BACK TO THE TOP CARTER WINS 50 IN GAMES RECORD AND WORLD TOP 10 TIME,McLEOD TAKES BRONZE AND 400 FREE RELAY ALSO WINS BRONZE

In another wonderful night of swimming by the CARIFTA region at the 23rd      CAC (Central American and Caribbean) CAC)Games at the Eduardo Movilla Aquatic Complex in Colombia, it was Team Trinidad and Tobago that lead the medal performance with Gold and Bronze by Dylan Carter in the 50 metre backstroke and a Bronze medal won by the 400 metre freestyle relay team .

The fourth day of action got under way on a good note in the heats with David McLeod returning a personal best in the 50 metre backstroke heats with a time of 25.85 to place third . It was also for that time the fastest swim ever by a Team TTO member at the CAC Games The meet record was broken by  2014 Silver medallist Venezuela’s Robinson Molina who topped the heat with a time of 25.21.  That would not last very long as those record would  fall to Carter who record a new PB, national record , and Games record of 25.01. The old national record had stood to Olympic Gold medallist George Bovell III set almost exactly 4 years ago at 25.39.It also stood as the fastest time ever from the CARIFTA region. Carter’s heat swim was also the 17th fastest time in the World this year. With Carter a clear favourite the question now was would Team TTO be able to get two swimmers as they had done in the 50 metre butterfly With past Champions and medallists such Colombia’s Omar Pinzon and Molina set to contest the medal race.

50 back medallists and carter 96.1
Team TTO 50 metre backstroke medallists Carter and McLeodwith the parents of Dylan Carter Photo courtesy of 96.1 WEFM

 

In the Championship final it was a matter of question asked and emphatically answered. Carter would take the Gold in a another new PB, NR and Games record of 24.83, the first man under 25 seconds at the CAC Games and also the 10th fastest time in the world this year . It obviously qualified him for the 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course Swimming championships and 2019 Gwangju World Championships as the A standard is 25.17 Silver went Molina in 25.25 and the Bronze to McLeod in a personal best of 25.55 with 2010 Champion Pinzón placing fourth in 25.71. It is a big improvement for David as he placed seventh in Veracruz Mexico with a time of 26.87.

See video by TEAM TTO

 

With the Gold and Bronze in the race Team TTO have a complete set of medals with Bovell’s Silver in 2010 (26.08) and Bronze in 2014 (25.91) and have begun work on a another set. It is also first time Team TTO has placed two persons on the podium and second CARIFTA region victory with Olympian Nicky Neckles winning the first Gold in 2006 (26.44).  Team TTO has won a medal at every edition of the Games as Barbados Olympian Nicholas Bovell won Bronze in 2006 (26.82).

The 400 metre freestyle relay team easily qualified for the final with a time of 3:27.77. With the lineup of swimmers assembled in Barranquilla it would always be a question of how much the national record of 3:25.73 set at the 2010 edition of the Games would be lowered by and if it could get them a podium place.

The final had them using Carter on the opening leg to give them a lead and keep them in medal contention . The strategy worked as the splits of Carter 48.79 , Jabari Baptiste 51.74, McLeod 51.44 and Joshua Romany’s anchor leg of 50.86 sealed the Bronze with an overall time of 3:22.83. Dylan’s opening leg also lowered his 100 metre freestyle Games record set on the opening day and ranks him 14th in the world

100 FREESTYLE GAMES RECORD PROGRESSION

Date July 20 July 24
First 50 metres 23.29 23.02
Second 50 metres 25.66 25.77
Final Time 48.95 48.79

Silver went to Venezuela in 3:20.43 and the Gold to Mexico in 3:18.60, Games record.

See video of race by Team TTO

 

 

400 free relay TTO

 

Team TTO is the  only CARIFTA region team to medal in this relay. This follows on Silver medal winning performances of the 1986 team of Mark Andrews, Rhett Chee Ping,Bruce Kaufmann and Andre Dieffenthaller (3:33.08) and the 2010 team of George Bovell III, Caryle Blondell, Joshua McLeod and Jarryd Gregoire (3:25.73). This medal performance also raises hopes of the team swimming  more often to get into a World top 16 position and make  2020 Olympic relay qualification possible . Team TTO Bronze medal winning time is currently the 11th fastest time in the world by a country.

Kael off the blocks
Kael Yorke at CARIFTA 2018 Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

Kael Yorke became yet another CARIFTA 2018 Champion to make a medal final as he continues to put together an impressive final year as a junior. He rose to the challenge of competing in senior waters to record a personal best in both the heats and Championship and place seventh. He was timed in 54.27 just outside off the 15-17 age group record of 54.21 held by Carter.

100 butterfly 2018 season

Event Time Split Placing
UANA 56.53 26.68 Bronze
CARIFTA 55.57 26.23 Gold
CCCAN 55.28 26.68 Gold
CAC Games 54.27 25.02 7th
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THREE CAC GOLD MEDALS THE CARIFTA WAY OLYMPIANS EVANS, CARTER AND ATKINSON WIN THEIR RACES IN RECORD TIME

Friday July 21 at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean saw three of the CARIFTA region’s biggest stars Olympians Joanna Evans of The Bahamas , Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago and Alia Atkinson of Jamaica win Gold in Games Record times.

Joanna Evans posing 400
Joanna posing for pictures after her victory Photo courtesy of Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe Barranquilla

The historic Gold Rush was started by Evans in the 400 metre freestyle.She easily qualified for the Championship final with a time of 4:16.63  . Her medal final saw  her putting on masterclass on how to swim the event.The race was effectively over as a contest when Joanna took out the first 50 metres in 28.80. At the 100 metre mark when she split 59.59  the question on everyone’s mind was how much she would lower the 2010 Games record of 4:11.36 Venezuelan Olympian Adreina Pinto. With a final 50 metres of 31.61 she would just get by the record with a time of 4:11.15. With her win she becomes only the Second woman from the CARIFTA region to win Gold in the event following Suriname’s Carolyn Adel victory in 1998. Evans also upgrades her Silver medal from 2014 to Gold and moves from a tie with Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson as the best placed English speaking swimmer in the event. She also joins  Mexican Maria Souza as the only women to have won Silver and Gold in the event. Souza took Silver in 1959 before going on to win Gold in 1962 in Kingston Jamaica.

400 metre freestyle podium
400 metre freestyle medallists Photo courtesy of Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe Barranquilla

Silver went to Mexico’s Allyson Macias Alba in 4:14.74 and the Bronze to Costa Rica’s Helena Moreno Hernandez in 4:15.51

Dylan Carter trinidad express

Carter ensured the CARIFTA Golden streak with his own historic swim .After making the final as the second seed with a time of 49.24 . It would be time to bring SHOWTIME to Barranquilla Colombia Team TTO style. When the gun started it be another CARIFTA region star that would take out the first 50 metres as Suriname’s Olympian Renzo Tjon A Joe split 23.03. However Carter split 23.29 worked his underwaters and when he popped up it was SHOWTIME . He came home in the second fastest 50 metres of 25.66 to take the Gold in a new Games Record of 48.95 , the first CAC Games swimmer under 49 seconds. That bettered the 2014 Games record of 49.00 held by Cuban Olympian Hanser Garcia. With his record swim he became the first Man to win the 100 metre freestyle crown from the CARIFTA region as the previous best placing had been Silver medals won by countryman Olympian Mark Andrews in 1986 and Cayman Islands Olympian Shaune Fraser in 2006. Team TTO now has a complete set of medal in the events rounded out by Olympic medal winner George Bovell III’s Bronze in 2006. Silver went Aruban Olympian Mikel Schreuders in yet another national record time of 49.17 , the first medal ever for Aruba in the event. Bronze went to Jorge Andres Iga Cesar in 49.28. Tjon A Joe placed fifth in a time of 49.38 and Barbados Olympian Alex Sobers eighth in a personal best time of 50.51. Both swimmers were just off their respective national records of 49.29 and 50.40. Carter spoke about this journey to 100 metre freestyle Gold to TEAM TTO

 

 

 

Anchoring this Golden run on the opening day of the CAC Games was Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson . After bettering her old Games record of 1:10.24 in the morning heats  she was the second seed with a 1:08.00. Also under the record was Byanca Rodriquez Villanuev who just edged Alia with a time of 1:07.99.The two ladies swam in the last of the morning heats side by side.Rodriquez Villanuev had gained the early advantage then with a split of 31.28 to Atkinson’s 31.32. So the setting was clear for the final as it would be between Byanca and Alia. In the Championship final there would be no synchronized swimming as Alia got her customary bullet start and gave the field too much to handle with a split of 30.85. After an excellent pullout she also turned in the best last 50 metre of 35.98 to ensure that the CAC Games record remained in Jamaica with a final time of 1:06.83.

Alia-Atkinson
Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of heppdesigns.com

With the that win she breaks the tie with Mexico’s Silvia Rivero who won the titles in 1982 and 1986 as she now has crowned herself Queen on three occasions 2006, 2010 and now 2018. Atkinson is also the 11th fastest woman in the world with that swim.She is still the only woman from the CARIFTA region to medal in the event. Silver went to Rodriquez Villanuev in 1:07.80 and her countrywoman Esther Gonzalez Medina  in 1:10.60. The deep talent pool spread across the region was evident at The Bahamas duo of Lilly Higgs  1:11.32 and Laura Morley 1:12.34 placed fifth and sixth respectively in the Championship final

 

 

CHADÈ NERCISIO LOWERS NATIONAL RECORDS IN THE SPRINT BUTTERFLY AND BACKSTROKE EVENTS , CONTINUES TO LEAD THE CARIFTA REGION AS THE FASTEST AGE GROUP BUTTERFLIER OF ALL TIME

One swimmer who will be good form and  one of  the stars to watch at the upcoming Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla Colombia will be Curaçao’s Chadé Nercisio . At the recently concluded 2018 Michael Lohberg Invitational held in Coral Springs Florida Nercisio lowered her country’s national record in the 50 metre butterfly and 50 metre backstroke. Already the fastest age group 50 metre butterflier the CARIFTA region has ever produced with a time of 27.55 she reaffirmed her position with record breaking exploits in Florida.

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

On Sunday June 17 the East Coast Aquatics Swimmer showed her hand in the morning preliminaries of what was to be expected in the Championship final when she put down a marker of 27.90. That was the third fastest time of her career and the fourth time under the 28 seconds barrier.

In the final of the 15 and over event she brought the heat and powered her way to a new PB, Age Group Record and Senior National record of 27.47. She won by more than half a second and it brings her closer to the 2018 Hangzhou China  World Short Course  Championships and the  2019 Gwangju , Korea World Long Course Championships B time of 27.26.Her time would have also won her the Bronze medal at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz Mexico.

Winning the Silver was her teammate Madison Cummings who was timed in 28.02 PB and the Bronze went to Azura Florida Aquatics Patricia Casellas 28.60. Patricia recorded a PB of 28.56 in the heats.

Earlier at the meet she recorded national records in both the heats and final of the 50 metre backstroke as she clocked times of 31.07 and 30.32 .That was a big time drop from her previous personal best and national record of 32.32 that she recorded in the heats of the  2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming championships in The Bahamas. It would be another one two punch by the East Coast Aquatics Team as Cummings again took silver this time in 31.07. Bronze went to Solana Capalbo in a time of 31.62.

Chade at East coast Aquatic
CARIFTA region’s fastest ever age group 50 metre butterflier Chadé Nercisio at the 2018 Michael Lohberg Invitational Photo courtesy of East Coast Aquatics Club

When draftingthecaribbean contacted Nercisio she gave her thoughts about training heading into the competition and if she expecting those records

“Training has been really hard since summer started So no I was definitely not expecting those records. As a matter of fact i didn’t know they were records I just knew I dropped time”.

NAIMA HAZELL LEADS ST LUCIAN MEDAL CHARGE AT CARIFTA WITH TWO SILVER MEDALS

11-12 breaststroke podium
11-12 breaststroke podium from left to right Silver medallist Naima Hazell St Lucia, Gold medallist Daley and Bronze medallist Anaika Charles Grenada Photo courtesy of Bermuda CARIFTA Swim Team 2018

In  2017 St Lucia’s Naima Hazell ended a more than decade long 11-12 50 metre breaststroke medal drought for her country when she won Bronze in the  50 metre breaststroke . The last time St Lucia was on the medal podium was through the efforts of Sara George when she took the Silver in 38.42 at the 2005 CARIFTA Championships in Curacao.She would keep the medal winning streak alive and match the quality of Sara’s  medal with a Silver medal winning and  a new age group record of 35.87.

11-12 50 metre girls freestyle podium
50 metre freestyle podium from left to right Hazell, Gold medallist Elan Daley of Bermuda and Bronze medallist Aliyah Heaven Photo courtesy of Sports of Jamaica

In the 50 metre freestyle she showed showed great improvement by moving from 18th in 2017 to winning another Silver in a time of 27.87 a new age group national record and not far off from the senior national record of 27.63.

Naima Hazell head shot
Naima Hazell Photo courtesy of Eddie Hazell

In 2017 Team St Lucia won four medals in The Bahamas Two Silver and Two Bronze medals. In Kingston they earned five medals Three Silver and Two Bronze medals,

When draftingthecaribbean contacted Naima she spoke to us about training before CARIFTA, if she knew what the senior record was before and gave us a description of her two medal winning efforts.

“My coaches started off with a plan which included morning training session and dryland session to compliment my afternoon training however we were faced with the a setback where the facility that we trained at had to be closed for about 1 month due to a leakage in the pool which had to be repaired. We used the beach and the Pool at a hotel for our training until we were able to return to the Aquatic Centre. Overall the training was difficult especially the early mornings however I knew it was necessary in order for me to be prepared especially since we do not have a 50m facility.  To be honest I was not aware of what the Senior National record was. My goal is always to perform better at every meet and to PB. I also had high hopes of medalling. I was focused for both of my races. I knew I had to work hard if I had any chance of medalling. My 50 M breaststroke, I went in with the aim of getting that goal medal, however I had a bad breakout and this cost me the gold medal, I had to work extremely hard to catch up with the other swimmers to capture the silver medal. For my 50 freestyle I believe I had a very good swim  and my execution was good. I kept my head down and did limited breathing until I touched that wall. My aim was to swim faster than the prelims.

In her plans for the rest of the year

The other major meets for this are as follow:

BASA Invitational in May

CCCAN  Swimming Championships in June

OECS swimming Championships in November

ASATT in December

 

My goals for the 50 M freestyle and 50 M Breaststroke  for the CCCAN championships is to PB and hopefully medal for my country and ASATT to work hard to break the existing records in both events.

Draftingthecaribbean also spoke to the President of the St Lucian Amateur Swimming Association Mr Eddie Hazell (who is her father) about her improvement since 2017

It’s a few things but namely it’s the added time in the pool, she is a bit more focused and with the added time she is building endurance and strength. The extra time In the pool makes the difference because now you could complete herworkout that we’ve been wanting to have. Before we work trying to fit that same workout in 1 hr and it just wasn’t feasible. But now we have the sufficient time so she could rest when needed and we’re able to get more meters in during the wk

He also commented on progress has been made in terms of the quality of the performances and new age group records what has accounted for the overall St Lucian progress and what  formal plans are in place to direct these talented athletes towards Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

Team St Lucia
Team St Lucia at CARIFTA 2018 Photo courtesy of Brian Charles

Since assuming office, my executive has taken a holistic approach towards the development of the sport.  Currently we are working on providing our locally based national swimmers with opportunities to train in a 50m facility in neighboring Martinique. We are hoping to do so on a fortnightly basis. This is in addition to them following their club regiment of training. We have recognized that our swimmers needed to be exposed to both types of facilities. A rigorous dry land programme can also be held accountable for their success and will be stepped up in the long run. Strengthening our institutional framework is allowing us to provide a better balance between our learn to swim and competitive programmes. Our International governing body has made funding available for some of our initiatives. This will be filtered down to both the club and national programmes. Pool time and costs of training are critical issues which we are engaging all stake holders to find the best possible solutions. The quality of our coaches is also being addressed by affording them the opportunity to upgrade their skills using FINA sponsored clinics. We are also in talks with our French counterparts to assist us in this regard. We will continue to engage all stakeholders in an effort to improve the swimming product coming out of St. Lucia.

DYLAN CARTER WINS HISTORIC SILVER MEDAL

 

The twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago made their first foray into swimming at the Commonwealth Games when the contingent of Laura de Neef , Geoffrey Ferriera and Johny Littlepage competed at the 1966 Games in Kingston Jamaica. Some 52 years later which has seen the participation 17 swimmers at 11 Games the  the medal podium breakthrough  has been made in the 50 metre butterfly.

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games: Day 2
2018 Commonwealth Games 50 metre butterfly podium from left to right Carter,Le Clos and Coetzee Photo courtesy of teamsa.co.za

After posting times of 23.62 in the heats and 23.90 in the semis ,Carter got the job done with a Silver medal winning performance of 23.67 to finish behind South African Chad Le Clos who took Gold in 23.37. The Bronze medal went to another South African Ryan Coetzee in 23.73.

World junior 50 fly medal podium
World Junior Swimming championships 50 metre butterfly podium from left to right Carter Silver medallist,Gold medallist Cameron Jones Australia, Bronze medallist Takaya Yasue Japan Photo courtesy of Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Just as Carter had held his hand to be counted as one of the best with a Trinidad and Tobago and CARIFTA region first at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Dubai,United Arab Emirates where he won Silver in the same event he provided that chapter changing moment again at Optus Aquatic Centre on April 6 in Gold Coast Australia.  Coetzee, is another swimmer successfully navigating senior waters had placed fifth in the 2013 World Junior Championships in the same event.

Draftingthecaribbean spoke General Secretary of CCCAN Maureen Croes today and for asked her thoughts about the progress being made in Caribbean swimming and of Carter’s accomplishments

“Indeed a historic moment!

CCCAN is incredibly proud and excited about this medal. Over the past years, there have been several athletes in the aquatic disciplines from our region who have been able to break into the top. This is an indication that the aquatic disciplines are developing and improving and that our leaders, our coaches, our parents and our athletes are able to find ways to continue their development beyond the age group levels. I think that the combination of the financial help and the availability of clinics, schools and scholarships from FINA and Olympic Solidarity, the cooperation between CCCAN and UANA, and the more professional way that the federations in our region are approaching the aquatics, all contribute to the development.  I look forward to seeing more of our athletes winning medals and making finals at big meets like this one”.

ALBURY HIGGS RECORDS PERSONAL BEST IN 200 YARD BREASTSTROKE BECOMES THIRD FASTEST PERFORMER IN SCHOOL HISTORY,CLOSES IN ON CARIFTA REGION’S BEST TIME

At the start of the  2017 -2018 season The University of South Carolina’s Albury Higgs had a 200 yard breaststroke  personal best of 2:11.49. Such was the improvement that has occurred throughout the season she brought down that personal standard to 2:08.90. Not only is she  the top ranked CARIFTA region swimmer throughout the NCAA but also the first female swimmer to earn a second swim at the NCAA Division I championships in over six years.

Albury higgs profile gamecocks online
Albury Higgs Photo courtesy of gamecocksonline

The Bahamian sophomore added to her own swimming legacy competing in the 200 yard breaststroke on Saturday March 17 in Columbus Ohio during the morning heats.Albury split 1:01.59 on her way to 2:08.90. That swim bettered her 2:09.23 PR set the 2018 SEC Championships.With that performance she qualified for the B final. In that race would record the third fastest time of her career to place seventh in 2:09.45.

Albury higgs gamecocksonline
Albury Higgs in action Photo courtesy of gamescocksonline

With her morning heats swim Albury became the first Gamecock to earn a second swim at one of the world’s toughest meets since 2014. She also moved to number three on the school’s list as top performers. Higgs has also closed the gap between herself and the CARIFTA region’s best time of 2:06.99 set at the 2009 NCAA Championships by CARIFTA legend Alia Atkinson

Amanda Rutqvist
Amanda Rutqvist Photo courtesy of gamecocksonline

South Carolina Best All Time Performers

Name Year Time split
Amanda Rutqvist 2011 2:07.86 1:01.90
Kersten Dirrane 2017 2:08.58 1:01.79
Albury Higgs 2018 2:08.80 1:01.59
Alia on her way to 50 metre gold in Berlin
Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of FINA

CARIFTA Region Best All Time Performers

Name Year Time split
Alia Atkinson 2009 2:06.99 1:02.18
Albury Higgs 2018 2:08.80 1:01.59

The 100 yard breaststroke saw her placing 43rd in 1:01.27 (split time 28.67) ,just off her personal best of 1:01.02.The Gamecocks finished 20th with 46 points.

ALBURY HIGGS BOOKS TICKET TO FIRST NCAA FINAL WITH BEST CARIFTA REGION TIME IN 200 BREAST IN OVER A DECADE

The University of South Carolina’s Bahamian sophomore Albury Higgs booked her ticket for the NCAA finals at the March with a personal best in the 200 yard breaststroke at the South Eastern Swimming Championships.

Albury higgs
Albury Higgs

Competing at the Texas A &M Natatorium on Feb 18 Higgs recorded the best time ever for a female swimmer from the CARIFTA region with her morning swim 2:09.46 (split time 1:02.29) in over a decade.That performance earned her a second swim to the Championship final.

Alia
Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of Jamaica Olympics

The best time done in the event since 2009 when Alia Atkinson won the NCAA Silver in the event in 2:06.99. Higgs would have more left in the tank as she placed 8th in an even faster time of 2:09.23 (split time 1:01.75). Higgs topped her 2017 performance when she placed 5th in the B final in a time of 2:11.48 (split time 1:03.23).

Albury Higgs
Albury Higgs Photo courtesy of swimswam.com

Her progress in the event should come as no surprise as she was dominated the 15-17 age group in the 200 metre breaststroke at the CARIFTA level .Albury won the 200 metre breaststroke race in 2015,2016 and 2017.

She would also record personal bests in the 200 yard individual medley and 100 yard breaststroke. In the medley event she dropped a second from 2:01.42 to 2:00.41. The difference was due to being more aggressive in the first 100 yards as her split was 57.23 compared to the 58.41 that she did in November at the Georgia Tech Invitational when she recorded her then personal best.

In the sprint breaststroke she bettered her 2016 personal best of 1:01.64 to clock 1:01.02 (split time 28.56) to qualify for the B final. In that final she would record the second fastest time of her career to place fifth in 1:01.34. Again she bettered her 2017 placing when she stopped the clock in 1:02.81 for 25th overall.

Higgs offered a few words to draftingthecaribbean about her SEC efforts

“I had a great time representing the gamecocks at the SEC Championships and was pleased to go all best times in my events. I was really happy with my 200 breaststroke and looking forward to my first NCAA tournament”.