The Barbados Boys at Baylor Jack Kirby and Luis Sebastian Weekes produced yet another series of best times at the 2018 Tennessee State Champs to help their school capture yet another boy’s title.
Jack would start the proceedings by winning the 100 yard freestyle state title in a new personal record. He cruised to the final with a time of 46.35. In the championship final he took the fight to the field early with a split of 21.38.As seen with his improved back end speed in past competitions he out split the chasing pack by recording the fastest last 50 yards of 23.07. He touched the wall in 44.45 , marking his first time under the 45 seconds barrier .His previous best was 45.21 leading off the Baylor team at the SPEEDO Winter Junior championships –East in 45.21 .
He bettered the 2014 time of countryman Christian Selby who won the crown in 44.76 . This is the third 100 yard freestyle title won by a CARIFTA region swimmer from Baylor under the tutelage of Coach Dan Flack . The first Champion being Jamaican Brad Hamilton ,who won in 2007 in a time of 45.15.The swim also places Kirby number two all time at Baylor .
In the 100 yard backstroke Kirby would again cruise to time of 50.36 to easily make the Championship final. In the afternoon’s final it would be a coronation rather than a race as Jack went out in 23.29 for the first 50 and that pace was too hot for the field as he had an advantage of almost a second. And as has been the custom he out split the field over the last 50 yards to post 24.94 and record yet another new personal best of 48.23. His performance is the fourth fastest all time in state history and third all-time at Baylor.
He had previous finishes at the State champs of sixth and eighth.
Road to Gold
In the final race of the day the Baylor team of Trey Freeman 43.87, Piotr Kurleto 45.47, Zach Althoff 45.40and Kirby 44.78 broke the magical 3 minute mark for high school teams to record a new school and Championship record of 2:59.52. That broke the state record set last year of 2017 of 3:01.21 and the school record of 3:00.78 of which Kirby was a member of both teams.
That makes it Six titles in the 400 yard freestyle relay with CARIFTA region swimmers coached by Flack at Baylor following wins with Hamilton in 2008 and 2009 and Selby in 2014 and 2015.
Countryman Weekes did not let the disappointment of a DQ in the 200 yard freestyle relay deter him from doing his best in the 100 yard breaststroke. He won the Bronze in a new personal best of 56.15 (split time 25.80).
It is the first medal for Baylor in the event since Bahamian Dustin Tynes won the title in 2014. Luis is the now fourth all time at Baylor.
Baylor topped the competition for the boys with 315 points. Second went to McCallie with 257 points and third to Memphis University School with 215.Baylor also won the combined title
After becoming the first Jamaican woman to swim the 100 metre butterfly in under a minute on July 7 Olympian Alia Atkinson (2004, 2008, 2012,2016) decided to break the 100 metre freestyle record as well for good measure. Competing on the opening day of the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships in Coral Springs today July 28 she became the first Jamaican woman to break the 56 seconds mark.
In the open women’s final ,Alia representing South Florida Aquatics, broke away from the field with the only split under 26.50 with a time of 26.48.She was also fastest coming home with a final 50 metres of 28.87 , the only sub 29 seconds time of the final . She clocked in a new personal best and national record of 55.35. Alia has gained more speed at both the start of the race and the back end compared to her record swim at the 2015 Arena Pro Swim Series Orlando
Analysis of Alia’s record swims
First 50 metres
Second 50 metres
Orlando Feb 2015
Coral Springs July 2017
Second was Kyla Valls of Miami Swimming 56.33. Third went Victoria Fonville of Westminster Academy in 57.52.
In her speciality Atkinson clocked a season best of 30.54 for a win by over 2 seconds. That time places her as the 8th fastest woman in the world in the event. Ironically that event will be swum at the World Long course (50 metre ) Championship (which she decided to by pass this time around )will be swum tomorrow.
There was a national record scare for the 13-14 boy’s 50 metre breaststroke as Cameron Brown representing Azura Aquatics clocked 31.15 for the Silver in his race .That was just off the national record of 31.05 set by Brad Hamilton at the 2004 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships held in Jamaica.
Atkinson will be in excellent form as she seeks more international glory for Jamaica and the CARIFTA and CCCAN regions as she will take part in the first leg of the European cluster of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup Series in Moscow on August 2.Those series of meets are contested in
Jamaica’s fastest ever sprinter Justin Plaschka continues to etch his name further in the nation’s swimming history books. Already the quickest swimmer in short course yards (25 yards), short course metres (25 metres) and the long course pool (50 metres) he continues to solidify his top spot by recording the top time ever done by a Jamaican in all the meets he competes in. That trend started in his first meet, the 2015 CCCAN Championships in Barbados and continued at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming championships in The Bahamas and the 2016 World short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada. The 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest would just be a continuation of his hot streak.
He stroked his way to a time of 22.93 to place 49th overall. That performance is the fastest Jamaican time ever done at the World Championships. That bettered the 23.87 set by Brad Hamilton at the 2009 Rome Championships. The swim also marks the first time a Jamaican man has broken into the top 50 since 1994. Justin also ranks as the fastest CARIFTA swimmer in Budapest and the 4th fastest amongst CCCAN sprinters
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Plaschka today and he gave his impressions on his performance and the Championship overall
“I was a little disappointed to not go a personal best but overall I executed my race strategy pretty well and was happy with that. My start wasn’t great which could have cost me a few tenths but other than that I could not complain. It was just an amazing experience to get to compete at world championships and all the experience it gave me is only going to help me hopefully in my future meets”.
Jamaica’s Justin Plaschka got the proceedings for the three man swim Jamaica contingent underway at the 2017 FINA World Swimming Championships being held in Budapest Hungary from Sunday July 23 to Sunday July 30th when he competed in the Men’s 50 metre butterfly.
Justin who is the national record holder in the event with a time of 24.21 clocked a season best’s time of 24.63 to place 41st overall. That placed him as the second fastest person from the CCCAN region behind Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter who posted a time of 23.73.
Justin’s time ranks him as the fastest ever Jamaican to compete at the Long Course World Championships bettering the 25. 68 recorded by former national record holder Brad Hamilton at the 2009 World Championship. His performance also puts him as the best placed Jamaican man by passing Hamilton’s 77th placing at the 2005 Montreal Championship. He is also the best placed Jamaican ever in the event as the previous highest ranking was 46th by Olympian Alia Atkinson (2004,2008, 2012 ,2016) at the same competition.
Plaschka gave his thoughts on second senior international Championship following his debut at the 2016 World Short Course Championships held in Windsor Canada in December
“I was relatively happy with my times considering my circumstances. My flights were all delayed yesterday so I did not arrive in Budapest until 2:30 in the morning. I was very tired and getting my accreditation took longer than expected so I did not have a lot of time to warm up. I know that they are things that happen and I was glad I was able to stay as composed under the pressure and compete as I did. I know it will be much better in the 50 free. In terms of being at worlds I’m just extremely happy for the opportunity to be here and get to race and racing at the highest level is giving me more and more experience every time”.
The swim team is completed by Coach Chris Anderson, swimmer Michael Gunning who will be competing in the 200 metre freestyle and 200 metre butterfly. The full Aquatics delegation includes diver Olympian Yona Knight –Wisdom (2016).
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
The final day of the Neville Alexander Memorial Swim Meet saw the sprinters putting on a show. There would be yet another national record as the Marlins 9-10 girls added to their tally from Saturday morning. This time they lowered the national standard in the 200 freestyle relay.
The young ladies of the Marlins who lowered a record set almost 30 years. The team of Kokolo Foster, Saidah Brown, Giani Francis and Christanya Shirley touched in a time of 2:14.66, more than 10 seconds ahead of the field. That lowered the national record of 2:15.37 set way back on Aug 1, 1988. That mark was set by the national team of Kezia Stewart, Kerone Peat, Joanna Lee and Nicole Lowe at the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships held in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic when 9 and 10 year olds were allowed to participate. Also falling by the wayside was the meet record of 2:18.69 by the 2012 Marlins team of Deandra Reynolds, Karci Gibson, Ahkira Brown and Britney Williams.
The 50 metre freestyle meet records fell by the wayside in the following races 8 and under boys, 11-12 girls and boys and the 13 and over boys’ events. That meet record rush continued in the 200 metre freestyle relays 8 and under girls, the 11-12 girls and boys and 13 and over girls events.
The record breaking spree was started in the 8 and under boys’ race by the Y Speedos’ Zack –Andre Johnson. He lowered a more than a decade old record when he touched the wall in 34.13. The old record of 34.21 was held by former Speedos swimmer Robert Marshall. Johnson topped the field by more than 5 seconds.
In the 11-12 girls event it was Zaneta Alvaranga of the Y Speedos who recorded the fastest time by a girl at the meet and lowered the meet record with her quick time of 27.68. Her margin of victory was more than 2 seconds. In winning she lowered the 2016 meet record of 28.09 by Swimaz’s Emily MacDonald .Zaneta was just off her Silver medal winning CARIFTA personal best of 27.56.She continues to track the national record of 27.53 of MacDonald when she won Gold at the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships.The record for the 11-12 girls age group at the upcoming CCCAN championships to be held in Trinidad and Tobago is 27.55 set their Olympian Cerian Gibbes in 1995.
For the boys event it was Nathaniel Thomas of the Tornadoes who again dominated the field. He recorded the only sub 27 seconds time of 26.57. He crushed the meet record of 27.58 by the Y Speedos Alford Green set in 2003.He was more than a second ahead of the field. He was barely off his personal best time of 26.52. Last year he was In his sights for the rest of the year will be the national record of 26.29 held by another Tornadoes age group standout Brad Hamilton. That mark was set in 2002.
In the boys 13 and over race it was Sidrell Williams of the Y Speedos who recorded the fastest time of the meet and the only sub 25 seconds clocking when he touched the wall in 24.29. That lowered his 2012 meet standard of 24.74.
The 11-12 girls Y Speedos relay team of Paig’e Lewis, Callier Maxwell, Jadean Dixon and Zaneta Alvaranga lowered the meet record of 2:04.24 with a swim of 2:03.82.
The 11-12 Tornadoes boys Jaleel Samms, Zachary Jackson-Blaine, Nikolos Gordon-Somers and Nathaniel Thomas set their meet record with a time of 1:56.25.
The 13 and over girls of Y Speedos team of Leanne McMaster, Naomi Eaton, Paris Clare and Brianna Anderson set a record of 1:57.54.
Anderson would sweep the backstroke events 50-100-200 when she claimed the open 200 backstroke crown in 2:43.51.She would also add the 13 and over 50 metre freestyle title in 28.08.
The boys open 200 metre backstroke title went to her teammate Kyle Sinclair in a personal best of 2:20.51.
The crowd was treated to good contests between national record breaking teammates Kokolo Foster and Christanya Shirley of the Marlins in the 50 breaststroke and 50 metre freestyle races.
The older Foster edged her younger teammate 40.14 to 40.71 in the breaststroke race and 31.42 to 31.74 in the freestyle event.
David Morris of the Y Speedos won the boys 9-10 50 metre breaststroke in 43.21.Israel Allen who had an outstanding showing at the meet won the 50 metre freestyle in a pb of 31.86.Allen won five of the six 9-10 individual age group events on offer all in personal record times. The 200 metre freestyle relay in this age group was won by the Marlins team of Josh Johnson, Jayden Campbell, Josh Wilkinson and Kajuan Haughton in 2:20.35.
In the 11-12 age group it was the Tornadoes duo of Sabrina Lyn and Nikolos Gordon –Somers who took top honours in the 100 metre breaststroke in 1:27.72 and 1:22.49 respectively.
In the 13 and over age group Naomi Eaton of the Y Speedos in addition to her relay win had victories in the 100 metre breaststroke 1:22.67 and 400 metre freestyle 4:53.09.
Adrian Grant of the Tornadoes also did the breaststroke/freestyle double for the 13 and over boys. He won the 400 metre event in 4:53.09. In the breaststroke race he held off teammate Sean-Douglas Gooden for the victory 1:11.84 to 1:11.97.
In the 8 and under category Renae Chung of the Y Speedos was a double winner for the girls taking the 50 metre breaststroke and freestyle races in personal best times of 52.25 and 36.61. Chung won all the 8 and under individual races on offer at the meet. The boys breaststroke race went to Waldon McIntosh in 49.46.
The masters’ races for the ladies were again dominated by the Tornadoes Swim club. Lisa Griffith won the 50 metre breaststroke in 48.22. Annelies Denny won the 50 metre freestyle in 35.41.Stefan Braeger won the men’s 50 metre breaststroke in 41.78. Rohan Whyte of the Sailfish Swim Academy won the freestyle race in 30.29.
The meet was brought to a conclusion with the boys 13 and over 200 metre freestyle relay by the Tornadoes team of Sean-Douglas Gooden, Joshua Craigie, Adrian Grant and Jordan Hines in 1:43.38