2018 SWIMMING ACHIEVEMENTS JACK KIRBY NAMED JUNIOR SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR

Jack Kirby being honoured as the 2018 Junior Sportman of the year Photo courtesy of the Barbados Olympic Association

Jack Kirby of Barbados was recognized for his outstanding performances for the year 2018 by his nation’s Olympic Association on December 20 at  BOA and Flow awards ceremony at the Barbados Hilton when he was named Junior Sportsman of the Year. This is the second consecutive year he is being bestowed with this honour after being given the accolade in 2017 as well. This is the third year that a swimmer is being recognized as the top junior sportsman as Olympian Alex Sobers won the award in 2016

2016 Junior Sportsman of the year Olympian Alex Sobers .Photo courtesy of the Barbados Olympic Association

Kirby who is one of the top regional junior swimmers in the sprint freestyle events and sprint individual medley but is known primarily in regional circles as being the top swimmer in the backstroke record shows

Meet50 backPlace 100 back Place 200 backPlace
UANA26.63 CRGold56.34 CRGoldN/A
CARIFTA26.27 CRGold56.59 59 CRGold2:11.64, 205.22 NAGRGold
CAC 26.07 NR ,NAGR6th56.19 NAGR5th2:07.80heats only
Junior NationalsN/A56.756th
Start of the 15-17 50 metre backstroke final from left to right Carey Silver medallist and Jack Kirby of Barbados Gold medallist Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

In 2018 Kirby established himself as the fastest ever swimmer at UANA and CARIFTA swimming Championships in the sprint backstroke events. And in his senior international debut at the CAC Games he was the youngest swimmer in the 50 and the 100 metre backstroke Championship final. He is the best backstroker of all time in the 15-17 age group and the fastest backstroker of all time for Barbados with his 26.07 clocking in the 50 metre backstroke.

National records in 2018

National recordTime
50 metre backstroke26.07
15-17 National recordTime
50 metre backstroke26.07
100 metre backstroke56.19
200 metre backstroke2:05.22
50 metre freestyle23.46
100 metre backstroke50.97
CARIFTA recordsTime
50 metre backstroke26.27
100 metre backstroke56.59
200 metre backstroke2:05.22

At the 2018 SPEEDO Winter Junior Championships in North Carolina held in a 25 yard pool Kirby recorded a big personal best in the 100 yard backstroke heats. This as he dipped below the 48 seconds barrier for the first time in his career to record a time of 47.88. It also puts as him only the third swimmer from Baylor to break 48 seconds .

Jacky Kirby in action in the backstroke Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

Kirby represents Baylor both at school and club level in the United States. In February of last year he also captured Gold in the 100 yard backstroke by over a second in a then personal best at the Tennessee State Championships.

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Kirby and asked him for this thoughts on receiving this award and what was the high point for him in 2018

Jack Kirby UANA Gold medallist and Barbadian age group in the 100 metre backstroke

“I’m extremely very grateful to be chosen for the award because I know I was chosen amongst many Bajan athletes on the same level as me. The highlight for this year has to be (Central American and Caribbean) CAC Games in Barranquilla. I say CAC Games because my competitors were older than me and I was still able to compete with them in finals”.

University of Southern California (USC commit) Jack Kirby .Photo courtesy of swimswam

Not one to rest on his laurels the University of Southern California bound Kirby representing Baylor today Jan 10,2019 made the Championship final of the 50 metre backstroke at the 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series #1 – Knoxville

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CARTER LEADS THE REGION IN THE 200 METRE FREESTYLE AT WORLD CHAMPS

The second day of the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in Hangzhou China saw Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter as the top swimmer from the region in the 200 metre freestyle.

Dylan CarterPhoto courtesy of Walt Middleton/usctrojans.com

Carter topped the best from the region with a time of 1:43.74 (split time 49.43) to finish 12th overall. In 2016 Windsor he was the top swimmer as well as he had made the Championship final.  

Marcelo Acosta Photo courtesy of swimmingworld.com

Second from the region was El Salvador’s Marcelo Acosta shattered his national record from the 2014 Championships of 1:49.93 in Qatar with a swim of 1:47.00 to placed 29th overall.In Qatar he had placed 51st overall.

20182014
First 5025.0425.39
Second 5026.6627.90
Third 5027.2928.72
Fourth 5028.0127.92
Final time1:47.001:49.93
Alex Sobers Photo courtesy of Barbados Aquatic Centre

Another swimmer in record smashing form was Alex Sobers from Barbados. He lowered the 2001 national mark of 1:48 .98  with a time of 1:47.55 (split time 52.60) to place 32nd overall.Damian Alleyne. Damian was one of the most dominant swimmers from the region in the late 1990’s to early 2000’s.  In 2016  at the Windsor Championships Sobers had placed 57th with a time of 1:49.69 (split time 53.27).

Yeziel Morales Photo courtesy of primerahora

Yeziel Morales of Puerto Rico was just off his national record of 1:50.58. He placed 44th overall in a time of 1:50.73 (split time 53.81).

Noah Mascoll-Gomes Photo courtesy of espn.uol.com.br/

Noah Mascoll-Gomes set a new national record when he placed 45th overall. He stopped the clock in a time of 1:51.60 (split time 54.58).

OTHER REGIONAL RESULTS

Kohen KerrThe Bahamas1:56.5254th
Cruz HalbichSt Vincent and the Grenadines2:00.0959th
Daniel ScottGuyana2:00.8460th

ALEX SOBERS OF BARBADOS CRUSHES NATIONAL RECORD TO LEAD ENGLISH SPEAKING CARIBBEAN IN THE 400 METRE FREESTYLE

Barbadian Olympian Alex Sobers established himself as the best from  the English speaking Caribbean in the 400 metre freestyle when he had won the 15-17 crown at the now defunct Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships with a time of 3:57.30 in 2016 in The Bahamas.

scoreboard-on-alex-sobers-swim
Scoreboard showing the results of the 15-17 400 metres freestyle final at the 2016 CISC

 

He would dip under the 4 minute mark again on his Olympic debut at the Rio Games with a time of 3:59.97. Since then it he would have a number of close shaves with that barrier recording 4:00.17 at the 2017 CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago and 4:00.50 at the 2017 Budapest World Championships.

sobers final 400 metre final
Sobers gets ready to compete in the 400 metre freestyle final Photo courtesy of Aisha Norville

On July 23 at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla Colombia he registered a preliminary round time of 4:01.42.That propelled him to Championship final. In the final that afternoon he destroyed his old national mark to place seventh in 3:55.50.

Record Progression
400 metre freestyle 2016 CISC 2018 CAC Games
First 100 metres 57.04 56.70
Second 100 metres 1:00.81 59.67
Third 100 metres 1:00.22 59.29
Fourth 100 metres 59.23 59.84
Final Time 3:57.30 3:55.30

Speaking to draftingthecaribbean after his record swim Sobers said “I am really proud and excited to do 3:55 which is a best time and to break my national record as I was struggling to produce a sub 4 minute swim for a really long time”

Alex bettered the 2019  Gwangju LCM World Championships and 2018 Hangzhou SCM World Championships B standard of 3:56.14. He is closing in on the the 2019 Lima PAN AM Games automatic qualifying standard of 3:54.44 and as well as the provisional Tokyo 2020 B standard 3:53.58. The final Olympic standards will be ratified in December by FINA.

sobers EC Athletics Athlete of the year
Alex Sobers Emmanuel College’s Athlete of the Year Photo courtesy of goeclions.com

Alex will be in his junior college at Emmanuel College which is now a full member of the Division II and will be a member of the Conference Carolinas. For the 2017-2018 season he was named by his school as the Male Athlete of the Year Annual Leo  Athletic Awards. He hold the school records in the 200 and 500 yard freestyle with times of 1:35.95 and 4:27.56.

THREE CAC GOLD MEDALS THE CARIFTA WAY OLYMPIANS EVANS, CARTER AND ATKINSON WIN THEIR RACES IN RECORD TIME

Friday July 21 at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean saw three of the CARIFTA region’s biggest stars Olympians Joanna Evans of The Bahamas , Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago and Alia Atkinson of Jamaica win Gold in Games Record times.

Joanna Evans posing 400
Joanna posing for pictures after her victory Photo courtesy of Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe Barranquilla

The historic Gold Rush was started by Evans in the 400 metre freestyle.She easily qualified for the Championship final with a time of 4:16.63  . Her medal final saw  her putting on masterclass on how to swim the event.The race was effectively over as a contest when Joanna took out the first 50 metres in 28.80. At the 100 metre mark when she split 59.59  the question on everyone’s mind was how much she would lower the 2010 Games record of 4:11.36 Venezuelan Olympian Adreina Pinto. With a final 50 metres of 31.61 she would just get by the record with a time of 4:11.15. With her win she becomes only the Second woman from the CARIFTA region to win Gold in the event following Suriname’s Carolyn Adel victory in 1998. Evans also upgrades her Silver medal from 2014 to Gold and moves from a tie with Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson as the best placed English speaking swimmer in the event. She also joins  Mexican Maria Souza as the only women to have won Silver and Gold in the event. Souza took Silver in 1959 before going on to win Gold in 1962 in Kingston Jamaica.

400 metre freestyle podium
400 metre freestyle medallists Photo courtesy of Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe Barranquilla

Silver went to Mexico’s Allyson Macias Alba in 4:14.74 and the Bronze to Costa Rica’s Helena Moreno Hernandez in 4:15.51

Dylan Carter trinidad express

Carter ensured the CARIFTA Golden streak with his own historic swim .After making the final as the second seed with a time of 49.24 . It would be time to bring SHOWTIME to Barranquilla Colombia Team TTO style. When the gun started it be another CARIFTA region star that would take out the first 50 metres as Suriname’s Olympian Renzo Tjon A Joe split 23.03. However Carter split 23.29 worked his underwaters and when he popped up it was SHOWTIME . He came home in the second fastest 50 metres of 25.66 to take the Gold in a new Games Record of 48.95 , the first CAC Games swimmer under 49 seconds. That bettered the 2014 Games record of 49.00 held by Cuban Olympian Hanser Garcia. With his record swim he became the first Man to win the 100 metre freestyle crown from the CARIFTA region as the previous best placing had been Silver medals won by countryman Olympian Mark Andrews in 1986 and Cayman Islands Olympian Shaune Fraser in 2006. Team TTO now has a complete set of medal in the events rounded out by Olympic medal winner George Bovell III’s Bronze in 2006. Silver went Aruban Olympian Mikel Schreuders in yet another national record time of 49.17 , the first medal ever for Aruba in the event. Bronze went to Jorge Andres Iga Cesar in 49.28. Tjon A Joe placed fifth in a time of 49.38 and Barbados Olympian Alex Sobers eighth in a personal best time of 50.51. Both swimmers were just off their respective national records of 49.29 and 50.40. Carter spoke about this journey to 100 metre freestyle Gold to TEAM TTO

 

 

 

Anchoring this Golden run on the opening day of the CAC Games was Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson . After bettering her old Games record of 1:10.24 in the morning heats  she was the second seed with a 1:08.00. Also under the record was Byanca Rodriquez Villanuev who just edged Alia with a time of 1:07.99.The two ladies swam in the last of the morning heats side by side.Rodriquez Villanuev had gained the early advantage then with a split of 31.28 to Atkinson’s 31.32. So the setting was clear for the final as it would be between Byanca and Alia. In the Championship final there would be no synchronized swimming as Alia got her customary bullet start and gave the field too much to handle with a split of 30.85. After an excellent pullout she also turned in the best last 50 metre of 35.98 to ensure that the CAC Games record remained in Jamaica with a final time of 1:06.83.

Alia-Atkinson
Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of heppdesigns.com

With the that win she breaks the tie with Mexico’s Silvia Rivero who won the titles in 1982 and 1986 as she now has crowned herself Queen on three occasions 2006, 2010 and now 2018. Atkinson is also the 11th fastest woman in the world with that swim.She is still the only woman from the CARIFTA region to medal in the event. Silver went to Rodriquez Villanuev in 1:07.80 and her countrywoman Esther Gonzalez Medina  in 1:10.60. The deep talent pool spread across the region was evident at The Bahamas duo of Lilly Higgs  1:11.32 and Laura Morley 1:12.34 placed fifth and sixth respectively in the Championship final

 

 

ALEX SOBERS AND JACK KIRBY RECORD SUB 51’S SWIMS IN THE 100 METRE FREESTYLE AT CAC GAMES , JACK MAKES AUTOMATIC YOUTH OLYMPIC STANDARD

The morning heats of the 100 metre freestyle saw big time drops for the Team Barbados duo of Alex Sobers and Jack Kirby

Sobers preparing to win another Gold medal
Alex Sobers Photo courtesy of goeclions.com

 

Sobers lowered his personal best of 51.82  (split time 25.25) from the TYR Pro Swim Series in Atlanta on March 1 to 50.74 (split time 24.13) to rank 9th overall and qualify for the B final. He will contest the Championship final at 8.22 pm local time. Sobers gave his thoughts to draftingthecaribbean about his PB

“I am happy with the new best time (50.74).Renzo Tjon A Joe (Suriname) was in the lane next  to me, so I used that to push me.That swim gave me a positive attitude towards the meet , I am  looking forward to the rest of my swims”.

Jack UANA
Jack Kirby at the UANA Cup

Teammate Kirby was also in record breaking form as he crushed his personal best and national 15-17 age group record of 52.04  (split time 25.70)  that he recorded in January at the UANA Cup in Florida to place 10th in a time of 50.97 (split time 25.10). That swim also propelled him past the Youth Olympics A standard time of 51.40.Draftingthecaribbean contacted Kirby and got his thoughts on record swim

“50.97 was a surprise to me because my goal for the race was 51. It felt like a normal 100 free race to me and I believe having older competitors helped my outcome a lot.”

Both swimmers will be chasing top honours in the B final slated for 8:16pm local time as well as the 2019  Gwangju  Korea World Championships and 2018 Hangzhou, China World Short Course B time of 50.51. Also in their sights will be the senior national record of Shawn Clarke of 50.40.Clarke set that record leading off the 2009 Rome World championships 400 metre freestyle relay and had an opening split of 24.48

SOBERS SETS 200 METRE FREESTYLE NATIONAL RECORD, NAMED ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AT EMMANUEL COLLEGE

Olympian Alex Sobers (Rio 2016) added a second senior national record to his name when he lowered the more than decade old record of 1:52.30 in the 200 metre freestyle held by Olympian  Bradley Ally (Athens 2004,Beijing 2008,and London 2012).

alex sobers Gold coast 2018
Alex Sobers at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

Sobers powered his way to a time of 1:51.87 in the 4 lap event to place 20th overall. That swim was also the number 1 CARIFTA region performance in the event at the Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast Australia. The previous fastest Barbadian performance at the Commonwealth Games  was by another Olympian Damian Alleyne (Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004) at the  2002 Manchester Games who recorded a time of 1:53.61.

Bradley Ally panamericanworld
Bradley Ally Photo courtesy of PanamericanWorld.com

Comparative splits

Sobers Ally
26.27 26.14
27.81 28.27
28.63 28.62
29.16 29.27
1:51.87 1:52.30

He would record another personal best and put the 100 metre freestyle record on notice when he stopped the clock in a time of 51.12 (split time 24.59). The national record stands at 50.40 to Shawn Clarke in 2009.

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

It was also the fastest time by a swimmer from Barbados at the Commonwealth Games as he bettered Alleyne’s 2002 effort of 52.48. Sobers was second fastest swimmer from the region placing 29th. It would be a hattrick of personal bests as he clocked 23.75 in the 50 metre freestyle to place 28th.

 

sobers EC Athletics Athlete of the year
Alex Sobers Emmanuel College’s Athlete of the Year Photo courtesy of goeclions.com

Alex recently earned the honour of being named the Male Athlete of the Year for his school Emmanuel College at the annual 4th Annual Leo  Athletic Awards for his accomplishments which included being

  • a Six time Sun Coast Swimming Conference Champion
  • a Nine time Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Champion
  • Having an undefeated 26-0 dual  meet record
  • Being the holder of Seven school records
  • Earning NCAA National Championship qualifying times in 9 different events this season
  • His performance at the 2017 World Aquatic Championships
  • His national record breaking performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games

When draftingthecaribbean got in touch with the record holder on April 26th he spoke about the 200 metre race and expectations heading into the competition

” I felt really good before the 200 free because I was confident in the training I put in .The heat had James Guy (2015 World champion in the event)  in it so that really gave me a good push to do a best time. I didn’t necessarily set expectations for the meet .I was really excited to go Australia. The atmosphere was really exciting ,it was my first big (multisport) games since the Rio 2016 Olympics.

sobers and Coach Aisha
Alex Sobers and Coach Aisha Norville

Coach at the Commonwealth Games Aisha Norville also spoke to draftingthecaribbean and gave her impressions of Sobers personal best swims and the outlook for her nation heading to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“Alex gave a commendable performance at the Games. His focus will shift to the Cac games where it is hoped that he makes a few finals.Looking towards 2020 I believe swimming in Barbados should be well represented but it’s still a bit early to say because a lot can still happen in 2 years. Jack Kirby continues to improve extremely well in his backstroke events and I’m sure he would be looking for an ‘A’ qualifying time for Tokyo. As for Alex I believe he would want to convert his ‘B’ time from Rio as a then 16 year old to an ‘A’ time. Barbados would also have backstroker Danielle Titus and Luis Sebastian Weekes aiming for qualifying times for Tokyo”

 

UANA CUP DAY THREE 15-17 BOYS JACK KIRBY OF BARBADOS WINS 50 METRE BACKSTROKE COMPLETES SPRINT DOUBLE,SMASHES THREE AGE GROUP RECORDS

The final day of the UANA CUP in Coral Springs Florida saw Jack Kirby of Barbados completing the backstroke sprint double.  Kirby  would be the best placed swimmer from the CARIFTA region as he placed second overall with 26.5 points. Kirby, who was fittingly named Junior Athlete of the Year for 2017 for his nation lived up to that accolade by producing yet another  another stellar performance.

Jack UANA
Jack Kirby UANA Gold medallist and Barbadian age group in the 50 metre backstroke

He started his run of good performances by completing the CARIFTA region trifecta in the 50 metre backstroke. Earlier Zarek Wilson of Trinidad and Tobago and Lamar Taylor of The Bahamas captured the 11-12 and 13-14 crowns respectively.

wilson Day 2 UANA
Trinidad and Tobago’s first Gold medallist at the UANA Cup Zarek Wilson 11-12 50 metre backstroke Gold  medallist

Lamar Taylor UANA
Lamar Taylor of The Bahamas 13-14 50 metre backstroke gold medallist

He won the event in a time of 26.63 holding off Mexican standout Guillermo Cruz Zuniga who stopped the clock 26.73 .Matheus Zacharias of Brazil won the Bronze in 27.16. Kirby’s effort lowered his previous 15-17 national record of 26.88 set at the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis on August 25.It also bettered the Youth Olympic Games A qualifying standard of 26.73.He completed the backstroke double after winning the 100 metre in an new age group and Youth Olympic A standard time of 56.34.

In his sights for the CARIFTA Games will be the Championship record of 26.31 set by Trinidad and Tobago’s David McLeod at the 2014 Aruba Championships.

In the 100 metre freestyle he placed 4th in a time of 52.04 (split time 25.70) .He was just out touched by Zacharias who punched the clock in 51.96. Kirby’s strong back end speed was evidenced yet again as he produced the fastest last 50 metres of the competition of 26.34.

Alex Sobers receing award
Alex Sobers of Barbados( 15-17 boys champion in the 200 and 400 metre freestyle receiving award Photo courtesy of carifta2016mque

His effort earned him yet another age group record as he lowered the 52.25 (split time 25.42) set by Olympian Alex Sobers (Rio 2016) when he won Gold at the 2016 CARIFTA Championships in Martinique.

In the very last event of the day the mixed 200 metre freestyle relay Kirby lead off the Barbados team with a time of 23.68. That broke yet another Sobers age group standard of 24.14. Alex had set the record in the heats of the 50 metre freestyle at the 2016 CARIFTA championships. That also puts Kirby within striking distance of the Youth Olympics A standard time of 23.56. The other members of the team Danielle Titus 27.79, McKayla Treasure 29.31 and Luis Sebastian Weekes helped to produce a total time of 1:45.39 just missing the age group record of 1:45.16 to place 8th overall. The national age group record was set by the team of Sobers, Hannah Gill, Damon St Prix and Treasure set at the 2016 Caribbean Island Swimming championships in The Bahamas.

Renzo rio
Renzo Tjon A Joe photo courtesy of Renzo Tjon A Joe

With that swim Kirby has put his name in the conversation to swim the event at CARIFTA in Jamaica and possibly go after the Championship record of 23.37 set by Olympian Renzo Tjon A Joe (Rio 2016) of Suriname at the 2013 Kingston Championships. Kirby gave his thoughts about his final day performances to draftingthecaribbean

“To me the race (50 metre backstroke) didn’t feel that great but the outcome was good. For the 100 free, the plan was to make the same time or better from the day before. For the 50 free, the goal was just to make the 23 from the start of the meet so making it on the second attempt was a great feeling”.

Top Regional Performances

Izaak on his way to 100 breaststroke Gold at CARIFTA
Izaak Bastian Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Name Country Event Age Group Time Place
Izaak Bastian The Bahamas 50 metre breaststroke 15-17 29.23 Gold
Izaak Bastian The Bahamas 100 metre breaststroke 15-17 1:04.37 Gold
Izaak Bastian The Bahamas 50 metre freestyle 15-17 24.08 Bronze

Nicholas Vale CARIFTA pic
Nicholas Vale Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Name Country Event Age Group Time Place
Nicholas Vale Jamaica 400 metre IM 15-17 4:56.85 Bronze

Kael UANA
Kael Yorke Bronze medallist in the 100 metre butterfly

Name Country Event Age Group Time Place
Kael Yorke Trinidad and Tobago 50 metre butterfly 15-17 25.52 Silver
Kael Yorke Trinidad and Tobago 100 metre butterfly 15-17 56.53 Bronze

Chatoor and crew uana
Top Carifta performer in the 11-12 and 15-17 age group Zoe Anthony , Graham Chatoor top performer in the 15-17 400 metre freestyle and Zarek Wilson

Name Country Event Age Group Time Place
Graham Chatoor Trinidad and Tobago 200 metre freestyle 15-17 1:59.43 12th
Graham Chatoor Trinidad and Tobago 400 metre freestyle 15-17 4:15.18 12th

luis sebastian weekes im m lyn
Luis Sebastian Weekes Photo courtesy of Micheal C Lyn

Name Country Event Age Group Time Place
Luis Sebastian Weekes Barbados 200 metre IM 15-17 2:13.97 4th