Jesse Washington, Jack Kirby and Lilly Higgs represent for CARIFTA region by making Championship finals at 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games

The first day of competition of the Commonwealth Youth Games at the Betty Kelly Kenning Aquatic Centre in the The Bahamas saw three swimmers from the CARIFTA region making it to the prestigious Championship final, Jesse Washington of Bermuda, Jack Kirby of Barbados and Lilly King of The Bahamas. The competition will see young swimmers aged 15 to 18 for the boys and girls 14-17 for the girls in action from Wednesday July 19 to Saturday July 22.

JEsse washington fly bersun
Jesse Washington Photo courtesy of the Bermuda Sun

Bermuda’s Jesse Washington made the first Championship final for the region when he placed 6th in the 50 metre butterfly .He recorded a personal best and new 17-18 national record time of 25.17. The race was won by Scott McLay of Scotland in 24.53. Silver went to Dylan Koo of Singapore in 24.55 and the Bronze was won by Welsh swimmer Lewis Fraser in 24.66.

Washington has gotten progressively faster throughout the season and is now in sight of the senior national record of 24.77 by Olympian Roy-Allan Burch(2008,2012)

Roy-Allan Burch swimbrain
Bermudian Olympian Roy-Allan Burch and national record holder in the 50 metre butterfly Photo courtesy of swimbrain.com

Analysis of Washington’s 100 metre butterfly races for the region

Competition Date Venue Time Medal/Position
CARIFTA 2017 April 16 The Bahamas 25.38 6th
CCCAN 2017 June 30 Trinidad and Tobago 25.23 Silver
Commonwealth Youth Games July 19 The Bahamas 25.17 6th
jack-kirby-baylor-swimming
Jacky Kirby in action in the backstroke Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

In the 100 metre backstroke it was Jack Kirby from Barbados who made the first Championship final . In the heats of the event Kirby set a new 15-17 national record and personal best when he clocked 57.01. That bettered the old mark of 57.91 set by Olympian Nicky Neckles (1996, 2000,2004,) at the 1996 Atlanta Games. In the final he posted 57.26 to place 6th overall.

Nicky Neckles
Nicky Neckles Photo courtesy of barbadostoday.com

The race was won by Francis Fong of Singapore in 56.42.The Silver went to  Mclay of Scotland 56.53 and the Bronze to Kennard Campbell of Australia in 56.85.

Kirby has being having a great season so far winning Silver at CARIFTA, winning Gold at CCCAN and now making a final at major international competition.

Kirby’s 100 metre backstroke results for the region

Competition Date Venue Time Medal/Position
CARIFTA 2017 April 16 The Bahamas 58.20 Silver
CCCAN 2017 June 30 Trinidad and Tobago 58.12 Gold
Commonwealth Youth Games July 19 The Bahamas 57.01 heats
Commonwealth Youth Games July 19 The Bahamas 57.26 6th
lilly-higgs-100-breast-jpp
Lilly Higgs Photo courtesy of Rochelle Bastian and Bahamas Swimming

Also making a major international final was hometown girl Lilly Higgs who completed the CARIFTA Region Championship final trifecta on Day one .Lilly stopped the clock in a new personal best of 2:36.43 to place 6th as well. The winner of the event was England’s Layla Black in a time of 2:31.00. Silver went to Mya Rasmussen of New Zealand in 2:31.49. Bronze was won by South Africa’s Hanim Abrahams with a clocking of 2:32.32.

Higgs has also enjoyed success in the event this season as she won the Silver medal in the event at CARIFTA when her country hosted the event earlier this year.

Competition Date Venue Time Medal/Position
CARIFTA 2017 April 16 The Bahamas 25.38 6th
CCCAN 2017 June 30 Trinidad and Tobago 25.23 Silver
Commonwealth Youth Games July 19 The Bahamas 25.17 6th

Other regional swimmers who finished just outside of the top eight to make a Championship final included

Name Country Event Time Place
Madelyn Moore Bermuda 50 metre butterfly 28.91 9th
Victoria Russell The Bahamas 50 metre butterfly 28.93 10th
Jeron Thompson Trinidad and Tobago 50 metre butterfly 25.69 10th
Danielle Titus Barbados 100 metre backstroke 1:05.70 9th
Peter Morley The Bahamas 100 metre backstroke 1:00.40 10th
Izaak Bastian The Bahamas 200 metre breaststroke 2:22.91 9th

16 IS THE FINAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING TALLY AS GRUEST,ACOSTA, FLORES,ROMANY AND CRESPO BOOK TICKETS FOR HUNGARY

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.

margaret-higgs-junior-pan-pacifics
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

TEAM JAMAICA PARADE THEIR SPEED ON FINAL DAY OF CCCAN CHAMPIONSHIPS THOMAS AND MacDONALD LEAD MEDAL CHARGE IN 50 METRE FREESTYLE

Full CCCAN team.PNG

The final day of the CCCAN Championships July 2 in Trinidad and Tobago at the National Aquatic Centre in Couva saw Team Jamaica finishing ninth overall with 304 points. They added Two Gold, Two Silver and Three Bronze for a final total of Nine Gold , Eight Silver and Six Bronze medals. Throughout the meet 44 new personal best times were established. The national age group record book was rewritten Seven times .Also the Championship standards were adjusted Three times by the Jamaican delegation.

Nathaniel Thomas
Nathaniel Thomas with Gold medal won at CARIFTA 2017 in The Bahamas Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

The last day saw the contingent put another great display of sprinting power. Nathaniel Thomas , the CARIFTA Champion completed  another regional Golden Double when he landed the CCCAN 50 metre freestyle to underline his credentials as the fastest 11-12 boy in the region. In April he won his first sprint title in 26.52 in The Bahamas. In Trinidad and Tobago he won his second crown and became the fastest 11-12 Jamaican swimmer of all time when he clocked a new national record of 26.28. That lowered the national mark by the slimmest of margins as the old standard belonged to Brad Hamilton at 26.28 set in 2002. This is the first medal won in the event since two sport star Xavier Boland won Silver in 2007.The Silver medal went to Bermudan star Sam Williamson in 26.58. The Bronze went to Kai Trotman of Barbados in 26.65.

Emily MacDonald 100 freestyle Gold
Emily MacDonald 13-14 50 metre freestyle Gold Medallist Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

In 2016 in the Bahamas at the Caribbean Islands Swimming championships Emily MacDonald completed the 11-12 freestyle sprint double. In 2017 in Trinidad and Tobago it was a case of different age group same result. This as MacDonald crowned herself the fastest 13-14 girl in the region with a new personal best of 27.20. Pushing her all the way to the wall was teammate Gabrianna Banks who won the Silver in 27.28.It was the first podium finish for Jamaica in over a decade. The Bronze went to Bermuda’s Logan Watson-Brown in 27.87.

Zaneta 11-12 50 metre freestyle Silver
Zaneta Alvaranga 11-12 50 metre freestyle Silver medallist Photo courtesy of Rory Alvaranga

The  girls 11-12 50 metre freestyle saw the exact podium finish from CARIFTA in April as Elan Daley of Bermuda winning Gold, Zaneta Alvaranga taking the Silver and Bermudan Payton Zelkin winning Bronze. Zaneta won her medal in a time of 27.78 while Payton was timed in 28.01.Daley, whose father is Jamaican, recorded the fastest time ever done by an 11-12 girl from the English speaking Caribbean when she hit the wall in 26.82 crushing the 1995 meet record of Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympian Cerian Gibbes of 27.55.

Kyle 100 back Bronze
100 metre backstroke Bronze medallist in the boys 13-14 age group Kyle Sinclair Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

Kyle Sinclair repeated his 13-14 CARIFTA Bronze medal performance with a new Personal best in Trinidad and Tobago .In a very tight finish Kyle bettered his time by .01 to touch the wall in 25.15. Sinclair’s podium finish breaks another decade old medal drought. Kevon Lockhart of The Bahamas won the Silver in 25.10 and Antigua and Barbuda’s Lleyton Martin took top honours with a swim of 25.02.

kelsie-campbell
Kelsie Campbell

Kelsie Campbell recorded a personal best in the 18 and over 50 metre race. She stopped the clock in 26.91 to win the Bronze medal. Campbell finished just behind the hometown ladies Cherelle Thompson 26.69 and Kristin Julien 26.74.The last time Jamaica won a medal in this age group was in 2005 when Tamara Swaby won Bronze.

The only medal won outside the sprints was in the 13-14 200 metre backstroke. Kyle Sinclair recorded a personal best of 2:18.91 to be the third seed heading into the final. He maintained that position to win the Bronze in a time of 2:19.25. The time Jamaica won a medal in the event was 2011 when Olympian Timothy Wynter won Gold.The event was won by Jeims Caita of Costa Rica in 2:15.10 and the Silver went to Tristan Pragnell of Barbados in 2:15.80

EMILY MacDONALD’S GOLD MEDAL HIGHLIGHTS CCCAN CHAMPIONSHIP 100 METRE FREESTYLE MEDAL RUSH ON DAY FOUR

 

The fourth day of competition at CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago saw Team Jamaica winning One Gold , Three Silver and One Bronze for an overall total of Seven Gold, Six Silver and Three Bronze. The Jamaican contingent was in ninth position with 232 points. The overall tally of personal bests now stands at 34.  All the medals won on Day Four were in the 100 metre freestyle event. The Gold came from Emily MacDonald in the girls 13-14 race.

Emily MacDonald 100 freestyle Gold
Emily MacDonald 13-14 100 metre freestyle

For the second straight summer Emily MacDonald has crowned herself regional Champion in the 100 metre freestyle. At the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships in the 11-12 100 metre freestyle she struck Gold in a then national record of 1:00.26. One year later in the 13-14 age group she has won CCCAN title in a time of 58.83. In the process she also lowered her personal best of 59.20 that she established in the heats. This is the first medal for Jamaica in the event in over a decade. The longstanding 1997 record of 57.54 set by Olympian Janelle Atkinson has been put on notice as Emily still has a year and a half in the age group.

Zaneta Alvaranga 11-12 100 freestyle Silver
Zaneta Alvaranga 11-12 100 metre freestyle Silver medallist Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

 

Emily’s 11-12 national record would not survive Day Four. The 11-12 final pitted the Bermudan star duo of Elan Daley and Payton Zelkin against Jamaican speedster Zaneta Alvaranga to see how the medals would be decided. After speaking with her coach about working the last half of her race Zaneta dug deep in the last 15 metres to challenge Daley for the Gold and win Silver in 1:00.24 in a new national age group record. Daley would win Gold in a new Bermudan record of 59.65. Zelkin would take the Bronze in 1:00.56. That is the same order that the medals were won at CARIFTA earlier this year. The last time Jamaica last won a medal in this event was 2013 when Anjuii Barrett won the Bronze.

Nathaniel Thomas 11-12 100 free Silver
Nathaniel Thomas 11-12 100 metre freestyle Silver medallist Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

Nathaniel Thomas added another medal to his haul when he won Silver in the boys 11-12 race. He lowered his personal best set in the morning of 59.04 to 58.37. The medal is a set up the podium from CARIFTA where he had won the Bronze medal. No Jamaican had won a medal in the event for more than a decade. Thomas is now less than a second away from the 2002 national record of 57.43 set by Brad Hamilton.  The Gold was won by Bermuda’s Sam Williamson in 58.20.Bronze went to Gabriel Martinez of Honduras in 58.65.

Kelsie Campbell 100free Silver
Kelsie Campbell 18 and over 100 metre freestyle Silver medallist Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

Kelsie Campbell the only Jamaican female representative in the 18 and over at CCCAN Championships keeps adding to her personal medal account in Trinidad and Tobago. She won her fourth medal so far in the 100 metre freestyle stopping the clock in a time of 58.28. This is the first time Jamaica is medalling in the event since 2001 when Olympians Janelle Atkinson and Angela Chuck won Gold and Silver. Gold went Jumar Avila of Honduras in 57.79. Santis Gabriela of Guatemala won Bronze in 59.12.

Kyle Sinclair 100 metre freestyle Bronze
Kyle Sinclair 13-14 100 metre freestyle Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

In the boys 13-14 race Kyle Sinclair dipped below the 56 seconds barrier for the first time to set a new personal best of 55.77 and establish himself as the number one seed heading into the final. In the Championship final he had to over a bad start and work overtime in the last 25 metres to come from behind to win the Bronze in 55.04. This is a big improvement for Sinclair who had failed to make to the final at CARIFTA placing 11th in 57.43. It also breaks a decade long medal drought in the event. Also making up for a disappointing CARIFTA 2017 where he was disqualified in the event was Trinidad and Tobago’s Aqueel Joseph who won gold in 54.85. Kevon Lockhart of The Bahamas won the Silver in 54.97.

Other finalists on the day were

Age Group Event Name Time heats Placing  FinalsTime Placing
13-14 girls 200 metre IM Gabrianna Banks 2:36.90 8th 2:37.88 7th
15-17 girls 200 metre IM Bryanna Renuart 2:29.61 6th 2:29.26 5th
11-12 girls 200 metre butterfly Sabrina Lyn N/A N/A 2:47.29 7th
15-17 boys 200 metre butterfly Jesse Marsh 2:11.94 7th 2:11.55 6th
15-17 girls 800 metre freestyle relay N/A N/A 9:03.51 5th

ALVARANGA WINS GOLD TO REMAIN FASTEST EVER ENGLISH SPEAKING GIRL IN 50 METRE BUTTERFLY ,THOMAS WINS CLOSE BATTLE TO TAKE GOLD

 

On the third night of competition (June 30) held at the CCCAN Championships Team Jamaica added Two Gold ,One Silver and Two Bronze medals to have a total so far Six Gold, Three Silver and Two Bronze. A total of 21 personal best times have also been established over the Three days .The Jamaican delegation are now in ninth position with 164 points. Headlining the performances was the Gold medal by Zaneta Alvaranga in the girls 11-12 50 metre butterfly.

zaneta-alvaranga-kd-100-free-kd
Zaneta Alvaranga CARIFTA and CCCAN Champion in the 50 metre butterfly.Photo courtesy of Cheser Adams

Heading into the Championships she was already the English speaking Caribbean’s fastest ever girl in that age group with the only sub 29 clocking, the national record of 28.97.Added to that she is the reigning CARIFTA Champion in the event

Zaneta 11-12 CARIFTA fly record holder
Zaneta Alvaranga CARIFTA 11-12 50 metre butterfly Gold medallist ,Games and National record holder Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

 

.In the morning preliminaries the 2007 record of 29.85 set by Venezuela’s Ángela Ciccenia was erased from the record books when she hit the wall in 29.32. With the Championship record gone it was just a question of how much she would lower her time by. In the final  she took the lead from the gun and went on to win emphatically in a new National Record ,Championship Record and best ever time for the English speaking Caribbean of 28.74.  The Bermudan standouts  Elan Daley and Payton Zelkin finished with the Silver and Bronze in times of 29.49 and 30.11.Zaneta’s time is faster that the national records in the 13-14 age group of 29.57 and the 15-17 standard of 28.87. Zaneta’s time would have won the Bronze in the boys race. She also completed the regional Golden Double taking both the CARIFTA and CCCAN titles joining Sabrina Lyn and Nathaniel Thomas who did the same in the 100 metre butterfly and 50 metre backstroke respectively.It is the first medal in the age won by Jamaica since 2007 when Kendese Nangle won  Silver

Thomas Cheser
Nathaniel Thomas new 11-12 national record holder in the 50 metre backstroke Photo courtesy of Cheser Adams

Thomas ,who had placed 5th in the 11-12 boys 50 metre butterfly at the CARIFTA Championships had been in great form recently as he had lowered the national record to 28.32 prior to the Championships.He had to battle hard for his victory. Nathan 28.53 eked out a close win over Bermuda’s Sam Williamson 28.56 and CARIFTA Champion Trinidad and Tobago’s Kadon Williams 28.74. Jamaica had never won a medal in this age group before for Thomas’ victory.

kelsie-campbell
Kelsie Campbell photo courtesy of Michael c Lyn

 

Kelsie Campbell added 50 metre butterfly Silver to her Gold in the 100 metre butterfly when she touched the wall in a new personal best of 28.60. She was just out touched for the Gold by Patricia Casellas of Puerto Rico who won in 28.53.This is the first medal won by Jamaica in the age group.

400 freestyle 11-12 Silver
CCCAN 400 metre freestyle Silver medallists from left to right P’aige Lewis,Sabrina Lyn,Isabella Sierra, Zaneta

 

The girls 11-12 400 metre freestyle was given a scare by the team of Alvaranga, Lyn, P’aige Lewis and Isabella Sierra when they won Silver in a time of 4:18.65.The 2012 record stands at 4:18.02. Gold went to the Bermudans in a time of 4:13.71 . The Bronze was won by Barbados in 4:19.38. Jamaican has not won a medal in this event in over a decade.

Kyle 100 back Bronze
100 metre backstroke Bronze medallist in the boys 13-14 age group Kyle Sinclair Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

The lone representative in the boys 13-14 age group Kyle Sinclair opened his medal account in the 100 metre backstroke. At CARIFTA this year he had finished outside the medals by .05 of a second in a time of 104.08 a personal best.This time he took the Bronze in a new personal best of 1:03.08 beating the CARIFTA Bronze medallist by .27 of a second. The Gold was won by Mekhayl Engel of Curaçao 1:02.26 and the Silver to DaVante Carey of The Bahamas 1:02.80.

 

Other finalists on the day included

13-14 girls 200 metre freestyle Emily MacDonald 2:14.28 5th 2:14.01 5th
15-17 girls 200 metre freestyle Britney williams 2:10.37 6th 2:10.82 7th
18 and over girls 200 metre freestyle Kelsie Campbell 2:13.01 4th SCR N/A
11-12 girls 50 metre butterfly Sabrina Lyn 31.79 8th 30.43 4th
13-14 girls 50 metre butterfly Emily MacDonald 29.98 5th 29.63 4th
15-17 girls 100 metre backstroke Angara Sinclair 1:08.07 5th 1:07.39 5th
15-17 girls 400 metre IM Bryanna Renuart 5:18.55 5th 5:18.65 4th
 

 

 

VERSATILE DALEY EXPECTED TO BRING FIREWORKS TO CCCAN CHAMPIONSHIPS IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

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

The CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago  which will be held from June 28 to July 2 will be the venue for many quality performances in the swimming pool. One of the swimmers who will be adding to the fireworks is Elan Daley from Bermuda. The versatile youngster who is in her first year of the 11-12 age group gave a preview what fans should see  at the 2017 Age Group International  in Canada which was held from June 1 to 4.At that meet she lowered a number of 11-12 age group records.

 

The 100 metre butterfly saw Elan become the fastest 11-12 girl in the English speaking Caribbean when she clocked 1:05.55 (split time 29.79). The previous fastest time was held Trinidad and Tobago’s Tyla Martin at 1:06.05. That exact time is also the CCCAN Championship record held by Panama’s Juliet Stern set in 1995.

Elan Daley sportsmax.tv
Elan Daley Photo courtesy of sportsmax.tv

In the 200 metre individual medley she lowered her own record by more than 3 seconds to win Gold in a time of 2:27.63. That brings her closer to the Championship record of 2:27.38 by another 11-12 star the twin island Republic’s Cerian Gibbes. Cerian’s national record also doubles as the fastest in that age group for the English speaking Caribbean. In the 400 individual medley she dropped almost 9 seconds from another record she owned to clock 5:20.53 and place fourth.

In the freestyle events Daley was more than 15 seconds faster than Emma Harvey’s 2014 800 metre freestyle standard of 10:18.19 when she touched in 7th in 10:03.97 (split time 4:57.64).

The 400 metre freestyle saw Daley beating another of her own national marks. She became the first 11-12 girl from Bermuda under 4:50 when she placed 5th in 4:47.99 (split time 2:19.70). Elan’s old record was 4:51.54.

The 200 metre freestyle event saw her winning Silver in 2:12.84 (split time 1:03.41). In that event the national record of 2:12.77 held by teammate Payton Zelkin just managed to survive.

Elan Daley wwwolympics.bm
Elan Daley Photo courtesy of http://www.olympics.bm

The magical minute mark barrier was broken by Daley in the 100 metre freestyle.She split 28.41 at the 50 metre mark to touch in a final time of 59.90. That bettered her previous personal best and national mark of 1:00.28.That is faster than the Championship record of 1:00.05 by Puerto Rico’s Vanessa Garcia. It also gets closer to the fastest time in the English speaking Caribbean in that age group held by Gibbes at 59.27.

For the 100 metre backstroke she became the first 11-12 Bermuda girl under 1:10 when she won her event in 1:08.76 (split time 32.93).The old record  was 1:10.60 set by Emma Harvey in 2014.

 

Daley along with swimmers from the other competing nations promises to make this CCCAN Championships one of the most exciting yet.

ALISON JACKSON SPRINT FREESTYLE PRINCESS OF THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

Alison Jackson Gold medal CARIFTA 2017
Alison Jackson with one her Gold medals won at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships held in The Bahamas Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

As the Championship meets for the summer of 2017 beckon draftingthecaribbean continues to look back at some of the top performers from the 2016-2017 so far. The performer being featured is Alison Jackson of the Cayman Islands for her sprint freestyle achievements at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships held from April 15-19 in The Bahamas.

With the availability of the top class facility in Nassau – the Betty Kelly Kenning National Swim Complex – and race commentary being provided by none other than the region’s best sprint freestyler (local heroine Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace) the motivation for Alison to perform well for her country would have been great.

On April 17 Alison lowered her personal best ,13-14 age group record, senior national record as well the CARIFTA record of 59.34 set by Bermudan Emma Harvey of 59.34 when she swam 58.22 (splits 27.71 and 30.51) in the preliminaries. In addition to those accolades it was also the fastest time ever done by a 13-14 girl in the Bahamas. Jackson would go on to win the Gold medal in the final in a time of 58.31. A day later she would complete the sprint double when she won the 50 metre in another personal best, 13-14 age group and senior national record of 26.97.That result made her the first female swimmer from the Cayman Islands ever to go under the 27 seconds mark. This marks the second sprint double for Alison in her CARIFTA career as she achieved the feat for the first time at the 2015 Barbados Championship in the 11-12 age group.

Alison powering her way to Gold in the 100 metre freestyle
Alison on her way to Gold in the 100 metre freestyle. Emily MacDonald the Silver medallist is seen below in her Gold Jamaica cap Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Since the 2005 CARIFTA Championships, no female swimmer from the Cayman Islands had medalled in the 50 and 100 freestyle events in the 13-14 age group. Jackson had given a sign of the speed to come as she had won the 200 metre freestyle crown with a winning time of 2:11.57. A year earlier in Martinique Jackson had the following places 50 metre freestyle 4th 27.48,100 metre freestyle 8th 1:01.60 and 200 metre freestyle 7th 2:17.26. Alison now has the national standards for the Cayman Islands for the sprint freestyle events for the 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 and senior categories.

She would win a Silver in the 800 metre freestyle relay that clocked 9:09.35.In the 400 metre freestyle relay the Cayman Island girls would win the Bronze in 4:12.00.

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Jackson on June 7 she described winning three Gold medals.

“Winning the medals was a good reflection of where I’m at right now as a swimmer and helped to show where I can improve. Winning the 200 was a welcome shock because I only just started to really focus on middle distances this past season. Winning the 100 and 50 gave me an insight in to how I have improved my sprinting over the course of the season and where I still have room to improve”.

As the fastest female ever swimmer from The Cayman Islands she reflected on what her goals for the 50 metre freestyle before CARFITA

“I’ve had the goal to go under 27 seconds in the 50 freestyle for a while now. Now that I’ve done it I believe I still have ways to go and lots to improve on in this event. With our improving strength and sprint programmes I’m sure I will reach my full potential in this race”.

Alison also spoke about her summer plans

“While I’m not participating in CCCAN or World Juniors I am focusing on training this summer and then I am going to ISCA which is a meet in St. Petersburg. Although this meet isn’t as big as World Juniors it still gives me the opportunity to race people who are faster than me and who can push me in my races.”

Coach David Pursley and Alison
Coach David Pursley and Alison Photo courtesy of Stingray Swim Club

Draftingthecaribbean also was able to get an insight into Jackson’s performances and her development from head coach at the Stingray Swim Club David Pursley. In analyzing her Gold medal performances Coach Pursley offered these thoughts:

“Ali’s three wins were very reassuring to the direction we are heading. She has always had great potential in the sprints with her speed and strength but from a development stand point we have really been working hard to improve her stamina for the back end of her 100. The second night she was able to win the 200 free which helped to validate the work we have been doing the past couple seasons. Wehave seen the results in practice sets and day to day training but hadn’t yet put it together in the 200 in a big competition. I really feel even though it wasn’t her most impressive victory, that the 200 was her biggest break through and most important victory.

Her 100 was fun to watch and the most impressive 100 of her career. Though the last 15 meters still were not there. The 200 showed the progress we have made and the 100 showed us that there is still work to be done. She managed to maintain her rates longer than any 100 in the past but still dropped significantly in the last 15 meters. Her speed out was very impressive and she took an early commanding lead. It was nerve racking for me as it looked more aggressive than her prelims swim but she managed to show how tough and determined she is coming home.”

He also spoke about her going under 27 seconds and plans for her in the event

“The 50 free was good to get under 27 seconds which was a general goal. However there is still a long ways to go in this event. I truly believe that Ali will be very special in this event as her career unfolds. Her development right now is setting her up to see impressive results in the 50 a couple years down the road. She is nowhere near the potential I believe she has in this event. The 50 is all about speed and strength.

The strength program she is on will have her lifting with the best of them in three years’ time. It is a three year program that she is on that started 7 months prior. Ali has tremendous strength already but is nowhere near where she will be in 2019. She has proven to be a high responder to strength training and seems to really enjoy the process. I look forward to seeing what she will be doing. After hitting the peak of the program in 2019 she will hopefully be ready to really specify the strength aspect at an elite level by 2020.

To develop her speed we need to develop her coordination, balance, and technique. This is the first year we have introduced rate specific coordination exercises and really pressured for greater core stability and it seems to be paying off. Naturally Ali has great kinaesthetic awareness and is able to adjust and perform complicated movements fairly easily and quickly. From a technical stand point her focus right now is on improving her kick and her start”.

Coach David explaining a training set with Alison
Coach David explaining a training set to Alison. Photo courtesy of Stingray Swim Club

Coach Pursley also outlined the programme for Jackson

“As stated earlier Ali still has a focus on development and training. We have had talks on a four year plan for her working backwards from Tokyo. To stay on schedule and continue to develop we try to limit travel and rested competitions to 3 per year the first two years of the quad. April, early August, and December are the three best opportunities for competitions to allow full training cycles between each and to be sure she is getting the training and development she needs. If we add big travel competitions in between we lose 2-3 weeks depending on the rest each time when we could be improving capacities in strength, aerobic, or neural. Because Ali isn’t at the top yet we need to continue to focus on where she wants to be rather than showcasing where she is. This summer she will be traveling to St. Petersburg Florida August 2nd-5th for the ISCA Senior Summer Championships. This is a P/F LCM meet that is at the perfect competition level where Ali will have plenty of swimmers seeded in front of her to go after but will also have opportunities to compete for medals if she is at her best. With one travel meet to focus on we won’t lose any training time and can prepare fully for her swims.

In 2019 we will still travel 3 times but will reduce the number of full tapers in the year, to two in order to get a full strength progression in time for a hopeful Pan Am performance. From there we will have answers to the best plan forward. In summary we have a long term developmental focus right now”.