2018 REV National Swimming Championships LAMAR TAYLOR CLOSES IN ON BECOMING THE FASTEST 13-14 SWIMMER IN THE ENGLISH SPEAKING CARIFTA REGION OF ALL TIME, LOWERS THREE NATIONAL RECORDS IN SIX GOLD MEDAL PERFORMANCE

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.

Lamar Taylor UANA
CARIFTA region’s top 13-14 boy at the UANA Cup Lamar Taylor of The Bahamas

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.

Izaak celebrates
Bastian celebrates Record swim Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

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.

Joshua Romany
Joshua Romany

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.

Crox Acuna rtve.es
Crox Acuña Photo courtesy of rtve.es

 

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).

Event CCCAN 2017 UANA CARIFTA Nationals
50 metre freestyle DQ 25.18 heats 24.57 Silver * 24.27 Gold 24.06,23.79 Gold

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.

_John Bradley Bahamasswimmingfederation
John Bradley Photo courtesy of bahamasswimmingfederation

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.

Event UANA CARIFTA Nationals
100 metre butterfly 1:01.87 7th 1:00.01 Gold 59.72 Gold
13-14 100 back podium
CARIFTA 13-14 100 metre backstroke medal podium from left to right Tristan Pragnell Barbaos Silver medallist, Taylor Gold and Youris Geran Guadeloupe Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

The sprint back stroke events the 50 and 100 metres saw him winning Gold in 28.05 and 1:01.57 respectively.

Event UANA CARIFTA Nationals
50 metre backstroke 28.62 Gold 28.38 Gold 28.05 Gold

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

reacting after a close win
Taylor reacts to coming from behind to win the 100 metre backstroke Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

CARIFTA 30.94 and 30.47 Gold 1:01.41

Rev Nationals  30.11 and 31.46 Gold 1:01.57.

Chris-Vythoulkas Bahamas Olympic Committee
Chris Vythoulkas Photo courtesy of Bahamas Olympic Commitee

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″.

 

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2018 REV National Swimming Championships Seventh Heaven for Nigel Forbes Young star wins Seven Gold medals , Breaks Four National records and sets New Five Championship Records

Nigel Forbes headshot
Nigel Forbes Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

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.

Tynes 2016 Nationals
Dustin Tynes

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

Event CARIFTA Rev Nationals CCCAN record National Record
200 metre breaststroke 2:43.39 Gold 2:39.42 Gold 2:35.89 2:38.61
evante-gibson--
Evante Gibson Photo courtesy of the bahamasswimmingfederation

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.

Event CARIFTA Rev Nationals CCCAN record National Record
100 metre butterfly 1:04.09 Gold 1:03.27 1:01.83 1:02.83

 

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.

Nigel Forbes fly pic
11-12 50 metre butterfly medallists from left to right Marvin Johnson Freeport Aquatics Silver medallist, Forbes Gold medallist and Msanaa Bosland of Barracudas Bronze medallist

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.

forbes on his way to 50 metre butterfly Bronze
Nigel Forbes of The Bahamas on his way to 50 metre butterfly Bronze at the UANA Cup Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn
Event UANA CARIFTA Rev Nationals CCCAN record
50 metre butterfly 28.68 Bronze * 28.61 Silver 27.67 Gold 27.30

*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.

Forbes 11-12 Gold
Nigel Forbes of The Bahamashistoric First Gold Medallist for The Bahamas and the CARIFTA region at the UANA Cup in the  11-12 50 metre breaststroke

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.

Event UANA CARIFTA Rev Nationals CCCAN record
50 metre breaststroke 34.20 Gold 34.05 Gold 32.54 Gold 32.42
Forbes breaststroke CARIFTA Bahamas Aquatics
Nigel Forbes during the morning heats of the 100 metre breaststroke at CARIFTA 2018 Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

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

Bastian split
Izaak Bastian opening up a lead in the 200 metre breaststroke at CARIFTA 2018 Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn
Event UANA CARIFTA Rev Nationals CCCAN record
100 metre breaststroke 1:15.07 Gold 1:15.81 Gold 1:12.24 1:12.18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young “Veteran” Chadé Nersicio commits to Florida State University

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.

Chade Nercisio
Chade Nercisio photo courtesy of Curaçaosport.com

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.

chade-pre-race-1-a-m-lyn
Chadé Nercisio before her race Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

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

chade FSU
Chadé Nersicio Photo courtesy of East Coast Aquatic Club

“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.

Chadé with 50 metre butterfly Gold at CARIFTA having set the Championship record in both the heats and the final
Chadé with the 15-17 50 metre butterfly Gold at CARIFTA having set the Championship record in both the heats and the final Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

“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

chade-50-free-m-lyn
Chadé Nercisio starts her race Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

“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.

 

 

 

FIRST ATTEMPT AT 800 METRE FREESTYLE RESULTS IN NATIONAL AGE GROUP RECORD FOR TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO’S NIKOLI BLACKMAN

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

Nikoli Blackman CARIFTA 2018
Blackman concentrating before his race at CARIFTA 2018 in Kingston Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

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.

Nikoli Blackman moments after setting a new 11-12 800 free national record
Blackman moments after setting a new 11-12 800 free national record Photo courtesy of Dinnora Anthony

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”.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO’S KAEL YORKE BREAKS 55 SECONDS IN THE 100 METRE BUTTERFLY , CLOSES IN ON NATIONAL AGE GROUP RECORD

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.    .

15-17 100 fly podium men
15-17 100 metre butterfly podium from left to right  Nicholas Vale Silver Jamaica, Yorke Gold ,  Jesse Marsh Bronze  Jamaica Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

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.

cadell lyons nolefan.org
Cadell Lyons Photo courtesy of nolefan.org

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

 Meet Time
2016 CISC heats 58.59
2016 CISC 56.96
ASATT Dec 2016 56.89
 2017 March Nationals March 56.95
2017 CARIFTA heats 57.62
2017 CARIFTA 56.51
2017 Nationals heats 1:00.64
2017 Nationals 56.06
2017 CCCAN 55.78
2017 World Juniors 55.91
ASATT Dec 2017 56.05
2018 UNANA Cup 56.53
2018 February Nationals 56.82
2018 CARIFTA heats 56.43
2018 CARIFTA 55.57
2018 Nationals heats 55.26
2018 Nationals 54.85
Kael Yorke H wilson
Kael Yorke checks his times after his race at CARIFTA Championships in Kingston Jamaica. Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

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.

Kael Yorke Gold medallist
Kael Yorke with CARIFTA 100 metre butterfly  2017 

CARIFTA 100 METRE BUTTERFLY MEDAL TALLY

2018 Kingston 55.57 Gold 15-17
2017 The Bahamas 56.51 Gold 15-17
2015 Barbados 58.17 Gold 13-14
2014 Aruba 1:00.61 Bronze 13-14
2013 Jamaica 1:04.63 Silver 11-12

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

Kael off the blocks
Kael Yorke diving off the blocks in the heats of the 50 metre butterfly Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

“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”.

LUIS SEBASTIAN WEEKES COMPLETES CARIFTA 15-17 MEDLEY SWEEP THE FIRST FOR BARBADOS IN OVER A DECADE, ENDS JUNIOR CAREER AS HIS NATION’S FASTEST CARIFTA BREASTSTROKER

Weekes on his way to 200 Silver Lyn 2018
Luis Sebastian Weekes on his way to 200 metre breaststroke Silver Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

When the pool swimming component of the CARIFTA Championships ended on April 3 Luis Sebastian Weekes had won the  Silver in the 200 metre breaststroke, Silver in the 100 metre breaststroke and placed fourth in the 50 metre breaststroke .

Luis with CARIFTA medal M Lyn
Weekes on the medal podium  Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

He also ended his last CARIFTA Championships as the fastest breaststroker from Barbados to compete at the meet. With times of 30.60 (2018), 1:06.37 (2018)  and 2:23.53 (2017) no other person from his country has been as quick in these events.

To add to his legacy at the regional competition he also took the Gold medals in the 200 and 400 metre individual medley races in times of 2:08.97 and 4:42.71 .

In the 400 IM  he has won a complete set of medals 2016 Bronze 4:47.76, 2017 Silver 4:45.41. No other swimmer from Barbados has won a medal in this event for the 15-17 boys other than Weekes since Bradley Ally won Gold in The Bahamas in 2004.

Bradley Ally panamerican world
Bradley Ally Photo courtesy of panamerican world

The shorter medley witnessed the first time Barbados was winning two medals in the 15-17 age group  with teammate and Baylor school mate Jack Kirby stopping the clock in 2:09.56 to win the Silver.

Barbados boys
Barbados boys at Baylor from left to right Luis Sebastian Weekes and Jack Kirby

The last time this happened was again in 2004 when Ally completed the medley double and countryman Shawn Clarke collected the Bronze.

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Weekes he described the 100 metre breaststroke as being his best event at the Championships as he improved his time. In his words, “the 200 was little bit stressful as because I haven’t really trained for it. I was training more for the Individual medleys”.  He also described the 200 IM as a very fun race as he won from Lane one thought it was a second or two slower than what he wanted.

He also  described his  CARIFTA experience

“It’s been a fun ride with a lot of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t have traded the experiences for the world. I also made friendships that will last forever and I am eternally grateful”.

Luis weekes Kenyon shirt
Luis Sebastian Weekes

This September he will also be leaving ranks of high school and the  Baylor School to be competing at NCAA Division III powerhouse Kenyon College. He will be joined by CARIFTA region standouts for their respective countries Joseph Black (Jamaica) and Eddie Weber (The Cayman Islands).

ZAREK WILSON LEADS STRONG 11-12 AGE GROUP TO BE A MAJOR FORCE IN TEAM TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO’S MEDAL COUNT AT CARIFTA 2018

The recently concluded 2018 CARIFTA Championships saw a very strong contingent from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago dominating the 11-12 age group in Kingston.The 11-12 team included Nikoli Blackman,Zoe Anthony,Joy Blackett,Gabrielle Vickles,Josiah Changar,Amelia Rajack,Savannah Chee-Wah, Stachys Harley,Nieshelah Caseman, Caitlyn Look Fong ,Sheni St Hilaire and Zarek Wilson.

Team TTO 11-12
TEAM TTO 11-12 swimmers at CARIFTA 2018 Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

They were also the major force behind the squad earning 19 Gold 19 Silver and 7 Bronze as the youngsters hauled in 15 Gold, 14 Silver and Two Bronze.

Team TTO opening ceremony
Team Trinidad and Tobago at the opening ceremony Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

In the relays Team TTO did not place below Silver for any relay and fittingly they won the 400 mixed freestyle relay . The team of Anthony , Changar ,Chee-Wah and  Blackman swam under the old Championship record of 4:10.82  twice, in the heats 4:05.25 and final 4:08.60.

young 11-12 female
11-12 400 medley relay Silver medallist from left to right Zoe Anthony, Caitlyn Look Fong, Neishelah Caseman, Savannah Chee-Wah Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

 

T and T Gold medal
400 medley relay Gold medallists from left to right Josiah Changar, Nikoli Blackman, Stachys Harley, Zarek Wilson Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

The 11-12’s got their CARIFTA 2018 off on a Golden note as Zoe Anthony won the 200 metre breaststroke in a time of 2:53.55

Zoe Anthony competing in the heats of the 200 mtre breatstroke
Zoe Anthony competing in the heats of the 200 metre breaststroke Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

Leading the medal charge for the 11-12 age group was Zarek Wilson who won 13 Gold medals and set a CARIFTA record in the 400 metre freestyle on his way to winning  the high point trophy .

Elan and Zarek hrold wilson photos
11-12 high point winners girls and boys Elan Daley of Bermuda and Zarek Wilson Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

In many of 11-12  victories for the boys Team TTO delivered a one –two punch for the boys as Wilson and his countryman Nikoli Blackman set a pace that gave their competitors too much to handle.

Blackman and Wilson
Nikoli Blackman and Zarek Wilson Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

Draftingthecaribbean contacted Wilson and he gave us his thoughts

“After Carifta 2017 where I won 2 individual bronze and 2 relay golds I was both satisfied and disappointed at the same time.  Satisfied to have qualified for Carifta after competing at the Goodwill level for several years.  Disappointed because I wanted to achieve so much more.  After the Bahamas, I was able to train more consistently and pay more attention to my dryland exercises, since the Secondary Entrance Exam was now behind me.

Zarek Wilson
Zarek Wilson Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

This year in Jamaica I was satisfied with what I had achieved, especially since this was my final year of the 11-12 age group.My coach, Edmund Pouchet, expanded my swim program, adding new events like the 400 metre  freestyle and 400 metre  individual medley.  These two events ended up being memorable.  The 400 metre freestyle was a battle with my friend Nikoli Blackman.  We both went under the Championship record (4:29.92 Samson Boileau Guadeloupe), but I was able to out touch him at the end (4:27.78 to 4:27.89).

Zarek with Landon Von Kanel trophy
Wilson with the Landon Von Kanel trophy for the 11-12 swimmer who wins both the 200 and 400 metre freestyle races. It is awarded in honour of Von Kanel who was a top swimmer from The Cayman Islands who left us too soon Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

And the 400 metre individual medley was on the back end of a triple, which  included the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke.  Head Coach Shawn Pouchet really encouraged me when I was feeling tired.  He reminded that I had actually been been practicing for days like this.  His encouragement paid off for me.  Even though it was painful, I was able to persevere and gain my third personal best of the day  (5:10.41).

Blackman and Wilson preparing to race
Zarek and Nikoli preparing to race Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

 

CARIFTA in Jamaica was a really enjoyable experience for me. The atmosphere was great and I was happy to share the podium with my team mate and friend Nikoli on multiple occasions.  We have been swimming, competing and having fun together since we were  6 or 7 years old. Now that CARIFTA is over, I am preparing for CCCAN in Aruba.  After that I will sit down with my coach, Edmund Pouchet, and begin planning for next year, which will be my first year in the 13-14 age group”.