Members of Jamaica’s team to the 2016 and 2014 World Short Course Swim Championships got 2018 off to solid starts for 2018

Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Justin Plaschka, who competed in Windsor in 2016, represents Notre Dame in the NCAA Division I, travelled to Iowa for a meet against Iowa on Jan 12 and 13. Justin recorded individual wins in the 50 yard freestyle in 20.16 under the NCAA B time of 20.19, 100 yard butterfly 48.90 .In the 200 yard medley relay the Fighting Irish finished second in a time of 1:29.01 Justin contributed a 20.82 butterfly leg. He had second place finishes in the 400 yard medley relay 3:18.09 and his butterfly split was 49.09,400 2:59.07 and 200 1:20.87 yard freestyle relays. On the freestyle relay teams he led off the team with splits of 20.47 and 44.54. Notre Dame beat Iowa 187-113.

Kelsie 2018.PNG

His teammate in 2016 Kelsie Campbell who represents Florida International University also in Division I was in action on Jan 5 at her home pool at the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Center . She had her top performance in the 50 yard butterfly where she touched in 27.32. Kelsie would record other top ten performances in the 100 yard butterfly 59.17 fourth place and the 50 yard backstroke 27.60 sixth. She would place 14th in the 100 yard individual medley in 1:04.09. FIU would top the 11 strong women’s field with 756 points.

Nico Campbell 2018
Nico Campbell Photo courtesy of

Nico Campbell who represented the country at the 2014 Doha World Championships had back to back dual meets against Emory and Nova Southeastern on Jan 12 and 13 respectively for his Division II Florida Southern College. Against Emory Nico won the 100 yard freestyle in 46.29.He was runner up in the 50 yard freestyle in 21.36. He was also a member of the 200 yard freestyle relay team that place 2nd in 1:25.56. On the following day his 200 yard medley relay won in 1:33.56 against Nova. Nico anchored the team with 20.99 freestyle leg. On the 200 yard freestyle relay he led off with a 21.76 as his A team placed second in 1:25.80.  He would also finished second in the 100 freestyle in 46.53.The 50 yard freestyle saw him finishing third in 21.57. Florida Southern won both contests turning back 131 to 74 Nova 134 to 128.



Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Jamaica’s fastest ever sprinter Justin Plaschka continues to etch his name further in the nation’s swimming history books. Already the quickest swimmer in short course yards (25 yards), short course metres (25 metres) and the long course pool (50 metres) he continues to solidify his top spot by recording the top time ever done by a Jamaican in all the meets he competes in. That trend started in his first meet, the 2015 CCCAN Championships in Barbados and continued at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming championships in The Bahamas and the 2016 World short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada. The 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest would just be a continuation of his hot streak.

He stroked his way to a time of 22.93 to place 49th overall. That performance is the fastest Jamaican time ever done at the World Championships. That bettered the 23.87 set by Brad Hamilton at the 2009 Rome Championships. The swim also marks the first time a Jamaican man has broken into the top 50 since 1994.  Justin also ranks as the fastest CARIFTA swimmer in Budapest and the 4th fastest amongst CCCAN sprinters

Justin Plaschka
Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Plaschka today and he gave his impressions on his performance and the Championship overall

“I was a little disappointed to not go a personal best but overall I executed my race strategy pretty well and was happy with that. My start wasn’t great which could have cost me a few tenths but other than that I could not complain. It was just an amazing experience to get to compete at world championships and all the experience it gave me is only going to help me hopefully in my future meets”.


Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Jamaica’s Justin Plaschka got the proceedings for the three man swim Jamaica contingent underway at the 2017 FINA World Swimming Championships being held in Budapest Hungary from Sunday July 23 to Sunday July 30th when he competed in the Men’s 50 metre butterfly.


Justin who is the national record holder in the event with a time of 24.21 clocked a season best’s time of 24.63 to place 41st overall. That placed him as the second fastest person from the CCCAN region behind Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter who posted a time of 23.73.

Brad and Alia
Brad Hamilton and Alia Atkinson Photos courtesy of swimming world magazine and Getty images

Justin’s time ranks him as the fastest ever Jamaican to compete at the Long Course World Championships bettering the 25. 68 recorded by former national record holder Brad Hamilton at the 2009 World Championship. His performance also puts him as the best placed Jamaican man by passing Hamilton’s 77th placing at the 2005 Montreal Championship. He is also the best placed Jamaican ever in the event as the previous highest ranking was 46th by Olympian Alia Atkinson (2004,2008, 2012 ,2016) at the  same competition.

Justin Nov
Justin Plaschka Photo Courtesy of

Plaschka gave his thoughts on second senior international Championship following his debut at the 2016 World Short Course Championships held in Windsor Canada in December

I was relatively happy with my times considering my circumstances. My flights were all delayed yesterday so I did not arrive in Budapest until 2:30 in the morning. I was very tired and getting my accreditation took longer than expected so I did not have a lot of time to warm up. I know that they are things that happen and I was glad I was able to stay as composed under the pressure and compete as I did. I know it will be much better in the 50 free. In terms of being at worlds I’m just extremely happy for the opportunity to be here and get to race and racing at the highest level is giving me more and more experience every time”.

The swim team is completed by Coach Chris Anderson, swimmer Michael Gunning who will be competing in the 200 metre freestyle and 200 metre butterfly. The full Aquatics delegation includes diver Olympian Yona Knight –Wisdom (2016).




Christopher Courtis
Christopher Courtis Photo courtesy of

The 3rd day of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada saw a number of Barbados swimming records threatened by Chris Courtis, Danielle Titus and Alex Sobers.


On Thursday Dec 8 Courtis swam 24.94 in the morning heats of the 50 metre backstroke to place 36th . That swim just missed his senior national record of 24.79 set this Feb. Courtis was also the highest ranked Caribbean swimmer in the event. It also betters the best time by Barbadian man in the event since 2000. The previous best time was 25.71 by Nicky Neckles at the 2002 Moscow Championships.

13-14 50 backstroke champion and senior natior record holder Danielle Titus of Barbados
Danielle Titus 

Danielle Titus also put the senior national record in the 200 metre backstroke record on notice while also just missing the 13-14 age group mark. The senior national mark of 2:21.08 by Lee Ann Rose and the 13-14 age group record of 2:21.18 by Amara Gibbs barely survived. This as Titus touched in a time of 2:22.76 (split time 1:08.99). However it was the best time and placing by a Barbadian woman at these Championships. The previous best was 2:24.22 and 43rd  by Deandre Small in  2014 in Doha.

Alex Sobers CISC Gold
Alex Sobers 

Teammate Alex Sobers was just off the 15-17 50 metre freestyle record when he clocked 23.50 for 72nd . The record stands at 23.32 set Christian Selby in 2014.He beat the best time by a Barbadian in the event since 2000 when he bettered the 24.98 he did in Doha. Sobers is the now best placed Barbadian man in the event .He betters the 80th plac showing by Andrew Jones from the 2006 Championships in China


alex Barbados Aquatic Centre
Alex Sobers Photo courtesy of Barbados Aquatic Centre

The 2nd day of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada saw Alex Sobers of Barbados just missing the senior national and 15-17 record in the 200 metre freestyle.


Swimming in the heats of the event on Dec 7 Sobers stopped the clock in a time of 1:49.69 (split time 53.27) . That performance put him just outside of the 2001 record of 1:48.98 by Damian Alleyne. However it was the best time by a Barbadian male swimmer at the World championships since 2000. The previous best  time was by national record holder Damian Alleyne who clocked 1:51.38 at the 2002 Moscow Championships. Speaking after the swim Alex said

“ I felt really good entering the 200 free knowing that I was really close to the national record .I was a little disappointed after the race because I didn’t break the record but I was still pleased that I won my heat and did a best time”.

Teammates Lani Cabrera and McKayla Treasure competed in the heats of the 100 metre freestyle. They had times of 1:00.69 (split time 29.20) and 1:01.12 (split time 29.34).


Lauren Hew Photo courtesy of

Lauren Hew’s record breaking streak continued on Day 5 of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada. On Saturday Dec 10 Hew became the first Cayman Islands woman to go below 27 seconds in the 50 metre freestyle.


Lauren set a new mark of 26.49 lowering her own record 27.14 done at the Island Games in July 2015. That swim placed her joint 52nd with Izzy Joachim of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It also betters her Cayman Islands top placing and time at the World Championships of 65th and 27.19 done at the 2014 Doha Championships. After the race Lauren said

“I enjoyed my final race because 50 free isn’t one of my main events but I always have fun with it and just see how fast I can go. It was great to finish with another record and I’m happy that I could be the first to break the 27 second barrier for other Caymanian girls to chase after”.

That swim marked the 5th senior national record Hew broke at the World Championships. The other standards were set in the 100 and 200 metre freestyle and the 50 and 100 metre backstroke.

Compatriot Alison Jackson came close to lowering her own 13-14 age group record of 27.01.Jackson hit the pads in a time of 27.13 to place 68th marginally off the mark she set in Feb of this year. Her thoughts afterwards were as follows

“Even though this meet isn’t what I wanted I had a great time watching professional swimmers compete, break world records and experience the competitive atmosphere”.

Countryman Alex McCallum raced in the heats of the 100 metre freestyle. He stopped the clock in a time of 52.20 (split time 24.91). Speaking afterwards Alex said

“I was extremely happy with how I ended my races and my first world championships as a whole. I was able to get best times in every event and it was a good experience seeing old friends and meeting new people”.

Team Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands contingent ended the Championships with 5 new senior national records , 1 age group record and more than 12 personal bests times recorded.


Lauren Hew Photo courtesy of

On day 4 of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada Lauren Hew completed the sprint backstroke record double.


Hew had already established anew mark in the 100 metre backstroke by edging Lara Butler’s mark of 1:03.36 to 1:03.35. In the 50 metre event she would lift the standard of swimming from the Cayman Islands by lowering her own personal best and national record of 29.82. In the morning heats Lauren had the 7th fastest reaction time of 0.56 of the 81 competitors that assisted greatly in producing a time of 28.86 to place 42nd  .That performance bettered the old record by almost a second .In the process she bettered  her own Cayman Islands best placing and time at the World Championships of 29.82 and  43rd .Lauren was also the highest placed Caribbean swimmer at the competition. Her performance also moves the Cayman Islands to 4th fastest English speaking national record in the event as seen in the table below.


Rank Country Name Time
1 Jamaica Alia Atkinson 27.37
2 Bermuda Kiera Aitken 27.72
3 Bahamas Alana Dillette 28.36
4 Cayman Islands Lauren Hew 28.86
5 Trinidad and Tobago Kristin Julien 28.87

Speaking after her record performance Hew said

“My backstroke start and finish didn’t go how I planned however, I was still happy with my time in the race but I know with fine tuning I could have been faster. 50 back is always a fun race especially in such a nice pool that is deep enough and has the backstroke ledge”.

Alison Jackson in her debut World Short Course Swimming championships was 63rd in the event in a time of 31.25.  Her thoughts about her swim were as follows

“50 back is always exciting to swim, even though I was only slightly under my personal best I was happy with my time. It wasn’t what I hoping for but it’s still an improvement”.