The final day of competition at the UANA Cup at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex on Jan 21 saw Keianna Moss of The Bahamas and Zoe Anthony of Trinidad and Tobago earning medals .
Moss added to the 100 metre backstroke Bronze she had won earlier in the competition when she won the Silver in the 50 metre backstroke in 33.71. The Gold went to Luiza Lima of Brazil in 33.30 and the Bronze to Emilia Julieta Gutierrez Merino of Mexico in 34.16. When draftingthecaribbean spoke to her after the race she had the following thoughts
“In the 50 backstroke I got Silver I executed my race how my coach wanted me to but on my start I went a little too deep. I missed by PB by hundredths of a second. I am proud to bring home the Silver for The Bahamas”.
Zoe Anthony of Trinidad and Tobago showed grit and determination to win her first medal of the competition in the last individual race of the meet , the 50 metre butterfly .Anthony had a number near misses before stepping on to the medal podium stopping the clock in 31.44 to win Bronze. Silver went to Paraguay’s Astrid Caballero in 31.42 and the Gold to Mexican Sofia Laureano Perez in 30.14. Anthony was the best placed CARIFTA region garnering 29 points to place 6th overall.When draftingthecaribbean spoke to the versatile youngster she gave her impression of her performances in Florida
“I certainly felt relieved to finish in third place in the 50 fly you don’t want to attend a swim meet of this calibre and go home empty handed I had three 4th places finished in the 400 free, 200 free and a heartbreaker in the 100 freestyle (she was out touched for the Bronze by 0.25 of a second) so my third place finish was indeed very satisfying. Overall the meet was a tough one for me. The competition from the Mexicans and Brazilians was really challenging and the weather on Day One was a significant challenge. My times were much slower than normal for the 400 free and 200IM but overall it was a fantastic experience”.
Nigel Forbes of The Bahamas and Zarek Wilson of Trinidad and Tobago were the standout performers in the 11-12 age group for the CARIFTA region on Day 2 of the UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida.
Forbes etched his name in the history books by becoming the first CARIFTA region Gold medallist at the competition when he won the 50 metre breaststroke in a time of 34.20. Nigel won the race handily turning back the challenge of Mexican duo of Juan Valverde Sánchez 35.56 and Nathan Ochoa Neurouth 35.70.He would also claim Silver in the 100 metre butterfly in a time of 1:03.34 (split time 29.08). In speaking to draftingthecaribbean the Bahamian expressed the following thoughts about his showing on Day Two.
“I was very pleased with my performances and I enjoyed all my races”
Trinidad and Tobago’s Zarek Wilson continued his magnificent form at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex winning Three more medals, Gold and Two Bronze for an overall total of Six ,One Gold One Silver and Four Bronze medals. He got Trinidad and Tobago’s first ever Gold medal at the competition when he won the 100 metre backstroke in 1:07.63. He was easily ahead of Silver medallist Mexican José Nangullasmú Arellane 1:08.80 and Simon Bermudez of Colombia 1:11.80. He started the Day with a Bronze medal in the 100 metre butterfly in 1:03.48 (split time 29.28) . He would win another Bronze medal in the 200 metre freestyle in 2:09.05 (split time 1:03.38).
When draftingthecaribbean spoke the young speedster he gave his impressions of the meet and his performances so far
“ I am really happy with my performances on Day Two and looking forward to the final day of competition. Today’s races were challenging. I am happy with my personal best in the 100 metre butterfly and 200 metre freestyle. While I was just off my personal best in the 100 metre backstroke I am elated with my first Gold medal of this competition. I have to give thanks to God first and my coaches, teammates and my supportive family and friends.
Keianna Moss of The Bahamas ensured a podium spot of Day Two after finishing fourth in the 50 metre freestyle a day earlier. She took the Bronze medal in the 100 metre backstroke in a time of 1:12.50 . Moss actually had the fastest opening split with a time of 35.10. Speaking about her swim she said
“I was mentally and physically focused on my race and I executed my race just like how my coach expected me to and I am very proud to represent the Bahamas”
The US Virgin Islands would win their first medal at the Cup ,a Bronze in the girls 200 metre freestyle relay . The team of Lindsey Barr 31.05, Victoria Sperber 31.50,Fairley Maltby 32.04 and Gabriela Brunt 30.61 stopped the clock in 2:05.25.
The top CARIFTA regional performers in the 11-12 age group in other events included
The CARIFTA region’s swimmer performed well on the opening day of the UANA Cup . The meet which being held in Coral Springs Florida is designed for athletes from Central America, South America, and the Caribbean that are in UANA Zones 1 and 2. Despite the temperature reaching as low as 14 degrees Celsius the Regions swimmers still brought the heat winning EIGHT medals on the day Three Silver and Four Bronze medals. Leading the way in the 11-12 age group was Zarek Wilson who won a Silver and Two Bronze medals.
Zarek became not only the first medallist from Trinidad and Tobago but the Region when he won the Bronze in the 400 metre freestyle in a time of 4:33.49.He would also win the Region’s second medal when he won yet another Bronze in the 200 metre individual medley in a time of 2:31.50. He would complete the medal hat trick when he won the Silver in the 50 metre freestyle in a time of 27.32. He had the following thoughts about his performances
“The first day was a bit tough because the weather was colder than what I am accustomed to. I am happy to have won medals for Trinidad and Tobago. The competition was stiff, which is what Coach Edmund Pouchet wanted me to face. The UANA Cup is a chance to face quality swimmers so I can see all the areas I have to improve. I am looking forward to the rest of my races where I hope to challenge my best times.”
Zarek’s Silver lead to a medal rush with the region winning medals as well in the 13-14 and 15-17 races. In the 13-14 race it was The Bahamas Lamar Taylor who also took the Silver in a time of 24.57 and earned The Bahamas first medal of the competition.He was edged by the narrowest of margins by Mexican Victor Salcedo Carrillo who clocked 24.56. Lamar spoke to draftingthecaribbean about his performance
“After the disappointment at CCCAN (he was disqualified in the final) I basically just wanted to regain my title and swim my heart out.The race went pretty well .My start was not the best but it was good enough for me to get enough momentum.During the race I looked once and saw the boy in Lane 3 and swam harder . I was kind of disappointed by the one hundredth defeat but to be honest I wasn’t really focused on the place I was focused on the time”.
There would be another medal for The Bahamas as Izaak Bastian won the Bronze in the 15-17 age group.He won Bronze in a time of 24.08.That swim was under the Youth Olympic B qualifying time of 24.38. He gave his analysis of his race
“The 50 was a pretty good race for where I am in my training.I took some more time off than I usually do because I knew coming into the next 2 or 3 years in my training I know I will have to be very focused and not take off that much time.This winter break I took off 18 days so I could mentally reset before going into the next 2 years and decompress from 2017.This was only my second week back in training so to get up and go 24.0 with only two weeks of training was pretty impressive for me so I was really happy with the time.It was also great to see the swimmers I don’t normally race from Argentina and Brazil.I felt I had a good race the breakout was good I felt like I getting on it in my first couple of strokes which is something I have been working on a lot in practice”
Roan Baker of Barbados in the 13-14 age group earned his country’s first medal when he won the Silver in the 200 metre individual medley in a time of 2:18.23.
Barbados would earn the last medal for the region when the Boys 15-17 200 metre medley relay team of Jack Kirby backstroke 27.47,Nkosi Dunwoody breaststroke 31.93 ,Luis Sebastian Weekes butterfly 27.16 and Damon St Prix freestyle freestyle won the Bronze in a new senior national and 15-17 age group record of 1:51.99. That lowered decades old record of 2:02.88 set back April 1993.That team had in their line up Dean Durant doing backstroke and Chris Moseley doing anchor leg duties.
The young ladies winning medals on the day included Jamaica’s Emily MacDonald who won the Silver in the 13-14 50 metre freestyle in 27.42.She gave draftingthecaribbean an assessment of her performance on Day One
“Medalling at UANA was a very big accomplishment for me especially swimming against the best swimmers from Central and South America who I am not used to competing against. Winning the very first medal for Jamaica at this meet was also a big accomplishment for me”.
Winning the only medal for the Region’s 15-17 girls
was Curacao sprint princess Chadé M. Nersicio. She won the Silver in the event in 26.72 under the Youth Olympics B qualifying time of 27.39
Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas representing SwimMac Carolina got yet another medal for the CARIFTA region on Thursday December 7, Day 2 of the 2017 Speedo Winter Junior Championships East .Swimming the breaststroke leg of the 400 yard medley relay at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville Tennessee the ladies of SwimMac Carolina won Bronze. The team of Julia Menkhaus backstroke 54.21, Higgs 1:01.14, Sophie Lindner butterfly 53.89 Olywin Bartis freestyle 49.31 had total time of 3:38.55.
When the results are combined with the competition being held in the West Higgs, who is the reigning 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champions had the 7th fastest overall breaststroke split of the 107 competing teams. The Gold medal in the East went to Nashville Aquatics in 3:36.88 and the Silver to Cardinal Aquatics in 3:37.39.
Chade Nercisio of Curacao who represents East Coast Aquatics earned a second swim in the 50 yard freestyle qualifying for the C final .In that night’s final she topped the field with a time of 22.97 just of her personal best of 22.93.
The Cayman Islands Lauren Hew representing Saint Andrews recorded the 3rd fastest time of her career in the 50 yard freestyle when she stopped the clock in 23.44 to finish 32nd . Higgs recorded the 2nd fastest time of her career when she stopped the clock in 24.15 to place 125th .
In the 200 yard individual medley Higgs recorded her 3rd fastest time ever when she hit the wall in 2:03.06 to place 33rd.
In the 400 yard medley relay Nersicio put in another strong performance to help her East Coast Aquatics team to 25th overall. She split 50.25 on the freestyle leg to help the team to 3:49.15
The 2017 edition of the Florida High School 1A Championships saw Lauren Hew of the Cayman Islands closing out her high school career with a Silver medal in the 200 yard medley relay. She would reaffirm her position as the fastest female swimmer to represent Saint Andrews.
The competition which was held on November 4 at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Florida saw Lauren being drafted in for the final of the 200 yard medley relay. She was given the responsibility of handling the butterfly duties. After the backstroke and breaststroke legs of teammates of Gabby Beltrano 27.28 and Shayna Fetes 28.86 the Boca Raton based institution lay in third place.
Normally known for her backstroke Hew proved she can sprint in butterfly as well clocking the 2nd fastest split of 25.12 to put the Scots in the Silver medal position. Teammate Hannah Trieschmann 23.38 would push the Bolles anchor leg Adair Sand all the way to the final to get the Silver medal in a total time of 1:44.64.
Bolles would just take the win in a time 1:44.48. That is the best performance by the Scots women since 2012 when they won the Gold in 1:42.77.
Hew’s performance for the butterfly was the best split for the school in the Championship final since Megan Moroney clocked 24.50 on that Gold medal winning team.
The 50 yard freestyle was put on Hew’s agenda for the school year. Hew would not disappoint her coaches belief in her freestyle sprint abilities.
On October 7 she would lower a decades old school record in the event when she won the Silver in a time of 23.46.That swim bettered the 23.58 standard of Vicki Stemper set in 1987. In the heats of the event at the State championships she would be even faster as she touched in a time of 23.24 to make the medal final. In the night’s Championship she would record the 2nd fastest time of her career when she hit the wall in 23.42 to place 4th. She was just off the bronze medal winning time of 23.33 clocked by Abby Burke of Lakeland Prep. The Gold went to Kaitlyn Schorr of Montverde in 22.93. That 4th place was the best performance by Saint Andrews since 2012 when Brenna Ruth placed 4th in 23.81.Hew’s Saint Andrews legacy will include being the fastest female swimmer ever and the fastest ever in the Championship final. This was possible after just one season of focusing on the event.
In the 100 yard backstroke her build-up to the state final included podium performances at the Palm Beach County championships, District and Regional Championships.
Palm Beach County champs
In the heats of the event she would record her fastest time of the season of 56.01 (split time 26.81).Hew finished 6th in the final with a time of 56.77 (split time 26.39).That swim marked her second straight Championship final. Before Hew’s arrival at Saint Andrews the last Championship finalist was in 2012.
At the 2017 CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas Lauren swept the backstroke events in the 15-17 age group.
Her final race the 400 yard freestyle relay saw her swimming an opening leg of 51.48 to help the Scots to 4th spot in 3:29.92.That was the best ranking for the school since 2014.
Lauren is the reigning CARIFTA 15-17 100 metre freestyle champion
The girls from Saint Andrews placed 3rd overall with 208 points.
The British University and Colleges Short Course Championships held at Ponds Forge in Sheffield from November 10 to 12 saw Jamaica’s Michael Gunning lowering national marks in the freestyle and butterfly events.
Gunning would not be the only regional competitor at the meet. Strasser Sankar from Trinidad and Tobago as well as Gunning would lead the region with 4th places performances at the Championships.
The meet which was swum in a 25 metre pool saw the Graduate student who competes for Nottingham Trent University earning a second swim in the 50 metre freestyle when he clocked 22.31.
Sankar, who is reading for Masters in Sport Science, returned in the evening he posted a slightly faster time of 22.30 to place 4th overall in a tie with Jack Thorpe from Edinburgh. Sankar was marginally outside a podium spot as Sam Irvine of Loughborough won the Bronze in 22.28.Calum Bain of Stirling won the Silver in 22.04 and Gold went David Cumberlidge of Heriott –Watt in 21.51. The 26 year old would contest only the heats of the 50 metre breaststroke where he recorded a time of 28.91.
St Lucia’s 2017 World Championship representative Jean-Luc Zephir earned a second swim as well in the 50 metre freestyle. In the morning Jean-Luc clocked 23.09 to earn a spot in the B final. That final saw the Plymouth Marjon University student bettering his preliminary time with a 23.02 clocking that earned 4th .He would place 16th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 51.11 (split time 24.62).The 200 metre freestyle saw Zephir with a 24th ranking after recording a time of 1:53.62 (split time 53.62).
The Cayman Islands Iain McCallum would also earn a second swim competing in the 50 metre butterfly. The 20 year Edinburgh student would be timed at 25.30 in the morning heats. In the B final he would place 5th in a time of 25.15.He would place 30th in the 200 metre butterfly in a time of 2:11.86 (split time 1:02.96).
Mathew Courtis of Barbados had a top finish of 14th in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:40.19 (split time 2:15.51). The Cambridge Graduate student would also compete in the 100 and 200 metre butterfly and 200 metre individual medley.
100 scm butterfly
200 scm butterfly
200 scm IM
Guyanese Olympian Hannibal Gaskin (Rio 2016) had a top performance of 30th in the 50 metre butterfly with a time of 25.83. The Exeter student also placed 45th in the 100 metre butterfly with a time of 58.43 (split time 27.38).
Heading into his final high school championship on Saturday November Aruban Daniel Jacobs had one medal at the prestigious meet. That would all change by the end of the day as the University school student would earn two more , Silver in the 500 yard freestyle and Bronze in the 200 yard freestyle.
In last year’s competition Daniel had finished just outside the medal podium in the 500 yard freestyle as he clocked 4:30.64 to finish 4th. Leading up to the Championships he swam well within himself to capture the District and Regional titles in times of 4:49.07 and 4:41.12 respectively. In the final the reigning CCCAN 15-17 400 metre freestyle Gold medallist would record a new personal best of 4:28.38 to win the Silver medal. The Gold went to Curly Hayden of Lake Highland Prep in 4:21.92. The Georgia Tech commit’s previous personal record was 4:30.64.
That is the fastest performance by a CARIFTA region swimmer in the 500 yard freestyle since 2005 when Cayman Islands Olympian Shaune Fraser( Beijing 2008, London 2012) won the event in 4:24.42.
The 200 yard freestyle saw him repeating his Bronze medal position from 2016 . Last year saw him placing third in a time of 1:39.67 (split time 48.27). This year at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Florida he would record a personal best time of 1:39.37 (split time 48.99). His swim represented the fastest done by CARIFTA region swimmer since Fraser took the title in 1:36.33 in 2005. Jacobs is the reigning CCCAN 15-17 200 metre freestyle champion winning the event in Trinidad and Tobago in 1:54.82.
In relay action the 200 yard freestyle relay saw Jacobs on the second leg 21.80 and countryman Patrick Groters 20.51 providing a strong 1-2 punch to give the University school a strong early advantage in the B final. The team would hold on to take 3rd overall in 1:29.42.
It would be that strong Aruban combination of Groters lead leg 45.97 and Jacobs 46.30 that would have the University School in medal contention at the half way mark. The team would finish 6th with a total time of 3:15.38.
The University School finished 6th in the boys section with 108 points. This total was contributed to greatly by the strength of the Aruban contingent of Jacobs and Groters.
Daniel will be one of the standouts to lookout for at the CARIFTA Championships to be held in Kingston in 2018 and should challenge the 15-17 400 metre freestyle meet record of 3:59.79.