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.
Sunday December 17 will be known as record breaking Sunday as the nation’s youngsters continued to excel in their last competitions for 2017 as they have done all throughout the year. Competitions in two different meets in two different islands yielded national age group records . In Jamaica at the ASAJ Christmas Open and Christmas Breezer Nathaniel Thomas of the Tornadoes swim club lowered his national mark in the 11-12 boys 50 metre butterfly twice in the morning heats and final . While the Golden Girls from the Marlins Swim Club Giani Francis, Kokolo Foster, Saidah Brown and Christanya Shirley continued their awesome record breaking run in the 9-10 200 metre freestyle relay at the Republic Bank Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago Invitational.
At his first CARIFTA in The Bahamas in April Nathaniel was 5th in the 11-12 50 butterfly in 29.22 .
Later in May in Jamaica Nathaniel would lower the 11-12 50 butterfly to 28.32. That just edged the old standard of 28.33 set by Olympian Timothy Wynter (Rio 2016) when he won the Silver medal at the 2009 CARIFTA Championships held in Aruba. At the CCCAN competition in Trinidad and Tobago in July he would top the region taking the Gold in 28.53. He would join the elites among the region when he became the first Jamaican 11-12 boy to break the 28 seconds barrier.
In the morning he was fantastic in breaking the meet record also set by Wynter in 2009 of 29.39 and lowering the national mark to 27.95. He would continue his record breaking feats in the final as he dropped time again to set a standard of 27.86.
He now joins the likes of Evante Gibson of the Bahamas 27.77, Aruban Jordy Groters 27.85 as regional standouts under the 28 seconds barrier in the 11-12 age group.
On the day he would also set new meet record in winning the 200 metre freestyle with a personal best of 2:12.77 and taking the Gold with the Tornadoes A team in the 400 metre medley relay.
The Golden Girls of the Marlins Swim club Gianna Francis, Kokolo Foster, Saidah Brown and Christanya Shirley have dominated the sprint freestyle relay this season and their last meet in Trinidad and Tobago would be no different.
At the Neville Alexander meet they set a new national mark of 2:14.66 .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.
At the Dean Martin Memorial Meeting in October they crushed that mark with a swim of 2:10.52. In the twin Island Republic they would be even that much faster with a time of 2:05.52 .That performance takes almost ten seconds off from the 1988 record. That swim is among one of the fastest ever done by an English Speaking Caribbean team in that age group.
Three of the young ladies Francis, Foster will be pushing to make their first CARIFTA team in Kingston next year while Shirley has one more year in the 9-10 age group.
In 2017 at the CARIFTA Championships in the Bahamas the Jamaican ladies won the swept the 200 metre freestyle relays taking wins in the 11-12, 13-14 and 15-17 age groups
The third day of the 2017 Speedo Winter Junior Championships East on Friday Dec 8 saw the CARIFTA region picking up yet another medal. This time it was Jamaican Joseph Black as a member of the Peddie team that won Bronze in the 200 yard freestyle relay.
The team of Nathan Stern 20.55, Michael Blank 20.47, Trey Ike 20.45 and Black 20.24 clocked 1:21.71 to for their medal winning performance. That bettered their 2017 Gold medal winning time at the Eastern Championships of 1:21.99 which is also the Championship, school and New Jersey State record.
At that competition Black, a Kenyon commit had anchored the team in a time of 20.31. Silver at the Winter championships went to Dayton Raiders in 1:20.58 and the Gold to Allegheny North in 1:19.83. When the times are combined with the competition in the West the boys from Peddie retained their third place position from a combined 89 competing teams in the event.
Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas, who is representing Saint Andrew’s made the championship final in the 100 yard breaststroke. Izaak had recorded a personal best in the event winning the Florida High school 1A title in 54.54 (split time 25.80). He would lower that mark with a time of 54.48 (split 25.54). That time placed him 5th in the East and 8th with the combined results.Bastian is the reigning CARIFTA 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion. He took Gold in a time of 1:04.68.He will join a number of the region’s best in Kingston Jamaica in 2018 seeking to lower the Championship record of 1:04.25 held by Aruban Jordy Groters.
After lowering his personal best in the 100 yard backstroke Jack Kirby of Barbados and Baylor Swim club was at it again with another new personal standard. After qualifying for the Championship with a time of 48.97 he lowered his all-time best to 48.67 (split time 23.51) to place 6th overall. His previous best was 48.79 (split time 23.72).Kirby who won the Silver medal at CARIFTA in the 100 metre backstroke in the 15-17 backstroke in The Bahamas will be seeking to lower the Championship record in 2018 in Jamaica. That mark was set this year by Aruban Patrick Groters at 57.17. Kirby has a personal best of 57.01 set at this summer’s Commonwealth Youth Games.
Also bettering his personal best on the day was French Guiana’s Steven Aimable representing Azura Florida Aquatics. Competing in the 100 yard butterfly Steve lowered his personal best of 50.73 to 49.57(split time 22.87) to place 25th .Aimable was the 15-17 Bronze medallist in the 100 metre butterfly in his final year at the CARIFTA Championships in a time of 57.22.
Suriname’s Irvin Hoost representing Metro Aquatics also bettered his personal best in the event. He went from an all-time best of 50.49 in 2016 to 50.17 (split time 23.11) for 54th spot. Hoost also competed in his last CARIFTA Games this year and placed 5th in the 100 metre butterfly in a time of 57.97.
Aruban Patrick Groters who represents the Pine Crest Swim club who had phenomenal final CARIFTA Championship bettered his 400 yard individual medley time of 3:58.74 set in 2015 with a 3:58.12 performance of 3:58.12.
In the Bahamas this year he won the 400 metre individual medley in 4:27.69 breaking the 2004 meet record of 4:31.95 Olympian Barbadian Bradley Ally.
Baylor’s Barbadian breaststroker Luis Sebastian Weekes continued the trend of bettering personal records with his efforts in the 100 yard breaststroke. Weekes lowered his personal best to 56.90 (split time 26.90) to place 35th overall. His previous record was 57.56 (split 26.68). He registered that time in a 6th place performance at the 2017 Tennessee State Champs.At CARIFTA this year he was mere 9 hundredths outside of podium place when he swam 1:06.66. He will be seeking to top the field in that race next year in Jamaica .
Other individual performances on the day were
200 yard freestyle
100 yard backstroke
100 yard backstroke
In the 200 yard freestyle relay the Baylor team of Piotr Kurleto 20.82,Kirby 21.05, Zachariah Althoff 20.82 and Robert Freeman 19.77 recorded the 5th best time of the meet of 1:22.32. It was also the 5th best time of the 89 competing team in both the East and West.
They also just missed the 2013 school record of 1:22.23 by the team of Luke Kaliszak, Sam McHugh,Chandler Hinson and Barbadian Christian Selby.
Hoost and his Metro Aquatics team were 10th in a time of 1:23.06. Of the 356 swimmers who swam that event Irvin had the 6th fastest leg with his anchor leg split of 20.02.
On Friday November 3 at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Florida St Brendan’s Surinamese star Irvin Hoost crowned himself as one of the fastest swimmers in the Florida high school system when he won the 2A state title in a time of 20.86. This is Hoost’s first title in the event. He was just off his morning effort of 20.74.He completed three consecutive winning performances having taken the District and Regional titles.
2A District 12
2A Region 4
Irvin , represents the Miami-Dade County based institution now has a complete set of medals in the event having won Bronze in 2015, Silver in 2016 and now atop the podium with Gold.
Irvin joins countrymen Raiz Tjon-A-Joe, Zuhayr Pigot and Olympian Enrico Linscheer (Barcelona 1992) as one of the fastest high school swimmers in Florida.
Raiz Tjon -A-Joe
Last season in the 50 metre freestyle he ended his CARIFTA career with a 24.11 showing for 6th place. He would be marginally faster at CCCAN in Trinidad and Tobago with a time of 24.10 maintaining the same position. Irvin would break the 24 seconds barrier three times after that finishing with a personal best of 23.41 leading off his Metro Aquatic Club of Miami’s 200 metre freestyle relay team to third place at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships on July 28.The total team time was 1:35.11.
In the longer sprint, the 100 yard freestyle, Irvin recorded his fastest ever time of 46.04 at the Championship falling just short of a medal. The Bronze medal was won by Sam Sands of Jesuit in 45.98.In the District and Regional meets heading up to States Hoost had recorded top three placings
2A District 12
2A Region 4
100 yard rankings at 2A state Championships
At CARIFTA 2017 he won the Silver medal in the 100 metre freestyle in a time of 52.53 in the 15-17 age group. In Trinidad and Tobago at the CCCAN Championships he placed 4th with a 52.86 showing. He ended his season with a personal best of 51.92 leading off his club team Metro Aquatic team to Gold in the 400 metre freestyle relay in a time of 3:28.20.
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
Day three (June 30) of the CCCAN Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Trinidad and Tobago saw more exciting races and championship records and also more World Championship qualifying swims. Those World championship Qualifying performances came from the local stars Olympian Dylan Carter and Joshua Romany.
Dylan competing in the 18 and over 200 metre freestyle crushed the 2009 Championship record Costa Rica’s Olympian Mario Montoya of 1:52.43 with a 1:48.91 clocking. That bettered the World Championship B qualifying mark of 1:51.50.Also under the record and just missing the B standard was El Salvador’s Olympian Marcelo Acosta who clocked 1:51.76 for the Silver. Aruban Olympian Mikel Schreuders took the Bronze in 1:51.76.
In the 18 and over 50 metre butterfly Joshua Romany bettered the 2011 championship record of countryman Joshua McLeod of 24.43 as well as the World Championship B standard time of 24.50 with a Gold medal winning time of 24.40. Winning the Silver was N’Nhyn Fernander of The Bahamas in 24.94 and the Bronze was won by Christian Awah of Trinidad and Tobago in 25.06.
The winning times by Carter and Romany brought the World Championship qualifying tally to five.
In the girls 15-17 50 metre butterfly the crowd was treated to excellent sprinting by Curaçao’s Chadé Nercisio. She became the fastest woman of all time at CCCAN when she broke the 28 seconds barrier in the 50 metre butterfly when she clocked 27.99 in the morning heats. All her energy was not spent after that national record swim as she returned in the evening to destroy that mark and record a time of 27.59. that swim was not too far off the World championships B mark of 27.42. Silver went to Celismar Guzman of Puerto Rico won the Silver in 28.62 and the Bronze went to Celina Marquez of El Salvador in 28.65.
Valerie Gruest of Guatemala just missed out on another World Championships qualifying mark when she took Gold in the 15-17 400 metre individual medley in a time of 4:54.67. That swim bettered the 2009 meet record of 5:02.43 by Maria Coy.That was just off the B standard of 4:52.97. CARIFTA Champion Albury Higgs won Silver in 5:03.67. The Bronze went to Marissa Lugo of Puerto Rico in 5:11.77.
Other championship record to fall on the day went to Zaneta Alvaranga of Jamaica in the girls 11-12 50 metre butterfly. She lowered the meet record of 29.85 twice .She swam 29.32 in the heats before uncorking a 28.74 for the Gold in the final.
In the 13-14 age group Beatriz Padron of Costa Rica Gold 28.36,Katie Kyle of St Lucia Silver 28.80 and Trinidad and Tobago’s Gabriela Donahue Bronze 28.85 all bettered the 2011 record of 28.89 by Dorian McMenemy.
Swimmers who completed the Regional Gold Double on Day Three by winning their respective events at CARIFTA in The Bahamas and at CCCAN in Trinidad and Tobago include
Bermudan age group standout Elan Daley continued her rewriting of her nation’s age group records with another top performance at the North York Aquatic Club meet held recently in Toronto. The meet which was held in 50 metre pool from Friday May 12 to Sunday May 14 saw her continuing her standard setting streak.
At her debut CARIFTA championships in The Bahamas she won the high point trophy with 80 points. She won a staggering Twelve medals Six Gold Three Silver and Three Bronze. She set three individual national marks in the 200 metre individual medley 2:30.90, 50 metre freestyle 27.50 and 100 metre freestyle 1:00.58.All of which were Gold medal winning performances. Her range of events in which she won medals was equally impressive winning a medal in each stroke discipline as well as the individual medley.
Competing at her club’s May performance meet in the 12 year old category Elan became the first Bermudan 11-12 girl under 2:30 in the 200 metre individual medley when she won the event in 2:29.57.Her winning margin was more than 5 seconds. It was also 2nd fastest time by a girl at the competition which had age categories of 13, 14,15 ,16 and 17 and over.
In the sprint freestyle events she came dangerously close to breaking through some significant barriers for an 11-12 girls. In the 50 metre freestyle she clocked a quick 27.06 crushing her old mark of 27.50 from CARIFTA . She just missed breaching the 27 second mark and posting 26 seconds. She was the fastest female swimmer at the meet with her win
It was the same in the longer sprint the as she almost went under the magical minute mark when she stopped the clock in 1:00.28. The second fastest time of the meet.
Elan proved her versatility when she won the 400 metre freestyle in a time of 4:51.54. That time lowered the 2014 national standard of Ashley Irby of 4:53.31. She would also be atop the podium in the 200 metre freestyle where she set a personal best of 2:15.70. In the 100 metre backstroke she rattled the national record of 1:10.60 set by Emma Harvey with a winning time of 1:10.76.
Bermudan records held by Daley in the 11-12 age group
50 metre freestyle
100 metre freestyle
400 metre freestyle
100 metre butterfly
50 metre breaststroke
200 metre Individual medley
400 metre individual medley
Elan Daley is a very exciting prospect from the CARIFTA region given that this is her first year in regional age group competition. Her 50 freestyle time makes her the fastest 11-12 girl ever from the English Speaking Caribbean. She also has the potential to be the fastest ever from the English speaking region in at least 5 other events with more than a year left in the age group. Though the long course season is very young her times would rank as the fastest 11-12 girl in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle events in the United States. She will be one of the top Bermudan swimmers who will be on show at the 2018 CARIFTA Championships to be held in Kingston Jamaica.