The second day of the 2019 NCAA DIII Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina saw the Kenyon College duo of Racine Ross of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaican Joseph Black earning relay medals in the 400 yard medley and 200 yard freestyle relays respectively.
Ross, who was brought in for the Championship final of the event recorded a butterfly split of 55.19 to help the Gambier ,Ohio based institution to the Bronze in a time of 3:42.22 . The Gold went to Emory in a time of 3:40.66 and The Silver to Denison in 3:40.77.
This performance by the Kenyon Ladies is a season best and the fifth fastest performance in school history.
Earlier in the meet Ross, who won the 15-17 100 metre butterfly title in her last year junior year at CARIFTA in 2018 set a new personal best of 55.74 in the 100 yard butterfly to earn a lane in the B final of the event. In the night’s final she was even faster stopping the clock in 55.22 . She finished just behind Amy Socha of Tufts who won in 55.22.
Teammate Jamaican Joseph Black recorded his fastest 50 yard freestyle time of the meet, a 20.78 leading off the Lords 200 yard freestyle relay in the morning heats.The time qualified the team for the Championship final punching their ticket with a time of 1:20.65. In the final later on that day Joseph was given second leg duties . He was timed at 20.46. The team won the Bronze in a time of 1:20.67. The Lords were edged by the slimmest of margins for the Silver by Tufts 1:20.66. Gold went to Emory in 1:19.99.
The medal performance marks a return to the medal podium after a one year hiatus where they had finished fifth in 1:20.94.
In the 400 yard medley relay the Lords barely missed the Bronze medal and a new school record when they placed fourth in a 3:14.97. The 2015 school record stands at 3:14.69. Bronze was won by Emory in 3:14.79,the Silver to Denison in 3:14.29 and the Gold to University of Washington St Louis in 3:14.17 . Black had anchor leg freestyle splits of 44.38 and 44.49 in the heats and Championship final respectively.
Graham Chatoor of NYU won his heat in the 200 yard freestyle in a new personal best of 1:41.60 to place 31st . The freshman from Glencoe Trinidad is the second fastest swimmer in the school this season with that performance.
The first night of the NCAA Division III Championships in North Carolina proved to be a successful outing for the CARIFTA region freshmen making their debuts at the NCAA DIII debut. It would be Tyler Russell of The Bahamas and Emory who would get the first medal for the CARIFTA region , a Silver in the 200 yard medley relay.Luis Sebastian Weeks of Barbados and Kenyon College would make it to the Championship final of the 200 yard individual medley. Others getting their first taste of swimming at Nationals included Graham Chatoor, Joseph Black and Racine Ross.
Russell, who was entering the Championships from a strong showing at his UAA Conference Championships continued his good form with the Eagles in the 200 yard medley relay. He recorded a breaststroke split of 25.37 to help them to fifth overall in the morning heats with a time of 1:29.38. In the night’s final he brought the same energy from the morning to split 25.38 to help Emory place second in a season best time of 1:28.48
Weekes , who left his junior years behind in 2018 as the CARIFTA and CCCAN Champion paced himself well to make his first individual Championship final with a time of 1:49.45. In the final he placed seventh in a time of 1:49.44 to finish seventh in his DIII Championships debut.
That is Weekes’ third fastest time of his career and he ends the season as the fastest Kenyon Lord for the season and the fourth fastest performer in the event in school history.
Graham Chatoor of Trinidad and Tobago and New York University clocked the third fastest time of his career in the 500 yard freestyle 4:32.48 .He to placed just outside the top 16 times to finish 18th.
His countrywoman and Kenyon swimmer Racine Ross also recorded the third fastest time of her career in the 50 yard freestyle. She placed 52nd in a time of 24.30. Her teammate Jamaican Joseph Black coincidentally recorded the third best time of his career in the 50 as well recording a time of 20.96 to finish 40th.
At CCCAN 2018 in Aruba Tyler Russell of The Bahamas closed with the fastest second 50 metres of the field of the boys 15-17 100 metres breaststroke to earn a Silver medal in a new personal best time of 1:05.68.The look of accomplishment and quiet determination on his face belied a swimmer who had found a new approach of performing in championship final.
Fast forward to his first conference championships with NCAA DIII powerhouses Emory University and this new self belief was seen in an excellent display of swimming that earned him Two Gold and a Silver at at the UAA (University Athletic Association) Conference Championships.
The meet which was held from Feb 13 to 16 at the Myers-McLoraine Pool at the Ratner Athletics Center at the University of Chicago saw the freshman earning his first medal, a Gold in the 400 yard medley relay. The team of Sage Ono,Russell ,HwaMin Sim and Trey Kolleck recorded the only sub 3:18 seconds time of 3:17.86 to lift the long medley relay crown.
Silver went to University of Chicago in 3:18.28 and the Bronze to Washington University St Louis in 3:18.52.
Gold medal number two would be in the sprint medley relay .This time the butterfly leg duties would be handled by Colin LaFave. This time the Eagles were the only team under 1:29.Tyler went clocked 25.12 in the mornings heats on the breaststroke leg and was even faster in the championship with a leg timed at 25.06.
Second and third spots went to Chicago and Washington in 1:29.70 and 1:29.77 respectively.
After earning podium places it was fitting that he should get individual glory in arguably his best event, the 100 yard breaststroke. In the morning heats he qualified for the Championship final in seventh place with a time of 56.98.That performance was the third fastest time of his career at that point. In the night’s final Russell trailed in fifth place with a split of 26.17.After the turn he changed gears and brought the heat as he did in the summer of 2018 in Aruba to record the fastest back half of 29.52. He ran out of water to catch the early leader and eventual Gold medallist Kevin Van Cleave of Washington 55.32 .He did however earn himself his first individual conference medal a Silver in a new personal best of 55.69 , his first sub 56 seconds clocking.Bronze went to Nianzhong Liu,a senior from NYU in 55.78. He is the fastest Eagle in the event for this season.Only two former Eagles Andrew Wilson and Cooper Tollen have swum faster than Russell in the last decade.
In the 200 yard breaststroke he earned an evening swim in the C final.He recorded the second fastest time of his career , 2:08.11 (split time 1:00.14).In the 200 yard IM he placed 25th in a season best and the third fastest time of his career of 1:56.47.The Eagles won the Conference championships with 1848 points. Finishing runner up was Washington University St Louis with 1454.5 points and third was University of Chicago who tallied 1299.5 points.
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to the talented six footer from Nassau about his his expectations heading into the conference , his performances , what areas he wants to improve upon for the DIII Championships which start today in Greensboro ,North Carolina and that CCCAN performance .
“So going into Conference the big goal was to qualify for NCAA’s the Division III championships.That was the big focus for the team. I knew the relay would be my best shot for that and it turned out that is what I ended up making it for.I got close in the 10 breast but I missed it by a little bit.I was hoping to have fun and that we would the meet as a team as we usually do and enjoy the experience as a freshman.It was cool to be able to go.In terms of my performances I was really excited by it.It was an honour to be on the relays.They were really fun and we won which was cool.The team energy was really great.The big idea was to establish ourselves as astrong relay especially going in NCAA’s where that are going to be some tough teams .For my 100 breast where I got second that was really exciting and I was actually surprised.I was hoping to make the A final but I definitely was not expecting to place very well.I was pretty much just focused on my time to hopefully get into the top 16 to qualify for NCAA’s.I missed that by a little bit but I was still happy with my time because it was a pretty big improvement and I still ended up making the meet for the relays.It was pleasant surprise to actually come second because I was not even thinking about that.Going into NCAA’s my goal is to make an A final.That could include being on a relay.the meet is very competitive and is not a given.Also to make an A final individually would be amazing.That would definitely make the meet worthwhile.If I am on the relay we would be hoping to win the event .We are in fourth right now but we have a lot left in us so we can all improve some more and it all really close.It will all come down to the race and who performs and seeing how everybody performs and hopefully we can take it.For me to improve I need to get my pullouts to be better.That is normally where my competitors get me.My swim is normally fine coming from a long course background.My competitors have been doing more short course yards longer than me so have better turns.I think it is going to be good because lot of persons are really nervous because they have never been to a big meet before.With my Caribbean background it is really cool to get to get go to bigger meets.It is a really big meet I am a bit nervous but I know I can handle the pressure because I have been in high stakes situations before.I was really happy with CCCAN. The 100 breast was really good .Most of my swims I was very happy with.The biggest change I made was just putting less pressure on myself .I have a tendency to be real serious and uptight but I tried to change that and put less pressure on myself and enjoy it more.That helped me having more confidence in my races that actually goes a long way which was a pleasant surprise.Hopefully I can keep doing that and continuing to improve going into these other meets”.
It was a memorable night for the CARIFTA region on March 15 as Alex Sobers and Nico Campbell won Gold and Silver on Day Three of the NCAA Division II championships.
Alex Sobers created history for himself, the Emmanuel College Lions , Barbados and the CARIFTA region when he topped the field to lift the 500 yard freestyle crown. He cruised in the morning heats to record a time of 4:25.37 to be fifth heading into the Championship final. It was in that the night’s final that Sobers brought the fire to the event. He signalled his intentions from the opening 100 yards when he clocked 48.40. No one else was under the 49 seconds barrier. The 6,2 junior from Bridgetown kept turning on the pressure on the field opening up a lead of more than a body length lead .Adrian VanderHelm , a senior from Simon Fraser tried to make a late charge on the final 50 yards but Alex had done all the work already to secure the Lions first Division II title as he won in 4:21.09. VenderHelm won the Silver in 4:22.23 and the Bronze went to Adam Rosipal of Indy Grehounds in 4:23.23.
Alex’s win created a number of milestones . One was the first title for Emmanuel College in their first season in Division II. It also marked the time a swimmer from the CARIFTA region has won the 500 yard freestyle in Division II.In fact no other swimmer man or woman has won the title in this event in Division I or III. Alex also recorded the fifth fastest winning time in the 55 years has been contested in Division II.
Draftingthecaribbean spoke Alex about his race and he gave his thoughts on his historic swim
“Winning the 500 yard freestyle was really exciting for me and my team.This is our first year in the NCAA’s so me winning this made the first All american and National champion.It is really cool for me and my team. I really feel very proud about this accomplishment”.
Jamaican senior Nico Campbell add to his legacy at the NCAA Division II with a second consecutive Silver medal in the 800 yard freestyle relay. His Florida Southern College team earned their spot in the medal podium with a time of 6:29.64. The Gold went to Queens in 6:25.13 and the Bronze to Simon Fraser in 6:32.00.
Campbell had the fifth fastest leg of all the competing 18 teams. It was also the fastest time Nico had ever produced at Nationals.
Draftingthecaribbean contacted Campbell who is the best Jamaica has ever produced in the 200 yard freestyle and got his thoughts about the Silver medal winning performance
“Going into the 800 yard freestyle relay we were seeded second going into the meet and it was our goal to keep that second place. We went into the race knowing that Queens were probably going to win the race but like all races anything could happen so we went in with an open mind.We all executed the race as we should have and it lead to a second place finish.It was really great as I had some fellow senior teammates that were finishing their last race on that relay.I t was really nice to be along them and win that Silver and it was really a great achievement”.
The second night of action at the NCAA Division II championships saw the CARIFTA region nations of Barbados,The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica all involved in finals. Medals were earned by Alex Sobers of Barbados and Emmanuel College and Kohen Kerr of The Bahamas and Delta State University.
In the morning heats the Statesmen team of Giulio Brugnoni,Alex Zolotuhkin,Mattia Schirru and Kerr lowered the school record of 1:19.98 to 1:19.36. The same quartet had finished fourth in the 2018 Championship final in a time of 1:20.33. The final would prove to memorable as the team from Cleveland,Mississippi went even faster to claim the Bronze in a tight final in a new school record of 1:19.11. That is the best result for Delta State for more than a decade.
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Kerr this morning about his team’s record breaking feats
” My relay teammates and I really enjoyed our morning swim.We did not expect to go that fast as we did in the morning.Not all of our relay team swam as fast as they could.In the night we decided we were going to do better.We tried to come second but unfortunately it did not happen but we all went close to our best times in our 50 splits. We came third which is a school record and the third fastest time in the nation so we were pretty happy about that”.
In the 200 yard freestyle Championship final Sobers created history for Emmanuel College Lions as he became the first swimmer from the Franklin Springs Georgia based team to win a medal in the event . Alex lowered his personal best and school record from 1:35.32 to 1:34.76 to win the Silver medal.
Gold was won by Alex Kunert of Queens in 1:33.56 and the Bronze to his teammate Alec Mosic in 1:36.00. Sobers is the fastest ever swimmer from Barbados in this event.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Sobers he had the following thoughts on his medal winning performance “I was really excited to swim the 200 freestyle yesterday .I knew I had to push with the guy from Queens (kunert) as he is a really good competitor.Overall it was a really good race and I improved my time.This is my team’s first time at Nationals so we are really here to do our best and have fun”.
Kael Yorke’s Greyhounds rattled their school record in the 400 yard medley Championship final when the recorded a time of 3:12.87 for fifth place. Yorke had split 48.02 and then 48.05 in the morning heats and Championship final respectively for his butterfly leg.
Jamaica’s best 200 yard freestyler Nico Campbell equalled his best ever placing in the event at the National championships with a third place finish in the B final. Campbell’s best time at these Championships stood at 1:38.09. He was faster than that in the heats and final with times of 1:37.24 and 1:37.43 , the third and sixth fastest performances of his career. No other Jamaican swimmer has dipped under the 1:38 barrier other than Nico. In the 200 freestyle relay his Florida Southern College placed sixth in the B final with a time of 1:21.72 .In the morning heats they had recorded a time of 1:21.29. Nico’s splits in the morning and evening were 20.03 and 19.83 respectively.
The record in the 200 yard freestyle relay belongs to Tampa at 1:17.27 set in 2016 . Included in that lineup was St Lucia’s Jordan Augier who had a game changing leg to propel the Spartans to the Gold and the Division II record
The first day of action at the 2019 NCAA Division II Champs on March 13 at the IU Natatorium, Indianapolis saw three CARIFTA region nations with the participation of Kael Yorke from Trinidad and Tobago representing University of Indianapolis, Alex Sobers of Barbados representing Emmanuel College and Nico Campbell of Jamaica representing Florida Southern College.
Yorke’s Greyhounds would be the best placed 200 yard medley relay of the morning finishing fifth to advance to the Championship final with a new school record of 1:27.65.
That bettered the old record of 1:28.11 they established in the 2018 Championship when they finished sixth. The 2019 team finished fifth again in the final with a time just below their record breaking morning swim of 1:27.68. Yorke had a butterfly split of 21.81 in the night.Gold went to Queens in a time of 1:25.22.
Sobers’ Lions had a morning heats swim of 1:29.20 .Alex provided an anchor leg of 20.22 .In the consolation final they placed third in a new school record of 1:28.24
They bettered the record they set in a time trial at the 2019 Bluegrass Mountain / Carolinas Conference Championships .
Campbell’s team finished just outside the top 16 with a time of 1:29.76 to place 19th. Nico anchored the team in a time of 20.26. In the individual 50 yard freestyle Campbell placed 42nd in a time of 20.73
Trinidad and Tobago’s Junior Sportsman of the Year for 2018 Kael Yorke has started to make a name for himself in the collegiate ranks with a great debut for the University of Indianapolis at the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships.The competition which was held from Feb 6- 9 at the Crawfordsville Aquatics Center on the campus of Crawfordsville High School saw Yorke setting new personal bests in his main stroke the butterfly.
Before the championships got underway in Indiana Kael’s best time stood at 1:54.74 in the 200 yard butterfly. That was expected to be lowered at the Conference champs and he had a massive time drop in the morning heats to record a new personal best of 1:50.35 (split time 50.94) to be seeded fifth heading into the Championship final. In the final he held back in the opening half of the race to record an almost two second time drop to win Bronze in a time of 1:48.74. Gold went to Matthew Sims of Bellarmine in 1:46.23 and the Silver to Aaron Taske of Missouri S and T in 1:46.88.
Comparison of personal best swims
That medal performance in the 200 yard butterfly was the first for the Greyhounds since 2014.Yorke is also now the third fastest performer in school history.
There would be another podium finish for the 2018 CARIFTA Champion in the 100 and 200 metre butterfly in the 400 yard medley relay. The Greyhounds won Bronze in a close battle for the medals in a time of 3:14.08. The Gold went to Missouri S and T in 3:13.43 and the Silver to McKendree in 3:14.05.
This bettered the Gold medal winning time of 3:14.25 the Greyhounds did in 2018 to before earning the Bronze at the NCAA Division II Championships in a school record of 3:12.53.
In the 100 yard butterfly Kael who majoring in Business Administration and Management with a focus on Pre-Law was just touched out for the Bronze with a new personal best time of 48.39 (split time 22.57). Bronze went to his teammate Berti in 48.23.Gold and Silver were won by Pavel Semochkin (Drury) and Matija Pucarevic (McKendree) in times of 47.25 and 47,65 respectively. Yorke now becomes the third fastest swimmer in the event in programme history.
Competing for the B team Yorke’s Greyhounds topped the relays for those teams in the 200 yard freestyle relay 1:22.44 and 200 yard medley relay events 1:30.44.Kael anchored the freestyle team with the fastest team split of 20.53. For the medley relay he had the fastest butterfly split of B teams with a time of 21.50. In the 100 yard freestyle he placed 20th in 46.04 and 29th in the 50 yard freestyle in a personal best of 21.26.
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Yorke about his expectations coming into the Championship meet
“Going into Conference my main focus was to improve my times from the previous duel meets and improve my times from the House of Champions meet( November 2018) and try to make time for the NCAA Division II Champs.I went in with a full taper and was fully prepared to go and do my best in the events I was signed up for 100 and 200 butterfly 100 and 50 freestyle and relays.Going into my two main events which were the butterfly events I was confident while we were tapering.I was focused on the 100 fly but more so the 200 fly because I started to train for the event more this year than last semester where I mainly focused on the sprint fly.After the House of Champions meet last year I put my focus on the 200 fly .I started doing pace work for fly and longer distances for the butterfly.For the 100 yard butterfly I improved my time and going into the final I just wanted to improve again and it happened that I came fourth which was really good.In the 200 yard butterfly I dropped a lot of time because I only swam it two times before I swam it in my Conference meet.I looked at what I could have improved upon from my preliminary race .I knew could have worked on somethings on my third and fourth 50’s. I worked on it and things worked in my favour and I improved my time again and I got a B time for Nationals”.
The Greyhounds won the Championship amassing 801 points. Kael is currently competing in the Division II championships which got underway today at IU Natatorium, Indianapolis, Indiana.