

Jonathan Ramkissoon
Jonathan Ramkissoon Photo courtesy of

The 100 metre breaststroke saw him crushing the field by more 3 seconds as he took the victory in 1:01.77(split time 28.98). Such was his dominance in the race his midway split in the 100 would have won the silver in the 50 metre event. He now ranks 8th in Canada with that swim.

The longest breaststroke on offer, the 200 metre event saw him producing a last 100 metres of 1:12.95 to which the field could not find an answer to. The 5’11 Ramkissoon took the event in a time of 2:23.15 with another 3 seconds plus victory margin.

Jon R waterloo warriors
Jonathan Ramkissoon Photo courtesy of Jon Halpenny and Waterloo Warriors Athletics

In the 200 medley relay Jonathan as expected produced the best breaststroke split of 28.05.His teammates Leon Ouyang backstroke 27.54, Alex Lojko butterfly 25.41 and Danyon Chu freestyle 23.47 contributed to total winning effort of 1:44.47, the 9th fastest time in Canada so far and the 4th fastest in school history.

The 400 metre freestyle relay saw Chu 52.06, Lojko 52.83, Ramkissoon 52.23 and Hohyun Ryu 52.06 tallying a time of 3:29.18 for a close Warriors victory over Laurentian. The Voyageurs touched in 3:29.55 for the Silver. The relay win was the 3rd fastest in Warrior school history.

The 200 metre freestyle relay saw Jonathan providing a 3rd leg of 23.65 to help the Warriors to Silver in 1:34.17 and the 10th fastest Canadian collegiate of the year.

The Warriors took the men’s title with a score of 936 points.

Swimmers of the week Waterloo athletics
Swimmers of the week Ramkissoon and Jocelyn Van Leeuwen Photo courtesy of Waterloo Athletics

For his efforts Jonathan was awarded Waterloo Athlete of the Week Honours along with teammate Jocelyn Van Leeuwen.


Mikel schreuders sportskidsaruba
Mikel Schreuders Photo courtesy of sportskidsaruba

The nation of Aruba continues to make a statement at the NCAA Division I level as national record holder and Olympian Mikel Schreuders (Rio 2016) posted strong performances at the 2017 Mizzou Invitational held from November 16- 18 at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.

Mikel Schreuders
Mikel Schreuders Photo courtesy of

Schreuders made a statement in the 200 yard freestyle when he set a new personal best and school record with a winning  time of 1:33.24 (split time 45.74) topping the field by more than a second. That lowered the 2016 mark of US national team member Michael Chadwick when he recorded 1:33.64 leading of the Tigers 800 yard freestyle relay to 11th place at the 2016 NCAA championships. It was his second consecutive win at the meet and the 2nd fastest performance in Division I so far this season . Mikel is also a full second faster than where he was last season as well as just being outside the NCAA automatic cut of 1:32.54.His old personal best was recorded leading off the Tigers 800 yard freestyle relay team to 4th place at the 2017 SEC championships.

Date Time Split place
Nov 2017 1:33.24 45.74 1st
Nov 2016 1:34.67 46.56 1st

Schreuders would also taste victory in the 100 yard freestyle recording his second sub 43 seconds clocking with a time 42.86 (split time 20.86). His winning margin was more than half a second and seats him 9th in Division I. He bettered his number 2 all-time standing for the school and narrows the gap to the automatic cut of 42.11.In the heats he recorded an initial personal record of 42.98 (split time 20.70).


The efforts of the Tigers in the 200 yard freestyle relay would result in yet more Gold. The team of Luke Mankus 19.66,Schreuders 19.06,Sam Coffman 19.58 and Caleb Hicks 19.64 to record the 5th fastest time Division I so far. Mikel 2nd leg which was the fastest of the meet boosted the team performance to get close to the automatic cut of 1:17.62. The winning margin was almost two seconds.


In the 400 yard freestyle relay it would be yet another Golden affair where the team dominated the competition winning by more than 5 seconds and recorded the 4th fastest time in school history. With Giovanni Lima coming for Hicks the splits for the team were Mankus 43.67, Schreuders 42.46, Coffman 42.81 and Lima anchoring with a 42.92. Mikel was again the fastest swimmer in the relays. It bettered the NCAA A time of 2:52.10 and is the 5th fastest time for the season

The 400 yard medley relay saw the junior posting the fastest freestyle split of the meet when he blazed to a 41.71. That swim combined with the efforts of Daniel Hein backstroke 46.41, Hicks breaststroke 52.76, and Micah Slaton butterfly 45.28 recorded a winning total time of 3:06.16. That team performance is the 8th fastest in school history. It ranks as the 2nd fastest in the nation and was yet another automatic qualifying performance.

Schreuders Mizzou
Mikel Schreuders Photo courtesy of mutigers

The 50 yard freestyle saw his only non-podium finish. Despite that the Oranjestad native recorded personal bests in both the morning heats and Championship final . He lowered his 50 free standard of 20.13 to 19.65 in the preliminaries. He would be even quicker in the evening with a 19.55 to place 4th overall. It was also the 4th fastest time in school history and tied for the 9th fastest so far in  Division I.

The Tigers tallied 1,411 points topped the men’s competition. The other scores were Drury 683.5, Wyoming 671.50, Oklahoma Baptist 419, South Dakota State 352 and Cincinnati 67.