Mikel Schreuders Olympian wikipedia
Olympian Mikel Schreuders at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Photo courtesy of wikipedia.com

Over the last few years Aruba has been consistently improving their position on the global swimming stage with improving performances and rankings at competitions. Today draftingthecaribbean highlights one of their swimmers  Olympian Mikel Schreuders (2016) who has made great strides for his nation in the 100 metre freestyle. We will look back at his performances at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Mikel Schreuders 100 freestyle Gold 297sports
Mikel Schreuders posing with his CCCAN 100 metre freestyle Photo courtesy of 297sports

Heading to the major global competition for 2017 Mikel was had broken the 51 seconds barrier by winning the CCCAN 18 and over title in the event with a new national record of 50.55. He would lower that record again in Europe. He would stop the clock in a time of 50.12. That would place him 50th overall. It would be a major improvement from his 68th showing in Kazan in 2015 and was only the second time Aruba had placed in the top 50 in the event. His swim would also rank third amongst swimmers from the CCCAN region. When draftingthecaribbean spoke to him on July 26 he gave his impressions of his performance

“My race was to bring it out faster and then come home. I wish I would have gone out faster. I am happy with the time of me coming back”


He would not have to wait long to better that effort. On July 29 leading off the mixed 4 x 100 metre freestyle he would be the first Aruban under 50 seconds when he touched in 49.80. Breaking 50 seconds is a significant hurdle on one’s path to being seen as a top sprinter in the world. When draftingthecaribbean spoke to him after the race he had the following thoughts

“All I was thinking before the race was to go out faster and during my swim I felt better in the first 50. The Australian guy that was next to me was going a 49 for sure so I was trying to stay as close as possible as I could”.

Unfortunately it will not count as a national record as FINA does not recognize leadoff times in mixed relays. However with Mikel’s continued progress as a sprinter it will be only a matter of time before that time falls in the 2017-2018 season.

The Road To 49 Seconds

Date Meet First 50 Second 50 Final time
August 2015 Kazan World Champs 24.71 27.06 51.77
July 2016 The Bahamas CISC 24.99 26.08 51.07
July 1,2017 Trinidad and Tobago CCCAN 24.71 25.84 50.55
July 26,2017 Budapest World Champs 24.26 25.86 50.12
July 29 ,2017 Budapest World Champs 24.80 25.76 49.80
Mikel Schreuders
Mikel Schreuders Photo courtesy of mutigers.com

Schreuders will be in action with his countryman Jordy Groters for the University of Missouri in their first official competition on Saturday October 14, 2017 against South Carolina at home at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.

Jordy and Mikel at NCAA Division 1
Teammates Mikel and Jordy at the 2016 NCAA Division I competition


Mikel is the second fastest swimmer in school history in the 100 and 200 freestyle races. He also holds school records as a member of the 400 and 800 yard freestyle relay teams.

Event Time
100 yard freestyle 43.10
200 yard freestyle 1:34.06
400 yard freestyle relay 2:48.95
800 yard freestyle relay 6:18.25


Three meets deep into the 2017-2018 season the University of Southern California remain unbeaten. Their efforts have been aided by Trinidad and Tobago senior Dylan Carter whose record is almost as good as his team. He has won four of the five individual  races he has competed in so far. He has also established himself as the fastest swimmer in the NCAA Division in the early segment of the season in the 200 yard freestyle.

Date Opponent Score
September 29,2017 University of California Santa Barbara 136-125
September 30,2017 California Polytechnic State University 153-141
October 6,2017 California State University ,Bakersfield 201-94

On Sep 30 in the Trojans win over California Polytechnic State University he recorded 47.10 (split 21.86) in the 100 yard butterfly to win the race by over two seconds and become in the top ten in the NCAA.

Dylan ttoc.org
Dylan Carter Photo courtesy off ttoc.org

On October 6 when racing against California State University, Bakersfield he dropped exactly two seconds from his season opener on September 29 to record the best collegiate time in the 200 yard freestyle of 1:36.66.

Event Time split
100 yard butterfly 47.10 21.86
200 yard freestyle 1:36.66 46.70
Dylan Carter Texas Invite Photo courtesy of Walt Middleton/usctrojans.com

The Trojans with Dylan in their ranks has also established top five performances in the 200 and 400 yard medley relays with Carter doing butterfly duties

Event Time  butterfly split
200 yard medley relay 1:29.00 20.80
400 yard medley relay 3:16.89 46.86


Carter who holds four individual school records will be back in action from October 22-22 when Team USA which will include in its lineup Olympic Gold medallists Ryan Murphy and Matt Grevers  will compete against the PAC-12 conference in the 2017 USA vs. College Challenge.


Event Time
50 yard freestyle 19.32
100 yard freestyle 42.14
200 yard freestyle 1:31.98
100 yard butterfly 45.27


Notre Dame’s Jamaican senior Justin Plaschka officially opened his season with the Fighting Irish in the best possible way on Saturday October 7 at home. This as school  opened  the dual meet season with a win over number 7 ranked Louisville 153.5 to 146.5 and Justin  recorded the fastest time in the NCAA in the 50 yard freestyle.

Justin Plaschka ACC 2
Justin Plaschka Diving off the blocks

Justin outsprinted the field to get his hand first to the wall in the two lap race to record a time of 20.04.That is the top ranked time in college swimming tying with Paul Powers of the University of Michigan. Louisville’s Andrej Barna 20.17 was second and his teammate Daniel Speers was third in 20.39.

Plaschka, now a senior had his fastest ever season opening collegiate swim in the 50 yard freestyle

Analysis of 50 yard freestyle swims


Freshman 21.05
Sophomore 20.51
Junior 20.83
Senior 20.04

He would notch his individual second win in the dual meet when he took the 100 yard butterfly overtaking Louisville’s Zach Harting over the last 50 yards to take the top honours 47.91 to 48.04.Third went to Matt Grauslys in 49.04.Justin’s time places 5th overall in the NCAA.

In his final event the 400 yard freestyle relay the Irish lost a close decision Louisville 2:57.92 to 2:58.24.Justin had the second fastest split of the relay with a time of 44.00 on the second leg.

In the 200 yard medley relay his team was DQ’d.

Justin holds the school records in three individual events.He was also a  member of four record breaking relay teams .All the records were set last season

Event Time
50 yard freestyle 19.35
100 yard freestyle 42.78
100 yard butterfly 46.05
Justin Plaschka ACC 3
Notre Dame’s record breaking 400 yard freestyle relay team at the back from left to right Daniel Speers and Tabahn Afrik In front Justin Plaschka and Reed Fujan
Event Time
200 yard medley relay 1:24.88
400 yard medley relay 3:06.90
200 yard freestyle relay 1:16.97
400 yard freestyle relay 2:50.39

Notre Dame will next be in action on October Friday the 13 at home at the Rolfs Aquatic Center against Texas A&M and Michigan State.


Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016) continued to make history for herself, The Bahamas and the CARIFTA and CCCAN regions with historic medal winning performances at the Summer Universiade in Taipei Taiwan this past August.

Before this year’s competition the last medal won in swimming from the CCCAN region had come from countryman Jeremy Knowles with his historic 200 metre butterfly Bronze medal winning performance in 1:59.21 at the 2003 Daegu South Korea Games .Jeremy was the first and only swimmer from the CARIFTA region to win medal at the Championships.

Evans with 800 metre freestyle medallists Bahamas Aquatics
800 metre freestyle medallists From left to right German Sarah Koehler Silver medallist,Italian Gold medallist Simona Quadarella and Bahamian Bronze medallist Joanna Evans

That all changed on August 25, 2017 at the Taiwan Sports University Arena when Evans touched the wall in a new National record of 8:31.18 to win the Bronze medal. That time lowered her previous record of 8:32.18 set at 2016 The Bahamas Nationals before her debut performance at the Rio Olympics. That medal win broke a 14 year medal drought for the CARIFTA and CCCAN regions. She also put more distance between herself and the other swimmers as she was already the fastest ever swimmer from a CARIFTA or CCCAN nation.

Analysis of Joanna’s top 800 metre freestyle swims

Date and venue First 200 Second 200 Third 200 Fourth 200 Final time
Atlanta May 2017 2:06.13 2:09.49 2:10.81 2:09.67 8:36.10
Nassau 2016 2:06.65 2:08.89 2:08.22 2:08.43 8:32.19
WUGs Aug 25 2:04.04 2:08.95 2:08.86 2:09.33 8:31.18

Gold went to Simona Quadarella of Italy in 8:20.54 and the Silver was won by Sarah Koehler of Germany in 8:21.67

Evans had given a hint before of what was to come when she lowered her national record in the 200 metre freestyle to 1:59.19 to make the Championship final. That record swim solidified her position as the fastest CARIFTA swimmer in the event as she had passed the previous CARIFTA best of 2:01.11 by Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004) at the Atlanta Pro Swim Series  meet on May 6. At that meet she had performances of 2:00.37 and 1:59.91. In the final on August 25 she placed 8th in a time of 2:00.70 less than 30 minutes after winning Bronze in the gruelling 800 metre freestyle.


Analysis of Joanna’s top 200 metre freestyle swims

Date and venue First 100 Second 100 Final time
Olympics  Aug 2016 59.23 1:02.04 2:01.27
Atlanta May 2017 59.22 1:01.15 2:00.37
Austin July 2017 58.89 1:01.02 1:59.91
WUGS Aug 24 2017 58.23 1:00.83 1:59.19
WUGs Aug 25 58.05 1:02.65 2:00.70
Joanna Evans Bronze medal nassau Guardian
B medallists in the 400 metre freestyle from left to right American Sierra Schmidt Bronze medallist, German Sarah Koehler Gold medallist and Bahamian Joanna Evans Silver medallist Photo courtesy of nassauguardian

A day later of August 26 she would go one better on the medal podium when she won the Silver medal in the 400 metre freestyle with a time of 4:08.52.Gold went to Sarah Koehler in 4:03.96 and the Bronze to America’s Sierra Schmidt in 4:09.82.

With that performance Joanna became the FIRST and ONLY CARIFTA swimmer male or female to win TWO medals at the Championships, the ONLY CARIFTA swimmer male or female to win a SILVER medal. In the CCCAN region she became the FIRST and ONLY CCCAN woman to win TWO medals at the Championship, and the ONLY CCCAN woman to win a SILVER medal at the Championships.


Bent and Falcon 100 metre backstroke medallists
Atlanta 1996 100 metre backstroke medallists from left to right Rodolfo A. Falcón Cabrera Silver medallist,American Jeff Rouse Gold medallist and Neisser S. Bent Vázquez Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of gettyimages

She has also tied the Cuban Olympic duo of Rodolfo A. Falcón Cabrera  (Barcelona 1992 ,Atlanta 1996 , Sydney 2000) and Neisser S. Bent Vázquez ( Atlanta 1996 , Sydney 2000) for Most Medals won at Two.

Rodolfo had won Gold in the 100 and 200 metre backstroke events in times of 55.60 and 1:59.90 at the 1993 Buffalo Games. Neisser won Gold and Silver in the same events at the 1997 Sicily Italy Games with performances of 55.82 and 2:00.37. Both would win Silver and Bronze respectively in the 100 metre backstroke at the 1996 Olympics

When Draftingthecaribbean spoke the region’s best distance freestyler she gave the following thoughts about her performances

“I was pleased with them. The times weren’t excellent but given the circumstances and line-up I was very happy”

The best in the region over the middle to long distance freestyle events also placed 23rd in the 100 metre freestyle 56.99 split time 27.87 just off her best time of 56.74. In her sights will be the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne where the best CARIFTA region performance in her signature events are two Bronze medals.

Janelle Atkinson and 800 metre freestyle Silver medallists 2002 gettyimages uk
2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games 800 metre freestyle medallists from left to right Australian Amanda Pascoe Bronze medallist, England’s Rebecca Cooke Gold medallist and Jamaican Bronze medallist Janelle Atkinson Photo courtesy of gettyimages

Those medals were won by Jamaican Janelle Atkinson at the 2002 Manchester Games in the 400 (4:13.24) and 800 metre (8:36.18) freestyle races.

It would be hard not to see her medalling in those events with her form that consistently improves each season.


Halfway through the 2017 FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup Jamaica’s World Record in the 50 scm breaststroke Alia Atkinson seems well on her way to complete the tour undefeated in that event.

Alia Hong Kong 2
Alia Atkinson at the Hong Kong FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup.Photo courtesy of fina.org

On Sunday October 1 Atkinson crushed the field by over a second to win the event in a time of 29.26. Second place went to Denmark’s Rikke Pedersen in 30.50 and the Bronze was won by Hong Kong’s Ip Rainbow in 32.50. The Gold medal winning performance marked her 4th consecutive win for the season and 16th straight on the tour. The last time Alia lost this race was Oct 29, 2015. On the 2016 tour Alia competed in 8 of the 9 stops and won all her races.

In 100 scm breaststroke her streak of victories now extends to five. Atkinson reigned supreme from the start with the quickest reaction and the fastest splits for both the first and second 50s.

Reaction time 0.65
First 50 30.14
Second 50 33.95
Final time 1:04.09

Left in her wake by over a second was the Dane Pedersen in 1:05.09 and Canadian Kierra Smith won the Bronze in 1:05.65.

In the longest breaststroke race, the 200scm Atkinson won the Bronze in a time of 2:26.70 (1:09.89).

In the 200 scm individual medley she out split the field on the breaststroke leg with a time of 35.88 to move from 8th to 5th .

Alia making a move on medley
Alia Atkinson making a surge for the the lead in the 200 scm individual medley Photo courtesy of fina.org

Alia would push to the wall to finish 4th in 2:12.34 her fastest time of the season.

Atkinson posted her 3rd fastest time of the season in the 100 scm medley when she finished 4th with a time of 59.57 (split time 28.17).


Olympian Janelle Atkinson (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004) and many time National coach and former Technical Director Jacky Beckford- Henriques will be in charge of collegiate swimming programmes in North America for the 2017-2018 season.

Janelle Atkinson photo courtesy of stonybrookathletics
Janelle Atkinson Head Coach women’s swimming & diving Stony Brook Seawolves Photo courtesy of http://www.stonybrookathletics.com

Atkinson will be the head women’s swimming & diving coach for the Stony Brook. Janelle had previous coaching stints at Fairfield where she was Head coach for three years, University of Connecticut and Wright State University. Atkinson still holds senior national records in the 200, 400, 800 and 1500 metre freestyle events as well as the 200 metre butterfly. In the 25 metre pool she holds the records in the 100,200,400 and 800 metre freestyle. When speaking to the Greene Gazette a production by students Gabrielle Topping and Joseph Topping participating in the Stony Brook University School of Journalism‘s Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists Janelle spoke about the valuable lesson she learnt as a competitor that she would like to impart to her squad “For me, one of the biggest things is, always trying to teach my athletes about regret, not having regret “You come to practice every day and you make a conscious effort to show up today, to walk on the pool deck, that means that you’re committed to giving your all at practice and that’s what I like to teach them”.

Jacky Waterloo Warrior
Jacky Beckford-Henriques Head coach of the Waterloo Warriors swim team Photo courtesy of http://www.athletics.uwaterloo.ca

Jacky was previously at McMaster University. She spent 3 years at the Marauders as the Associate coach. Beckford-Henriques was the Jamaican National Coach for 19 years and was a member of the coaching staff for the three Olympic Games Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. Among her charges at the Warriors will be Trinidad and Tobago’s Jonathon Ramkissoon. On the Waterloo website Jacky spoke about how she felt about her appointment “It is a great honour to become the head coach of the Warriors, a very reputable and hard working group of swimmers I’ve got to know over my time at Mac. I’m excited to work with each student-athlete and gear up for a strong season in the pool”.

The duo feature among the list of Jamaicans in senior coaching positions in North America which include Olympians

Sion Brinn Indian riverstateathletics
Sion Brinn Photo courtesy of http://indianriverstateathletics.com

Sion Brinn ( 1996 Atlanta) Head Coach of Indian River State College ( 5 years)

Dawn Kane Duke
Dawn Kane Photo courtesy of goduke.com

and Dawn Kane ( Sydney 2000, Athens 2004) Associate Head Coach Duke University  (13 years)


As draftingthecaribbean continues to look back at the performances of the region’s best for the 2016-2017 we go back to the World Junior Championships on Day 3 on August 25 where Jack Kirby of Barbados became the fastest age group swimmer from his country in the 50 metre backstroke.

Jack Kirby Barbados Aquatic centre
Jack Kirby Photo courtesy of Barbados Aquatic Centre

Jack accomplished this feat by swimming 26.88 in the event in Indianapolis.

That swim propelled him to place 23rd overall and the 3rd fastest in the CCCAN region.

Leading up to his record breaking feat on August 25 Jack was already having quite a successful season. Competing in the 15-17 age group CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas he broke the record twice in the heats and final of the event clocking 27.19 and then 27.08 to win the Silver. The previous record was held by Olympian Bradley Alley (2004, 2008,2012) set way back in 2002 with a time of 27.63.

He would follow up that success on June 29 to tie for Gold at the CCCAN championships in Trinidad and Tobago with French Guiana’s Steve Amiable in a time of 27.23.

On July 20 at the Commonwealth Youth Games in The Bahamas he would make his first international final when he placed 7th in a time of 27.05. On his way to that historic final in the morning heats he came close to breaking the 27 seconds barrier when he set a then record time of 27.01.

The road to sub 27 seconds

Date Meet Time Heats Placing
April CARIFTA 2017 27.08 AGR 27.19 Silver
July CCCAN 2017 27.23 27.76 Gold
July CYG 27.05 27.01 AGR 7th