Jamaica’s Sidrell Williams continues to produce
good performances as he pushes for qualification for the 2019 World
Championships in Gwangju Korea and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Competing at the 2019 Puerto Rico International Open at the San Juan Natatorium from April 25 to 28 Williams lowered his personal best en route to the Bronze medal in the 50 metre freestyle. In the heats of the event he lowered his season best of 23.71 to 23.65 to be the fifth seed heading into the Championship final. Sidrell had more speed left for that race in the final. Williams, who represents Azura Florida Aquatics out touched teammate Luciano Gonzalez 23.41 to 23.42 to earn the Bronze medal in a new PB. His previous best in the event was 23.47.Silver went to another Azura swimmer Steven Aimable in a PB of 23.37. Gold was won Luis Flores of Puerto Rico in 23.31. He is closing in on the World Champs B standard of 22.96 and Olympics B time of 22.67. He leads the rankings as the fastest Jamaican this year.
The twenty two year old made it to another
Championship final in the 100 metre freestyle. He recorded 52.15 to place
fifth, just off his season best of 51.97.In the 50 metre butterfly he equaled
his best time in the preliminaries with a swim of 25.71. He returned in the
afternoon to place fourth in the B final with a time of 25.75. In the 100 metre
butterfly he recorded a season best of 56.89 before scratching from the B
The penultimate day of the 2019 CARIFTA Championships being held in Barbados proved to be another good one for Team Jamaica.The nation was in second place with 565 points and 46 medals 15 Gold 20 Silver 11 Bronze. The day was highlighted by Championship record swims by Kokolo Foster and Sabrina Lyn as well the Golden hot streak in the relays by the young ladies in the 15-17 age group.
Kokolo Foster grabbed the number one seed from the morning heats with a new PB, national age group record and Championship record. Kokolo was already the fastest 11-12 swimmer that Jamaica had ever produced with a national mark of 35.43 at age group champs. She broke through the 35 seconds barrier to lower the 2014 Championship record of 34.89 by Curacao’s Chade Nercisio to 34.80. She was the only swimmer under 36 seconds.In the final she was equally as dominant taking the Gold in a time of 34.86 , just off her Championship record. Lilla Higgo of Cayman took the Silver in 36.63 and the Bronze went to Rhanishka Gibbs of The Bahamas in 36.78. Teammate Saidah Brown placed 5th in 38.09.
Foster will now have in her sights the English speaking regional record of 35.43 by Gabriela Donahue of Trinidad and Tobago and the CCCAN championship record of 34.02 held by Emily Santos of Panama.The last time Jamaica won a medal in this age group was 2015 when teammate Naomi Eaton took the Bronze in 38.47.
The 13-14 girls breaststroke final promised to one of the most exciting races based upon its lineup.The 11-12 medallists from 2018 of Elan Daley of Bermuda, Naima Hazell from St Lucia and Anaika Charles of Grenada would be present. Also joining them was the defending champion Zaylie Elisabeth Thompson from the Bahamas and reigning Silver medallist Zaneta Alvaranga from Jamaica. The field was rounded out by Lyn of Jamaica and Devin Cuffley -Bethel. The race was a straight line across the field until Alvaranga and Charles broke from the field with 15 metres to go. While those two were battling it out. Lyn lurked in the background gaining ground . She erased their advantage and at the death pounced and lunged to the wall to take a narrow victory in a time of 34.41. Alvaranga retained her Silver medal position with a time of 34.47. Charles moved from 11-12 Bronze in a time of 36.77 to 13-14 Bronze with a time of 34.85.
Lyn would again face off with that quality of competition in her very next event , the 100 metre freestyle. In the two lap sprint she would face off against teammate Alvaranga, Daley, Zaylie Elisabeth Thompson and her Bahamian teammate who did a quick relay anchor leg earlier in the competition Delaney Mizell. Sabrina who is normally known for her closing speed threw that script out of the window and went all in from the sounding of the starter’s gun. She flipped first with only Daley beside her reacting to the breakaway. Daley , who had set the Championship and Bermuda senior national record in the 200 metre freestyle with a time of 2:06.13 went to work in her bid to catch Lyn. Daley closed, but there would be no stopping Lyn from taking victory in a new Championship record of 57.89, breaking the 2018 mark of 57.99 set countrywoman Emily MacDonald. The next regional marks for Lyn will be the CCCAN Championship record of 57.95 by MacDonald, and the overall English speaking Caribbean record and Jamaican national record of 57.54 by the legendary Janelle Atkinson. Daley won the Silver in a new Bermuda 13-14 record time of 58.00.Bronze went to Alvaranga in a personal best time of 59.71.
The 15-17 girls continued their hot streak as they were now three for three. One Day one they won the 400 metre freestyle relay in a time of 4:01.67 with a victory margin of just over six seconds. On Day two they won the 400 metre medley relay in a time of 4:36.83 .The margin of victory then was less than a second.Last night the team of Britney Williams ,Simone Vale ,Karci Gibson and Emily MacDonald stormed to victory with a time of 8:59.60.Silver went to the Cayman Islands in a time of 9:13.19 and The Bahamas won the Bronze in a time of 9:15.90.
Nicholas Vale moved from fourth in 2018 to the Bronze in Barbados. He stopped the clock in a time of 2:13.46. Silver went to Roan Baker of Barbados in 2:13.40 .Luke -Kennedy Thompson of the Bahamas won in 2:10.17.The last time Jamaica won a medal in this age group was in 2016
Cameron Brown lowered his personal best from 30.23 to 30.10 in the heats of the 15-17 boys 50 metre breaststroke. He was just off that time in the final but took the Silver in a time of 30.19. That is his second regional medal in this age category after mining Silver at CCCAN in 2018. The last time Jamaica won a medal in this age group was 2011 when Matthew Chen won Silver in 30.95 Gold went to Izaak Bastian of the Bahamas.Izaak in his last year in the junior ranks won in a time of 28.20 , the fastest ever time by a swimmer from the English speaking Caribbean. Bronze went to Shane Cadogan of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 30.32. Cadogan has set a new senior national record in the morning heats with a time of 30.05.
Nathaniel Thomas continued his excellent Championships with yet another PB and medal performance.He came to Barbados with a personal record of 55.42 and will leave with a new personal best of 54.80.Swimming from lane one Thomas almost won unbeknownst to the main competition. He was just out touched by another swimmer having a great meet, Max Wilson of the US Virgin Islands who touched in 54.76.Bronze went to Bermudan standout Sam Williamson in 55.74.
Emily MacDonald had no problem negotiating senior waters in the 15-17 100 metre freestyle when she won Silver in 58.86 . Gold was won by Alison Jackson in 58.84 and the Bronze to Gabriela Donahue in 59.33. Teammate Britney Williams was fourth in a new PB of 59.74. The four Jamaican ladies in the 13-14 and 15-17 age group all bettered the PAN AM B time of 59.99.
The mixed 11-12 400 metre freestyle relay team of Brady MacPherson Lewison,Saidah Brown,Christanya Shirley and Nelson Denny won the Bronze in 4:15.74. Gold went to The Bahamas in 4:09.38 and the Silver to Bermuda in 4:14.27.
The 15-17 boys 800 metre freestyle team of Nicholas Vale, Chester Adams,Jordane Payne and Kyle Sinclair won Bronze in 8:17.33.This is the first medal in this age group since 2016.
The 13-14 girls 800 metre relay team of Sabrina Lyn,Safiya Officer,Zaneta Alvaranga and Morgan Cogle placed fifth in 9:23.41.
Their counterparts in the boys race Daniel Mair,Nathaniel Thomas,Zachary Randle and Zachary Jackson Blaine finished fifth as well in 8:45.21
The CARIFTA Championships are underway in beautiful Barbados and the region’s junior swimmers are putting on a show with great swims. Since the meet got started on Saturday at the Aquatic Centre in Wildey,St Michael the athletes have been also knocking on the door for senior representation at the PAN AM Games later this year in Lima Peru.
In the 800 metre freestyle it was Jada Chatoor who threw down the first marker with a time of 9:19.12 under the PAN AM B standard of 9:24.97.She won the Gold medal in the 15-17 age group .This continues the family tradition of distance freestyle excellence .Her older brother Graham won the 1500 metre freestyle in his final year of junior competition at the 2018 edition in Kingston Jamaica. He is also making a name for himself in the collegiate ranks this season as a freshman at NYU.
Interestingly since being eligible to swim the distance event she has only contested the race twice and has never been defeteated. First in 2017 in The Bahamas when she won in 13-14 in 9:24.69 and now in the Bahamas.It is also the fastest winning time since a certain Joanna Evans of The Bahamas and Texas Longhorns fame contested the event in 2015. Jada has now put the national record of 9:14.78 on notice.
The 1500 metre freestyle for the boys in the 15-17 age group saw Bahamian Luke Kennedy Thompson dipping under the PAN AM B mark .He swam under the time standard of 16:39.97 with a 16:37.95 effort.That is major improvement from his 2018 showing in Kingston Jamaica when he placed fifth in 17:05.64.Leader for most of that race Jake Bailey just got under the B time with a Silver medal performance of 16:39.20
In the 200 metre breaststroke overwhelming favourite from the Bahamas ,Izaak Bastian was easily under the B standard and gave his championship record of 2:17.78 and PAN AM A standard of 2:17.56 a scare with a 15-17 Gold medal winning effort of 2:18.03. The Florida State swimmer made a name for himself this NCAA season by making the Division I Championship final in the 200 yard medley relay.Bastian has only lost this race once in his CARIFTA career.
2:24.99 heats 2:2378
Also making a push for senior representation was Silver medallist in the 15-17 age group was Haiti ‘s Alexander Grand’Pierre.He stopped the clock in 2:25.40 just under the B standard of 2:25.79.
In the 100 metre butterfly it was another Bahamian who topped the podium who held up his name to be put on the plane to Lima. Ian Pinder registered a winning mark of 56.80 to better the B standard of 56.95.
It was in the 13-14 age group that the 100 metre butterfly standard was bettered.Jamaica’s fastest ever junior female swimmer in the event Sabrina Lyn bettered the B time of 1:04.93 twice.In the heats she clocked 1:03.47 and then 1:03.19 in the Championship final for new PB,age group record and Championship record and the fastest female time of the meet.
In the 200 metre freestyle the entire podium party of Bermuda’s Logan Watson-Brown and the Jamaican duo of Emily McDonald and Britney Williams who bettered the PAN AM B mark.The 15-17 trio finished with times of 2:07.86,2:08.72 and 2:08.79 respectively.
The quickest time in the 200 metre freestyle on the day belonged to Bermuda’s Elan Daley .She registered a new 13-14 Championship record of 2:08.03 before crushing that time with a final swim of 2:06.13
It was almost the case in the 15-17 girls 100 metre backstroke as local girl Danielle Titus won the event in a new Championship record and senior national record of 1:04.60.She broke her old Barbados record of 1:04.79 set in 2018 in Jamaica.
Titus was pressed to the wall by Gabriela Donahue of Trinidad and Tobago who also set a new 15-17 and senior national record of 1:05.09.She lowered the mark of 1:05.38 by Kimberlee John -Williams of 1:05.38. Gabriela joins mother Olympian Karen Dieffenthaller Donahue (Seoul 1988) and sister Alexandria as senior national record holders for the twin island republic
If Gabriela chooses to go to Brown she can continue the family tradition of becoming an Ivy League champion
Double sprint backstroke champion at these championships Davante Carey continued the strong showing by the defending champions The Bahamas with his effort in the 100 metre backstroke.He stopped the clock in 59.83.That time was under the B mark of 59.99.
Night two of the 2019 CARIFTA 2019 swimming Championships provided yet another session of medals, records and excitement for Team Jamaica.The team at the end of Day Two had recorded 40 new personal bests and were in second place with 690 points and had 34 medals 11 Gold,16 Silver and Seven Bronze medals
The top performance again came from the 13-14 girls . This time it was Zaneta Alvaranga leading the way in the 50 metre butterfly.She gave Team Jamaica and fans on hand a signal of what was to come in the final when she eased to a time of 28.32 ,the fastest female time of the morning heats regardless of age group.
SPEED AND POWER
In her signature event , the one lap butterfly sprinted she demonstrated why she is Jamaica’s fastest junior swimmer ever in the event.When the starter’s gun fired Zaneta worked her underwaters utilizing almost all of the 15 metres allowable to gain a tremendous advantage when she surfaced. After her breakout it was all about the clock as the field was well beaten. When she hit the pads it revealed a new personal best and national age group record of 27.84. Zaneta lowered her regional mark as the 13-14 fastest English speaking girl in the event. It would prove also be the fastest time by a girl on the night. That performance stands as the second fastest time ever done at CARIFTA by a girl as the 13-14 mark is held by Naele Portecop of Guadeloupe in 2018.She set that mark in Kingston in an epic championship final with Alvaranga where both young ladies recorded sub 28 seconds times of 27.78 and 27.94 respectively for Gold and Silver.In another podium dominated by Jamaica ,Sabrina Lyn won the Silver in a time of 29.13. The outstanding Bermudan swimmer Elan Daley , who broke Zaneta’s CARIFTA 11-12 record in 2018 and is of Jamaican parentage won the Bronze in 29.59.
HOW THE WEST WON
Leanna Wainwright showed no fear in her international outing and Championship final on Day one of these CARIFTA Championships to earn Bronze in the 50 metre backstroke. That confidence from winning that medal carried over to the morning heats of the 100 metre backstroke .She topped the girls 11-12 qualifiers with a morning effort and new PB of 1:12.23. In the evening she displayed that fearless attitude once again when she opened an early lead on the field heading into the turn.Displaying a level of determination well beyond her years Leanna held her nerve when the Cayman Islands Lila Higo made a late charge to win in another PB of 1:11.65. Higo won the Silver in 1:11.76. Imojen Judd, the 50 metre backstroke champion took the Bronze in 1:12.84. Leanna’s countrywoman Giani Francis placed fourth in 1:13.41.
Wainwright,who is a product of Western Jamaican swimming put Jamaica back on top of the medal podium 12 years after age group record holder Kendese Nangle (1:08.49) who in front of a home crowd in 2007
GIRLS RELAY GOLD RUSH
On the 11-12 400 medley relay team only the very confident Kokolo Foster (breaststroke) had previous CARIFTA experience . The other members Leanna Wainwright (backstroke) Giani Francis (butterfly) and Christanya Shirley (freestyle) swam as the uninitiated do , with no inhibitions and not in awe of the occasion. That proved to pay great dividends as they dominated the final to win in a national and Championship record of 4:49.77. That crushed the old mark of 4:52.00 set by the 2002 CARIFTA team of Gillian Stewart,Tamari Farquharson,Kheri Ann Robinson and Rene Wright .Bermuda took the Silver in 4:52.93 with Cayman winning the Bronze in 4:59.98.
That sparked a chain reaction and the girls relay team went on a Golden hot streak.In the 13-14 Championship final Morgan Cogle gave the team a solid start with her backstroke split of 1:15.08. Sabrina Lyn recorded the fastest breaststroke split of her life of 1:15.23 to have Jamaica challenging for the lead. Alvaranga dropped the hammer on the field with her butterfly split of 1:04.23 give Safiya Officer an insurmountable lead . Bahamian Delaney Mizell turned on the jets on the anchor leg but Officer had too much of an advantage as Jamaica won in 4:38.85. Team Bahamas took the Silver in 4:39.15 with Barbados taking the Bronze in 4:41.99.This is the second consecutive Gold for Jamaica in the event.
.Simone Vale backstroke 1:10.37 and Naomi Eaton breaststroke 1:23.27 gave Jamaica the platform for the second half of the relay to challenge for the medals. Emily MacDonald ‘s 1:04.42 butterfly leg ran down all the teams except for Trinidad and Tobago. It was left up to Britney Williams to keep the streak alive and she did not disappoint. She recorded the fastest 100 freestyle of her life of 58.77 to take the win in a total team time of 4:36.83.The swimmers from the twin island republic were second in 4:37.55 and Barbados third in 4:40.55.
MEDLEY MORNING GLORY
When debutante Brady MacPherson Lewison won the 11-12 boys 400 metre individual medley he created history for himself .He had won his first Gold medal in a time of 5:30.63, a time drop of over ten seconds. It was also the first time Jamaica had been been on podium in over two decades much less winning the Gold. The fastest time recorded by a Jamaican boy in the event was in recent years was 2010 when Kevaughn Campbell placed fourth in 5:37.89.
PUTTING UP RESISTANCE
The boys also swam well out of their comfort zones to land podium places in the medley relays.In the 13-14 boys relay legs done Nathaniel Thomas backstroke 103.73, Jaedon Lynch breaststroke 1:14.77,Jaleel Samms 1:05.34 seemed to have Jamaica outside of medal contention. Cometh the moment,cometh Daniel Mair. Known primarily for his distance and open water freestyle exploits Mair presented his sprint credentials on the anchor freestyle leg .He swam a lifetime best split 56.42 to give Jamaica the Bronze medal edging French Guiana by mere .09 of a second 4:20.26 to 4:20.35. Team TTO won in 4:13.76 with Bahamas taking the Silver in 4:16.65.
In the 15-17 category it was always going to be an uphill task against the mighty Bahamians who had the 100 metre backstroke champion in Davante Carey,CARIFTA record holder in the 100 metre breaststroke Izaak Bastian, 100 metre butterfly champion Ian Pinder and Kevon Lockhart. Nicholas Vale gave Jamaica a good shot a medal with his opening 100 metre backstroke split of 1:01.33, almost a new PB. What made the difference for Jamaica to break out the the chasing pack was a lifetime best effort of 1:06.62 by Cameron Brown on the breaststroke leg.That allowed Jordane Payne butterfly 1:00.66 and Kyle Sinclair freestyle 54.08 to push for the Silver with no real challenge in a total team time of 4:02.69. That was just off the national record of 4:01.27.
The medal session on the opening night of the 2019 CARIFTA Championships at the Aquatic session in Barbados yielded a treasure trove of medals for Team Jamaica. The highlight of the session was yet another record breaking performance by Sabrina Lyn in the 13-14 girls 100 metre butterfly.
Lyn entered the final with a new personal best as well as the national age group record and Championship record of 1:03.47. Added to those accolades was the fact that she had also become Jamaica’s fastest ever junior swimmer in the record with her morning swim. In the final when the gun sounded the battle was close with the field . After the turn Lyn proved why she is the best female junior swimmer Jamaica has ever produced in the event when she pulled away for an emphatic win. The scoreboard bore that out when it revealed yet another personal best, national age group record, Championship record and PAN AM B qualifying mark of 1:03.19.Lyn , who is Jamaica’s fastest ever female swimmer in the event at CARIFTA was joined on the podium by teammate Zaneta Alvaranga .Zaneta powered her way to the Silver in 1:05.07. This is the second consecutive year Jamaica is dominating the podium. In 2018 Emily MacDonald and Alvaranga provided the one two punch atop the podium in front of their home crowd in Kingston.Lyn’s junior regional Gold medal count in the event now stands at four
2017 CARIFTA 11-12 1:07.49
2017 CCCAN 11-12 1:05.69
2018 CCCAN 13-14 1:03.82
Also in fantastic form in the 13-14 age group was her teammate Nathaniel Thomas.He broke the 28 seconds barrier to take the 50 metre backstroke Gold in a time of 27.82. This is a huge improvement for Thomas who was sixth last year in 30.12. The last time Jamaica was on top of the podium was 2011 when Olympian Timothy Wynter took Gold in 27.76. The Gold rush would not stop there as he would also take the 100 metre butterfly in a time of 59.22.The last time Jamaica featured in the podium party was 2015 when Jesse Marsh took the Bronze in 59.80.It was another big jump in performance as he finished fourth in 2018 in 1:01.53.
Emily MacDonald went from becoming the 13-14 100 metre butterfly champion in 2018 to lifting the 15-17 crown 12 months later.Emily continued the Gold medal hot streak Team Jamaica winning three consecutive races as the nation had just captured titles in the 13-14 age group.She stopped the clock in 1:05.85. This put Team Jamaica back among the medals after last being on the podium in 2016 when Kelsie Campbell won Gold in 1:04.99.
Brianna Anderson lowered her own 15-17 national record of 30.44 to 30.22 to claim Silver in the Championship final. Jamaica’s fastest ever junior sprint backstroker improved upon her 2018 position where she claimed the Bronze in a time of 31.01.
In the 13-14 age group Zaneta Alvaranga shattered her personal best of 32.49 to win the Bronze in a time of 31.77. With that swim she has put the national record of 31.02 set by Angara Sinclair on notice. She emulates Anderson’s 2017 performance when she had stopped the clock in 31.59.
In the 11-12 age group Giani Francis also issued a national record threat when she won Silver in a personal best time of 32.68. The national record stands at 32.08 set by Kendese Nangle in 2007.
Jamaica dominated the podium as Leanna Wainwright at her first CARIFTA Championships which serves as her international debut and making her first ever Championship final produced the goods to win Bronze in a new personal best of 33.28.This speaks volumes of the great work being done in swimming at the western end of the island.
Francis would also take the Silver in the 100 metre butterfly with a personal best effort of 1:10.17.That ended a two year medal drought in the event for Jamaica. Teammate Brady MacPherson Lewison also earned a medal in the event in that age group .He took the Bronze in a time of 1:07.49.
The session started on a good note when Kokolo Foster dropped almost three seconds to win the Silver in the 11-12 200 metre breaststroke event in a time of 2:53.61.
In the distance events Britney Williams placed fifth overall 15-17 girls 800 metre freestyle after being the fastest in the morning heats with her time of 9:39.41. Teammate Naomi Eaton placed 11th overall with her morning effort of 10:02.80.Daniel Mair placed seventh overall after he swam 18:34.56 in the morning heats of the 13-14 boys 1500 metre freestyle , a new personal best
The 13-14 girls team of Safiya Officer 1:03.56, Raine Hopkins 1:04.70,Morgan Cogle 1:01.26 and a fantastic anchor by Sabrina Lyn in 58.32 won Silver in the 400 metre freestyle relay in 4:07.84.
The 13-14 boys team of Daniel Mair 57.17 ,Zachary Jackson Blaine 58.75,Jaedon Lynch 58.87 and Nathaniel Thomas 56.16 also won Silver in 3:50.95.
The 15-17 boys team of Nicholas Vale 55.07,Jordane Payne 56.68,Cameron Brown 55.47 and Kyle Sinclair claimed the Bronze in 3:40.66
The morning session of qualifying heats was highlighted by Sabrina Lyn’s new personal best, 13-14 national record and CARIFTA Championship record and PAN AM GAMES B time of 1:03.47 in the 100 metre butterfly. She bettered her old national record and personal best of 1:03.82 , the Championship record of 1:03.50 set in 2016 held by Bermuda’s Emma Harvey and the PAN AM Games B standard of 1:04.93. She is now the fastest ever female age group swimmer from Jamaica as the 15-17 record of 1:03.48 set by Kelsie Campbell in 2016.
Jamaica will occupy 18 lanes in individual finals tonight. There will be a national age record watch in the girls 50 metre backstroke event for all three age groups 11-12,13-14 and 15-17.Britney Williams topped the early morning heats in the 15-17 800 metre freestyle for girls with a season best of 9:39.41.Countrywoman Naomi Eaton recorded a personal best of 10:02.80.Daniel Mair had a personal best of more than 10 seconds in the 13-14 boys 1500 metre freestyle of 18:34.56 There were 15 personal best times recorded this morning.
swimming continued to make its upward trajectory in the world when Michael
Gunning lowered his own national record in the 200 metre butterfly at the 2019
British National Championships this morning.
Competing at the Tollcross International Centre in Glasgow Scotland Gunning lowered his own national standard of 1:59.83 set almost exactly two years ago at the 2017 Championships to 1:59.60. That time was the third fastest time from the morning heats. The twenty five year old who represents Stockport swam under the automatic standard for the 2019 PAN AM Games to be held in Lima Peru of 2:00.54. He also bettered the 2019 World Championship B standard of 2:00.80.
Gunning who has represented the nation at the 2017 World Champ in Hungary, the 2017 World University Games in Taiwan and the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games in Colombia expressed delight in his national record performance
“I am really happy with that swim this morning .I felt so comfortable in the race. Obviously to get a new national record I am so over the moon. It just gives me so much confidence for later in the year and this summer’s competitions. It is a big summer for me hopefully the World Championships and the PAN AM Games. It looks like a real promising summer. I just need to carry on the training I am doing to get even faster in the summer”.
Gunning is the fastest swimmer from the CARIFTA Region in this event and second fastest CARIFTA region swimmer of all time behind only Jeremy Knowles of The Bahamas (1:58.25). He will not compete in the final as he represents Jamaica internationally.