The 2018 CCCAN swimming championships in Aruba got off to a great start for Team Jamaica on Friday June 29 with national record swims in the mixed 200 metre freestyle relay team in the 15-17 and 13-14 age groups.
The 15-17 relay team of Nicholas Vale, Jesse Marsh,Bryanna Renuart and Gabrianna Banks took the Bronze in 1:42.81 in a very close affair where the top four finishers were within a second of each other.
Gold was won by Colombia in 1:42.20 and Silver went to Bermuda in 1:42.52. The old 15-17 record and senior national record stood to the 2018 UANA team of Shaun Johnson,Marsh, Banks and Vale that clocked 1:43.70 in Coral Springs Florida on Jan 21.
There would be a new 13-14 mixed 200 freestyle relay record established as the team of Nathaniel Thomas (25.52 ), Rin Gyles 26.35, Sabrina Lyn (28.16) and Emily MacDonald (26.75) had a total time of 1:46.78 to win the Bronze medal. Gold went to Bermuda in 1:45.04 and Silver The Bahamas in 1:45.70.
It would be fourth place for the 11-12 mixed 200 metre freestyle relay team of Safiya Officer,Adrian Balfour, Jaedon Lynch and Aliyah Heaven. They stopped the clock in a time of 1:53.95,Splits 28.87,27.61,28.48 and 28.89.
Jordane Payne placed 10th in the 15-17 1500 metre freestyle in a time of 18:42.29.Naomi Eaton placed 8th in the 15-17 800 metre freestyle in a personal best of 10:05.82
Albury Higgs marked a decade of being unbeaten at the Bahamian national championships with a senior national record breaking swim in the 100 metre breaststroke.
Entering the 2018 REV National Swimming Championships it was expected to be a great race between the teammates of the former teammates at Swift Swimming Albury , her sister Lilly and Laura Morley now representing Makos.
All three young ladies will be competing in the NCAA Division I this September as Lilly will be an incoming freshman at the University of North Carolina. Older sister Albury attends the University of South Carolina and Laura ,Indiana University. The trio also formed integral components of the CARIFTA 15-17 100 metre breaststroke fortress as The Bahamas has not lost that race at the annual regional Championships since 2014.
Going into the Championship final on June 19 Lilly held the national record with her swim at the 2017 World Junior Swimming Championships with a time of 1:11.18 (split time 33.89).Laura’s personal best stood at 1:11.46 (split time 33.92) from the 2017 Arena Pro Swim Series – Indianapolis. Albury had a best of 1:12.06 (split time 34.01) from the 2017 Charlotte UltraSwim.All three at one point in their career held the national standard.
NATIONAL RECORD PROGRESSION
When the gun sounded it was Lilly and Laura who attacked the race with splits of 33.66 and 34.84 respectively with Albury seemingly out the picture with a first 50 metres of 36.65. It was at the turn that Albury brought the fire to the race. She uncorked a split of 34.52 to take charge of the race and take her tenth consecutive Gold medal in a new national record of 1:11.17.
Sister Lilly touched 1:12.95 for Silver and Morley 1:13.07 for the Bronze.
DECADE OF GOLD MEDALS
15 and over
15 and over
15 and over
15 and over
That time would have won the Bronze medal at the 2014 CAC Games. Albury would had actually competed in that Championship final in Mexico was fifth in 1:14.06 which shows the progress she has made in the last four years. She also falls just short of the automatic qualifying standard 0F 1:11.11for the 2019 PAN AM Games to be held in Lima Peru. She is also closing in on the 2018 Hangzhou China World Short Course Swimming Championships and 2019 Gwangju Korea World Championships B standard of 1:09.79. That swim also saw her doing the breaststroke national record double as she also set the 200 metre breaststroke standard earlier in the competition.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Higgs she spoke about her race strategy
“I was pleasantly surprised when I went a personal best and broke the national record in the 100 breast. I knew I couldn’t swim all out on the first 50, so I swam my race plan and it went well!”.
One swimmer who will be good form and one of the stars to watch at the upcoming Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla Colombia will be Curaçao’s Chadé Nercisio . At the recently concluded 2018 Michael Lohberg Invitational held in Coral Springs Florida Nercisio lowered her country’s national record in the 50 metre butterfly and 50 metre backstroke. Already the fastest age group 50 metre butterflier the CARIFTA region has ever produced with a time of 27.55 she reaffirmed her position with record breaking exploits in Florida.
On Sunday June 17 the East Coast Aquatics Swimmer showed her hand in the morning preliminaries of what was to be expected in the Championship final when she put down a marker of 27.90. That was the third fastest time of her career and the fourth time under the 28 seconds barrier.
In the final of the 15 and over event she brought the heat and powered her way to a new PB, Age Group Record and Senior National record of 27.47. She won by more than half a second and it brings her closer to the 2018 Hangzhou China World Short Course Championships and the 2019 Gwangju , Korea World Long Course Championships B time of 27.26.Her time would have also won her the Bronze medal at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz Mexico.
Winning the Silver was her teammate Madison Cummings who was timed in 28.02 PB and the Bronze went to Azura Florida Aquatics Patricia Casellas 28.60. Patricia recorded a PB of 28.56 in the heats.
Earlier at the meet she recorded national records in both the heats and final of the 50 metre backstroke as she clocked times of 31.07 and 30.32 .That was a big time drop from her previous personal best and national record of 32.32 that she recorded in the heats of the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming championships in The Bahamas. It would be another one two punch by the East Coast Aquatics Team as Cummings again took silver this time in 31.07. Bronze went to Solana Capalbo in a time of 31.62.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Nercisio she gave her thoughts about training heading into the competition and if she expecting those records
“Training has been really hard since summer started So no I was definitely not expecting those records. As a matter of fact i didn’t know they were records I just knew I dropped time”.
There were a number of breakthrough performances at the 2018 REV National swimming championships in Nassau last weekend and Plymouth Leander based Victoria Russell was determined to be counted among the elite at the competition.Russell performances have been on an upward trajectory as evidenced by her making her first international final in the 100 metre breaststroke at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games
Boasting a personal best of 28.93 at the start of the meet in the 50 metre butterfly Victoria qualified easily with the top time of 29.47. Later on in the Championship final on Sunday June 17 she would step up the standard of her swimming to another level. The Championship final would see Russell, who swam under the Alpha Aquatics banner, breaking the 28 seconds barrier to post a new personal standard of just over a second as she stopped the clock in a time of 27.92.
With the retirement of the legendary regional swimmer and Olympian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016) that puts Victoria as the fastest Bahamian in the event.It would also have placed her fifth at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz Mexico. She would win a complete set of medals at the Championships and Personal best trifecta .This as she won Silver in the 50 metre freestyle in a personal best of 26.95 and Bronze in the 100 metre freestyle in yet another personal best time of 1:01.15.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Russell on June 21 she spoke about training before Nationals and her impressions of her performances
“I swim for Plymouth Leander in England under the coaching of Coach Robin Armayan. I train approximately twenty hours a week to include swimming and gym work. I only entered three races at Nationals because I have CCCAN coming up in nine days. At the Bahamian National Swimming Championships I made a personal best time in the 50 metre butterfly and surpassed the Youth Olympic A qualifying cut. Going into the race I felt relaxed and comfortable knowing that I had the support of a large home crowd rooting for me to swim my best. I also achieved a personal best in the 50 metre freestyle breaking 27 seconds for the first time, with a time of 26.95”.
When Lamar Taylor had been disqualified in the Championship final in the boys 13-14 50 metre freestyle at the 2017 CCCAN Championships after qualifying with a time of 25.18 in July he told draftingthecaribbean would be using that moment as inspiration to be even faster . Less than than a year later he has been true to his word by breaking the national record in the 50 metre freestyle and closing in on being the fastest 13-14 swimmer from the English speaking CARIFTA region OF all time.
Since last summer the Freeport Aquatics swimmer has blazed a trail to become the fastest regional swimmer this season in the 13-14 age category. At the inaugural UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida he was the top CARIFTA swimmer as he won Silver in a time of 24.57, the Gold went to Mexican Victor Salcedo Carrillo who out touched him with a 24.56.
At the CARIFTA Championships in Kingston Jamaica he took the Gold medal in a then personal best of 24.27 . He took the title convincingly as he was more than half a second ahead of the field . In that race he was just short of the national and CARIFTA record of 24.25 set by countryman Izaak Bastian.
At the 2018 Rev national he would make no mistake as he clocked a new PB, Championship record and age group national record of 24.06. In the final he was in scintillating form as he took the title in a time of 23.79. Lowered in the process was the Bastian’s 2016 meet record of 24.56.
The next milestone is getting past the 23.77 of Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany which stands as the fastest performance by a 13-14 swimmer from the English speaking CARIFTA region.
Already the top seed in the race for the upcoming CCCAN Championships in Aruba he is now faster the meet record of 24.10 held by Venezuela’s Olympian Crox Acuña (Beijing 2008 and London 2012).
50 metre freestyle
DQ 25.18 heats
24.57 Silver *
The national age group record in the 100 metre freestyle would not be spared as it went down as well. In the heats of the event he had splits of 26.24 and 27.72 for a total time of 53.96 to go under 54 seconds for the first time. The old national and Championship record of 54.25 had belonged to Kevon Lockhart. In the final he even split the race 27.60 and 27.51 to win in a time of 55.11.
The 200 metre freestyle saw another easy win for Taylor as he took Gold in 2:03.33 (split time 1:00.47) to be just outside the Championship record of 2:03.28 by John Bradley .
Swimming for exhibition he broke the 50 metre butterfly meet record and age group record of 26.16 and 26.18 respectively by Bastian with a blast of 26.09. His club mate Rommel Ferguson would lower that in the final with time of 25.98.
The 100 metre butterfly final would be a battle between the clubmates. Ferguson struck the first blow when he went out to a lead of 28.52 to Taylor’s 29.97. But in great display of negative splitting Lamar had the only sub 30 seconds split of 29.75 to lead his teammate to the wall 59.75 to 59.95. That would be the first time under the 1 minute mark for both swimmers.
100 metre butterfly
The sprint back stroke events the 50 and 100 metres saw him winning Gold in 28.05 and 1:01.57 respectively.
50 metre backstroke
The 100 metre backstroke effort lowered the Championship record of 1:01.82 held by DaVante Carey. A sub minute performance in the event could be on the cards for Lamar as his splits at CARIFTA and REV nationals suggest that he could be much faster
CARIFTA 30.94 and 30.47 Gold 1:01.41
Rev Nationals 30.11 and 31.46 Gold 1:01.57.
The 1999 national record of 1:00.82 is held by Olympian Chris Vythoulkas (Athens 2004) .
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Lamar he gave us his impression of nationals
“I feel really good about breaking the national records. I came to Nationals with the goals of setting the national marks in the 50 and the 100 freestyle and if I was lucky even more. It felt amazing to go 53 in the heats of the 100 metre freestyle. After my DQ in the 200 individual medley I felt I had to play it safe and that caused me to slow down a lot.So I just came up early (before the 15 metre mark and played it safe). In the 50 metre freestyle I knew that people were watching me on the 15 metre mark so in the heats I popped up early and went as fast as I could. In the final I stayed down a little longer and came up right before the 15 metre. I felt really good about the time and how I broke the record. In my mind during training for Nationals my goals were to better all my times and go under 24 and 54 for my 50 and 100 freestyle. I do have to say I was a little disappointed with my 50 freestyle time as I wanted to get the Youth Olympics Games A cut of 23.56″.
The future of swimming in The Bahamas continues to look bright as seen in the performances of the competitors at the 2018 REV National Swimming Championships which ran June 16-19. One of the top swimmers at the Championships was Nigel Forbes of the Tritons . He won Seven Gold medals in the 11-12 age group while setting new national marks in four events and lowering the Championship record in five races.
In his first race he lowered the meet record in the 200 metre breaststroke with a swim of 2:39.42 . That bettered the old mark of 2:41.45 set by Olympian Dustin Tynes (Rio 2016).He is now within reach of the 2014 national record of 2:38.61 set by local and regional star Izaak Bastian
200 metre breaststroke
In the 100 metre butterfly he dismissed the competition by more than seven seconds to land Gold in a new Personal best of 1:03.27. That broke the 2007 championship record of 1:03.79 set by Evante Gibson in 2007. It also brings him closer to the national record of 1:02.83 set by Samuel Gibson in 2014 . His newly minted PB would also move him from the second seed to the number one swimmer at the upcoming CCCAN Championships in Aruba . The CCCAN Championship record stands at 1:01.83.
100 metre butterfly
His next event , the 400 metre IM he was equally as dismissive as he was more than 20 seconds ahead of the competition as he took Gold in a new Championship and national record time of 5:18.05.He owned the old national record of 5:20.46 which he set in April of this year and the meet record of 5:26.52 was set by Kevon Lockhart in 2015.
The 50 metre butterfly saw him putting on an excellent display of sprinting in both the heats and the finals. The morning preliminaries saw him lowering his personal best and the Championship record of 28.28 held by DaVante Carey and Ian Pinder when they tied for Gold in 2015. The final saw him getting past the another 2007 Gibson national record of 27.77 with a blistering 27.67. That reaffirmed his favourite’s tag and number one seeding for CCCAN. It also brings him within touching distance of being the fastest 11-12 English speaking CARIFTA region swimmer in the event. That accolade belongs to Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympian Dylan Carter (Rio 2016) with his 27.34 blast from 2009.The CCCAN record is 27.30.
50 metre butterfly
28.68 Bronze *
*Top CARIFTA region swimmer
The 200 metre butterfly was the only event he did not set a record in it.He took the title by over 10 seconds stopping the clock in 2:28.42.
Regular service however resumed in the 50 metre breaststroke as he lowered his personal best from 33.74 to 33.34 in the heats. Clearly he had a lot more in the tank as he was in scorching form in the final .He broke the meet and national record of 32.94 regional standout Izaak Bastian with a 32.54 clocking besting the field by over four seconds. He again is the number one seed for CCCAN where the meet record stands at 32.42.
50 metre breaststroke
When draftingthecaribbean contacted him on June 18 he spoke his national record breaking swims in the 50 metre butterfly and 50 metre breaststroke
“It feels good .I know I have been training hard to get these records and now I have finally broken them”.
For his final record breaking act Forbes again lowered his personal best of 1:14.90 to 1:14.40 in the morning heats of the 100 metre breaststroke.The final saw him blasting away the Championship record 1:13.67 (Bastian 2014) and national record 1:12.26 (Tynes 2009) with a time of 1:12.24 split time 33.58. As the clear favourite and top seed in the event he is in reach of the CCCAN record of 1:12.18
Days 2 and 3 of the 2018 REV National Swimming Championships at the Betty Kelly-Kenning Aquatic Centre saw Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016) setting a new national record in the 200 individual medley and winning her fifth straight 200 metre freestyle senior title all in 2019 PAN AM Games automatic qualifying times.
The 200 metre individual medley contested on Monday saw Joanna Evans unattached taking out the race faster than her former teammates at the now defunct Swift Swimming Club sister Albury and Lilly Higgs unattached and Laura Morley Makos. Her former clubmates are national record holders in the breaststroke and would make the challenge on their favoured stroke in the medley. With a split of 1:05.98 at the half way mark and her country women splitting 1:09’s the expected push came . This as they out split her on that section of the race as their splits were Albury 38.69,Laura 39.33 and Lilly 39.78.Joanna was timed at 40.55. But they would not overcome her early advantage as she won the race in a new personal best and national record time of 2:18.10.
That bettered the 2011 Championship record of 2:20.11 by McKayla Lightbourn, a standout for Florida State University . It was also faster than Lightbourn’s national record of 2:19.72 set March 12,2011.Joanna’s Gold medal swim was also faster than the PAN AM A time of 2:19.99 and Evans’ old PB of 2:20.71 when she won the crown in 2017 .
Personal bests were recorded by the Silver and Bronze medallists Albury Higgs and Morley with times of 2:21.50 and 2:21.72 . Lilly Higgs finished fourth in a time of 2:24.15. That trio were well under the PAN AM B time of 2:28.92.
The 200 metre freestyle saw the University of Texas standout winning her fifth consecutive senior crown .She just missed her Championship meet record of 2:01.62 set at the 2016 edition of the national championships. She would however be well under the PAN Am A qualifying mark of 2:03.55.
At the CAC 2014 Games in Mexico Evans placed seventh in the 200 metre freestyle in 2:04.07. Her national record in the event currently stands at 1:59.19 which is faster than the current Games record of 2:00.19 by Costa Rican Olympian Claudia Poll (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004).
Silver went to Laura Morley who stopped the clock in 2:09.45 .The Bronze was won by Lilly in 2:09.49. Both swimmers were under the PAN AM B time of 2:10.96.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Evans yesterday she gave her thoughts about training heading into the Championships
“Basically I took a break after the Commonwealth Games and I have been trying to get back to where I want to be.I did not rest coming into the Championships so I am happy with swims. It is a nice prep for the CAC Games in a few weeks’ time”.