At the recently concluded World Championships in Budapest Hungary Aruba’s Olympian Allyson Ponson (2016) established a new marker for her country’s female freestyle sprinters when she finished in the top 50 in the 100 metre freestyle.
Ponson finished 47th in the 100 metre freestyle in 58.81.That bettered the previous best placing of 53rd at the 2013 Barcelona Championships which Allyson had registered. In the 50 metre freestyle Allyson was 44th with a clocking of 26.76. That 50 metre sprint effort was the 2nd best performance by an Aruban woman at the global competition.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to the national record holder in both events on July 29 she gave her perspective on her Budapest experience
“The experience has been so much fun being with my teammates again and seeing them swim such fast times it was definitely motivating. Also watching the world’s best swimmers compete is such a great learning experience. For me however the meet didn’t go as wanted, I had a busy year with my first internship which was 40 hours a week so I didn’t train like I wanted to. But overall I am happy with the times I did and the opportunity I have gotten to be able to swim amongst the best swimmers in the world”.
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.
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
CISC July 2016
Mesa April 2017
WC July 2017
CCCAN rankings for the 200 metre freestyle in Budapest
At the 2015 Kazan World Championships Jordy Groters had clocked an Aruban national record time of 28.64 in the 50 metre breaststroke. The mark stood untroubled until the recently held CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago. At that competition he lowered it to 28.57 in a Silver medal winning performance.
In Budapest he continued his record breaking form. He lowered the national standard yet again hitting the pads in 28.40. The breaststroke record makes it two national records from two swims as he had broken his own 100 metre breaststroke record earlier at the meet. That performance places him as the fastest from the CARIFTA region at World championships. It also ranks him as fourth fastest from the CCCAN region.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to him today he elaborated on his record breaking feat
“I was extremely excited to swim. Maybe a bit too excited which probably came back to bite me in the end. I was fast off the blocks, not as fast as I was in the 100, but still respectably fast for a 50. My pull out was wonderful, probably as strong as it had ever been. I was about 5.8s to the 15m marker, according to my coach’s watch. In past practices, with and without racing suits, I’ve only been 6.2s to the 15m marker. Obviously I did not know this during the race. All I knew was that I felt good and I felt fast. What my coach and I have also been working on this past year was having a consistent stroke rate. For the 100, we wanted about 1.15s per stroke, which we hit dead on. For the 50, however, our goal was to be 0.90s to 1.00s per stroke. In practice, I would hit it most of the time. This morning, my first couple strokes were indeed 0.95s per stroke, again, according to my coach’s watch. But as I said, my overexcitement probably came back to bite me. I was clocking 0.85s per stroke rate for the last 30m of the race. Of course, if I were used to that kind of speed, it probably would have been an amazing thing. Unfortunately, it was a bit too fast and I was essentially just spinning my arms, not grabbing any water. We still did a best time, lowering my National Record set at CCCAN a couple of weeks back by 0.17. For a 50m, that’s a pretty respectable drop in time. Now, in the reflection phase of my meet, I am thinking it could have been better if I kept my 0.95s stroke rate.
Nonetheless, I was extremely pleased with my time because it was under the B-qualifying standard for this meet, which I had never been before in the past. Of course I understand I didn’t swim this time during the qualifying period, but it’s a step in the right direction. It shows that I can definitely start making some qualifying standards before the period ends.
Fortunately, Aruba will be swimming in the Mixed 400 Medley relay tomorrow morning, whereof I will be doing the breaststroke leg. This will give me a really unique and awesome opportunity to get a quick time in my 100 with a relay swing and to also improve on my turn that I didn’t do so well in my individual 100. Relays being so crucial and exciting in NCAA swimming, tomorrow’s swim will certainly give my coaches at Mizzou (University of Missouri) a good idea of what I’m capable of doing in relays alongside my individual swims.”
Aruban Olympian Mikel Schreuders (2016) came to Europe off the strength of a good CCCAN campaign in Trinidad and Tobago. In the twin island republic he won the Bronze in the 18 and over category in the 200 metre freestyle. In the Caribbean he had stopped the clock in 1:51.76. That was just off his national record of 1:51.02 set in November at the 2015 Tennessee Invitational. It was natural to expect better was to come in Europe.
He would not disappoint as he crushed his old national record on Monday July 24 and broke the 1:50 barrier with a time of 1:49.66. That time placed him 39th overall, the best ranking by an Aruban in over a decade in the event. Schreuders is the fastest CARIFTA representative at the competition with that swim. It also ranks third amongst the CCCAN swimmers in Budapest.
Analysis of splits of old record and new record
A very happy Mikel spoke to draftingthecaribbean today about his achievement
“The first 50 I was trying to hold a nice pace and not go too hard on the legs. After the turn I realized i was back a bit so I started kicking more and I was thinking that I was out a little too slow. The third 50 I was just trying to hit my pace and go fast, and my last 50 I saw the guy from Jamaica (Michael Gunning) and I was going my fastest to get 1st in my heat”.
When asked if he was expecting this time he said
“This was my goal time and I have been training very hard this summer. I felt good during warm up. And my coaches Mark and Ismael told me that they thought I could go a 1:49”
The first day of the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest Hungary saw Aruba’s Jordy Groters lowering his personal best and national record in the 100 metre breaststroke.
Heading into the global competition the Aruban national mark stood at 1:03.23 (split time 29.68). That time was recorded at the Caribbean Islands Swimming championships in The Bahamas in July 2016. In Europe Jordy recorded splits of 29.39 and 33.56 to break the 1:03 barrier to stop the clock in 1:02.95.
That swim places Groters as the fastest swimmer from the CARIFTA region and fourth in the CCCAN region .
With a new national standard in his first swim of the competition he told draftingthecaribbean today how he felt about that race
“ I think any swimmer would agree that seeing a lower number on the scoreboard than you’re used or what you expected to see to is one of the best feelings in this sport. In August of 2014 I swam 1:03 for the first time in my life. It’s been almost exactly three years since then and I’ve finally managed to dip under the 1:03 to reach the elusive 1:02. There was probably a point last year where I was so frustrated with my swims that I didn’t think I’d ever actually do it, too.
All that being said, I was filled with relief when I looked up to the scoreboard to see a 1:02 behind my name. I softly muttered ‘finally’ to myself as I let the moment sink in.
No race is perfect, however. I knew I had a horrible turn which makes me glad. It tells me that I can be faster. I’m not too concerned about that right now, though. I’m still on an adrenaline rush from that 1:02 and I really think it’s going to make my 50 breast tomorrow something special, again.”
Analysis of CCCAN performances in the 100 metre breaststroke
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Saturday July 1 at the CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago saw two more swimmers Olympians Edgar Crespo of Panama (2012,2016) and Aruban Mikel Schreuders (2016) bettering the World Championships B standards.Those swims bought the overall World Championship qualifying performances to eight.
Competing in the 18 and over category at the National Aquatic Centre in Couva Crespo was faster than the World Championship B standard of 28.47 when he recorded 28.08 to top the qualifiers for the final with a time of 28.08. He was also under the 2013 Championship record of 28.61 set by Trinidad and Tobago’s Abraham McLeod . Edgar would be even faster in the final when he became the first swimmer under the 28 seconds barrier when he won the Gold in 27.94. Following him to the wall for the Silver in a new Aruban national record of 28.57 and just outside the B time was Jordy Groters. His old national record was 28.60 .Winning the Bronze in 28.97 was his countryman Mikel Schreuders.
Mikel would lower an Aruban national mark of his own and better the B time for the Hungary World Championships when he won Gold in the 100 metre freestyle in a time of 50.55. The B standard is 50.64. Winning the Silver was Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany in personal best of 50.75. Bronze went to Olympian Avila Kevin (2012) in 51.68.
There were a number of near misses with the World championship cuts as well. In the 18 and over category Suriname’s Olympian Evita Leter (2016) hit the pads in 32.72 for the win in the 50 metre breaststroke. The time to beat was 32.31. In the 15-17 200 metre butterfly Guatemalan Olympian Valerie Gruest stopped the clock in 2:14.59, a new Championship record but just shy of the B time of 2:14.31.
Other meet records to fall included the 15-17 200 metre butterfly for girls. That was the result of another Gruest effort as she bettered the 1987 standard of Olympian Silvia Poll of 2:23.23 with a 2:20.42 swim to take the Gold.
Another Olympian’s record would fall in the 13-14 equivalent as Daniela Alfaro of Costa Rica bettered Mexican Rita Medrano’s (2012) 2005 standard of 2:19.75 with a 2:18.65 clocking.
In the boys 15-17 age group Crespo lost his 2007 15-17 record of 29.33as local standout Jeron Thompson won Gold in 29.26. Winning the Silver and also under the record was Fausto David Heron of the Dominican Republic who swam 29.32.
Thompson was one six swimmers that completed the regional Golden Double winning at the CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas in April and again in Trinidad and Tobago.