When Jamaica’s Adrian Grant of the Bolles School spoke to draftingthecaribbean on Tuesday November 13 about his expectations for the 50 yard freestyle at the Florida 1A State high school Championships he said that he wanted to swim 21.6 during the morning heats to make a final and then go as fast as he could in the afternoon. Promise made and promise kept.
During the heats of the 50 yard freestyle at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center on Friday November 16 Grant broke through the 22 seconds barrier and lowered his personal best time of 22.05 from the Regional championships with a 21.58 performance. That enabled Grant to keep his word by making the B Final of the event. Buoyed by the good showing he was even better in the evening .Grant posted a time of 21.51 to win the B final.
This is a major improvement for Grant in the event as in 2017 he had placed 23rd in 22.59.His swim is the best performance by a male Jamaican swimmer in the event since Brian Forte also of the Bolles School swam 22.14 to place third in the B final in 2009.
It is also the fastest time by a Jamaican male swimmer since Brian’s older brother Travis swam 21.88 to place 5th in the 2005 Championship final. This is also the second consecutive B final win for Grant as he had won the 100 yard breaststroke B final in 2017.
Grant would continue his good showing in the 200 yard freestyle relay. This as the Bolles team clocked 1:25.02 to take the Bronze medal. Grant would anchor the team in 21.23.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Grant yesterday
“At States in the morning it was bit cold ,colder than Districts but I did all the necessary things I needed to do such as extra warm up and carry warm apparel to wear. I swam the race pretty well I went 21.58.I believed my stroke rate was a bit slow.That 21.58 placed me 10th and in the B final. I warmed down after that race and focused on recovery after the swim .I came back in the finals and went as fast as I could . I worked on a fast turnover rate as possible while maintaining my efficiency and went 21.51.I would have loved to get the Futures Swimming standard of 21.49 but I am still happy with the swim.In the 200 yard freestyle relay I was the anchor leg swimmer and I went 21.23 from a relay start . The swim itself was decent but in the future I will need to work on my underwaters”.
The Futures Swimming Championships are designed to be a a stepping stone between Sectionals meets and Junior Nationals, allowing those swimmers not qualifying for Junior Nationals to compete in a meet of their own.
Adrian was member of the 2018 CARIFTA 200 metre freestyle relay Bronze medley winning team that set a new 15-17 national record of 1:38.38 in front of a home crowd in Kingston.
The final day of the FINA World Cup tour in Singapore saw lightning striking twice for Jamaica in the 50 metre breaststroke Championship final. The ladies from the land, wood and water were history makers again on Day Two and decided to do it again on the final day of the tour.
In the morning heats of the 50 metre breaststroke Roman and Russia’s Yulia Efimova went head to head .Roman did well against the seasoned European with a personal best time of 31.06. Yulia took the win in a time of 30.42. Alia took the final heat with with a time of 29.96 , the only sub 30 seconds time of the morning qualifiers.
Singapore has been a happy hunting for Atkinson having never lost a 50 metre breaststroke race and in the sensational form she has been in was in no mood to lose that winning record. When the starter’s gun went off it would be as it had been all tour long Alia with the fastest reaction time of 0.64 .It would be a case of “last one fast one” and Alia turned it up again in the final to beat the field by over a second and win in a time of 28.93.Teammate Roman was just off her newly minted personal best with a 5th place performance of 31.41. Silver went to Australian Australian Emily Seebohm in 30.25 and the Bronze went to Russian Vitalina Simonova in 31.11. Efimova was disqualified.
Analysis of the Alia’s performances in Singapore
With the reign of Atkinson and the rise of Roman on the international stage and other female swimmers such as Emily MacDonald,Gabrianna Banks, Bryanna Renuart, Shaun Johnson among others making a name for themselves it would not be be improbable to see Jamaica push for a relay medal at the PAN AM Games .
The second day of the final stop of the FINA World Cup in Singapore saw history being created for Jamaica at the OCBC Aquatic Centre as two Jamaicans made it through to the final of the same event in the women’s 100 metre breaststroke.
In the morning preliminaries it was in the last heat of five in the morning it was Commander Alia Atkinson in lane 4 with First Lieutenant Breanna Roman in Lane 5 .They would have the final say in how the top eight places would be decided for the Championship final. The Commander led the way with a split of 30.80 with Roman just in her wake at 31.80 . Roman put on a final push in the last 50 metres with a split of 35.75 which resulted in both Jamaicans successfully navigating their way to the final in times of 1:07.00 and 1:07.55 respectively. Roman’s effort was a new personal best .
Video of the 100 metre breaststroke heats
As was to be expected the larger the team at international competitions the better the swimmers do with their individual efforts for Jamaica and the region as a whole . The Championship final was yet another example of this. In the final Alia took the early initiative and took the race away from the field with a scorching first 50 metres of 29.87 , the only sub 30 seconds swim of the final. She was also displayed her considerable speed endurance to also have the fastest second 50 metres of the final of 32.87 to punch the clock in 1:02.74 , a World leading time and fourth fastest performance of her career.Atkinson has also put her World record of 1:02.36 which she has done twice in her career on notice.
First 50 metres
Second 50 metres
Roman would have splits of 31.78 and 35.86 to touch in 1:07.74 and be just off her new PB of 1:07.55 to place a creditable 6th in her first Championship final. Silver and Bronze went to the Russian duo of Yulia Efimova and Vitalina Simonova in 1:03.58 and 1:05.53 respectively.
The last time this Jamaican duo were together they joined teammates Trudi -Ann Patrick and Danielle Boothe to set a new Jamaican record in the 400 metre medley record at the 2015 PAN AM Games. Earlier this year in March at Roman’s final collegiate swim for the Auburn Universityat the NCAA Division I Championships she joined Alia as the only female swimmers to have swum under 59.60 in the 100 yard breaststroke.
More history could be in store for tomorrow’s final day of action as both ladies will be competing in the 50 metre breaststroke.
Jamaica’s Gabrianna Banks continued her upward trajectory in swimming with a strong performance at the Florida High School Athletic Association 4A swimming Championships on Saturday Nov 10 at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatics Athletic Center in Stuart Florida. Competing for the Cypress Bay School from Weston Florida.
Competing in her lone individual event the 50 yard freestyle Banks lowered her personal best of 23.88 set in 2017 to 23.67 to make her first ever high school Championship final. She would display even more speed leading off the 200 yard freestyle relay team. Banks stroked her way to a time of 23.53 and helped the team to a time 1:39.04 to make the consolation final.
In the Championship final of the 50 yard freestyle she was again faster than her old PB of 23.88 when she stopped the clock in 23.79 to place 8th. This is the first time a female swimmer from Cypress Bay has made the Championship final of the 50 yard freestyle since Tiffany Oliver accomplished the feat in the 2007-2008 season.
In the B final of the 200 yard freestyle relay Banks rocketed to the fastest opening lead leg of the race of 23.75. That gave her team an advantage of more than a second . That allowed teammates Paige Lane 24.40,Emily Lopez-Diaz 24.84 and Ellie Koch 24.52 to record a total team time of 1:37.51 of more than a second ahead of second placed Countryside. That is also the fastest time recorded by Cypress Bay since the 2006 -2007 team recorded a time of 1:37.79.
Comparison of teams
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Banks she gave her thoughts on her States performance
“I had a really good time at States.Cheering for my teammates and racing my competitors always gives me a sense of motivation. I went a personal best of 23.53.I always love racing with my teammates and relays are always to capture that moment so I was not suprised I was able to go that time. I am very thankful and fortunate to have such a supportive team that will stand together and uphold one another through everything”.
Banks has built quite an impressive resume with relays teams for Jamaica this year. At the UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida this year she along with teammates Shaun Johnson, Jesse Marsh and Nicholas Vale would set a new mixed 200 metre freestyle senior national and 15-17 record of 1:43.70 in a fourth place effort . At the CCCAN Championships in Aruba this past summer with Bryanna Renuart stepping in for Johnson the team would lower that to 1:42.81 for the Bronze medal.
There would also be a record setting performance at CARIFTA in Kingston in the girls 200 metre freestyle relay as Johnson and Banks teamed with Naomi Eaton and Brianna Anderson to win Gold in a new 15-17 age group record of 1:48.42.
Also in Aruba Banks would win the Silver medal in the girls 50 metre freestyle under the PAN AM Games B standard of 27.44. Banks is a member of a strong age group cohort that Jamaica will depend on for leadership and quick times at CARIFTA and CCCAN for 2019 and possibly a PAN AM Games relay berth.
Regional standard bearers Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson and Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter continued to fine tune their preparations for the upcoming World Short course Swim Championships in Hangzhou China with top performances on the final day of the World Cup stop in Tokyo Japan.
Atkinson maintained her scintillating form with another world breaking performance in the 50 metre breaststroke.After the morning preliminaries Yulia Efimova from Russia would be the top seed with an effort of 30.23 followed by Atkinson in 30.30. It would not be a time that would be of concern to Atkinson as she had been sub 30 seconds for her split in the 100 metre event. In the Championship final of the 100 Efimova had matched Alia’s reaction time at the start .This time Commander would not yield any quarter . Her reaction to the gun was 0.64 to the Russian’s 0.68. With an advantage already from the gun and her underwater work impeccable alleyes would now be on the time Atkinson would produce as that was the same reaction time she produced to set the world record in Hungary and this pool was the site of her World record performance in 2016. With the field well beaten she stopped the clock in 28.95 , just off her world record but continuing to dominate the all time rankings in the event. Efimova placed second with a time of 29.56 and Australian Emily Seebohm taking the Bronze in 29.99.
Also put on notice was the national record in the 100 metre butterfly as Atkinson put up a time of 57.79 (split time 27.17) to make the Championship final in the event. In the final she produced a time of 58.90 to place eighth overall.
Dylan Carter continues to make this debut tour stop a very successful one for himself , the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the entire region by qualifying for two Championship finals.
In the heats of the 50 metre butterfly he rattled his national record of 22.53 when he led the qualifiers to the final with a time of 22.66. That was the second fastest time Carter has ever recorded in the event. He would replicate that time in the final and finish 4th overall. The Gold went to man of the moment Russian Vladimir Morozov in 22.29, Silver to American sprint sensation Michael Andrew in 22.39 and the Bronze to 2016 World Championship finalist Takeshi Kawamoto in 22.60. At the 2016 world Championships Carter had placed seventh in 22.68. This performance puts Dylan on steady bearing for an even faster performance in China next month.
His second Championship final would be in the 200 metre freestyle. In qualification he would put in the third fastest performance in his life of 1:44.44 (split time 50.92). In the final he posted a time of 1:48.42.This is another event that could see his national record and unofficial CCCAN region best of 1:42.48 that being on borrowed time.
Cuba’s Elisbet Matos turned in another good performance in the 100 metre freestyle. She placed 24th overall .She registered a time of 55.26( split time 26.90).
The second day of the Tokyo leg of the FINA World Cup was another successful day for the Caribbean at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center with Commander Alia Atkinson leading the way with yet another breaststroke Gold, Dylan Carter shattering his national backstroke record and recording the best ever time form the CCCAN region and Elisbet Matos swimming under 2 mins in the 200 metre freestyle.
Alia Atkinson , world record holder in the 100 metre breaststroke was back at her irrepressible best in the championship final of the event.The race was always going to be a battle between Atkinson and her Russian rival Yulia Efimova. With the sounding of the starter’s gun it was an identical reaction time between Alia and Yulia with both registering a response of 0.67. That would be where the similarities would end. Atkinson known for her excellent underwater work displayed that and took the early advantage. It would be a lead she would not lose as she took the first half of the race out in 29.67 shadowed by Efimova in 29.78. There would be no waning of strength on the second 50 metres as Alia outsplit the field again with a time of 33.42 to win a time of 1:03.09. This her second consecutive win in the event this season.
Video courtesy of FINA
Yulia won the Silver in a time of 1:03.42. The Bronze went to Siobahn O’Connor who clocked 1:05.07. Atkinson took out the race in her fastest split for the season and still had the speed endurance to take the win which augurs well for the defence of her title at the World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou China from Dec 11 to 18.
When Dylan Carter flew into Tokyo his nation’s national record for the 50 metre backstroke stood at 25.14 held by Jeron Thompson.That time would be committed to the pages of history as he lowered the Republic’s national record as well as the unofficial CCCAN record to become the first from the region under 24 seconds in the event with a clocking of 23.73.
He bettered the CCCAN best of 24.32 set by another icon from the region Rodolfo Falcon of Cuba.Falcon had set that time on Mar 17,2000 when he won the Bronze medal in the event at the World Championships in Athens Greece. Carter’s newly minted standard from the heats would get the same record breaking treatment in the Championship final as he placed fourth in a time of 23.43.
The Gold went to Jiayu Xu of China in 22.87. The silver to American Michael Andrew in 23.17 and Japanese Takeshi Kawamoto in 23.36. Carter’s time would have made the World Championship final in event in every edition from 2000.
There would be another Championship final for Carter as he qualified for the final of the 100 metre freestyle with a time of with a time of 48.06 (split time 23.08). In that final he would place 5th in a time of 47.75( split time 22,79) .Carter had the fastest reaction time of the field of 0.59 of a second.
The race was won by Russian Vladimir Morozov in 45.16,in yet another World Cup record, Silver to Australian Kyle Chalmers in 45.78 and the Bronze to American Blake Pieroni in 46.79.
Cuba’s Elisbet Matos remains on pace for good performances at the upcoming World Championships with her performance in the 200 metre freestyle.She recorded a time of 1:58.80. At the last edition of the Championship in 2016 she had placed 30th in a time of 2:01.08.
The nations of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba were well represented on the first day of the Tokyo leg of the 2018 FINA World Cup tour. They were represented by Alia Atkinson, Dylan Carter and Elisbet Matos respectively.
Atkinson again set a season best time in the 100 metre individual medley. She recorded her best time outside of a World Short Course Championships when she recorded 58.96 in the heats of the event. In the final she would return to place 6th in the Championship final. Gold went to World record holder Hungarian Katinka Hosszu in
Comparison of best in season times
First 50 metres
Second 50 metres
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago saw their return to the World Cup tour since the legendary George Bovell III swam his last race in November 2014 at the Singapore stop when Dylan Carter lined up behind the blocks in the 50 metre freestyle and 100 metre individual medley. It would not be an easy path to the Championship final of the freestyle. After the morning heats Carter was in a dead heat with New Zealand’s Daniel Hunter as they recorded identical times of 21.93 for 8th place. Dylan would win the swim off 21.85 to 21.95. In the final he would place 6th in a time of 21.68 .
The race was won by a fellow University of Southern California alum Vladimir Morozov in a World Cup record time of 20.49. Second went American sprint sensation Michael Andrew in 21.05 and the Bronze to Australian Olympic Champion Kyle Chalmers in 21.09.
Dylan would just be off the pace in the medley as he touched in a time of 54.02 ( split time 24.34) for 13th overall. The race went to Morozov in a new World Record of 51.26 , more than a second ahead of the field.
Cuba’s Matos would record time of 4:08.86( split time 2:03.03) to qualify for the Championship final in the 400 metre freestyle . She was not that fast in the final and placed eighth in a time of 4:15.47. The race was won by Dutch swimmer Femke Heemskerk in a time of 4:01.29.