The  CCSA (Coastal College Sports Association)Champs got underway at the Gabrielson Natatorium in Athens Georgia on Feb 14 and saw Jamaican Sidrell Williams helping his Howard University to a new school record.

Sidrell Howard picture
Sidrell Wiliams Photo courtesy of Johnson

The Howard University Bison team of Don Brazelton backstroke 23.63,Speakman Smith breaststroke, Alexander Barnes butterfly 22.65 and Williams 20.23 freestyle recorded a time of 1:32.33 to place fifth. That bettered the record of 1:33.71 recorded at the 2017 CCSA Championships when that team recorded 1:33.71. It also bettered their 6th place finish.


Mattheau_Bonner NJIT
Mattheau Bonner Photo courtesy of

Countryman Mattheau Bonner representing New Jersey Institute of Technology clocked 23.06 on his butterfly to help them to fifth in 1:33.44.

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

Nicholas Haughton, a fellow Howard University student anchored the 800 yard freestyle relay team with a split of 1:44.58 to help them to sixth in a time of 7:06.67. That is the fourth fastest time in school history.

Leanne McMaster Photo courtesy of Gillian Haughton

Teammate and country woman Leanne McMaster anchored the ladies 200 medley relay with a freestyle split of 24.43 for a total time of 1:48.12 for ninth overall. That just missed the school record of 1:47.77 set at last year’s conference Champs where McMaster performed anchor leg duties as well.





The second night of the Walter Rogers Age Group Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Jamaica on Feb 15 saw meet records falling to Brianna Anderson and Sabrina Lyn .

Brianna and Kyle
15 and over 50 metre backstroke Champions Kyle Sinclair and Brianna Anderson

Brianna Anderson who represents the Y Speedos Swim club lowered the 2014 15 and over girls 50 metre backstroke meet record of 31.35 of former CARIFTA standout Danielle Boothe when she stopped the clock in 30.81.That time places the Brianna, who is in her first year of the 15-17 age group within striking range of the  national 15-17 age group  record of 30.55 set by Angara Sinclair at the 2017 CCCAN championships. That time would also have won the 15-17 Bronze medal at the 2017 CARIFTA championships held in The Bahamas. In 2017 she lowered another Sinclair mark when recorded 32.15. She gave her thoughts about the race to draftingthecaribbean

“My goals were to try to beat the record, try to qualify for CARIFTA and to do a 29.I am still trying my best to achieve that time with more training. Hopefully with the Swim Jamaica sprint I will do 29.My start was actually amazing especially my under waters, my breakout was good and my turnover was quite nice this time. My finish was not as it was I wanted it be because I want to finish like the Olympians so hopefully I fix those things at the sprint meet”.

Lyn and Thomas
13-14 100 metre butterfly champions from the Tornadoes Swim Club Sabrina Lyn and Nathaniel Thomas

Also lowering a meet record was Sabrina Lyn of the Tornadoes Swim Club who lowered the 2017 13-14  100 metre butterfly Championship record of 1:06.19 set by Emily MacDonald of Swimaz. That was the national record until MacDonald lowered it to 1:05.86 at the UANA Cup in Florida last month. Though Lyn is the second fastest girl of all time in the age group her 2017 11-12 national record is faster which stands at 1:05.69 when she won CCCAN Gold.

She gave her impressions on the race “ My goal was to make the CARIFTA team and to do that I had to come first. I knew that my competitors do not finish well I did not go as hard on the first lap but as soon I started the second I would have sprint all the way to the finish and that’s what I did and I won and broke the record”.

Gooden AGC 2018
Three time winner of the 15 and over 200 metre breaststroke Sean-Douglas Gooden of the Tornadoes Swim Club

Sean Douglas Gooden made it three wins in three years in the 15 and over 200 metre breaststroke. He lowered his 2017 record of 2:37.15 to 2:33.71 in the heats before taking the Gold in the final in 2:42.45. He spoke about the race after his win

“I thought I executed my race as best as I could given my current fitness. Honestly I was working on the small things such as my turns and underwaters and dive.I have been told that I have a really strong last 50 metres so I worked on that today. The race was a good one I did not go out too hard due to my fitness. I was aware that and tried to build my momentum throughout the race and that strategy worked perfectly”.


Other individual winners on the night included

Age group Name Club Event Time
11-12 girls Kokolo Foster Marlins 200 metre breaststroke 3:05.65
11-12 boys Joshua Mair Tornadoes 200 metre breaststroke 3:05.27
13-14 girls Tiara Campbell Sailfish 200 metre breatstroke 2:59.69
13-14 boys Jaleel Samms Tornadoes 200 metrebreastsroke 2:58.83
15 and over girls Naomi Eaton Y Speedos 200 metre breaststroke 3:00.93
8 & under girls Victoria Vanderleer Y Speedos 50 metre backstroke 49.66
8 & under boys Matthew Kennedy Y Speedos 50 metre backstroke 48.03
9-10  girls Christanya Shirley Marlins 50 metre backstroke 36.32
9-10 boys Josh Johnson Marlins 50 metre backstroke 41.36
11-12 girls Aliyah Heaven Tornadoes 50 metre backstroke 36.45
13-14 boys Nathaniel Thomas Tornadoes 50 metre backstroke 30.06
15 and over girls Kyle Sinclair Y Speedos 50 metre backstroke 29.33
11-12 girls Ireland Hunter Tornadoes 100 metre butterfly 1:20.64
11-12 boys Devaughn Robe Wahoo 100 metre butterfly 1:14.48
13-14 boys Nathaniel Thomas Tornadoes 100 metre butterfly 1:02.82
15 and over  girls Brianna Anderson Y Speedos 100 metre butterfly 1:10.09
15 and over boys Jordane Payne Y Speedos 100 metre butterfly 1:01.46

Relay winners  were as follows

Age group Club Event Time
11-12 girls Blue Seals 400 metre freestyle relay 4:46.95
11-12 boys Tornadoes 400 metre freestyle relay 4:51.47
13-14 girls Tornadoes 400 metre freestyle relay 4:59.73
13-14 boys Y Speedos 400 metre freestyle relay 4:09.90
15 and over  girls Y Speedos 400 metre freestyle relay 4:35.92
15 and over boys Y Speedos 400 metre freestyle relay 3:55.50



The first day of the 2018 Walter Rogers Age Group Championships at the National Aquatic Centre  in Jamaica held yesterday Tuesday Feb 13 saw the distance titles being decided.

Payne and Williams
2018 Walter Rogers Distance Champions Jordane Payne and Britney Williams Photo courtesy of Lynval Lowe

The fastest performers  were Britney Williams of the Swimaz Aquatics Swim club in the 15 and over  800 metre freestyle and Jordane Payne of the Y Speedos Swim Club in 15 and over 1500 metre freestyle.

Britney Williams celebrating yet another 800 metre freestyle victory

Williams extended her unbeaten winning streak in the event to five years when she took the title in a time of 10:04.37.

Top 800 freestyle swimmers
Top distance swimmers from left to right Naomi Eaton, Britney Williams and Karci Gibson

Williams, who is the fastest ever locally trained middle to local distance freestyle swimmer finished ahead of the  Y Speedos duo of Naomi Eaton 10:18.31 and Karci Gibson 10:43.94. When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Williams she gave her impression of her performance and building up to CARIFTA

“The race was okay .it was better than the Karl Dalhouse race because I did not feel as tired during and after the event so I am really looking forward to CARIFTA and going sub 10 minutes and hopefully getting a medal”.

Britney’s Golden Years at Age Group Champs

Year Age Age Group Time Place
2018 16 15 and over 10:04.37 Gold
2017 15 15 and over 10:09.85 Gold
2016 14 13-14 10:26.36 Gold
2015 13 13-14 10:36.30 Gold
2014 12 11-12 11:33.68 Gold
Jordane CARIFTA head shot
Jordane Payne Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn


In the 1500 metre freestyle Payne topped all comers with a time of 18:35.69. He was followed to the wall by teammate Dominic Mullings who punched the clock in 18:48.56.  The Y Speedos trifecta was completed by 13-14 Gold medallist Zachary Johnson who dropped more than 20 seconds to be timed in 19:44.98. Payne spoke to draftingthecaribbean after his win

“The 1500 was a very good race, one of my best in Jamaica. It was a very challenging race and I had to be pacing myself but it has put me in a good position to win the high point trophy at this competition”.

Topping the 800 for 13-14 girls race was Zaneta Alvaranga of the Kaizen Swim club who posted a personal best of 10:44.63. Tornadoes swept the top 11-12 positions for girls and boys with Ireland Hunter touching in 11:37.30 for the 800 and Joshua Mair registering 21.12.51 for the 1500.


The final day of competition of the 2018 Tennessee State  High School Champs  on Sat Feb 10 saw Jamaicans Alex Mignott and Angara Sinclair earning freestyle relay Silver medals while also recording personal bests in their individual 100 yard freestyle events.

Alex Mignott
Alex Mignott

Mignott opened up the Jamaican medal account when his McCallie 200 yard freestyle relay team won the Silver .The team of Benjamin Griffith 22.17, Ethan Bevill 20.92, Mignott 21.71 and Will Jackson 21.31 touched in 1:26.11 just behind the Bearden team that touched in 1:26.09. The team improved on their 2017 swim where they placed fifth. Mignott was also faster this year as in 2017 he was timed in 21.85. In the 100 yard freestyle event he earned a second swim in the B final when he recorded a personal best of 48.07 (split time 23.17). In the final that evening he placed seventh overall in a time of 48.64 (split time 23.27).

Anagara with mebers of Silver medal winning team
Baylor girls Silver medal winning 400 yard freestyle relay team from left to right Sarah Riley, Addison smith,Sinclair and Jamee Mitchum

Country woman Angara Sinclair who represented Baylor won her Silver medal in the 400 yard freestyle relay. The team of Addison Smith 51.72,Sarah Riley 52.62 ,Sinclair 52.37 and Jamee Mitchum 51.66 took the Silver in a total time of 3:28.37.The winners of the event were Harpeth Hall who touched first in 3:22.47.

In the individual 100 yard freestyle Angara earned a second swim by setting a personal best by more than 2 seconds when she clocked 52.79 (split time 25.20) to be the top seed in the B final , a mere .05 of a second outside the Championship final. In the night’s B final she proved that she deserved the top billing. She record the fastest last 50 yards of 27.28 to win in yet another personal best of 52.08. This is a major improvement from 2017 where she placed 25th in a time of 54.88 (split time 26.27).

Year First 50 Second 50 Time Place
2018 24.80 27.28 52.08 1st B final
2017 26.27 28.61 54.88 25th
Angara with second place trophy
Angara Sinclair with Tennessee High School Champs Girls Second Place Trophy

The girls from Baylor finished second overall with 275 points to Harpeth Hall who garnered 353. On the boys side McCallie finished second to Baylor 257 to 315 points respectively.


Lilly Higgs celebrating 100 yard breaststroke win
Lilly celebrating 100 yard breaststroke State Record Photo courtesy of Patrick Schneider

Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas ended her high school career on the best possible note as she set a new meet and state record in the 100 yard breaststroke and helped school William Amos Hough High to their third consecutive North Carolina 4A State Championships.

Competing at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary on Saturday Feb 10,2018 Higgs would waste no time establishing herself as the top seed for the final when Lilly recorded the fastest time ever in 4A history as well as North Carolina high school history stopping the clock in 1:01.77. That just edged the 2017 record by Middle Creek”s Julia Poole of 1:01.77. In the final she would not have things her own. Mika Fullerton of Apex had shown early front end speed with a 28.68 in the preliminaries to take the second seed with a time of 1:02.40.

Lilly in action
Lilly Higgs stroking her way to Gold in the 100 yard breaststroke Photo courtesy of Patrick Schneider

The final would prove no different as Fullerton led the early proceedings with a 28.97.Higgs and Ashley McCauley of Leesville Road tracked her with splits of 29.20 and 29.56 respectively. The last 50 yards would be a battle between Higgs and McCauley as they split sub 33 seconds. It would be Higgs who would get her hands to the wall first as she split 32.37 to hold off Ashley and win Gold in 1:01.57. McCauley ,who pressed hard at the end clocked 1:01.78 while Fullerton won Bronze in 1:02.73.

That challenge helped Higgs not only reset the meet and State Mark but also lower her personal best of 1:01.58 set back in  March 10,2017 at the SPEEDO Sectionals –Eastern. Her Gold medal is also a tribute to her hard work and consistency to be the best over the years at this  Championship. She would also be her school’s only individual winner on the night

The Path to Gold

Year First 50 Second 50 Time Place
2018 29.20 32.37 1:01.58 Gold
2017 29.48 32.71 1:02.19 Silver
2016 30.19 33.05 1:03.24 Bronze
2015 31.58 34.25 1:05.81 2nd B Final

She would win another title in the 400 yard freestyle relay as the Hough Huskies recorded the fastest winning time of all three State Championships 1A/2A,3A and 4A to take Gold. The team of Heidi Lowe 50.95, Amaya Hanley 52.07, Kesnley Merritt 50.68 and Higgs 50.73 touched in 3:24.43 just ahead of South Mecklenburg 3:24.86.

In the 200 medley relay the Hough Huskies placed fourth in a time of 1:43.95. Higgs had the second fastest breaststroke split of the meet with a time of 28.20. She would also place fourth in the 200 yard individual medley in a time of 2:03.14 (split time 59.18), the fourth fastest time in her career.

Higgs gave her thoughts about her performances to draftingthecaribbean

“As always, I enjoyed representing my high school at the state level! With a team of only 3 divers and 8 swimmers we were able to win states for the third time in a row, which is an incredible accomplishment. Individually I placed fourth in the 200im and first in the 100 breaststroke and set a new meet record, which I was so proud to do to. Being a senior this year it was a way for me to leave my mark on high mark on high school swimming!”

She , along with older sister Albury were members of the 2016 Huskies team that set the state 200 medley relay record of 1:43.21 .

Lilly Higgs and Huskies 2018 celebration
The Hough Huskies celebrating the three peat Photo Courtesy: NCHSAA Twitter (@NCHSAA)

The Huskies topped the competition with 295 points followed by Leesville Road 267 and South Mecklenburg 197.


Higgs who has been unbeaten in the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke at the CARIFTA level for the last three will to aim to build on her CARIFTA legacy in her final year of eligibility when she competes at  the Championship in Kingston Jamaica next month



The Barbados Boys at Baylor Jack Kirby and Luis Sebastian Weekes produced yet another series of best times at the 2018 Tennessee State Champs to help their school capture yet another boy’s title.

Jack would start the proceedings by winning the 100 yard freestyle state title in a new personal record. He cruised to the final with a time of 46.35. In the championship final he took the fight to the field early with a split of 21.38.As seen with his improved back end speed in past competitions he out split the chasing pack by recording the fastest last 50 yards of 23.07. He touched the wall in 44.45 , marking his first time under the 45 seconds barrier .His previous best was 45.21 leading off the Baylor team at the SPEEDO Winter Junior championships –East in 45.21 .

Christian Selby
Christian Selby Photo courtesy of

He bettered the 2014 time of countryman Christian Selby who won the crown in 44.76 . This is the third 100 yard freestyle title won by a CARIFTA region swimmer from Baylor under the tutelage of Coach Dan Flack . The first Champion being Jamaican Brad Hamilton ,who won in 2007 in a time of 45.15.The swim also places Kirby number two all time at Baylor .

Swimmers First 50 Second 50 100 time
Kirby 2018 21.38 23.07 44.45
Selby 2014 21.48 23.28 44.76
Kirby 2017 21.55 23.66 45.21


Jacky Kirby in action in the backstroke at the 2017 Tennessee State Championships Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

In the 100 yard backstroke Kirby would again cruise to time of 50.36 to easily make the Championship final. In the afternoon’s final it would be a coronation rather than a race as Jack went out in 23.29 for the first 50 and that pace was  too hot for the field as he had an advantage of almost a second. And as has been the custom he out split the field over the last 50 yards to post 24.94 and record yet another new personal best of 48.23. His performance is the fourth fastest all time in state history and third all-time at Baylor.

He had previous finishes at the State champs of sixth and eighth.

Road to Gold

First 50 Second 50 100 time Placing
Kirby 2018 23.29 24.94 48.23 Gold
Kirby 2017 24.48 25.66 50.14 6th
Kirby 2016 25.74 27.48 53.22 8th

In the final race of the day the Baylor team of Trey Freeman 43.87, Piotr Kurleto 45.47, Zach Althoff 45.40and Kirby 44.78 broke the magical 3 minute mark for high school teams to record a new school and Championship record of 2:59.52. That broke the state record set last year of 2017 of 3:01.21 and the school record of 3:00.78 of which Kirby was a member of both teams.

Brad Hamilton Photo courtesy of swimming world

That makes it Six titles in the 400 yard freestyle relay with CARIFTA region swimmers coached by Flack at Baylor following wins with Hamilton in 2008 and 2009 and Selby in 2014 and 2015.

Luis 2018
Luis Sebastian Weekes

Countryman Weekes did not let the disappointment of a DQ in the 200 yard freestyle relay deter him from doing his best in the 100 yard breaststroke. He won the Bronze in a new personal best of 56.15 (split time 25.80).

Dustin Tynes Ohio State Swimming
Dustin Tynes Photo courtesy of Ohio State Swimming

It is the first medal for Baylor in the event since Bahamian Dustin Tynes won the title in 2014. Luis is the now fourth all time at Baylor.

Weekes 2018 25.80 30.35 56.15 Bronze
Weekes 2017 26.68 30.88 57.56 6th
Baylor Swimming
2018 Champions -Baylor Photo courtesy of Baylor swimming

Baylor topped the competition for the boys with 315 points. Second went to McCallie with 257 points and third to Memphis University School with 215.Baylor also won the combined title


The first day of competition at the Tennessee State swim Champs on Friday Feb 9 at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center saw Jamaica’s Alex Mignott winning relay Bronze and country woman Angara Sinclair setting a new personal best in the 50 yard freestyle.

Alex Mignott
Alex Mignott

Competing for McCallie Mignott anchored the team in the 200 yard medley relay of 21.79 to help them to be the third seed in the final with an overall time of 1:35.75. In the final the team would be faster to win the Bronze. The team of Jake Marcum backstroke 23.57, Reece Gallagher breaststroke 26.89, Max Ransom butterfly 22.79 and Mignott 21.53 would touch the wall in a time of 1:34.78. That bettered their 2017 position and time of fourth place in a 1:36.78.

In the individual 50 yard freestyle event Mignott recorded a season best’s time of 22.15 to place 18th .

15-17 conquerors
CARIFTA 2017 15-17 200 metre freestyle relay Gold medallists from left to right Angara Sinclair, Bryanna Renuart , Shaun Johnson and Anjuii Barrett Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Countrywoman Angara Sinclair who was a member of Jamaica’s all conquering CARIFTA 15-17 team that swept all the relay in The Bahamas in 2017 set a new personal best in the 50 yard freestyle. The Baylor student touched the wall in 24.77 to place 18th overall just .20 of a second outside of earning a spot in the B final. That bettered her 2017 time of 24.99.