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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Moments after watching teammate Emily MacDonald dominate the girls 13-14 200 free event to win Gold it was up to Britney Williams and Annabella Lyn to carry on the momentum for the Jamaicans in the 15-17 age group and that they did .
Both swimmers are known for being good middle to long distance for the nation and would finish strong. The question would be what tactics would be employed by their competitors. In 2017 in The Bahamas Williams and Lyn finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Annabella clocked 2:11.95 for the third seed into the Championship final while Williams was sixth overall with a time of 2:13.46.
In the final the race played to the strengths of the Jamaicans as the pace was not pushed and no swimmer threatened the minute mark.With 150 metres swum that is when Williams decided to make her move and break from a tightly bunched field and initiated the charge for the final wall. That move proved to be decisive as Williams shifted gears and the field started to separate. Putting on her charge of her own was Swarthmore College bound Lyn .Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas, also responded to Williams break to the front.
In the end Britney did enough to win and held on take her Gold in 2:10.32 ,Higgs outtouched Lyn to repeat last year’s Silver medal winning performance 2:11.03 to 2:11.09.
The joy was evident for Britney as she slapped the water and then waved to the crowd and they responded in kind to the Gold and Bronze by the home team.
The third day of action of the 2018 Walter Rogers Age Group swimming National Championships was highlighted by national record breaking swims by Zaneta Alvaranga of the Kaizen Swim Club in the 50 metre butterfly.
After dominating the 50 metre butterfly event locally and regionally as 11-12 swimmer in 2017 and establishing herself as the CARIFTA region’s number best of all time she continued her unbeaten streak on Friday Feb 16. Competing in her first race in the 13-14 age group she started her career in the new age category on the best possible note by lowering the national record of 29.57 to 29.55.
The previous record was set by age group star Kendese Nangle when she won Silver at the 2008 Caribbean Islands Swimming championships in Kingston.The meet record of 29.68 was held by Emily MacDonald of Swimaz set in 2017 Zaneta would have more in the tank for the final as she reset the record again with a time of 29.19. That performance was the fastest time of the competition and the fastest time ever recorded by a girl at the Championships. That swim by Alvaranga would have won her the Bronze in the event at the 2017 CARIFTA championships.
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Zaneta after her record breaking swim after the final and got her impressions of her swim
“My goal was to get as close to my ( 2017 Gold medal winning) CCCAN time and I did. I focused on the start so I could get out as have as little armstrokes as possible and have rested shoulders and breathe as little as possible so I would not break streamline.I expected the record because I broke it this morning and I came back prepared to do even better than this morning”. In 2017 Alvaranga was the most prolific female age group record breaker have setting the 11-12 50 metre butterfly record four times and the 100 metre freestyle once.
Brianna Anderson of the Y Speedos would take down another Boothe standard when she recorded 30.07 in the 15 and over butterfly heats.
Boothe had set the record in 2013 at 30.32. In the final Brianna took the Gold in 30.47.
Alvaranga’s 2015 9-10 50 metre butterfly record would fall to Christanya Shirley of the Marlins. She would win the event handily in a time of 33.35 well under the previous meet record of 34.86.
The first day of the 2018 Walter Rogers Age Group Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Jamaica held yesterday Tuesday Feb 13 saw the distance titles being decided.
The fastest performers were Britney Williams of the Swimaz Aquatics Swim club in the 15 and over 800 metre freestyle and Jordane Payne of the Y Speedos Swim Club in 15 and over 1500 metre freestyle.
Williams extended her unbeaten winning streak in the event to five years when she took the title in a time of 10:04.37.
Williams, who is the fastest ever locally trained middle to local distance freestyle swimmer finished ahead of the Y Speedos duo of Naomi Eaton 10:18.31 and Karci Gibson 10:43.94. When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Williams she gave her impression of her performance and building up to CARIFTA
“The race was okay .it was better than the Karl Dalhouse race because I did not feel as tired during and after the event so I am really looking forward to CARIFTA and going sub 10 minutes and hopefully getting a medal”.
Britney’s Golden Years at Age Group Champs
15 and over
15 and over
In the 1500 metre freestyle Payne topped all comers with a time of 18:35.69. He was followed to the wall by teammate Dominic Mullings who punched the clock in 18:48.56. The Y Speedos trifecta was completed by 13-14 Gold medallist Zachary Johnson who dropped more than 20 seconds to be timed in 19:44.98. Payne spoke to draftingthecaribbean after his win
“The 1500 was a very good race, one of my best in Jamaica. It was a very challenging race and I had to be pacing myself but it has put me in a good position to win the high point trophy at this competition”.
Topping the 800 for 13-14 girls race was Zaneta Alvaranga of the Kaizen Swim club who posted a personal best of 10:44.63. Tornadoes swept the top 11-12 positions for girls and boys with Ireland Hunter touching in 11:37.30 for the 800 and Joshua Mair registering 21.12.51 for the 1500.
The first club meet of 2018 in Jamaica saw a number of meet records falling by the way side on the Day One of the 23rd edition of the Karl Dalhouse Memorial Invitational Feb 2. As swimmers search for spots on the 2018 CARIFTA team it would be Britney Williams of the Swimaz Aquatics Club and Dominic Mullings of the Y Speedos Swim Club that defended their titles and set new marks in the distance events .
Williams, who is Jamaica’s fastest locally trained distance swimmer since Olympian Belinda Phillips (Munich 1972) made it two from two when she won the 800 metre freestyle in the 13- 24 age group for the second consecutive year. She won comprehensively in a new meet record of 10:14.67 more than 20 seconds ahead of her nearest rival. Her old 2017 standard stood at 10:22.37.Whe she spoke after the race she had the following thoughts
“It was not the best race I could have done based on my fitness level and the training I have been doing with my coach but it was ok I broke my meet record from last year. I need to work on my turns, start and finish. Going into CARIFTA my coach Lynval Lowe will be working on that. Preparation for CARIFTA is going really well. The times I did at the UANA Cup qualified me so I have to ensure I am in the top two now. I am looking forward what I will do at CARIFTA when I am tapered and in full competition mode”. Williams was a member of the 2017 CARIFTA “Golden Girls” that won all the relays in the 15-17 age group in The Bahamas.
Mullings also broke his 2017 meet record in the 1500 metre freestyle in 18:36.67. That bettered his old standard of 18:39.54.He also won by over ten seconds. He spoke about the race to Draftingthecaribbean last night
“I think I did well I did a personal best and broke the record which is pretty good for me. I am working on qualifying for CARIFTA I have not made any of the qualifying marks as yet but I am currently trying my best and I think it is going to be a good season”.
Christanya Shirley of the Marlins Swim club set new meet records in the 9-10 50 metre butterfly and 100 metre freestyle races with swims of 33.06 and 1:09.88 respectively.
Jordan Hines and Zaneta Alvaranga were crowned the fastest swimmers of the meet with their wins in the 50 metre freestyle races in the 13-124 age group. Alvaranga of the Kaizen Swim club took the title in 27.53. Hines of the Tornadoes Swim club won in 25.01.
Posting two victories on the night were Victoria van der Leer who the 8 and under girls 100 metre freestyle and 50 metre butterfly in personal best efforts of 1:30.54 and 46.01. Josh Johnson in the 9-10 age group recorded a personal best in the 100 metre freestyle in 1:13.50 and then took the 50 metre butterfly in 36.97.
The final day of competition at the UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida on Jan 21 saw Team Jamaica resetting the record books in the mixed 200 metre freestyle relay and Shaun Johnson recording a Youth Olympic B time in the 50 metre freestyle.
The 15-17 mixed 200 metre freestyle relay team of Shaun Johnson 27.37, Jesse Marsh 24.46 ,Gabrianna Banks 27.12 and Nicholas Vale 24.75 set a new senior and 15-17 age group record of 1:43.70 to place 4th overall. The team was the highest placed CARIFTA region quartet in their age group.
The previous record was set at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships when the team of Keanan Dols 24.62, Bryanna Renuart 28.13,Marsh 25.57 and Kelsie Campbell 26.93 touched in 1:45.25.
Shaun Johnson who was a member of the 2017 CARIFTA “Golden Girls” went under the Youth Olympics B qualifying mark of 27.39 with her opening leg. In 2017 Jamaica’s 15-17 girls dubbed the “Golden Girls” won all their relay events at the CARIFTA Championships winning the 200, 400 and 800 metre freestyle relays as well as the 400 metre medley relay.
When draftingthecaribbean caught up with Johnson she spoke about the race, the competition overall and being chosen as the flag bearer
“For the 4 x 50 freestyle relay, I was a little nervous because I had never done a mixed relay before and I rarely ever lead off. Coach Gillian (Millwood) decided to place me in the relay and said she was confident in seeing a great 50 time for me being the lead off especially considering I didn’t do the 50 free this weekend. Seeing 27.37 was surprising! My PB for last year was a 27.72 at CARIFTA and right now I’m in the middle of my high school season so things look exciting in that event. The rest of the team actually voted me to be the flag bearer and that was a fun part of the weekend as well! That was really cool”.
Britney Williams tied with Alison Jackson of The Cayman Islands as the top CARIFTA region performer in the 15-17 100 metre freestyle with identical 59.55’s for 5th place.
Team Jamaica finished the competition with 6 more best times on the final day to end with 20 new personal records overall, two age group records and one senior national record.
Emily MacDonald was the best placed Jamaican in the high point scoring for the age group placing 8th with 22 points.
Day Two of the UANA Cup saw outstanding performances from the CARIFTA region’s swimmers in the 15-17 age group. The names Jacky Kirby of Barbados Gold 100 metre backstroke, Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas Gold 50 metre breaststroke and Kael Yorke of Trinidad and Tobago Bronze 100 metre butterfly were the headline acts.
Kirby, who was named Junior Athlete of the Year for 2017
was sensational in winning the 100 metre backstroke in a time of 56.34.That broke his age group record of 57.01 set at the Commonwealth Youth Games in July in The Bahamas.
It also brings him closer the senior national record of 55.88 Olympian Bradley Ally (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008,London 2012) set at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai China .Ally splits then were 27.38 and 28.50. Not only did Jack establish a meet record for the event he also beat the Youth Olympics A qualifying mark of 56.96. He went out in 27.40 and came back in 28.94. No other swimmer at the meet had Jack’s back end speed in the event as he recorded the only sub 30 seconds second 50 metre split. Silver went to Guillermo Cruz Zuniga of Mexico who clocked 58.80 and the Bronze to Anthony Rincón Velasco of Colombia who was timed in 59.25.Jack gave his impressions of the race to draftingthecaribbean after the race
“The goal for the 100 metre backstroke was to make the 56 low.I had no idea about the senior national record I was just really focusing on the 56 low. I really wanted to get that time because by summer I want to get into the 55 range.Also in terms of competing in 2020 this helps in getting me to 53”.
Also winning Gold and establishing a new meet record was Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas who touched in a time of 29.23 just out touching Cruz Zuniga of Mexico won another Silver in 29.32. Andre Martijena Díaz of the Dominican Republic took the Bronze in 30.19.Izaak gave his thoughts about the race after his win
“The 50 breaststroke was much better than I expected it to be.I did not expect to feel as good as I did in the water.There were a few small things I felt I could fix.I felt I was rushing my stroke a little bit but that just comes with more practice and experience in the race and getting up and going in the morning.That was what this meet was all about for me trying to go as fast as I can in the morning so I can get used to those other big meets like the Commonwealth Games coming up where I am used to swimming fast at night and not in the morning.I am trying to change that to swimming fast in the morning so those swims actually count for something instead of just holding back for the night.I know when I go those bigger meets I wont be able to hold back and maybe not even get a second swim.The race itself was pretty good I got to race some really fast guys.It was a close one this morning I don’t know how I pulled it off my last 5 metres I tried to hold it all together and come in as I fast as I could and finish on a full stroke”.
Kael Yorke won the Bronze in the 100 metre butterfly. He spoke to draftingthecaribbean about his races
“ For my first event the 50 freestyle it wasn’t as good as I expected it to be because I added on time and I wasn’t feeling myself in the water I didn’t let it get to me because I have not been training for while. I took a long break for the Christmas holidays and I only started back training nine days ago so it was a good attempt at the 50 freestyle. I put the focus on my 100 metre butterfly today and tried to do my best. For training for only nine days I thought I did well I swam a 56 not far from my personal best off 55 which was a tapered time. Overall the UANA Cup experience has been a good one so far.The weather conditions are not what my teammates and I are used to because we are accustomed to warmer weather but just being able to compete at this level with the Mexicans, the Colombians and Central Americans is a great experience and I continue to strive to do better in my other events”
Other top CARIFTA region swimmers for the day included