Yet another CARIFTA region swimmer continues to make their mark at the Tennessee high school swim Championships .In 2020 it was Bermudan Logan Watson-Brown showing her class at the Tennessee Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville from Feb 7 to 8. Logan competes for the powerhouse Baylor high school , home to many of the region’s top age group stars over the years.

She made her debut at the State Championships with a preliminary swim in the 200 yard freestyle. That morning on February 7 saw her lowering her personal best from 1:52.65 to 1:51.62 . That swim gained her entry to her first Championship final on her very first attempt.

Logan Watson -Brown

In the evening’s final the defending 15-17 CCCAN 200 metre freestyle Champion would not be denied a place on the podium she crushed her morning effort with a new personal best of 1:49.96 split time 52.66 earning the Bronze.Silver was won by Kalli Chelsvig of Ensworth 1:48.28.Gold was was won by the outstanding Alex Walsh of Harpeth Hall in 1:45.19.

Kimberlee John Williams Photo courtesy of swimswam

The Bermudan is now the fastest CARIFTA region swimmer ever at Baylor bettering Trinidad and Tobago’s Kimberlee John-Williams time of 1:52.02 back in Feb 2012. She also ranks sixth all time at Baylor.

Logan smiles after winning her first TISCA medal .Photo courtesy of Baylor swimming

In regional championships Watson Brown has been on a winning streak taking the 13-14 CCCAN 200 metre freestyle in 2018 and doing the regional golden Double in her first year of 15-17 in 2019 taking both the CARIFTA and CCCAN crowns

Logan Watson- Brown atop of the 13-14 medal podium at the 2018 CCCAN Championships
Photo courtesy of CCCAN



The next day in the 100 yard freestyle she continued to set new personal bests.In the morning heats she recorded a time of 51.68. Her old personal best was 51.84. In the 200 yard freestyle relay she produced an anchor leg split of 24.22 to help her team to a total time of 1:36.99 and Lane 4 in the medal final.

She closed the session with a time of 51.93 leading of the Baylor ladies who made it to the Championship final with a total time of 3:34.35.

The final of the individual 100 yard freestyle saw her posting her first sub 51 seconds swim. She clocked 24.39 and raced home to 26.50 to touch fourth in 50.89. Logan was a part of a historic race as the winner Gretchen Walsh of Harpeth Hall won Gold in a time of 46.98, the fastest time ever swum by a high school girl. Silver went to Ellie Taliaferro of GPS in 50.04 and the Bronze to Erin Milligan of Collierville in 50.05.

200 yard freestyle relay Gold medallists from left to right Ellie Waldrep,Jewel Gordon,Watson-Brown and Lydia Bohannon Photo courtesy of Baylor swimming

The 200 yard freestyle relay was a coronation ceremony of speed rather than a race as the Baylor team led from the sounding of the starter’s gun to the final touch at the wall. The team of Ellie Waldrep 23.54,Jewel Gordon 23.54, Lydia Bohannon 24.08 and Watson-Brown 23.41. The total winning time is 1:34.37. Brentwood was second in 1:36.61 and Maryville took the Bronze in 1:38.24.

Buoyed by her individual performance she returned to the pool in the last event of the Championships to swim the fastest opening of the 400 yard freestyle relay. Watson -Brown took charge of the race with her opening split of 24.31. The field lost touch with her as she split 26.33 to touch in yet another personal best of 50.64. That gave the Baylor ladies a lead of over 2 seconds.

It would not be enough as the Harpeth Hall team had three swift 49.76 Alex Massey and the Walsh sisters Alex and Gretchen with times of 47.91 and 48.14 to win in 3:20.81. Maryville clocked 3:30.24 for the Silver . Baylor was just out touched clocking 3:30.80 for the Bronze.

400 yard freestyle relay Bronze medallists from left to right Watson-Brown,Bohannon,Caroline Schenck and Lillie Boggs Photo courtesy of Baylor swimming

Logan also established herself as the best CARIFTA region swimmer in the 100 yard freestyle at Baylor. This time she downed the 51.58 set by Bahamian Bria Devaux in February 2012. She is also the fifth fastest performer of all time at the Chattanooga based institution

Bria Deveaux Photo courtesy of


Baylor 2012 Photo courtesy islandstats

The state and independent high school record of 1:31.18 is held by the 2012 Baylor team that had three swimmers from the region Bria Deveaux The Bahamas , Kimberlee John-Williams Trinidad and Tobago and Ashley Yearwood Bermuda.

Link to video by Swimming world after they broke the record in 2012

The fastest ever 200 yard medley relay record by a high school boys team either public of 1:27.74 is held by the 2014 Baylor team that included Bahamian Dustin Tynes and Barbadian Christopher Selby.

2014 Baylor medley relay team Christian Selby ,Sam McHugh,Coach Dan Flack, Tynes and Luke Kalizak Photo courtesy of swimming world magazine

Links to race videos and interview in 2014

The state record in the boys 400 yard freestyle relay of 2:59.92 is held by the 2018 Baylor team that included Jack Kirby of Barbados.

Kirby with members of his Baylor relay team Photo courtesy of Baylor swimming
2020 TISCA Girls Champions Photo courtesy of Baylor

Baylor would take defend their girls team title amassing 295 points. Runner up went to Harpeth Hall 220 points and third to Maryville 196 points.

Combined Champions Photo courtesy of Baylor swimming

Baylor also secured the combined title for the fourth consecutive year.


Patrick Groters Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Before 2019 became history Aruban Patrick Groters was making his own for Aruba and himself. Competing at the US Open in December Patrick lowered the national record in the 200 individual medley. He crushed the old standard of 2:03.33 set during the preliminaries of the 2019 Pan AM Games in Peru to take it down to 2:01.62  on Dec 5.He set that time during the morning heats of the meet bettering the 2020 Tokyo Olympic B standard of 2:03.26.
That historic swim would earn him a second swim in the B final where he would again be much better than the B standard placing sixth in a time of 2:01.84.

The meet which was held at the McAuley Natatorium , home of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games sees Patrick as fourth  on the all time rankings of the best from the CARIFTA region in the event.

Jeremy Knowles Photo courtesy of Bahamas swimming
Bradley AllyBarbados2008 Olympics1:58.57
George Bovell IIITrinidad and Tobago2004  Olympics1:58.80
Jeremy KnowlesThe Bahamas2008 Olympics2:01.35
Groters Brothers Patrick and Jordy

Patrick is being guided on his road to Tokyo by his older brother Jordy. Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Jordy after the competition and got his thoughts about Patrick’s progression since the PAN American Games in August

“During the taper Patrick was definitely swimming very confidently and doing some pretty good times. Swimming the same race seemed very reasonable. During the race, however, the splits he did were faster than what we had trained for. The butterfly was right on what he needed to be. The 29.9 backstroke and 35.4 breaststroke were absolutely unreal. We had trained to for 30-mids in backstroke and 36 in breaststroke. The freestyle was the only let down of the race, being the only split that was slower than his race at Pan AMs by about half a second. We tried to improve that freestyle in Finals and it was even more obvious in that race how crucial a good closing leg is. Patrick swam in between Will Licon (2019 US PAN AM Games Gold medallist in the 200 IM) and Caeleb Dressel (2016 Olympic Gold medallist,2019 50 metre freestyle World Champion)  in the B final and was ahead of Dressel and right behind Licon at the 150. Dressel’s monster freestyle leg almost won him the race, touching only 0.01 behind Licon. Patrick touched two seconds after them despite being “in the race” at the 150. To be fair, Patrick’s freestyle was a bit faster than the morning but he wasn’t under 30 seconds like he was at Pan AMs. Considering how much of the other splits he improved from Pan AMs, he could’ve been 29 low or maybe even 28 high. Had he done that then he could’ve even been 2:00“.

Record ComparisonPAN AM GamesUS Open
Total Time2:03.332:01.62

Jordy also spoke about the way forward

“Regardless of all these hypotheticals, I was beyond ecstatic with the result. Another giant time drop so close to the last one is a huge confidence booster and a great sign for the coming months. There’s still about 6 months to go before the Olympic qualification window is closed. Six months to work on the back-half and make sure he can race the likes of Dressel and Licon until the end! I believe six months is more than enough time to make another 200 IM improvement and even challenge the A standard. He’ll definitely be challenging the B standards in both Backstrokes, as well. Those events were a little off this meet but the mission was a success. We came here to get a B cut and he was well beneath it”.

Andrew Phillips Photo courtesy of

The CARIFTA region has enjoyed success in this event. In 1984 Jamaican Andrew Phillips became the first person to make the Olympic final placing sixth  in a then national record time of 2:05.60.

Bradley Ally Photo courtesy of panamerican world

In 2008 in Beijing China Bradley Ally of Barbados was just .10 outside the Olympic Final with a semi-final effort of 1:59.53 finishing ninth overall. He had set the CARIFTA region’s fastest time ever with a swim of 1:58.57.

George Bovell III Photo courtesy of

The crowning moment for this event was the Athens Bronze medal swim by Bovell in a time of 1:58.80.

The region is looking forward to seeing what the next few months will hold for Patrick as he looks to add to the Aruban and CARIFTA legacy at the Olympics.


At the 2019 US Open held in December Bahamian Laura Morley made a major move to Olympic qualification with a personal best and new national record and an Olympic B standard time in the 200 metre breaststroke .Laura bettered the Olympic B standard twice. She stopped the clock in a new all time Bahamian best first in the heats in 2:27.83 in the heats and then later in the Championship final swam to a time of 2:28.38 .The Olympic B standard is 2:29.89. .Laura has now set the senior national record in the event 11 times.

Laura Morley

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Morley after the competition about competing as a professional swimmer.The last meet of her collegiate career was the NCAA Division I championships in March 2019.Morley ended her college tenure ended as the fourth fastest performer in Indiana school history in the 200 yards breaststroke with a time of 2:08.16.  The  Big Ten Distinguished Scholar gave her thoughts on how life is different as a professional swimmer compared  to college in terms of training and other areas.

“Thankfully Indiana Swimming allowed me to join the professional team after I graduated in May, so I still get to train with the collegiate team but now without school I have a lot more time to focus on recovery, nutrition and swimming as a whole. The transition has been made a lot easier than I expected and a lot of that is due to having the full support of my coaching staff, weight coaches and former teammates. Becoming a pro swimmer has been such an awesome experience because I can truly focus on my swimming goals and have learnt so much about myself since March”.

Morley en route to a new national record and Olympic B qualifying time

She also spoke smashing her 200 metre breaststroke national mark and getting the Olympic B cut, training and her preparations and expectations before the US Open.

 “I was rested and shaved for US Open! I recently swam at the TYR Pro Series meet in Greensboro the weekend of November 9th and swam right on my best times. That was very reassuring and gave me a lot of confidence in my training all fall. We have been putting in a lot of hard training since I got back to Bloomington in September, so getting some rest at US Open was an opportunity for me to see where my hard training has taken me. I have been working towards getting the B cut in the 200 breaststroke but that was not the expectation heading into US Open. We wanted to take the great racing opportunity at US Open to give me some great racing practice against higher level competition than I was used to.”

Laura bettered the Olympic B standard twice .She crushed the national standard from the heats 2:27.83 compared to 2:30.24.Her first 50 was very aggressive compared to her last national record 33.88 to 35.27 and her third 50 as well 37.65 versus 38.65.

Morley before the Championship final
200 metre breaststrokePan Am GamesUS Open
First 5034.7933.88
Second 5038.2637.18
Third 5038.5137.89
Fourth 5038.6538.88
Total Time2:30.212:27.83

Laura gave her insight if the race strategy to attack those two 50’s specifically and if she was very confident in her training to take it out so fast?

“Yes, I was in a very competitive heat in the morning and knew that the girls next to me would throw down some good times, so I took that opportunity to go out and race them. I did take it out more aggressively than normal, but still very control so I could have some speed on the back half of the race. We have been working a lot on 200 pace long course so I had confidence in my training and race strategy”.

Alia Atkinson

Laura is easily the number two all time in the event for the CARIFTA region. The A cut is 2:25.52 and  Olympian Alia Atkinson tops the all-time  CARIFTA ranking with  her national record 2:25.48. The Nassau native is currently faster than the best CARIFTA time posted at the Olympics Atkinson’s then national record of 2:28.77 at the London 2012 Olympic Games .

Adriana Marmolejo Photo courtesy of sala de prensa

She is also faster than the CCCAN best time at the Olympics of 2:28.10 by Adriana Marmolejo which was the then national record for Mexico.

Morley spoke about her next outing and if she had any specific times in mind?

“I am competing at the Knoxville TYR Pro Series meet in January but will be training through that meet and using as racing practice. I do not have any specific times in mind but just want to get more comfortable with my race strategy and racing in competitive heats. I am heading into another hard training block for a few months until I rest again sometime in the spring”.

In the 100 breast Morley was just off her best time of 1:10.44. She took us through that race and what adjustments she would need to make to go after the B cut of 1:09.08.

100 metre breaststrokeMayDec
First 5033.2533.28
Second 5037.1937.18
Total Time1:10.441:10.46

“This fall we have been focusing on the 200 more so than the 100, but using the 100 as good practice for the 200. I was pleased with my morning swim of the 100 as it was just off my best time, which gave me a lot of confidence going into the 200. I have been working on getting my strength and speed up for the 100, but it is still a work in progress! The B cut in the 100 is a great goal to keep in mind!”


Another CARIFTA medallist has shown he is ready for the 2019-2020 season with his good early season form. With Izaak Bastian, the two defending CARIFTA Champion in the 50 metre freestyle and record holder at 23.18 aged out  ,countryman Lamar Taylor is one of those swimmers seeking to keep the title of the Fastest Swimmer at CARIFTA in The Bahamas.

Bastian makes last minute preparations for the 50 metre freestyle in 2018. Photo courtesy of Rochelle Bastian

Taylor, who won the CARIFTA Bronze in the 50 metre freestyle in a time of 23.59, clocked 23.54 at the Milo Butler Blue Waves Swim Invite on October 19. In the 100 metre freestyle he clocked 52.26 .  Also at that meet he had winning performances of 25.68 in the 50 metre butterfly of 25.68 and 2:24.80 in the 200 metre individual medley.

His early season form has left no doubt that he will be one of the contenders for the Crown. A week later at the DSC Invite he stood atop the podium in the 50 and 100 metre backstroke 27.53 and 1:00.44 as well as the 400 metre freestyle and 50 metre breaststroke 4:36.84 and 33.51.

Lamar after setting new PB in the 100 metre freestyle at World Juniors.Photo courtesy of Drew Bastian

The 100 metre freestyle time of 52.26 is the second fastest time of Taylor’s career only bettered by the 51.99  he swam at the World Junior Championships this summer.

Jordan Crooks

In Jamaica at the Dean Martin Memorial meet in October Jordan Crooks of Cayman Islands set new meet marks of the 23.87 and 52.26 in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle events . Jordan had won the CARIFTA Silver medal in the splash and dash in a time of 23.49.He seems set to be much faster come his final Championships. Those swims set both swimmers on the path on what could be the first sub 23 seconds swim at CARIFTA.

Lamar warming up at the World Juniors earlier this summer .Photo courtesy of Drew Bastian

Draftingthecaribbean caught up with Lamar who represents Freeport Aquatics Club but trains with Mako Aquatics Club due to the damage caused by the passage of Hurricane Dorian and asked for his thoughts about his early season form

Lamar Taylor .Photo courtesy of Drew Bastian

“I honestly wasn’t trying to go so fast this early in the season. My 52 came extremely easy for me and I was extremely happy to go that fast with no effort. I feel that since I’m already at a 23.5 right now with only 5 weeks of training with no taper before the meet I feel that I can definitely go a 22.9 or even lower at CARIFTA with God’s help and if I stay healthy. I feel that at CARIFTA I would be going a lot faster because of the way I have changed my training drastically”.

With the speed that the Bahamian men have been showing in recent years most notably with the national record in the 400 metre freestyle relay at the 2019 PAN AM Games in Lima Peru Taylor was asked his opinion about the men getting even faster in that relay as well as the 400 medley with more racing opportunities.

National record holders in the 400 metre freestyle relay N’Nhyn Fernander, Gershwin Greene,DaVante Carey and Jared Fitzgerald

“The question has been put up to the federation and they are working on it. If that works out we can get more swimmers to include myself ,DaVante Carey, Izaak Bastian and Jared Fitzgerald in more relay competition and we can bring down our national time and do some damage in those relays”.

The current Bahamian men’s senior national relay records are listed below

400 metre freestyle relay3:28.222019
400 metre medley relay3:49.362016


Simone Vale represented the Pine Crest School as well as the Green,Gold and Black of Jamaica well at the recent Florida 2A high school Championships held on November 8.

Simone Vale competing in the 100 yard butterfly .Photo courtesy of Art Kozel

Swimming at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center –in Stuart Florida in the 100 yard butterfly she rattled her personal best of 59.49 with a swim of 59.62 (split time 27.47) .That her earned her a lane in the  B final, a first in her career at the State Champs.

She would use that opportunity well. In the night’s final she pushed from fifth at the half way mark with a split of 27.92 to place third in a new personal best of 59.30. She her growing sprint endurance in the event she had the fastest back half of 31.38.

Simone in the heats of the 100 yard backstroke. Photo courtesy of Art Kozel

It would be the event for which she has become a mainstay in the Jamaica junior squad over the last couple of seasons, the 100 backstroke in which she would have her highest ever finish. In the heats of the event she went out the fastest she has ever done at States 28.66. She was rewarded with her best time at the high School champs. It also placed her in first Championship final.

Championship finalists in the 100 yard backstroke.Photo courtesy of Art Kozel

In the final she again went out hard in a time of 28.57. This time she was just off her heats time but got her best ever State showing placing fourth in 59.36. In 2018 at States she had placed 6th in the B final in 1:00.29 (split time 29.26). The year 2017 had her finishing 21st in1:00.56 (split time 28.96)

Simone off to a good start in the heats of the medley relay .Photo courtesy of Art Kozel

In the morning Vale paced the preliminaries of the 200 medley relay .She got the team to the final with an opening backstroke contribution of 27.87 , the second fastest split of the morning. The Pine Crest Panthers with the number one seed going into the final took the Gold  in the final.

CARIFTA and National record holders in the 13-14 400 medley from left to right Vale,Lyn, Alvaranga and MacDonald Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

Simone has led off the Jamaican CARIFTA 400 medley relay team to Gold for the last two  years in the 15-17 age group  2018 4:33.46 (Championship and National Age Group record)  and   2019 4:36.83.

Victorious Pine Crest Boys and Girls teams .Photo courtesy of Art Kozel

The Panther Girls dominated the competition winning with a total of 448 points, Second went to Estero High School with 200 and third to Gulliver 182.5.


Jamaica’s Michael Gunning opened the 2019-2020 season in the best possible fashion by setting a new national record.  The 25 year old who competes for Stockport Metro competing in the 2019 Manchester International Swim Meet  set a new national standard in the 200 metre butterfly.

The meet which ran from October 18 to 19 which was contested in short course metres saw Gunning qualifying seventh for the final in a time of 2:05.27.In the final he blew past his opening salvo in the morning heats to win the Bronze in a time of 1:59.98. In doing so he became the first Jamaican under the 2 minutes. He bettered his old national standard of 2:00.07 set in 2017.

Michael Gunning

By going out aggressively Gunning ensured himself a new national standard .

Comparison of record splits

First 5026.6326.98
Second 5030.3631.02
Third 5031.0432.31
Fourth 5031.9529.76
Total time1:59.982:00.07

Gold went Richard Nagy of City of Sheffield in 1:58.67 and the Silver to Tom Beely of Plymouth Leander in 1:58.84.

Gunning spoke to draftingthecaribbean about the national record swim after the race

“I am really happy to set that Jamaican record in the 200 metre butterfly tonight. Now that it is the Olympic cycle everyone wants to swim fast.Everyone is going for the fast times.To get a Bronze medal at the Manchester International I am really pleased with that as I did not expect it. My coach Sean Kelly has been pushing me in training. This meet was just to swim through it and see what times I could post when I am in hard training. I am excited for things to come”

Gunning who placed 16th in the 200 metre freestyle in a time of 1:53.10 .He is also the national record holder with a time of 1:48.28.

He also spoke about his training programme

Michael Gunning

“I am currently training out here in the United Kingdom,Training is going very well. I am in the water 10 times a week and each session is about two and a half hours.I am covering a lot of metres  .I averaging 75 to 80,000 metres a week.I also have three gym sessions as well.Training is going well .I am really training very hard . The result came as a surprise because I am not rested or tapered. The result came after a week of 80,000 metres. Things are looking good for the Olympic cycle so I can qualify for Tokyo”.


Jada at the 2019 CARIFTA Championships in Barbados.Photo courtesy of Bertram Blackman

Competing in the  Laguna Bujama in Lima Peru on August 4 Trinidad and Tobago’s Jada Chatoor entered the history books not only for herself but the entire CARIFTA region . She took on the task of competing in the grueling 10 kilometre open water event. The course saw the competitors RACING the circuit eight times to finish the difficult event. Jada completed the marathon in swimming in a time of 2:14.50.6. Chatoor placed 14th overall.

Jada Chatoor before her historic 10K swim Photo courtesy of Camille Chatoor

Open water debuted in 2007.The rigorous nature of the event does not see all competitors being able to finish it.In this year’s edition 20 started but only 17 were able to finish.That speaks even more to the determination and grit of the young swimmer from twin island Republic.

Christian Marsden .Photo courtesy of

Jada now becomes the first woman to swim and complete the tough event from the region and the second swimmer to compete in the swimming marathon following the 2015 participation of countryman Christian Marsden who finished 13th in Canada. Earlier this year Jada won the 15-17Bronze in a very close 5K open water event in Barbados at the CARIFTA Championships.

Draftingthecaribbean contacted the regional age group standout and got her reaction to her historic swim

Jada Chatoor .Photo courtesy of Bertram Blackman

“In preparation for this games, training was very intense as open water is still something relatively new to me so I needed to work on my endurance but luckily it wasn’t too much of a shock as I’m already a distance swimmer. I also had to work on my stroke a lot leading up to the race because my pool stroke is very fast paced and I needed a smoother and more lengthened stroke for the 10K. I’m super pleased with the race, I didn’t  expect to do as well as I did. I was very nervous and intimidated at first because of all the big names in open water there and the temperature of the water really scared me but all in all it was a really good experience and I am happy I did it. To be the first woman from the CARIFTA to do so well in the 10K open water does make me feel very accomplished and excited for the future and hopefully there are more Caribbean participants in the open water at the games in the years to come”.

Samantha Rahael Photo courtesy of

Jada will next be in action in the 800 metre freestyle on Thursday August 8 where she will be looking to make more history for Trinidad and Tobago. She has an entry time of 9:19.00 which is not far off the 9:14.78 set by Samantha Rahael which is the 15-17 age group national record and doubles as the senior national record