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 breatststroke 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.
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.
The 2018 Dean Martin Memorial swim promised to be an exciting three days of swimming action and the first session held at the National Aquatic Centre did not disappoint. Leading the way on night one of action was young sensation from the Camana Bay Aquatics Club from the Cayman Islands Jillian Crooks.
Her last competitive outing saw her smashing eight national records including a senior national record in the 25 metre pool. The question now was could she transfer her short course form to the big pool (50 metre ) .Question asked Answer EASILY.
In her very first event the 100 metre backstroke she produced a new PB, meet record and 11-12 Cayman national record swim and the fastest time ever swum by an 11-12 girl in Jamaica of 1:08.40. That was the only sub 1:10 swim of the day and also the fastest female performance ever at meet. With splits of 33.43 and 35.95 Jillian proved herself a class a part.
She has also shown much improvement as the youngest swimmer in the Championship final of this event at CARIFTA in Kingston earlier this year she had placed 5th in 1:15.71. The old national record of 1:10.45 has already belonged to Jillian from her CCCAN Silver medal winning performance. The old meet record belonged to Jamaican age group star Angara Sinclair at 1:14.97.The previous fastest ever mark by an 11-12 girl was held by Trinidad and Tobago’s Tyla Martin who won Gold in that age group at CARIFTA 2010
In her next race on the night she would destroy another Cayman 11-12 age group record in the 200 metre individual medley. At the 2018 CCCAN Championships in Aruba she won the Silver medal in a time of 2:36.70. After she swum the race it would become part of history as she clocked the only sub 2:40 time time on the night and the fastest ever female performance at the meet of 2:34.88. The old 11-12 record of 2:42.65 belonged to another Jamaican age group star Victoria Ho. An aggressive opening butterfly leg changed the course of the race and allowed her to win easily.
Second in the 11-12 age group was Jamaican age group star and 2018 CCCAN Bronze medallist in the event Morgan Cogle of Jupiter Dragons who stopped the clock in 2:43.81.
There would be another quality performance in the 11-12 age group as CARIFTA’s top 11-12 male swimmer Zarek Wilson of Blue Dolphins of Trinidad and Tobago won the 1500 metre freestyle in 18:24.66 . That shattered the previous fastest 1500 metre freestyle of 18:51.65 set by Zachary Moore of the Stingrays Swim Club in 2015. He also produced the fastest time across all age groups on the night.He would also set a new mark in the 11-12 200 metre individual medley as he became the first 11-12 swimmer under 2:30 seconds at the meet with a top age group time of 2:28.86
Jamaica’s first CCCAN open water medallist Daniel Mair of the Tornadoes Swim Club dropped more than 10 seconds to place second overall in the 11-12 age group with a time of 19:04.69.
Jamaica’s 2018 15-17 CARIFTA Championship Gold Medallist in the 200 metre freestyle Britney Williams lowered the 15-16 age group meet record in the 100 metre backstroke.The Swimaz aquatics athlete touched the wall in a time of 1:15.16 .That bettered the old meet record held by Angara Sinclair of 1:16.01.
There would be an exciting battle in the 15-16 10 metre backstroke as Kyle Sinclair of the Y Speedos and and a member of the 15-17 2018 CARIFTA 200 freestyle team that set the Jamaican age group record in the event and Jordan Crooks,2018 Youth Olympics flag bearer of the Cayman Islands and Camana Bay Aquatics went stroke for stroke to the wall . Sinclair got the victory in 1:03.75 and Jordan a touch behind in 1.03.98.
The CARIFTA Region has a good history at the Summer Youth Olympic Games with the talented swimmers performing well at the competition. One of those gifted athletes who will be displaying their skills in Buenos Aires Argentina is Aruban rising star Anahi Schreuders
Anahi will be capping a very successful final year as a junior swimmer when she competes in the sprint breaststroke events. She will dive into the water in the 50 metre event on Sunday October 7 and the 100 metre race on Tuesday October 9.
She has been having a successful campaign in these events at the major Championships for the calendar year. At the CARIFTA championships in Kingston Jamaica in the 15-17 age group she set a personal best of 1:15.82 to take the Bronze in the 100 and was just off her personal standard in the 50 to take the Silver in 33.82.
In her quest for excellence and competing in front of her home crowd in Aruba at the CCCAN Championships she would be even faster.She would retain her Silver medal in the 15-17 breaststroke but with a new personal best of 33.43 compared to the 34.02 recorded in Trinidad and Tobago a year earlier.
There would be more personal bests in store as well as Aruban records. Making her senior national debut at the Central American and Caribbean records in Barranquilla Colombia.She would make her first Championship final when she became the first swimmer from Aruba under 33 seconds with a time of 32.98. She would place sixth in the final in the second fastest of her career of 33.33.
There would be another senior national record in the 100 metre breaststroke as she lowered her personal best in the morning heats to 1:14.02 to make the B Final. In that race she showed great speed endurance to have the fastest closing 50 metres of 38.50 to take the win 1:13.24. That equalled the 2009 record set by Ashley Groters at the Rome World Championships.
Schreuders indicated to draftingthecaribbean that training heading into the Games has been going well .With that in mind one can expect more good performances from Anahi.
Past representatives for Aruba at the Summer Youth Olympics were Jonathan Ponson and Saskia Postma in 2010 in Singapore and Jordy Groters and Daniella van den Berg in 2014 in China.
With the major regional competitions completed for the year Zarek Wilson of Team Trinidad and Tobago (Team TTO) rose from the ranks to dominate the region in the 11-12 age group.
His excellent run of form started at the inaugural UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida in late January.Fittingly he opened the CARIFTA region’s account when he took the Bronze in the 400 metre freestyle in a time of 4:33.49. That was the first medal of an opening triple medal winning performance that included the CARIFTA best performance in the 200 individual medley of a Bronze in 2:31.50 and ending with with another regional standard performance of 27.32 in the 50 metre freestyle to claim another Bronze.
The second day of swimming action saw him with another triple medal winning performance and also opening the Gold medal for Team TTO in the the 100 metre backstroke in time of 1:07.63 which stands as a new championship record. That Gold was accompanied with two Bronze in the 100 metre butterfly 1:03.48 and 200 metre freestyle 2:09.05 another Regional best performance.
The final day of competition saw the Wilson completing the backstroke sprint double taking the 50 metre event in 30.20 . He completed his medal tally with Silver in the 100 metre freestyle in a CARIFTA region best placing of 58.20.
His versatility and mental strength over the three days in colder conditions led him to being awarded the high point award for the 11-12 age group amassing 61 points.
DOMINATION IN KINGSTON
In Jamaica at the CARIFTA championships late March and early April he lead a powerhouse 11-12 contingent from Team TTO that was the engine behind their overall placing of second on the medal table.
It would also be his most dominant performance of the year winning 12 Gold medals and a Silver.
100 metre freestyle
200 metre freestyle
400 metre freestyle
50 metre backstroke
100 metre backstroke
100 metre butterfly
200 metre IM
400 metre IM
200 metre butterfly
200 metre backstroke
400 metre freestyle relay
400 metre medley relay
4:44.35 /heats 4:38.35
200 metre freestyle relay
Such was his conditioning all 13 races medal yielded a near perfect medal performance. In addition to topping the 11-12 age group top performer with he also won the Landon Von Kanel trophy for winning the 200 and 400 metre freestyle.
The CCCAN championships in Aruba this summer saw strong competition from Guatemala and The Dominican Republic Wilson still withstood this to win 10 medals Seven Gold and Three Silver. Zarek would complete Regional Golden Doubles in the 400, 200 metre freestyle and 200 metre IM events. He would have no equal in the sprint backstroke events at UANA,CARIFTA and CCCAN. His leadership would again lead the Team TTO Youth Brigade to overall age group titles for both the girls and boys.
The boys total of 201 points were more than double the second placed country and the most points tallied across the four age groups 11-12,13-14 , 15-17 and 18 and over.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Zarek on July 10 he spoke about the CCCAN and championships and his preparation for the 13-14 age group
“CCCAN 2018 in Aruba was a continuation of my learning experience as a competitive swimmer. I believe I showed some growth and achieved many of my goals. Even the events that I fell short in provided valuable experience which will also serve as motivation going forward. The highlights for me were the 400 freestyle and the 200 butterfly. In the 400 freestyle I was able to execute the race just the way my coach, Edmund Pouchet, suggested. Even though I won silvers in the 100 (1:02.18) and 200 (2:21.11) butterfly events, they were both personal bests with the 200 fly being a new national record. I am encouraged by the times that I swam. After a short break I will sit down with Coach Pouchet and begin preparations for the next two years in the 13-14 age group. I am thankful to God and everyone, (family, coaches, teammates, and supporters), especially those who are there when the lights are not shining brightly”.
Zarek is a Form 2 student of the Presentation College in San Fernando. He trains with the Blue Dolphin Swim Club at the St Mary’s College in Port of Spain which is a 65km commute one way. Draftingthecaribbean had the opportunity to speak with his coach Edmund Pouchet on Sep 25 about how he conditions Zarek and his performance at the major meets this year , what he needs to do step up his training and the approach that should be taken to age group swimming.
He said that Zarek performed well this season . He swam a full schedule and that takes a lot of conditioning. Zarek has nine sessions per week which includes four morning sessions.
Coach Edmund said that work load will need to step up by one session entering the 13-14 age group.At this time of the season the work is mainly aerobic .Medley work twice a week,Stroke work twice a week. Mornings sets would be around 4,000 metres and the afternoons 7,000 metres in the afternoons.
There is one sprint session session per week to keep the swimmers sharp. More sprint sessions will be added as the target for aerobic work has been met but still maintaining the aerobic base.
Coach Edmund also stressed that in the development of age group swimmers there needs to be a focus on building the aerobic base. Swimmers should mainly be doing 200, 400 races and up as this is central to their development. Coach Edmund who has more than three decades of coaching experience believes in the mantra “put in the work and you will get the results”. He has seen clearly over the years of coaching that there is no shortcut to success and coaches must build their swimmers so when they leave a programme they are able to handle the workload in a collegiate programme.
Zarek will be one of the leading lights Team TTO will be looking to step up for the Republic when he enters the more competitive 13-14 age group
Lamar Taylor of The Bahamas has blazed a fiery trail in the 50 metre freestyle this year to earn the moniker of the “English Speaking Caribbean’s fastest swimmer in the 13-14 age group”
He earned this title with with a number of top performances at major competitions. His first meet the UANA Cup In January in Coral Springs Florida saw him just edged for the Gold with a time of 24.57. The Gold went to Mexican Victor Salcedo Carrillo who clocked 24.56. Taylor’s swim saw him as the best from the CARIFTA region. He ensured that his favorite’s tag heading into the CARIFTA championships in April in Jamaica was no mistake as he won with the only sub 25 seconds clocking of 24.27. He took the sprint freestyle to a another level when he dipped under the 24 seconds barrier with a new national record of 23.79 at his national championships in June. The CCCAN championships in Aruba in July would see him with another sub 24 clocking this time recording a Championship record of 23.94.
When draftingthecaribbean caught up with Lamar Taylor we spoke about 2018 , how he trains and expectations heading into the 15-17 age group
“Currently I train nine times for the week four morning sessions and five afternoons. That DQ at CCCAN 2017 in Trinidad and Tobago changed me a lot and motivated me to train harder in practice , change my diet and watch tapes of my races more often. I looked at the slight imperfections I made to try and improve my stroke. The year started off well at UANA with a lot of the countries like Brazil. With God’s help I came home with a number of medals.The rest of the season I was focused and training hard and going after my goal of making the Youth Olympic Games team. Unfortunately that did not happen as I only had one B cut but it has not stopped me from still training hard for the 2018-2019 season”
“Going into the 15-17 age group I will not be thinking about who I will be racing against. I dive into the water , swim to the best of my ability and try to get the best outcome. My theory is when people overthinking a race they end up “choking ” and not achieving the best results. I just watch videos or play games on my phone before a race to get my mind off the race and my competitors. I know they are all amazing swimmers and I know that the slightest mistake will determine the color of my medal. In 2019 I will be entering my new age group with a lot of confidence in 100 metre freestyle and especially my 50 metre freestyle. At My national championships this summer my winning time was faster than the winning time in the 15 and over age group. That proved to me that age was just a number and that does not determine how fast you can swim and I have no worries at all going into 15-17″.
“I honestly think CCCAN was my best meet this year. The flight leaving Freeport got delayed and we did not leave until 4 am and Marvin Johnson and I did had little warmup time before the first race which was the mixed relays. Despite that rough buildup to the meet I still performed well (Five Gold medals and one Silver medal)
Draftingthecaribbean also spoke to Mr Bert Bell who taught Lamar how to swim at the age of three at the Freeport Aquatic club and has been his only competitive coach since. Mr Bell, a fan of Olympic Gold medallist and Czechoslovakian distance legend Emil Zátopek who originated interval training , spoke about expectations of Lamar in the tougher 15-17 age group, his swims for 2018 and how he trains him to split his 100 metre races so well
2018 Rev National Champs race analysis
100 metre backstroke
100 metre butterfly
“There is no way to predict the future. We just have to encourage every individual to do the best they can with their God given potential.Lamar trains nine times for the week four morning sessions and five afternoons.I ask my swimmers to set short term goals in the events they are interested in. Then we figure out the pace they need to swim = goal + 3 sec (adjust for dive) divide by number of 50’s Then they swim sets based on pace for the upcoming 2-3 months.We may do one or two sets (race/time specific) in every work out.We usually do 400 up free Mondays 200 Wednesday Timed swim Friday.The number of repeats and the rest interval will vary in each practice.We do similar sessions for alternate strokes Tuesday and Thursday.Saturday mornings we will work all strokes.
Pace specific (high intensity) is worked every day but the sets are limited and different every workout.Aim – set specific, doable goals with specific pace objectives.eg we r working at 200 or 100 etc race pace sets limited to 15 to 20 minutes.”WE ARE TRAINING THE MIND” be intellectual – remember the best results come from maintaining your best consistent pace from start to finish at whatever distance beyond 20 seconds.Concept – what is your PR – where do you want to go – what pace do you need?Design sets that are based on specifics – involve the swimmer in the calculations.
Lamar ended the summer with national records in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle freestyle 23.79 and 53.09 as well as 23 medals from the four Championship meets UANA,CARIFTA, Nationals and CCCAN 17 Gold, Silver and One Bronze. He is also within striking distance of four national records
200 metre freestyle
50 metre butterfly
50 metre backstroke
100 metre backstroke
One mark that will be on Taylor’s mind as he heads to the 15-17 age group will be the overall 13-14 English speaking mark of 23.77 held by Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany who was member of the Fantastic Four that won Bronze at the CAC Games in Colombia this summer. Team Bahamas with Taylor in their ranks will continue to be a regional age group powerhouse for the year 2019.
The Bahamian duo of CARIFTA Champions Lilly Higgs and Izaak Bastian made the championship finals at the 2018 CAC (Central American and Caribbean) Games in Barranquilla Colombia on July 20 and 21st respectively.
This competition marks their second opportunity participating at a senior level meet, the first time was earlier this year at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. With more rest between competitions both swimmers who hold the fastest time ever in this event at the CARIFTA level were able to make the Championship final in the 100 metre breaststroke events. Lilly placed fifth in a time of 1:11.32 just ahead of countrywoman Laura Morley who stopped the clock in 1:12.34. In 2014 there was also a Bahamian as Lilly’s older sister Albury had placed fourth in 1:14.06.
Bastian lowered his best time twice .In the heats he had a time of 1:02.99 (split time 29.49) and in the final he placed seventh 1:02.91( split time 28.96). His split is significant as he won the 50 metre breaststroke at CARIFTA in Kingston Jamaica earlier this year in 28.69.
The presence of three Bahamians in Championship finals at this competition also speaks to the proficiency of that nation in this stroke.
Draftingthecaribbean contacted Lilly and asked about her first senior level Championship final and she gave us her thoughts about her first day of competition
“Overall, my races today went pretty well. This morning I swam the backstroke leg on the mixed 4×100 medley relay and later swam 100 breaststroke and qualified for the A final. My prelims swim wasn’t what I wanted, but I was still able to get another swim and am very happy with my finals swim!”