The 2017-2018 season will be the one that Bahamian Albury Higgs will remember especially for her exploits in the 100 metre breaststroke. When she celebrated a decade of being unbeaten in the event at her country’s national championships she was just outside of 2019 Lima PAN AM Games automatic qualifying mark of 1:11.11 when she won in 1:11.18. That would fall to her when she competed at the 2018 Bulldog Grand Slam in Georgia recording another national record mark of 1:10.77. Her last opportunity for long course action would come by way of a time trial at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla Colombia.As the saying in swimming circles goes “last one fast one” and Albury did not disappoint. She crushed her old record to post a time of 1:10.03 on July 21. That put her on the verge of being the first Bahamian woman under the 1:10. mark. She is also dangerously close to the 2019 Gwangju LCM World Championships B standard of 1:09.79. That mark also doubles as the 2018 Hangzhou SCM World Championships . Albury is also in sight of the initial Tokyo 2020 B qualifying mark of 1:09.08. The times will be confirmed by FINA in December.
100 metre breaststroke
2018 REV National
2018 Athens Grand slam
2018 CAC Games
First 50 metres
Second 50 metres
Draftingthecaribbean contacted Higgs on Aug 10 and she spoke about her record swim, coping with the heat in Colombia and the 2017-2018 season
“I decided to time trial the 100 breast on the second day of competition since I was not in the 100 breast event the day before, so I could try to swim a best time while I was tapered. I was happy with the outcome of going a best time and a new national record! (My splits were 33.11 / 1:10.03). Sometimes it is difficult swimming a time trial, since you swim the event on your own, but I stuck to my race plan and was able to push myself, even though no one was in the lane next to me. Coping with the heat in Colombia was somewhat difficult, but being used to swimming outside, for example in Nassau at the Bahamas Nationals, helped us prepare. Staying in the shade and making sure we stayed hydrated were most important. I was very happy overall with my 2017-18 season. Going best times both short course at school and long course for the Bahamas this summer, as well as setting national records, is a great feeling. I am looking forward to this upcoming season and ready to work ever harder!
Albury will be entering her junior year at the University of South Carolina where is she is third fastest swimmer in school history in the 100 yard breaststroke with a time of 1:01.02
The fourth night of action the at the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia on Saturday night at the Eduardo Movilla Aquatic Complex saw three CARIFTA region ladies as they won the first ever medals for their nations in their respective events.
Starting the medal run Was Albury Higgs of The Bahamas. Albury has been having quite the summer lowering the national records in the 100 and 200 metre breaststroke right before the Games . She was expected to be in form at the meet and she was. She qualified for the 200 metre breaststroke Championship final with a time of 2:32.90 just her national standard of 2:32.30 set at the Bahamian REV national championships in June. Joining in her in the final was countrywoman 2:33.90 Laura Morley who made the Championship finals in all the breaststroke events, the 50,100 and 200 .
With increased speed evidenced by her national record of 1:10.77 in the 100 metre event in the United States Albury pushed the pace in the final turning at the 100 metre mark in a time of 1:12.59 in the Silver medal position.She held that placing until the last couple of metres when Mexico’s Esther Gonzalez Medina passed her. That early front end speed would pay off as she just just held off Morley to take the Bronze in 2:30.83 to 2:31.02 .Both ladies went well under the old national mark and were well under the 2019 Lima PAN AM Games automatic qualifying standard of 2:34.43. Both swimmers achieved the 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course Swimming Championships and 2019 Gwangju World Championships B standard of 2:31.02. With her Bronze medal she becomes the first Bahamian man or woman to win a medal in the event.She also becomes the fastest ever CARIFTA region swimmer at the Games as she bettered Alia Atkinson’s 2006 effort of 2:30.99. Only Atkinson and now Higgs have ever medalled in the event for the ladies. It also marks the first medal for Albury in the senior ranks
Higgs offered this reaction to her historic swim
“It was an exciting swim and I was very happy with the best time and record, as well as a bronze for team Bahamas!”
Gold went to the Mexican duo of Byanca Melissa Rodriguez Villanuez in a Games record of 2:25.60 and the Silver to Gonzalez Medina in 2:29.72.
Known primarily for her distance exploits Joanna Evans has taken the opportunity to add a few other events to her schedule and it has resulted in medal winning performances.In the 100 metre freestyle she set a new personal best to win the Silver medal. She had set the national record of 4:59.25 in the 400 metre individual medley as a junior swimmer at the 2015 CARIFTA Games in Barbados which still stands today. in qualification she cleared that mark with a time of 4:57.56. In the final she blew that mark away with a swim of 4:50.38 to land the Silver. Joanna becomes the first Bahamian woman to medal in the event. Both record breaking swims were under the 2019 LIMA PAN AM Games mark of 4:57.99. The only other swimmers from the CARIFTA region to medal at the Games are Gold was won by Puerto Rico’s Kristen Romano in 4:46.31 and the Bronze by Monika Gonzalez Hermosillo in 4:52.13. She gave an assessment of the race and the humid conditions to draftingthecaribbean
“Honestly there was not much of a strategy except to go out and race and see what I can do.It is really hot .We are just hydrating and trying to stay out of the sun”.
CARIFTA REGION MEDALLISTS THROUGH THE YEARS
Rhett Chee Ping
Trinidad and Tobago
Competing in her third CAC Games Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson created another first by medalling in the 100 metre butterfly. No Jamaican man or woman has ever made it to the podium in the event . Last night she took the Bronze medal in the event in a time of 1:00.13 (split time 27.34). Silver went to Venezuela’s Isabella Paez 1:00.04 and Gold to Miriam Guevara Hernandez in 59.13. Alia’s medal winning time was the second best effort of her career as her national record stands at 59.94 (split time 28.44) when she beat Paez (1:00.47) for the Gold at the 2017 Southern Zone Sectional Championship.
FEMALE CARIFTA REGION MEDALLISTS THROUGH THE YEARS
Albury Higgs continued her record breaking run from the 2018 REV National Swimming championships with another record breaststroke swim at the 2018 Bulldog Grand Slam in Athens Georgia.
Competing in the 100 metre breaststroke at the Garbielsen Natatorium on July 6 Albury qualified for the B final with a time of 1:12.12 (split time of 33.42). In the final later that afternoon she used a different approach to the one she employed in record breaking swim in Nassau. She attacked the race from the start with a split of 33.31. That gave her an early advantage of more than a half a second.She would not be caught and split 37.46 on the second 50 metres to win the race in 1:10.77.
COMPARISON OF RECORD SWIMS
100 metre breaststroke
2018 REV National
2018 Bulldog GrandSlam
First 50 metres
Second 50 metres
Albury who lowered the national standards in the 200 and 100 metre breaststroke last month has now bettered the automatic qualifying standards for the 2019 PAN AM Games of 1:11.11.She is also another step closer to going under the mythical 1:10 barrier . Also of note that time would have won the Gold medal at the 2014 CAC (Central American and Caribbean ) Games where she had placed fourth.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Albury she gave us her impression of the race and spoke about her tactics
“I was trying to take out the first 50 faster than I had previously this summer. It went well considering I didn’t rest for this meet, so I am hoping that rest will help me bring the last 50 home a little better. Excited for CAC and to represent the Bahamas one more time this summer!”
Team Bahamas will also be represented at the 2018 CAC Games from July 20 to 25 in Barranquilla, Colombia by Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016),Lilly Higgs,Laura Morley, Izaak Bastian, Kohen Kerr and N’Nhyn Fernander
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!”.
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”.
The quality in Bahamian swimming was on display in the women’s 15 and over 200 metre breaststroke on Day One of the 2018 REV National Swimming Championships on Saturday June 16.This as Albury Higgs won Gold in a new national record time and former record holder Laura Morley won Silver , both ladies were faster than the PAN Games A standard time.
Higgs got her hand to the wall first in a time of 2:32.30 (split time 1:13.31) . Laura representing Makos was second in 2:33.92 (split time 1:14.56) and the Bronze to Katherine Slatter of Barracudas in a personal best time of 2:53.89. The PAN AM A time stands at 2:34.43.The top two swimmers also are in striking distance of the 2019 World Championship B standard in the event of 2:31.01 and the initial Olympic qualifying B standard of event of 2:29.89. Earlier in the morning session her cousin Miller Albury became the first Bahamian under the 27 seconds barrier in the 50 metre backstroke.
Albury spoke to draftingthecaribean about her recordbreaking feat yesterday and said
“I am very pleased with my swim and national record in the 200 breaststroke! I have been training at school in South Carolina this summer and I didn’t really rest for this meet. so I was not sure how my swims would go, but I am happy with the results so far!”.
Higgs and Morley, who both compete for NCAA Division I Universities University of South Carolina and Indiana University respectively have been at the helm of raising the standards in the event over the last few years
200 metre breaststroke National Record Progression
Miller Albury became the first Bahamian under the 27 seconds mark in the 50 metre backstroke on Day One of the 2018 REV National Swimming Championships on Saturday June 16. In the preliminary heats of the event Miller who trains with Performance Aquatics in Florida but swims for Alpha Aquatics at home made a big breakthrough dropping from 27.99 to 26.83. That lowered the senior national record of DaVante Carey 27.04. DaVante had set the national mark in Silver medal winning performance at CARIFTA 2018 in Kingston Jamaica.
In the final Miller would record the second fastest time of his career as he won Silver in 27.34. Gold went to DaVante Carey of Makos who regained his record in a time of 26.75 to make it two swimmers for The Bahamas under 27 seconds and the Bronze went to Tyler Russell also of Makos who stopped the clock in a personal best time of 28.05.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Miller we asked about his historic achievement on the same day cousin Margaret Higgs took the 200 metre breaststroke in a new national record
“It is always awesome coming home to swim in the Bahamas national swimming championship. The morning session was a solid swim for me in the 50 back, setting a new Bahamas and national record. I’ve been working hard with my backstroke so I was pleased with the PB in the 50”.
Miller would also earn Gold in the 200 metre freestyle relay as he provided a game changing third leg split of 23.86 to help his team gain the lead and take the title of national sprint relay champions. The team that included Perez Moss 24.04, Jared Fitzgerald 23.65 and anchor Armando Moss clocked a total time of 1:35.53. Silver went Barracudas in 1:36.32 and Bronze to the Makos in 1:38.11.