Team Jamaica’s performances on Day 2 of the 2018 CAC (Central American and Caribbean ) Games by yet another Gold medal by Olympian Alia Atkinson in the 50 metre butterfly and record breakinng swims by Keanan Dols in the 200 metre individual medley.
Colombia will hold special memories for Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson as it was in 2006 when the 50 metre butterfly was introduced to swimming schedule she was the first winner of the event in Cartagena in a time of 28.59. Fast forward to 2018 in Barranquilla and Atkinson has not lost her appetite for Colombian Gold. In the heats we saw signs that the Gold would be heading to Kingston when she broke her three year old 50 national record of 26.65 with a time of 26.54. She would not be top seed as that went to 2010 and 2014 Bronze medallist Jeserik Pinto of Venezuela who got Lane 4 with a time of 26.52. In the final however Alia would prevail with a time of 26.60. Pinto upgraded her Bronze to Silver with a time of 26.76. Mexican Lilianna Ibanez Lopez returned to win another Bronze in 27.08. With that swim Atkinson closes in on the A standard for the 2019 Gwangju World Champs of 26.34.
The event has been dominated by the CARIFTA region ladies as no swimmers other than Atkinson and recently retired Olympian Bahamian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace have won this race.Additionally Vanderpool-Wallace holds the Games record at 26.46.
Almost 30 years ago on August 4 at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games Andrew Phillips registered the fastest time by a Jamaican in the 200 metre individual medley when he clocked a national record of 2:05.60. That is the best placing for a Jamaican man at the Olympic Games.
On July 21, 2018 in Barranquilla Colombia that mark was finally lowered. Keanan Dols swimming in heat 2 of the event won his race in a time of 2:04.00. That helped Keanan qualify for his second consecutive senior level Championship final.He would record his best placing of fourth in yet another record swim with a time of 2:03.66, a mere 0.18 of a second away from the Bronze medal winning time of Mexican Hector Ruvalcaba Cruz who stopped the clock in 2:03.48. Gold went to Puerto’s Jarrod Aroyo in 2:02.37.Silver was won by Venezuela’s Carlos Claverie in 2:03.06.
National record progression
That qualifies Keanan automatically for the 2019 Lima PAN AM Games and is under the 2019 Gwagju World Championships and 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course swimming championships B standards of 2:04.43.
The CCCAN region occupied positions 1,3,4 ,5,6, 7 and 8 in the Championship final. Fifth placed Patrick Groters set a new national record of 2:04.13. Interestingly at the last Caribbean Islands Swimming championships held in The Bahamas in 2016 Arroyo had won the 13-14 200 IM in a Championships record of 2;07.59 while Groters and Dols had finished 1,2 in the 15-17 age group in 2:06.19CR and 2:07.09.
Michael Gunning earned a second swim in the 200 IM after posting 2:12.41 in the morning heats. He would return to swim to fourth place and a season best of 2:10.60.
Emily MacDonald was 19th in the 50 metre butterfly in a personal best of 28.61. she finished 20th in the 200 metre freestyle in a time of 2:14.83.
At the recently concluded CCCAN swimming Championships held in Aruba Nigel Forbes continued his epic season in an 11-12 age group division which was brimming with talent. Forbes stood tall among his peers in the breaststroke for 2018 and was unbeaten for the season in that stroke .
It would be the 50 metre breaststroke in which he would make put together a masterpiece of a swim .Already the fastest Bahamian 11-12 breaststroker of all time with 32.54 he now had his sights on the 2005 CCCAN record of Panamanian Arturo Medina of 32.42 .That time tied Bermudan Sam Williamson 11-12 national mark of 32.42 as the second fastest of all time in the CCCAN region. The unofficial record was held by Aruba Jordy Groters at 32.41. Things looked promising for young Forbes when he clocked the fastest time of the preliminaries of 32.99. In the championship Final Forbes took off from the sounding of the starter’s gun and was more than a body length of the field by the 25 metre mark.With the question of the Gold answered what needed to be determined was what the record would be lowered to . Forbes continued to blaze towards the wall and slapped the pads in a time of 32.15 , a new PB, Bahamian , CCCAN Championship record and he can officially hold the moniker of the fastest the region had ever seen in the event. Winning the Silver was Trinidad and Tobago Nikoli Blackman in 34.74 and the Bronze to Edu Trejos in 34.75. It was this event that he created history for the CARIFTA region by winning the first ever Gold medal at the inaugural UANA Championships so it is fitting that he would take the regional Triple Crown UANA , CARIFTA and CCCAN titles in the fastest swim of all time.
The 100 metre breaststroke would see Nigel putting another show of scintillating speed.As with the 50 metre breaststroke he was already the best The Bahamas had ever produced with his 1:12.24 clocking from the REV nationals and was within a hair’s breadth of the CCCAN record time of 1:12.18 set by Olympian Carlos Claverie of Venezuela (Rio 2016) .
Claverie won Bronze at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing China in the 100 metre breaststroke in a time of 1:01.56.
After easing into the final with a time of 1:14.78 he decided to turn on the thrills in the final. When the race started Nigel again separated himself by some distance by the halfway mark turning in 33.13, a split that would have would the Silver in the 50 metre race. He kept applying the pressure and touched in a new PB,Bahamian record and CCCAN Championship record of 1:11.16. Forbes is now the fastest ever swimmer the CARIFTA region has produced in the event.He just missed the unofficial CCCAN 2014 record of 1:10.94 held by Puerto Rico’s Daniel Chevere. The win also marked another Triple Crown performance ( UANA, CARIFTA and CCCAN). Silver went to Panamanian Trejos in 1:13.24 and Blackman won Bronze in 1:16.24.
The 200 metre breaststroke which was Forbes first individual race saw a colossal battle between himself and Trejos. The Panamian started the race with a split of 35.67 followed by Nigel with a 36.50 . They were the only swimmers under 37 seconds for the first 50 metres and well ahead of the rest of the field. Nigel kept closing the gap on Edu until he was ahead by .01 ahead of him coming off the final wall.
He then stepped on the gas to take the win in a new PB and Bahamas record 2:36.00. Forbes just missed another Claverie standard of 2:35.89 but is now the fastest ever 11-12 200 metre breaststroke swimmer from the CARIFTA region. Edu was close behind winning Silver in 2:36.32. Bronze went to Stefan Bonati of the Cayman Islands in 2:49.08.
There would be more Gold for Forbes in Aruba in the sprint butterfly events. In the 100 metre butterfly he won the Gold based on a strong back half. This, as he was behind at the 50 metre mark as the early leaders Christopher Gossmann of Guatemala 29.23 and Trinidad and Tobago standout Zarek Wilson 29.44. Nigel’s split was 30.05. He however provided the fastest last 50 metres to take the Gold in 1:01.95 a new PB and Bahamian record taking almost a second off the 2014 Evante Gibson standard of 1:02.83 .that completed the regional Golden Double as he won the CARIFTA Gold in 1:04.05 earlier this year in Kingston. Silver went to Wilson in a new PB of 1:02.16 and the Bronze to Gossmann in 1:02.23.The same trio finished in the exact same order earlier at the UANA cup with times of 1:03.34,1:03.48 and 1:04.19 respectively
In the 50 metre butterfly he posted the only sub 28 seconds time in the final to win 27.73. Omari Sealy of Barbados took the Silver in 28.17 and Gossman 28.25. He holds the national record at 27.67.
In the 100 metre freestyle he dipped under the 58 seconds barrier for the first time to win Silver in a PB and national record time 57.79.Gold went to Blackman in 57.61 and the Bronze to his teammate Marvin Johnson in 58.75. The old 11-12 record of 57.99 belonged to Lamar Taylor .
There would be another Silver for Forbes and Team Bahamas in the 200 metre mixed freestyle relay.The team of Johnson (27.98),Keianna Moss (28.72) ,Devin Cuffy-Bethel 28.98 and Forbes (25.76) stopped the clock in 1:50.64 just behind Team Trinidad and Tobago 1:50.29 .The Bronze went to the Cayman Islands in 1:52.64. Nigel placed 9th in the 400 metre freestyle.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted the young swimmer he gave his thoughts on his breaststroke Gold medals . He said that he felt great about all the breaststroke races his favourite was the 100 metre race. When questioned about the 200 metre event if he knew about the record and if he could have gone faster he said he did not think he could have gone any faster because he had great competition from his Panamanian competitor (Edu Trejos) and he gave it his all. Forbes now owns 7 of the 16 individual Bahamian national records for the 11-12 age group
The first day of the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest Hungary saw Aruba’s Jordy Groters lowering his personal best and national record in the 100 metre breaststroke.
Heading into the global competition the Aruban national mark stood at 1:03.23 (split time 29.68). That time was recorded at the Caribbean Islands Swimming championships in The Bahamas in July 2016. In Europe Jordy recorded splits of 29.39 and 33.56 to break the 1:03 barrier to stop the clock in 1:02.95.
That swim places Groters as the fastest swimmer from the CARIFTA region and fourth in the CCCAN region .
With a new national standard in his first swim of the competition he told draftingthecaribbean today how he felt about that race
“ I think any swimmer would agree that seeing a lower number on the scoreboard than you’re used or what you expected to see to is one of the best feelings in this sport. In August of 2014 I swam 1:03 for the first time in my life. It’s been almost exactly three years since then and I’ve finally managed to dip under the 1:03 to reach the elusive 1:02. There was probably a point last year where I was so frustrated with my swims that I didn’t think I’d ever actually do it, too.
All that being said, I was filled with relief when I looked up to the scoreboard to see a 1:02 behind my name. I softly muttered ‘finally’ to myself as I let the moment sink in.
No race is perfect, however. I knew I had a horrible turn which makes me glad. It tells me that I can be faster. I’m not too concerned about that right now, though. I’m still on an adrenaline rush from that 1:02 and I really think it’s going to make my 50 breast tomorrow something special, again.”
Analysis of CCCAN performances in the 100 metre breaststroke