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.

Tyla Martin
Tyla Martin Photo courtesy of

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

Morgan and Jillian
Top 11-12 swimmers in the 200 metre IM from left to right Morgan Cogle of the Jupiter Dragon USA and Jillian Crooks of Camana Bay Aquatics Cayman Islands Photo courtesy of Cheser Adams

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.

200 IM CCCAN Dean Martin
butterfly 32.72 30.98
backstroke 39.67 41.10
breaststroke 48.97 46.91
freestyle 35.34 35.89
Total Time 2:36.70 2:34.88


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.

Zarek Dean
Zarek Wilson of the Blue Dolphins Swim Club Trinidad and Tobago Photo courtesy of Cheser Adams

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

Daniel Mair
Daniel Mair of the Tornadoes Swim Club Photo courtesy of Cheser Adams

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.

Britney Williams Photo courtesy of Cheser Adams

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.

Kyle Dean Martin
Kyle Sinclair Y Speedos Swim Club Photo courtesy of Cheser Adams

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

Event Time
50 metre butterfly 29.20
50 metre freestyle 27.05
100 metre backstroke 1:06.77
100 metre butterfly 1:05.59
200 metre butterfly 2:31.33
100 metre individual medley 1:10.51
100 metre breaststroke 1:23.18
200 metre freestyle 2:14.31

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.

Crooks after 50 heats at CCCAN
Jillian Crooks exiting the pool after the heats of the 50 metre freestyle at CCCAN Photo courtesy of CCCAN

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

Meet Time Place
UANA 30.52 14th
CARIFTA 28.72 4th
CCCAN 27.46 Gold CR
TYR meet 27.25 Gold NR

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.

thumbnail_Crooks CCCAn warmup
Jillian in the marshalling area at CCCAN Photo courtesy of CCCAN

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

Event Time Meet record
200 metre freestyle 2:16.95 2:19.16
200 metre backstroke 2:33.98 2:42.95
200 metre Individual medley 2:36.70 2:42.65


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.

thumbnail_cogle and crooks cccan day 3 cccan
CCCAN 11-12 200 metre freestyle podium from left to Zoe Anthony Trindad and Tobago Silver medallist, Morgan Cogle Jamaica Gold medallist and Crooks Cayman Islands Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of CCCAN

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.


Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of

Miss Alia Atkinson will formally be conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander on Jamaica’s Heroes Day from Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, at King’s House tomorrow October 15. She is being recognized for  outstanding representation of Jamaica in the field of swimming and being the first black woman to win a World Championships Title.

John Lopez Photo courtesy of Jamaica Information Service

The sport of swimming will also be represented tomorrow by veteran swim Coach John Lopez who will be awarded the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Officer for his  contribution to disability and paraplegic sports.Mr Lopez founded the Marlin Swim Club in 1959, and started a swimming programme at the Mona Rehabilitation Centre (now Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre) in 1963.

George Bovell
Goerge Bovell III Photo courtesy of

Alia covered herself in more glory by lowering her own world record in the 50 metre breaststroke ( 25 metre pool ) to 28.56 on October 6. With that record Atkinson extends her lead in having the most world record swims from the region. Also on this list are Olympians George Bovell III and Martinique’s Coralie Balmy.

Coralie Rio
Coralie Balmy Photo courtesy of Coralie Balmy
Name Country Event Time Date Location
George Bovell III Trinidad and Tobago 200 metre IM (scm) 1:53.93 March 25,2004 East Meadow NY USA
Coralie Balmy Martinique/France 200 metre freestyle (scm) 1:53.18 December 6,2008 Angers,France
Alia Atkinson Jamaica 100 metre breaststroke (scm) 1:02.36 December 2,2014 Doha, Qatar
Alia Atkinson Jamaica 100 metre breaststroke (scm) 1:02.36 August 26,2016 Chartes,France
Alia Atkinson Jamaica 50 metre breaststroke (scm) 28.64 October 26,2016 Tokyo,Japan
Alia Atkinson Jamaica 50 metre breaststroke (scm) 28.56 October 6,2018 Budapest ,Hungary
Maureen Croes
Maureen Croes General Secretary of CCCAN

Maureen Croes ,General Secretary of CCCAN , the regional governing body for swimming had the following thoughts on Atkinson’s World Record.

“Another very positive result for our region. Very proud to see Alia’s hard work and determination pay of and bring her in the well deserved spotlight. I hope that her story can bring excitement to our entire region, for the athletes, for our sport as a whole and  maybe even for the administrators, leaders and coaches  to see that it is possible to compete on the World stage”.

Eddie Hazell
The President of the St. Lucia Amateur Swimming Association, Eddie Hazell

The President of the St. Lucia Amateur Swimming Association, Eddie Hazell also offered congratulations and spoke of Alia’s impact on the region

“We in St.Lucia are elated at the success and achievements of Alia. She is well known to quite a few of our swimmers who has had the honor of both speaking too and receiving words of encouragement from her. Not surprising, her personal journey now acts as an inspiration to many of our competitive swimmers. St. Lucia Amateur Swimming Association extends congratulations to Alia on such a superb performance. We stand with you in pursuit of your goals and wishes you all the best. Thank you Miss Atkinson – you are a true inspiration to all”.

Jason Wickham
ASATT PRO Jason Wickham

Words of praise also came from the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago through its Public Relations Officer Jason Wickham

“On behalf of the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago we would like to extend our congratulations to Alia Atkinson on the establishment of a new world record. Alia has been flying the flag of Jamaica and the entire region for a number of years and this is testament to the hard work she has put in. She continues to bring glory to the Caribbean. Coming from this and the success of  Caribbean athletes on the world stage including our Dylan Carter that there will be a   region wide mentor ship initiative from our seasoned athletes so that will continue producing top class athletes that will excel on the global stage”.

Algernon Cargill Bahamas
President of The Bahamas Aquatics Federation Algernon Cargill

President of the Bahamas Aquatics Federation Algernon Cargill also lauded Atkinson

“The Caribbean has produced many firsts in sports certainly we know about all the successes in track and field and swimming has been producing  the same level of outstanding results. The Bahamas Aquatics Federation extends sincere congratulations to Alia Atkinson and our friends in the ASAJ on Alia’s outstanding world record. She has demonstrated that aquatic sports in the Caribbean is among the best in the world.Not only because of Alia’s outstanding swim in the breaststroke but moreso because we are always overshadowed by the results of track and field. Alia has broken through and again has set another world record .Her performance in the  50 metre breaststroke will be an example for many Caribbean swimmers to emulate in the future. What is outstanding is that she is achieving these results in the latter stages of her career and she has demonstrated that when you continue to work hard and compete clean that you will be blessed with outstanding results.The Bahamas Aquatics Federation recognizes that Alia’s started during her CARIFTA years and continued during her college career and of course the The World Championships and Olympic Games.She has continued to work hard and her diversity in swimming other events positions for an outstanding performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.So we congratulate Alia and wish her well and continue to pray that she will continue to represent the Caribbean of course Jamaica at the high standard as she has always done”.

King’s House serves both as the official residence of the Jamaican Head of State and as a Department of Government.




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.

anahi at CCCAN
Anahi posing with 50 metre breaststroke Silver at the CCCAN Championships Photo courtesy of C.C.C.A.N

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.

Anahi during the heats of the 100 metre breaststroke
Anahi concentrating before the heats of the 100 metre breaststroke at the CAC Games Photo courtesy of Comite Olimpico Arubano

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.

Anahi and Coach
Coach Ismael Santisesteban Espinsona and Anahi

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.

Daniella Van Den Berg Photo courtesy of

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.

Zarek doing land training
Zarek in dryland training Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson


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.

Zarek with 8 medals
Zarek Wilson with his Eight medals won at the UANA Cup

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.

11-12 high point trophy winner Zarek wilson recieving trophy UANA M Lyn
Zarek Wilson being presented with the 11-12 high point trophy Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

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.


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.

Zarek Wilson
Zarek Wilson Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

It would also be his most dominant performance of the year winning 12 Gold medals and a Silver.

Event Time Place
100 metre freestyle 58.89 Gold
200 metre freestyle 2:07.03 Gold
400 metre freestyle 4:27.78 Gold CR
50 metre backstroke 30.59 Gold
100 metre backstroke 1:06.68 Gold
100 metre butterfly 1:05.06 Silver
200 metre IM 2:24.93 Gold
400 metre IM 5:10.41 Gold
200 metre butterfly 2:23.22 Gold
200 metre backstroke 2:29.92 Gold
400  metre freestyle relay 4:06.84 Gold
400 metre medley relay 4:44.35 /heats 4:38.35 Gold
200 metre freestyle relay 1:50.06 Gold
Zarek with Landon Von Kanel trophy
Wilson with the Landon Von Kanel trophy for the 11-12 swimmer who wins both the 200 and 400 metre freestyle races. It is awarded in honour of Von Kanel who was a top swimmer from The Cayman Islands who left us too soon Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

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.

Zarek and Nikoli
Zarek and CCCAN 11-12 open water star and fellow top performer for Team TTO Nikoli Blackman enjoying down time after a successful season of national team representation Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

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 and Coach edmund
Zarek and Coach Edmund Pouchet Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

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.

Zarek and Land trainng 2
Zarek running through drills during dry land training Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

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.

Zarek in the water
Wilson completing a training set during an afternoon workout Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

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





Lamar Taylor C.C.C.A.N
Lamar Taylor posing with the 13-14 CCCAN Gold medal in the 50 metre freestyle after setting a new championship record of 23.94 Photo courtesy of CCCAN

Lamar Taylor of The Bahamas has blazed a fiery trail in the 50 metre freestyle this year to earn the moniker of the “English Speaking Caribbean’s fastest swimmer in the 13-14 age group”

He earned this title with with a number of top performances at major competitions. His first meet the UANA Cup  In January in Coral Springs Florida saw him just edged for the Gold with a time of 24.57. The Gold went to Mexican Victor Salcedo Carrillo who clocked 24.56. Taylor’s swim saw him as the best from the CARIFTA region. He ensured that his favorite’s tag heading into the CARIFTA championships in April in Jamaica was no mistake as he won with the only sub 25 seconds clocking of 24.27. He took the sprint freestyle to a another level when he dipped under the 24 seconds barrier with a new national record  of 23.79 at his national championships in June. The CCCAN championships in Aruba in July would see him with another sub 24 clocking this time  recording a Championship record of 23.94.

When draftingthecaribbean caught up with Lamar Taylor we spoke about 2018 , how he trains and expectations heading into the 15-17 age group

“Currently I train nine times for the week four morning sessions and five afternoons. That DQ at CCCAN 2017 in Trinidad and Tobago changed me a lot and motivated me to train harder in practice , change my diet and watch tapes of my races more often. I looked at the slight imperfections I made to try and improve my stroke. The year started off well at UANA with a lot of the countries like Brazil. With God’s help I came home with a number of medals.The rest of the season I was focused and training hard  and going after my goal of making the Youth Olympic Games team. Unfortunately that did not happen as I only had one B cut but it has not stopped me from still training hard for the 2018-2019 season”

Lamar and Joshua Newry
Lamar and teammate Joshua Newry about to start a training set Photo courtesy of Gena Culmer -Taylor


“Going into the 15-17 age group I will not be thinking about who I will be racing against. I dive into the water , swim to the best of my ability and try to get the best outcome. My theory is when people overthinking a race they end up “choking ” and not achieving the best results. I just watch videos or play games on my phone before a race to get my mind off the race and my competitors. I know they are all amazing swimmers and I know that the slightest mistake will determine the color of my medal. In 2019 I will be entering my new age group with a lot of confidence in  100 metre freestyle and especially my 50 metre freestyle. At My national championships this summer my winning time was faster than the winning time in the 15 and over age group. That proved to me that age was just a number and that does not determine how fast you can swim and I have no worries at all going into 15-17″.


“I honestly think CCCAN was my best meet this year. The flight leaving Freeport got delayed and we did not leave until 4 am and Marvin Johnson and I  did had little warmup time before the first race which was the mixed relays. Despite that rough buildup to the meet I still performed well (Five Gold medals  and one Silver medal)


Lamar and Bert Bell
Coach Bert Bell and Lamar Photo courtesy of Gena Culmer -Taylor

Draftingthecaribbean also spoke to Mr Bert Bell who taught Lamar how to swim at the age of three at the Freeport Aquatic club and has been his only competitive coach since. Mr Bell, a fan of  Olympic Gold medallist and Czechoslovakian distance legend Emil Zátopek who originated interval training , spoke about expectations  of Lamar in the tougher 15-17 age group, his swims for 2018 and how he trains him to split his 100 metre races so well

Emil Zátopek Photo courtesy of wikipedia

2018 Rev National Champs race analysis

100 metre backstroke
First 50 30.11
Second 50 31.46
Final time 1:01.57
100 metre butterfly
First 50 29.97
Second 50 29.75
Final time 59.72


“There is no way to predict the future. We just have to encourage every individual to do the best they can with their God given potential.Lamar trains  nine times for the week four morning sessions and five afternoons.I ask my swimmers to set short term goals in the events they are interested in. Then we figure out the pace they need to swim = goal + 3 sec (adjust for dive) divide by number of 50’s Then they swim sets based on pace for the upcoming 2-3 months.We may do one or two sets (race/time specific) in every work out.We usually do 400 up free Mondays 200 Wednesday Timed swim Friday.The number of repeats and the rest interval will vary in each practice.We do similar sessions for alternate strokes Tuesday and Thursday.Saturday mornings we will work all strokes.

Lamar with Rommel and Ethan
Resting between sets from left to right Lamar and teammates Rommel Ferguson and Ethan Moxey Photo courtesy of Gena Culmer-Taylor


Pace specific (high intensity) is worked every day but the sets are limited and different every workout.Aim – set specific, doable goals with specific pace we r working at 200 or 100 etc race pace sets limited to 15 to 20 minutes.”WE ARE TRAINING THE MIND” be intellectual – remember the best results come from maintaining your best consistent pace from start to finish at whatever distance beyond 20 seconds.Concept – what is your PR – where do you want to go – what pace do you need?Design sets that are based on specifics – involve the swimmer in the calculations.

Lamar ended the summer with national records in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle freestyle 23.79 and 53.09 as well as 23 medals from the four Championship meets UANA,CARIFTA, Nationals and CCCAN 17 Gold,  Silver and One Bronze. He is also within striking distance of four national records

Event NR PB
200 metre freestyle 2:02.72 2:03.33
50 metre butterfly 25.98 26.09
50 metre backstroke 27.61 27.66
100 metre backstroke 1:00.57 1:01.41
Romany roster pic iuhoosiers
Joshua Romany Photo courtesy of

One mark that will be on Taylor’s mind as he heads to the 15-17 age group will be the overall 13-14 English speaking mark of 23.77 held by Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany who was member of the Fantastic Four that won Bronze at the CAC Games in Colombia this summer. Team Bahamas with Taylor in their ranks will continue to be a regional age group powerhouse for the year 2019.



When the CCCAN open water swimming competition concluded in Aruba history was created for Jamaica as Daniel Mair became the first ever medallist in this discipline .This as he won the Silver medal in the 12-13 age group in the 3K event held at Mangel Halto.

Dols Open water 2015
Michelle Dols 2015 CARIFTA 15-17 5K Open Water Silver medallist Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn


Prior to this the only medals won in  age group competition was  Dominic Walter who won the Silver in the 5 K event at the now defunct Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships  at the 2010 edition in Cuba in a time of 104.5.33 ,Michelle Dols who earned a Silver medal in the 2015 in the 5K event at CARIFTA in Barbados and Annabella Lyn who won CARIFTA Bronze at home in Jamaica in the same event this year.

Anna 5K Bronze Jamaica
Annabella Lyn CARIFTA 2018 15-17 5K Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn


Dominic Walter 2011
Dominic Walter 2010 CISC 14-17 5k Open Water Silver medallist


When draftingthecaribbean contacted Mair on July 18 he spoke about qualification for the competition as well events of the day of the swim from getting off the bus to the actual race


“The truth is I really wasn’t trying to qualify for CCCAN Open Water. In an effort to improve on my 1500 metre freestyle free I achieved a time that qualified me for the  open water event. So training for the open water event had to be somewhat of a crash course as it was going to be my first time. I trained at Port Royal three Sunday mornings with a group of adults who knew how to swim open water, and sometimes with competitive swimmers. We swam between 1,000-3,000 metres up and down the shoreline. I also did one session in the pool where I learned how to start, turnaround the buoys and spot . One of my main objectives during training was getting over my fear of what lives in the sea and I would say after my first training session in the ocean I quickly overcame that fear. I am 100% sure that these sessions helped my performance”.


“When I got out of the bus and went to look at the course, it was a lot larger than I expected and honestly that made me very nervous. Also that morning I had to go through many different stages to get ready for the race. For instance, I had to go to a medical check, cut my nails, get my number put on me, Vaseline my body, put my tracker on, and all of this was happening very fast and everybody was frantic and trying to get everything done.It was a bit distracting at the time but a few minutes before the race I just tuned everything out and focused on my race and doing my best”.

Mair in action H wilson
Daniel Mair in action during the 3K Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson


“So as I mentioned already the track looked very large in real life, it was a rectangle and one lap around it would be equal to 1 km so we had to do three laps And at the time it seemed like a lot. My start was not very good because I didn’t know what was going on so when they blew the whistle to go I was confused and started at the back of the pack. As I settled I was able to secure a second place spot. First place seemed out of reach because the person in first place had gone way before me from the start. In the first quarter of the first lap I was racing a Trinidadian girl and she fell back quite quickly and after she fell back Aruban Ronald Fun  caught up to me and for about two laps we were staying head to head. He was in front of me sometimes, I was in front of him sometimes but after the second lap he fell back and I went forward. After the second lap I felt really good, I started to warm up and as a result my legs started to feel energized and ready to kick so I kicked and pulled and I just went all out on the third lap and when I saw the finish on the last quarter I just went full speed and when I touched that pad I gave it my all”.

Daniel Mair with Mom
Daniel celebrating his Silver medal medal performance with mother Jodi Photo courtesy of C.C.C.AN


“When I got out of the ocean and walked back up to my coach and mom  I was glad  that the race was finally over and I could rest because CCCAN was now officially over. I went up to my coach and my mom and sat down, took some deep breaths, drank some water and relaxed and I looked over to my coach. She showed me my time and my placement and I asked her if that was a silver medal and she said yes.  I was very happy. Later on I was awarded the medal and that’s when it clicked. That I had won an individual medal at CCCAN and that every long, hard distance set that I had done in training had finally paid off”.


The medal podium saw Trinidad and Tobago’s Nikoli Blackman topping the event with a time of 45.15.01 , Mair the Silver in 48.11.73 and Fun the Bronze in 48.55.95.

12-13 CCCAN open water
Medallists in the 12-13 3K event from left to right Mair Silver medallist, Nikoli Blackman of Trinidad and Tobago Gold Medallist and Aruban Ronald Fun Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of C.C.C,A.N