Another of the region’s top junior swimmers showed the class of swimmer the CARIFTA region is producing by making a major senior international final. It was the turn of Jack Kirby of Barbados who qualified for the 100 metre backstroke final.
Coming to the championships Kirby was a known quantity regionally in the junior ranks .This was evidenced by his season where he set the Championship record at the UANA Cup with a national record of 56.34 and a Championship record and the fastest time ever at CARIFTA of 56.59.
He would break his 15-17 age group national record with a time of 56.22 to place second in heat 1 . His speed endurance was seen with the fastest second 50 metres of all the swimmers as he moved from fourth to second with a 28.64 clocking. The swim also moved him to the top of the list in terms of Barbadian 100 metre backstroke performances as he bettered the previous best time of CAC legend Nicky Neckles in his Silver medal winning performance at the 2010 Games.
Neckles won a complete set of medals in the event Bronze in 2002, Gold in 2006 when he swept the 50, 100 and 200 events and Silver in 2010.
In the final he changed tactics and went out hard and was second at the turn in 26.77. He could not withstand the charge from the field and placed a creditable fifth in yet another national age record time 56.19.
NATIONAL AGE GROUP RECORD PROGRESSION
CAC 2018 heats
CAC 2018 Final
First 50 metres
Second 50 metres
Draftingthecaribbean contacted Kirby and got his reaction about his swim
” I was hoping for 55 but my finals event wasn’t executed properly. The race was exciting though as everyone was close”. His record swims were all under the automatic A standard for the Youth Olympics of 56.96 ,and the 2019 PAN AM a standard of 56.49. It also brings him closer to the 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course Championships and 2019 Gwangju World Championships (LCM) B standard of 55.95 and the 2011 national senior record of 55.88 held by Olympian Bradley Ally.
Suriname’s Olympian Renzo Tjon A Joe will be looking for a regional tri fecta in the 50 metre. So far this season he claimed the FASTEST SWIMMER title at the 2018 South American Games in Bolivia and the CCCAN Championships in Aruba and will be seeking to do the same in Colombia. At the Rio Olympics he was the CAC region’s top sprinter placing 21st
He started his hot streak at the G.A.M.C. Aquatics Center at Mariscal Santa Cruz Park in Cochabamba in May when he topped the sprinters in a time of 22.65. Winning the Silver was Venezuela’s Cristian Quintero who touched in 22.71 and Brazilian André Calvelo took the Bronze in 22.80.
He would strike more Gold at the CCCAN championships at Pisina Olimpico Roly Bisslik in early July when he was the only sub 23 seconds swimmer as he clocked 22.88 after being 22.86 in the heats. Silver went to Gershwin Greene of The Bahamas in 23.52 and the Bronze was won by Franco Reyes of Panama in 23.65.
He will now set about the challenge of taking his first CAC Games title after winning Silver in Veracruz Mexico in 22.62.Winning on that occasion was legendary regional swimmer Olympic medallist George Bovell III of Trinidad and Tobago who won his third consecutive title. Defending the throne this time for the twin island republic will be Olympian Dylan Carter and Joshua Romany. He would be familiar with the duo swimming against them in the junior ranks at CARIFTA.
They also finished in the order Renzo 23.44, Dylan 23.46 and Joshua 24.27 in 2013 in Kingston Jamaica when he set then fastest time for CARIFTA 23.37 in the heats before taking Gold.
The swimmer that that took that record from him Izaak Bastian at CARIFTA 2018 also in Jamaica with a time of 23.25 will also be in the 50 metre freestyle lineup trying to deny him the triple.
In 2014 at the South American Games in Chile he finished with the Bronze with 22.88 and this year he upgraded it to Gold. After winning the Silver in Veracruz Mexico will we see Renzo mining Colombian Gold? Will he also be able to break his own national record which is the same time as the 2010 Games record held by Bovell at 22.23 ?
When Lamar Taylor had been disqualified in the Championship final in the boys 13-14 50 metre freestyle at the 2017 CCCAN Championships after qualifying with a time of 25.18 in July he told draftingthecaribbean would be using that moment as inspiration to be even faster . Less than than a year later he has been true to his word by breaking the national record in the 50 metre freestyle and closing in on being the fastest 13-14 swimmer from the English speaking CARIFTA region OF all time.
Since last summer the Freeport Aquatics swimmer has blazed a trail to become the fastest regional swimmer this season in the 13-14 age category. At the inaugural UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida he was the top CARIFTA swimmer as he won Silver in a time of 24.57, the Gold went to Mexican Victor Salcedo Carrillo who out touched him with a 24.56.
At the CARIFTA Championships in Kingston Jamaica he took the Gold medal in a then personal best of 24.27 . He took the title convincingly as he was more than half a second ahead of the field . In that race he was just short of the national and CARIFTA record of 24.25 set by countryman Izaak Bastian.
At the 2018 Rev national he would make no mistake as he clocked a new PB, Championship record and age group national record of 24.06. In the final he was in scintillating form as he took the title in a time of 23.79. Lowered in the process was the Bastian’s 2016 meet record of 24.56.
The next milestone is getting past the 23.77 of Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany which stands as the fastest performance by a 13-14 swimmer from the English speaking CARIFTA region.
Already the top seed in the race for the upcoming CCCAN Championships in Aruba he is now faster the meet record of 24.10 held by Venezuela’s Olympian Crox Acuña (Beijing 2008 and London 2012).
50 metre freestyle
DQ 25.18 heats
24.57 Silver *
The national age group record in the 100 metre freestyle would not be spared as it went down as well. In the heats of the event he had splits of 26.24 and 27.72 for a total time of 53.96 to go under 54 seconds for the first time. The old national and Championship record of 54.25 had belonged to Kevon Lockhart. In the final he even split the race 27.60 and 27.51 to win in a time of 55.11.
The 200 metre freestyle saw another easy win for Taylor as he took Gold in 2:03.33 (split time 1:00.47) to be just outside the Championship record of 2:03.28 by John Bradley .
Swimming for exhibition he broke the 50 metre butterfly meet record and age group record of 26.16 and 26.18 respectively by Bastian with a blast of 26.09. His club mate Rommel Ferguson would lower that in the final with time of 25.98.
The 100 metre butterfly final would be a battle between the clubmates. Ferguson struck the first blow when he went out to a lead of 28.52 to Taylor’s 29.97. But in great display of negative splitting Lamar had the only sub 30 seconds split of 29.75 to lead his teammate to the wall 59.75 to 59.95. That would be the first time under the 1 minute mark for both swimmers.
100 metre butterfly
The sprint back stroke events the 50 and 100 metres saw him winning Gold in 28.05 and 1:01.57 respectively.
50 metre backstroke
The 100 metre backstroke effort lowered the Championship record of 1:01.82 held by DaVante Carey. A sub minute performance in the event could be on the cards for Lamar as his splits at CARIFTA and REV nationals suggest that he could be much faster
CARIFTA 30.94 and 30.47 Gold 1:01.41
Rev Nationals 30.11 and 31.46 Gold 1:01.57.
The 1999 national record of 1:00.82 is held by Olympian Chris Vythoulkas (Athens 2004) .
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Lamar he gave us his impression of nationals
“I feel really good about breaking the national records. I came to Nationals with the goals of setting the national marks in the 50 and the 100 freestyle and if I was lucky even more. It felt amazing to go 53 in the heats of the 100 metre freestyle. After my DQ in the 200 individual medley I felt I had to play it safe and that caused me to slow down a lot.So I just came up early (before the 15 metre mark and played it safe). In the 50 metre freestyle I knew that people were watching me on the 15 metre mark so in the heats I popped up early and went as fast as I could. In the final I stayed down a little longer and came up right before the 15 metre. I felt really good about the time and how I broke the record. In my mind during training for Nationals my goals were to better all my times and go under 24 and 54 for my 50 and 100 freestyle. I do have to say I was a little disappointed with my 50 freestyle time as I wanted to get the Youth Olympics Games A cut of 23.56″.
The future of swimming in The Bahamas continues to look bright as seen in the performances of the competitors at the 2018 REV National Swimming Championships which ran June 16-19. One of the top swimmers at the Championships was Nigel Forbes of the Tritons . He won Seven Gold medals in the 11-12 age group while setting new national marks in four events and lowering the Championship record in five races.
In his first race he lowered the meet record in the 200 metre breaststroke with a swim of 2:39.42 . That bettered the old mark of 2:41.45 set by Olympian Dustin Tynes (Rio 2016).He is now within reach of the 2014 national record of 2:38.61 set by local and regional star Izaak Bastian
200 metre breaststroke
In the 100 metre butterfly he dismissed the competition by more than seven seconds to land Gold in a new Personal best of 1:03.27. That broke the 2007 championship record of 1:03.79 set by Evante Gibson in 2007. It also brings him closer to the national record of 1:02.83 set by Samuel Gibson in 2014 . His newly minted PB would also move him from the second seed to the number one swimmer at the upcoming CCCAN Championships in Aruba . The CCCAN Championship record stands at 1:01.83.
100 metre butterfly
His next event , the 400 metre IM he was equally as dismissive as he was more than 20 seconds ahead of the competition as he took Gold in a new Championship and national record time of 5:18.05.He owned the old national record of 5:20.46 which he set in April of this year and the meet record of 5:26.52 was set by Kevon Lockhart in 2015.
The 50 metre butterfly saw him putting on an excellent display of sprinting in both the heats and the finals. The morning preliminaries saw him lowering his personal best and the Championship record of 28.28 held by DaVante Carey and Ian Pinder when they tied for Gold in 2015. The final saw him getting past the another 2007 Gibson national record of 27.77 with a blistering 27.67. That reaffirmed his favourite’s tag and number one seeding for CCCAN. It also brings him within touching distance of being the fastest 11-12 English speaking CARIFTA region swimmer in the event. That accolade belongs to Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympian Dylan Carter (Rio 2016) with his 27.34 blast from 2009.The CCCAN record is 27.30.
50 metre butterfly
28.68 Bronze *
*Top CARIFTA region swimmer
The 200 metre butterfly was the only event he did not set a record in it.He took the title by over 10 seconds stopping the clock in 2:28.42.
Regular service however resumed in the 50 metre breaststroke as he lowered his personal best from 33.74 to 33.34 in the heats. Clearly he had a lot more in the tank as he was in scorching form in the final .He broke the meet and national record of 32.94 regional standout Izaak Bastian with a 32.54 clocking besting the field by over four seconds. He again is the number one seed for CCCAN where the meet record stands at 32.42.
50 metre breaststroke
When draftingthecaribbean contacted him on June 18 he spoke his national record breaking swims in the 50 metre butterfly and 50 metre breaststroke
“It feels good .I know I have been training hard to get these records and now I have finally broken them”.
For his final record breaking act Forbes again lowered his personal best of 1:14.90 to 1:14.40 in the morning heats of the 100 metre breaststroke.The final saw him blasting away the Championship record 1:13.67 (Bastian 2014) and national record 1:12.26 (Tynes 2009) with a time of 1:12.24 split time 33.58. As the clear favourite and top seed in the event he is in reach of the CCCAN record of 1:12.18
Curaçao’s Chadé Nersicio has committed to swim for the Florida State Seminoles .She will begin her collegiate career in the 2019-2020 season.
Nercisio is a veteran for her country having competed at the three long course World Championships (Barcelona 2013,Kazan 2015 and Budapest 2017) and two World Short Course Championships ( Doha 2014 and Windsor 2016).At each global competition she has improved upon her placing.
At the regional age group level at CCCAN she has won Five Gold,Three Silver and One Bronze and has set more than Three Championship records. At CARIFTA 2018 in Kingston she added to her medal tally which currently Twelve Gold,Three Silver and Five Bronze.Along the way to that medal haul she has reset the meet record over Five times.
Competing for her high school in Florida, Trinity Christian she has been one of the most consistent sprinters in the state. She has won a medal in the 50 yard freestyle each year since the 2015 -2016 season in the Class 1A to be among the best sprinters in the Sunshine state.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted the future Seminole she spoke about her college selection, what she is looking forward to in college swimming and a possible area of study
“Well I’ve been contemplating college selection since I got here ( Florida in 2015), but I think I started paying more attention around the beginning of this year. I came here to pursue my dream which also includes going to a college with a good swim program but also academics. As I mentioned before they have a good swim program and also academics. I also trust the coaches, they’re much like my coach right now (John Kjaerulff Head Coach of East Coast Aquatics) which is I think is a good thing, because we have a good and healthy relationship. I’m looking forward to focusing more on what I’m good at and further growing as a swimmer at FSU. I think I want to study International Business.
Chadé also elaborated on CARIFTA 2018 in terms of her expectations heading into the Championships and how the meet was overall and what lessons were learnt.
“Well, I was not expecting much because I had just had a prelim-final meet the week before (Southern Zone Sectional Championships in Plantation, Florida), where I had all personal bests except for 2 events out of the 9. I was there to enjoy my sport and support my friends last CARIFTA Games.I absolutely love Jamaica, but my swims were a little rough, I would say I did ok.My best swim was probably the 50 freestyle because I dropped time. I think I went 26.18 which is closer to the Olympic B cut (25.51) so I was proud of that swim. Well, I guess to control my nerves and to try my best even if I don’t want to swim that event.
She also spoke about her plans for the rest of the season and her Olympic ambitions and what she work she needs to put in to make Tokyo 2020 a reality
“My first meet coming up for this long course season is Michael Lohberg in Coral Springs I think June 15-17, which is a non-taper meet for me, then I have Sectionals in Gainesville at The University of Florida pool, then I have CAC Games in Colombia.I think the delegation flies out July 17, and my last meet for the season will either be Future Championships or Junior Nationals, we haven’t decided that yet. I think about the Olympics every day, but to get there I need to take it one day at a time, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m trying to work harder, eat but also sleep better now that its summer I don’t have school it gets a bit easier. The events I am targeting are the 50 and 100 freestyle and quite possibly the 100 fly if I can find the motivation I had back in Trinidad & Tobago when I went 1:02.Training hard every day, every set, I find it hard to train hard when there are sets I don’t like (usually long-distance sets) but my coach motivates me every day, he says “Good for me, good for you” or he counts down the days to Tokyo 2020 when I am not trying during these sets.
Nercisio will join CARIFTA region stars Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas and Lauren Hew of the Cayman Islands at Florida State who start their college careers in September this year. Florida State University has been home to regional talent over the years to include Arubans Daniella van den Berg, Jemal Le Grand, Suriname’s Rafael Van Leeuwaarde,Trinidad and Tobago’s Cadell Lyons to name just a few.
One of the young stars emerging from CARIFTA 2018 in the 11-12 age group was Trinidad and Tobago’s Nikoli Blackman who continued his excellent form at the National Long Course Open championships held last month at the National Aquatic Centre in Balmain Couva. He had a national age group record breaking swim in the 800 metre freestyle. What made the feat even more remarkable was that it was the young swimmer’s first attempt swimming the grueling event.
Competing in the open mixed 800 metre freestyle on May 10 Blackman won Silver in 9:23.30 lowering the old age group mark of 9:29.06 by Kael Yorke. That record was set back in 2013. The Gold was won by local distance star Graham Chatoor in 8:53.06 who is his final year of the 15-17 age group. The Bronze was won by Delroy Tyrell who is in his first year of the 15-17 age group in a time of 9:53.78. Third person overall in the race however was Graham’s sister Jada who stopped the clock in 9:26.70
Blackman ,while competing in Kingston at CARIFTA swam 3900 metres on his way to winning 12 medals, Three Gold, Eight Silver and One Bronze in 16 events. The versatile athlete has been named to the 2018 CCCAN team in both the pool and open water events.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Nikoli he gave his opinion about his performance
“When CARIFTA ended I had to reduce my training from 9 sessions per week to 5 as I had to prepare for the Secondary Entrance Assessment Exams (SEA). Though my fitness was down a bit my strategy for the race was to work my kick and try and stay ahead of my teammate, Jada Chatoor, who was in the lane next to me. I was aware of the record as My Dad and I have discussed it for a while now. When the race was over I was happy to see that I had lowered the record from 9:29.06 to 9:23.30”.
Kael Yorke continues to impress in the butterfly events and achieved a new milestone for himself when he went under the 55 seconds 100 metre butterfly barrier on Friday May 11 at the 2018 National Open Long Course Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Balmain Couva. .
The meet which ran from May 10 to 13 saw the reigning CARIFTA champion in this event lowering the meet record of 55.64 held by a former CARIFTA standout Cadell Lyons.
In the morning heats he swam a personal best of 55.26 lowering the old meet record . In the final he produced his best effort to date of 54.84. That swim moved him again past the Youth Olympic A standard of 55.59 and also his country’s CAC qualifying mark of 55.02.He also closes in on the national age group record of 54.21 set by Dylan Carter in 2014 at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
THE ROAD TO SUB 55
2016 CISC heats
ASATT Dec 2016
2017 March Nationals March
2017 CARIFTA heats
2017 Nationals heats
2017 World Juniors
ASATT Dec 2017
2018 UNANA Cup
2018 February Nationals
2018 CARIFTA heats
2018 Nationals heats
At the 2018 CARIFTA Championships just missed out on a historic treble in the butterfly events when he won Gold in the 200 butterfly , Gold in the 100 butterfly and Silver in the 50. The Gold in the 100.The Gold in the 100 metre butterfly in his final CARIFTA marked the Third Gold he won in the event and the fifth medal overall.
CARIFTA 100 METRE BUTTERFLY MEDAL TALLY
2017 The Bahamas
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Yorke on May 14 he gave his thoughts on the road to sub 55, the actual race and his training since CARIFTA
“The race was good one.The 54.84 was my best time and it was the first time I went under the 55 seconds barrier. My previous best time which I did in the heats was 55.26.Those times were great for me because I was at 55 for a good while now.I had done 55.78 at CCCAN (at home) so it is really a good feeling to do 54 finally. I changed my tactics for the race. Normally I would hold back a little bit for the first 50 metres. But this time I held a smooth constant pace and did a faster time in the first 50 and just held my normal pace going into the last 50.I also focused on my underwaters going off the turn. I made sure to hold my breath coming off the turn . I would normally breathe coming off the wall and not breathing aided my momentum.I also made the qualifying time for CAC which was 55.02and I also improved upon my time for the Youth Olympic Games.The time also broke the meet record .Even though it was not a national record it was still a great achievement for me. Training after CARIFTA intensified.I really started working on my dryland and strength training. I started to do more exercises to help strengthen my body for the butterfly .Also the training in the pool has been very extensive and more work has been put into the long course training.I have been doing more butterfly and freestyle sets and also more endurance sets for my races which has greatly helped in improving my times for the 100 and also the 200, The training has been going well.I have cut down training a little bit because of the CAPE examinations that have been going on. But after exams I will go on to my regular pool and strength sessions so I can be fully prepared for the CAC Games”.