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.
There will be more international talent on display at this year’s edition of the Dean Martin Memorial meet at the National Aquatic Centre (50 metre pool) in Kingston Jamaica as siblings Jillian and Jordan Crooks will be representing Camana Bay Aquatics Bay Club from the Cayman Islands. Brother Jordan is coming from a successful 2018 Youth Olympics Games campaign today draftingthecaribbean will feature sister Jillian .
As the year has gone on Jillian has put in faster and faster performances in the pool. At her most recent meet the CBAC Fall meet from the 12th to the 14th she set eight new short course metres national age group records at the Camana Bay Sports Complex
50 metre butterfly
50 metre freestyle
100 metre backstroke
100 metre butterfly
200 metre butterfly
100 metre individual medley
100 metre breaststroke
200 metre freestyle
The 50 metre butterfly also doubled as the senior record . The previous record of 29.24 was held by Cayman Islands standout and current Florida State University freshman Lauren Hew.
Jillian has seen constant improvement since her first regional outing in 2018 at the UANA swimming Cup in Coral Springs in January. One of those events is the 50 metre freestyle where her last long course meet saw her producing a new 11-12 national record of 27.25 which is faster than the meet record of 27.70 held by Jamaican standout Emily MacDonald
In the 100 metre freestyle fans on hand at the meet may see not only a new meet record but also the fastest 11-12 girls time produced on Jamaica.This as her personal best and Cayman National record stands at 59.93 , a time that few in the region at her age have ever swum. The meet record stands to MacDonald at 1:01.66 and the Jamaica best time 1:00.06 to Bermuda’s Elan Daley when she Gold in the event at CARIFTA here in Kingston earlier this year.Crooks won the CCCAN title in 1:01.72.
Another meet record that looks to be on borrowed time is the 11-12 100 metre butterfly of 1:08.85 .Jillian has a personal best and national record time of 1:06.87. She recorded that when winning the CCCAN title in Aruba this summer.The Jamaica best time may also be on the cards as the Elan Daley standard from CARIFTA is 1:05.98.
The meet record in the 11-12 100 metre backstroke stands at 1:14.97 and Jillian boasts a best time of 1:10.45 which is also a national age group record. She will also be vying to record the fastest time record at the meet as the fastest overall female time of 1:13.72 was recorded last year by Brianna Anderson in the 13-14 age group.
Other meet standards under threat by Jillian are
200 metre freestyle
200 metre backstroke
200 metre Individual medley
Crooks is not stranger to Jamaica having set four 10 and under records last year. Her improvement can be seen in the sport as her 200 metre freestyle record time last year was 2:31.43.
The three days of action from October 26 to 28 should be quite interesting as Crooks will be trading strokes with Morgan Cogle of Jupiter Sea Dragons from Florida who she has shared the podium with at CCCAN and CARIFTA this year in a number of races . That duo along will a strong local contingent including Safiya Officer, the CCCAN 50 metre freestyle Bronze medallist will ensure that the races are entertaining.
Like his 50 metre freestyle at the CCCAN Championships in Aruba things have been moving fast for the Cayman Islands Jordan Crooks. In the latter part of this year he has recorded the fastest 50 metre freestyle by a Cayman Islands swimmer at CCCAN since Shaune Fraser competed at the 2005 edition of the Championships in the Dominican Republic, he has been selected to be the lone swimmer to represent his nation in swimming as well as being given the honour of the official flag bearer at the opening ceremony.
In a recent interview on Jamaican radio on Nationwide 90 FM’s flagship sports programme Sportsnation Live on September 29 he described his feelings leading up to the Games
“I think I just have to have fun and not worry about it and not stress about it. Some times I overthink the race and it does not happen like I would want it to.So I just have to relax because I have done everything to prepare now I just have to do it”.
In Aruba at CCCAN during the heats of the boys 15-17 50 metre freestyle Jordan had a massive time drop. Heading to the Championships his best stood at 25.20, that would be distant memory after his morning as he lowered his PR by over a second to record a time of 23.96.That swim not only gave him a Youth Olympics Cut but also under the Pan American B time of 24.07. That swim announced Crooks as a name to be mentioned in the conversation with the top age group regional sprinters.
Crooks will be competing in the 50 metre freestyle today and the 100 metre freestyle on Thursday October 11.
Jordan’s participation in swimming at the Games marks a return to swimming for the Cayman Islands as there was no representation in 2014. In the inaugural competition in 2010 in Singapore there were two swimmers who competed,Seiji Groome and Olympian Lara Butler.
Madelyn Moore , the fastest female swimmer from Bermuda is excited and ready to race in Buenos Aires , Argentina. The speedster will be racing in the 100 metre freestyle Monday October 8, the 50 metre butterfly on Tuesday October 9 ,the 50 metre backstroke on Wednesday October 10, the 50 metre freestyle on Thursday October 11.
Moore holds the 17-18 and senior national record in the 50 metre freestyle with a time of 25.95 on May 6 at the Southwest Summer Championships in the United Kingdom. Breaking the the 26 seconds barrier is a significant achievement for a junior swimmer. Moore who is a freshman at the University of Northern Colorado spoke to draftingthecaribbean on Saturday October 6.
“The swimming facilities here in Argentina are exceptional. I am having a good time so far. I have enjoyed settling into the village and seeing old friends and finally I can’t wait for the the meet to begin”.
Moore is a seasoned campaigner at top level international junior competitions having swum at the 2016 Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii, the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in The Bahamas and the 2017 world Junior Swimming championships in Indianapolis, United States.
At the 2018 CCCAN Championships she equalled her senior national record in the 50 metre freestyle with yet another 25.97 showing.Moore would also take the one lap crowns in the butterfly and backstroke with times of 28.13 and 30.23 .She would would win the Silver in the 100 metre freestyle in 58.40.
Madelyn enters the Youth Olympic Games in good form . At her senior national debut at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Colombia she earned second swims in all her events. The 50 metre freestyle saw her placing 8th in the Championship final with a 26.09. She would leave Barranquilla with personal bests in the 100 metre freestyle 58.09, the 50 metre backstroke 30.09 and the 50 metre butterfly 28.10 respectively.
This will be second Youth Olympic Games that Bermuda will be competing in the swimming. She is the first female to compete in the sport for Bermuda. Team Bermuda is completed by teammate Kai Legband and Coach Ben Smith.
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