Rio 2016 Olympian Alex Sobers has established himself as the go to man for Barbados in the freestyle events in recent years from the 100 metres upwards.

Alex Sobers CISC Gold
Alex Sobers with Gold after winning the 15-17 boys 400 metre freestyle in a meet and Barbados senior national record of 3:57.30


Having already captured the 400 metre national record with a time of 3:57.30 at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships it would be natural that the 200 metre national standard of 1:52.30 held by Olympian Bradley Ally (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008,  London 2012) would be a target heading into the World Championships in Budapest.

On June 30 in the Men’s 18 and over at the CCCAN Championship final in Trinidad and Tobago he placed fourth in a then personal best time of 1:53.00. That swim put the record on notice that it would be a matter of time before he lowered it.

Less than a month later he would fall agonizingly short of the mark when he hit the pads in a time of 1:52.50 ranking him 44th overall. That performance was the best time ever done by a swimmer from Barbados at the World Championships. It was also the best placing by a man from Barbados at the global competition. The previous best time and placing was 1:57.74 and 68th spot by Christian Selby at the 2015 Kazan Championships.

Damian Alleyne
Damian Alleyne Barbados Olympian (2000,2004) Photo courtesy of Khalil Goodman for Better Health Magazine June 2011

That swim put him ahead of the former national record holder Olympian Damian Alleyne (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004) who had set the record at 1:52.75 winning heat 3 of the event at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games on Sep 17, 2000.

Bradley Ally panamericanworld
Bradley Ally Photo courtesy of PanamericanWorld.com


Ally lowered that mark almost seven years later leading off the Pine Crest 800 freestyle A team at the 2007 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships in Indianapolis. That team which would place fifth overall in 7:31.23 included Cayman Islands Olympian Shaune Fraser (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012) handling second leg duties.

Analysis of the fastest three swims by a swimmer from Barbados

Name Date Meet First 50 Second 50 Third 50 Fourth  50 Final time
Damian Alleyne Sep 17,2000 Olympics 27.04 28.48 28.81 28.42 1:52.75
Alex Sobers July 24,2017 World Champs 26.82 28.38 28.75 28.55 1:52.50
Bradley Ally Aug 2,2007 US Nationals 26.14 28.27 28.62 29.27 1:52.30

Sobers, who is now sophomore at Emmanuel College made a huge impact for the Franklin Springs Georgia based institution in the 2016 -2017. see link below


500 freestyle medal podium from left to right Silver medallist Stanislas Raczynski (Emmanuel),Gold medallist meet record holder Alex Sobers (Emmanuel),Bronze medallist Erwin Ortiz Torres(Mars Hill) Photo courtesy of http://www.goeclions.com

He set three individual records and was a part of four record breaking relay teams.

Event Time
100 yard freeestyle 44.26
200 yard freestyle 1:35.95
500 yard freestyle 4:27.56
200 yard freestyle relay 1:22.55
400 yard freestyle relay 3:00.26
800 yard freestyle relay 6:42.23
400 yard medley relay 3:18.77

He got the 2017 -2018 to a winning start as Emmanuel won their Invitational on Saturday Oct 7. Sobers won the 100 yard freestyle by almost four seconds touching the clock in 45.29.That swimis also the fastest time in Division 2 so far.He also had the fastest 50 freestyle split of all relay legs as he anchored the A team to 1:27.53 with his split of 21.10.



As it has been for the entire 2016 -2017 one name has stood out among the region’s elite male swimmer in the swimmers in the 200 freestyle event. Whether it was the 200  metre freestyle at the World Short Course Swimming championships or the 200 yard freestyle at the prestigious NCAA Division 1 Championships Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter has been region’s man to be the standard bearer. So it was no surprise when he again led the region with 200 metre freestyle at the World Long course swimming championships in national record time.

dylan swimming world Mesa 2017
Dylan Carter at the Mesa Grand Prix Swim meet Photo courtesy of swimmingworldmagazine

The national mark of 1:48.44 set at the Caribbean Islands Swimming championships was on borrowed time from the Mesa Swim meet when Carter touched in a winning time of 1:48.45. At his home meet the CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago he again got the job done in sub 1:50 this time 1:48.91.

In Budapest his intentions were made clear from the opening 50 metres with an opening split time of 24.93 that set the tone for the entire race. He would touch in 1:47.77 for 24th overall, the best time at the World championships for both CCCAN and CARIFTA region swimmers. It is also the best ranking at the Championship for the CCCAN region since 2011.

A very aggressive approach led to the new national record as seen through the analysis of his races below

Date 50 100 150 200
 CISC July 2016 25.45 53.00 1:20.79 1:48.44
25.45 27.55 27.79 27.65
Date 50 100 150 200
 Mesa April 2017 25.40 52.70 1:20.97 1:48.45
25.40 27.30 28.27 27.48
Date 50 100 150 200
 WC July 2017 24.93 51.99 1:20.02 1:47.77
24.93 27.06 28.03 27.75
Dylan ttoc.org
Dylan Carter Photo courtesy off ttoc.org

CCCAN rankings for the 200 metre freestyle in Budapest

Name Country CCCAN ranking  Overall ranking Time
Dylan Carter Trinidad and Tobago 1 24th 1:47.77 (51.99)
Cristian Quintero Venezuela 2 33rd 1:48.22 (51,86)
Mikel Schreuders Aruba 3 39th 1:49.66(53.66)
Michael Gunning Jamaica 4 43rd 1:50.00(53.20)
Marcelo Acosta El Salvador 5 48th 1:50.92 (54.99)
Alex Sobers Barbados 6 56th 1:52.50(55.20)
Noah Mascoll-Gomes Antigua& Barbuda 7 62nd 1:55.32(55.62)
Matthew Lowe The Bahamas 8 63rd 1:55.71 (55.50)


The total tally of World Championship qualifying performances achieved at the CCCAN Championships stands at 16 as Day 5 came to an end at the National Aquatic Centre in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday July 2.The swimmers helped in running up the score on Sunday included Valerie Gruest of Guatemala, Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador, Luis Flores of Puerto Rico, Joshua Romany of Trinidad and Tobago and Edgar Crespo of Panama.

Valerie Gruest
Valerie Gruest Photo courtesy of guatemala.com

Olympian Gruest in the 15-17 400 metre freestyle won her race convincingly in a time of 4:16.42 well under the B standard of 4:19.34.That was her seventh Gold medal of the Championship and her second World Championship qualifying mark.

Marcelo Acosta swimming world
Marcelo Acosta Photo courtesy of swimmingworld.com

Marcelo Acosta won the 18 and over boys 400 metre freestyle in a Championship record time of 3:55.54. That bettered the Hungary World Championship B standard of 3:56.14. His swim was also faster than the 2011 meet record of 3:59.06 by Puerto Rico’s Raul Martinez. Silver went to Aruban Mikel Schreuders in a new national record of 3:58.38.The Bronze went to the English speaking fastest ever swimmer in the event Alex Sobers of Barbados in 4:00.17.

Luis Flores
Luis Flores Photo courtesy of Florida Southern College

In the battle to decide the fastest man at CCCAN the morning heats saw two men under the 50 metre freestyle B standard of 23.26.Luis Flores of Puerto Rico 22.85 to top the qualifiers heading into the final. Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany was the second seed with a time of 23.01.

Romany swimswam
Joshua Romany Photo courtesy of swimswam.com

In the final the positions remained the same with both men just off their morning swims. Flores took Gold in 22.85 and Romany the Silver in 23.06 with Schreuders winning Bronze in 23.49 in a new national record.

Crespo La prensa
Edgar Crespo Photo courtesy of La Prensa

Bettering the World Championship B cut was Panamanian Edgar Crespo. In the morning preliminaries of the 18 and over men’s 100 metre breaststroke he lowered his 2009 Championship record of 1:03.83 by clocking 1:02.79. That performance topped the qualifiers and just missed the B standard of 1:02.46. In the final he underlined his number one seeding with Gold medal winning time and new Championship record of 1:02.37. Silver was won by Aruba’s Jordy Groters in 1:04.07 and the Bronze went Coast Rica’s Arnoldo Herrera in 1:04.89.

Albury Higgs Photo courtesy of Rochelle Bastian and Bahamas Swimming

Also doing the Championship record double was Bahamian Albury Higgs. In the morning she lowered Jamaica Olympian Alia Atkinson’s (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016)  2005 15-17 girls 100 metre breaststroke record of 1:13.93 with a 1:12.93 effort. Higgs would lower that mark in the afternoon with a Gold medal winning time of 1:12.79.She was followed to the wall by Curaçao’s   Chadé   Nercisio who clocked 1:14.27. Marissa Lugo of Puerto Rico was timed in 1:15.58 and won the Bronze.

ELan Daley Royal Gazette
Elan Daley Photo courtesy of http://www.royalgazette.com

Also in Championship record mode was one half of the Bermudan 11-12 super duo Elan Daley. In the final of the 11-12 50 metre freestyle she lowered the 1995 Championship record of 27.55 set by another 11-12 star of yester year, Trinidad and Tobago’s Cerian Gibbes. Daley won in a new national record and English speaking Caribbean best of 26.82.No other English speaking Caribbean girl has ever swum faster than 27 seconds. Jamaican speedster Zaneta Alvaranga placed second in 27.78.The other half of the super duo Payton Zelkin won the Bronze is 28.01.

13-14 50 backstroke champion and senior natior record holder Danielle Titus of Barbados
13-14 100 backstroke champion and new senior national record holder Danielle Titus of Barbados

In the 13-14 girls 200 metre backstroke Danielle Titus of Barbados set a new Championship, age group and senior national record with her swim of 2:22.39. Titus lowered the 1985 record of 2:22.50 of Costa Rican Olympian Sylvia Poll (1988, 1992). Second went to Vanegas Yanci of Guatemala in 2:24.41 and the Bronze Jahmia Harley to 2:27.05.

Swimmers who achieved the regional Golden Double on the final day included

Golden Double medallists 50 freestyle
Regional Golden Double medallists in the 50 metre freestyle from left to right Elan Daley of Bermuda 11-12 girls Nathaniel Thomas of Jamaica 11-12 boys Amara Pilgrim of Trinidad and Tobago 15-17 girls Photos courtesy of Royal Gazette Bermuda,Cheser Adams and swimtt.com
Age Group Event Name Country
11-12 girls 50 metre freestyle Elan Daley Bermuda
11-12 boys 50 metre freestyle Nathaniel Thomas Jamaica
15-17  girls 50 metre freestyle Amara Pilgrim Trinidad and Tobago


Sam Williamson bernews
Regional Double Golden Double medallist Sam Williamson of Bermuda 11-12 boys Photo courtesy of Bernews
Age Group Event Name Country
11-12  boys 100 metre breaststroke Sam  Williamson Bermuda
D Titus Barbados Nation
Regional Double Gold medallist in the 13-14 200 metre backstroke Danielle Titus of Barbados Photo courtesy of Barbados Nation
Age Group Event Name Country
13-14  girls 200 metre backstroke Danielle Titus Barbados



500 freestyle medal podium from left to right Silver medallist Stanislas Raczynski (Emmanuel),Gold medallist meet record holder Alex Sobers (Emmanuel),Bronze medallist Erwin Ortiz Torres(Mars Hill) Photo courtesy of http://www.goeclions.com

Barbadian Olympian Alex Sobers had been expected to make a big impact in his freshman year at Division II school Emmanuel College in Georgia. The big man from Enterprise Christ Church has certain lived up to expectations as seen by his dominant performance at the 2017 Appalachian Swimming Conference Championships at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Virginia. Sobers competed in 7 events and won all 7 in new meet and school records.


The meet which ran from Feb 8 to 11 saw Sobers declaring his intentions from his very first race the 800 yard freestyle. Swimming the opening leg Alex swam the opening leg in 1:39.25. That gave his team an insurmountable lead of more than 2 seconds. It also broke his own school record of 1:39.41and the meet record for the 2016 200 yard freestyle meet record of 1:39.91 by teammate Camilo Mendoza. Sobers’ opening leg along  with the efforts of Pedro  Illescas (1:41.47), Stanislas Raczynski (1:43.01)and Mendoza (1:41.01) would help the Lions win in 6:44.74 ,a winning margin of over 10 seconds. The team was also under the 2016 meet record of West Virginia University Tech of 6:52.00 and the school record of 6:51.89.That team performance was also well under the Division II B cut of 6:50.10.

His next race, the 200 yard freestyle relay would be a much closer affair. Emmanuel with the efforts of Adrian Aleksandrowicz (20.53), Sobers (20.56), Jarred Stigant (20.75) and Rafael Mendes (20.71)  would hold off a spirited Keiser team 1:22.55 to 1:22.74. Both teams were under the 2015 Saint Andrew’s University meet record of 1:23.64. Emmanuel crushed the school record of 1:23.80 .It also beat the Division II B standard of 1:23.46.

In the 500 yard freestyle the Division II B standard of 4:38.08,the 2015 school record of Raczynski and the 2016 meet record of 4:32.66 by Cameron Donaldson of UC were all bettered by Sobers in the Championship final. He registered a time of 4:30.93 to win by more than 3 seconds.

In the 400 yard medley relay the team of Adrian Aleksandrowicz backstroke (50.01), Mendoza breaststroke (56.43) ,  Illescas butterfly (48.60) and Sobers freestyle (44.18) turned back all challengers to win in 3:19.22. Again the Division 2 B standard of 3:20.76,the 2016 school record of 3:21.54 and the 2015 meet record by Wheeling Jesuit of 3:20.19 were all bettered. Alex had the fastest freestyle split of the competition.


In the 200 yard freestyle final Sobers lowered his school and meet record set in the 800 yard freestyle relay to stop the clock in 1:37.74 (split time 48.09). Again easily under the Division II B time of 1:41.44 and closing in on the A standard of 1:36.61. That time places him 10th overall in Division II. He won the race by over 4 seconds

In the 100 yard freestyle he yet again came close to making an A standard when he won Gold in a time of 44.45 (split time 21.70). The A standard in the event is 43.85. Teammate Aleksandrowicz’s meet and school records of 45.64 and 45.26 fell to the Bajan’s onslaught. Sobers was the only swimmer under the 45 second barrier.

In the final event the 400 yard freestyle relay the Lions again broke their own meet record 3:04.49 and 2016 school record of 3:04.16.This as the team of Aleksandrowicz (45.15),Mendoza (46.04),Mendes (47.20) and Sobers (44.25) posted a time of 3:02.64. This bettered the Division II B time of 3:03.97 beating the 2nd place Keiser by over 4 seconds. Sobers again had the fastest split of all relay teams.

Appalachian Swimming Conference Champions Emmanuel College Men’s team Photo courtesy of http://www.goeclions.com
Appalachian Swimming Conference Combined team Champions Emmanuel College Photo courtesy of http://www.goeclions.com

The Lions won the Championships in men’s division with 680 points as well as the combined competition with 1,267.50 points.

Alex had the following thoughts about the training leading up the Championships as well as the meet itself

“Training was intense as we were going up against some really good teams in the conference. We as a team put in a lot of work to achieve this.  I didn’t have any goal times, I was just in it to win it and have fun and set records”





Christopher Courtis
Christopher Courtis Photo courtesy of swimbarbados.com

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).


Christopher Courtis
Christopher Courtis Photo courtesy of swimbarbados.com

On Day one of the 13th edition of the World Short Course Swimming Championships the Barbados contingent  of Chris Courtis, Alex Sobers, Lani Cabrera ,McKayla Treasure and Danielle Titus . It would be Courtis and Titus who would set new national marks in Windsor Canada.


Chris Courtis, who is based at the University of Calgary, had made history for his country by becoming the first swimmer to go under 55 seconds in the 100 metre backstroke when he clocked 54.31 at the CIS (Canadian College Championships) in February of this year. 2016 is proving to be his breakout year as he raised the bar for Barbados by lowering his national record and becoming the first swimmer under 54 seconds posting a time of 53.94. The progress can be made see in the comparisons in the splits from Feb to now in Dec where he was more aggressive in the first 50 metres

Splits CIS WSC
50 26.48 25.90
100 27.83 28.04
54.31 53.94

When asked about the race he said

“Coming into Short Course Worlds, my goal was to be faster than the times I posted at Canada West Championships a week ago. Going a personal best time is always a great achievement and I was beyond thrilled. The fact that it was also a new National Record is huge a bonus”.

13-14 50 backstroke champion and senior natior record holder Danielle Titus of Barbados
13-14 100 backstroke champion and new senior natior record holder Danielle Titus of Barbados

Teammate Danielle Titus was responsible for the other national record to fall in the morning heats.She lowered the 13-14 national record in the 100 metre backstroke. The old standard of 1:06.46 belonged to Amara Gibbs from Dec 2010. Titus lowed that considerably when she touched the wall in a time of 1:04.82 (split time 31.14 ). That performance is not far off the senior national record of 1:04.58 set by Lee- Ann Rose in Dec 2012. Speaking after the race Titus said

“ I came into meet just looking for personal best and in my 100 back  I did just that. I did not achieve the time I was looking for but  I was satisfied with my swim. Knowing that I broke a record makes me feel better about my swim”.

Also in action on Day one was Alex Sobers in the 400 metre freestyle . He clocked a time of 3:58.13 (split time 1:55.81) to finish 54th overall.That is the best time done by swimmer from Barbados at the World Championships. Sobers beat his 2014 time of 4:08.54 and the previous best Barbados time of 4:00.36 by Damian Alleyne in 2002.

In the 200 metre freestyle Lani Cabrera and McKayla Treasure finished  58th and 67th  respectively with times of2:08.44 (split time 1:01.73) and 2:12.32 (split time 1:03.96).