Alia Atkinson making a surge for the the lead Photo courtesy of

Signed, Sealed ,Delivered!! Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson finally captures the 50 metre breaststroke World Title at the  14th FINA World Swimming Championships in Hangzhou China. Atkinson won the event in which she set the world record this season in a time of 29.05.Somewhat fittingly she would the take  title from her rival in the early years of the FINA World Cup Tour Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte  and the woman who denied her the Gold twice in 2012 and 2014 . 

The race itself saw the European taking the lead from the start with a reaction time of 0.60 to Atkinson’s 0.62. On the two occasions that the two ladies battled for the World Title in the 50 metre breaststroke Ruta had the faster reaction time and won the race . 

Analysis of Reaction times in Championship finals

2014 50 metre breaststroke podium from left to right Atkinson,Meilutyte and Nijuis .photo courtesy of
World champs 2012 Turkey0.610.66
World Champs 2014 Qatar0.600.66
Atkinson off to a fast start in the heats of the 50 metre breaststroke

The story would not be the same in China as Alia put on another display of excellent underwater work at the 25 metre mark to pull away and win her first global title in the 50 metre breaststroke in 29.05. Ruta won the Silver in 29.38. Italy’s Martina Carraro won the Bronze in 29.59.

In the words of  Jamaican superstar Buju Banton “It is not an easy road many see the glammer and glitter so dem tink  a bed of rose”. The path to Gold has not been easy and has been one where she has overcome many struggles since her debut at the 2004 Indianapolis Championships  to earn the title as the fastest sprint breaststroker in the world


World champs 2004 Athens33.1717th
World Champs 2010 United Arab Emirates30.22Sixth
World champs 2012 Turkey29.67Silver
World Champs 2014 Qatar28.91Silver
World Champs 2016 Canada29.11Silver
World Champs 2018 China29.05Gold

Now taking Command of the 50 metre breaststroke she has charted a new course for the region’s swimmers to follow. Atkinson now  has the most medals for either men or women from the CCCAN at the World Short Course swimming Championships with eight to her name. 

Cameron van der Burgh .Photo courtesy of The South African

No other woman has won as many medals as Atkinson in the event as she now has four medals. Ruta trails her on that medal count with three. She is also tied with South Africa’s  Cameron van der Burgh  and the Ukraine’s Oleh Lisohor as all time top medallists in World Championships history in the event.

Rodolfo Falcón 


Alia is half way en route to Matching Cuba’s Rodolfo Falcón who won World Championships backstroke sprint Gold in the 50 and 100 metres at the 1999 Hong Kong Championships. With her current form and mindset forged by the steel of many tough Championships it would be hard to bet against her doing the Golden Double in the breaststroke sprint events.

Chris Anderson and Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of Tweedsmuir Atkinson

Alia’s coach and coach of the Jamaican delegation Chris Anderson had the following thoughts about her historic win shortly after the race 

‘It was a sweet swim by Alia Atkinson. The 50 metre breaststroke has always been a difficult race to start off the World Championships. By having a great turn and solid finish I think it is really going to build confidence for the 100 metre breaststroke. Great swim for her and looking forward to more swimming at Worlds”


Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of straitimes

Team Leader Dr Brian James spoke to draftingthecaribbean about Alia’s impact “All the swimmers in Hangzhou appear to really love her. When her name is called there is a resounding cheer and everyone is encouraging her and pushing her to do her best.At the training venue people come up to her all the time, all the swimmers from all the countries not confined to to the Caribbean islands everyone loves Alia”.

Jamaica and the CCCAN region’s once in a generation athlete Alia Atkinson promises to deliver more in China as the competition continues.




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

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”.


When the 2018 NCAA Division I championships started on Wednesday March 21 at the Jean K Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis Minnesota El Salvador’s Olympian Marcelo Acosta (Rio 2016) was already Louisville’s school record holder, and the CCCAN number one of all time in the 500 yard freestyle with a Bronze medal winning performance of 4:13.70 at the 2018 ACC’s. There would be more in store for the region to celebrate at the Championships.

Marcelo Acosta gocards
Marcelo Acosta Photo courtesy of Louisville swimming and diving

In the morning heats of the event on Thursday March 22 he lowered the time marginally to record a new personal best of 4:13.64. That would earn him a  second swim in the event at the elite meet . The junior earned the second seed in the B final with that performance. In the final that evening he would continue his record breaking streak. The first 300 yards saw a close battle between Acosta, Notre Dame’s Zach Yeadon and Fynn Minuth of South Carolina .

Marcelo Acosta NCAA Div I pic
Marcelo Acosta CCCAN standard bearer in the 500 yard freestyle Photo courtesy of


It was at that point that Acosta gained the ascendancy and pulled away from the pack to crush his morning swim’s time and register a new personal , school and CCCAN standard of 4:11.61. Yeadon would place second in the race in 4:13.95, a school record with Minuth third in 4:14.05.This is a major improvement for the Sports Administration Major at the Championships as his best placing was 27th in 2017 with a time of 4:18.04. In the last 5 years no other Cardinal has placed higher.


The battle for 100 yard breaststroke 1A State Championship title will see the CARIFTA region represented by three territories The Bahamas with Izaak Bastian swimming for Saint Andrews, Jamaica with duo of Cameron Brown and Adrian Grant turning out for Sagemont and The Bolles School respectively and Trinidad and Tobago’s Christopher Dieffenthaller suiting up for Berkley.

Bastian Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Yet again the at the 1A Championships to held today the top seed going into the morning heats will be a swimmer from the CARIFTA region as Izaak Bastian holds down the top spot with a seed time of 56.43. The FSU commit will be the man to beat tomorrow given the successes of the past season. At the CARIFTA level he extended his unbeaten streak in the 100 metre breaststroke with a winning time of 1:04.68, winning a historic Silver medal for his country at the Commonwealth Youth Games in a personal best time of 1:03.71 and recording the time by a Bahamian man at the World Junior championships with a time of 1:04.67. His build up to his last high school championships has been good with record breaking swim at the Palm Beach county championships where he smashed his 2016 meet record of 57.55 and the county record of 56.87 set by one of his coaches Quinn Cassidy with a 56.27 performance. He would follow up with wins at the district and Regional Champs

Date Meet Time
Oct 7 Palm Beach County Champs 56.27
Oct 20 1 A District Champs 57.73
Oct 27 1A Region 4 Champs 56.43

Izaak will be seeking to end his career with a win in the event following two 3rd place finishes previously

Year Event Time Placing Split
2016 100 yard breaststroke 55.68 3rd 26.46
2015 100 yard breaststroke 57.19 3rd 27.06

Cameron Brown 13-14 200 breatstroke Silver
13-14 CARIFTA 200 metre breaststroke Silver medallist Cameron Brown .Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Cameron Brown who is a Sagemont recruit will be competing in his first Championship meet. Brown is the 8th seed with a time of 1:00.21 He owns the Jamaican national long course record for 13-14 boys setting it this past summer with a time of 1:09.48 . That record swim represented the 4th time he set the record in the 13-14 age group. He has been getting faster with each competition and will be looking to go well beyond the minute mark today.

Date Meet Time Placing
Oct 20 1 A  District 10 Champs 1:00.67 2nd
Oct 27 1A Region 4 Champs 1:00.21 5th

Chris D
Christopher Dieffenthaller Photo courtesy of

Dieffenthaller  is the reigning 13-14 CCCAN 100 metre breaststroke champion He earned that title when he won that event at home in the twin island republic in a time of 1:09.10.Christopher will enter the water today as the number 15 seed with a time of 1:00.82. He seems set to better his 3rd place showing in the B final last year. Christopher will be looking to go under the 59 seconds barrier after posting 59.43 in the heats of last year’s champs.

Date Meet Time Placing
Oct 21 1A District 7 1:01.85 3rd
Oct 28 1A Region 3 1:00.82 3rd

Adrian Grant CARIFTA
Adrian Grant CARIFTA 2017 Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Adrian Grant of Bolles will be making his debut at the Championships like his Jamaican countryman Brown. Grant was a member of the 2017 CARIFTA team and posted a time of 1:10.41 for 10th overall. A swimmer poised for big time drops in his first year of training in the States as evidenced by his swims at the District and Regional Championships

Date Meet Time Placing
Oct 17 1A District 2 1:03.75 4th
Oct 26 1A District 1 1:01.44 6th

Today the quartet will look to add their name to the list of the regional standouts who have claimed Florida High School State Championships

breast florida swimnetwork tampaspartns uconnhuskies
Past Regional 100 yard breaststroke champions from left to right Jordy Groters,Wayne Denswil ,Diguan Pigot Photos courtesy of floridaswimnetwork, and

breast boys panamericanworld linkedin
Past regional 100 yard breaststroke champions from left to right Bradley Ally and Ansel Tjin-A-Tam Photos courtesy of panamericaworld and linkedin


Name Country School Division Year Time
Jordy Groters Aruba University School 1A 2013 54.76
Wayne Denswil Suriname St Brendan 2A 2013 56.97
Diguan Pigot Suriname Doral 1A 2011 56.44
Bradley Ally Barbados St Thomas Aquinas 3A 2004 54.79
Ansel Tam Suriname Bolles 4A 1997 57.12



Auburn’s Jamaican senior Breanna Roman opened her 2017-2018 season with a win in the 100 yard breaststroke yesterday Saturday October 14. Roman recorded the win at home at the Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn Alabama as Auburn beat Wisconsin and Tennessee.


Breanna, who is a student at the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering separated herself from the field with a 50 yard split of 29.43 .She would use that early advantage to take the win in 1:02.60.Placing second and third were the Tennessee duo of Katie Armitage and Nikol Popov who touched in times of 1:02.83 and 1:03.08 respectively. That performance ranks as the 10 fastest time in the NCAA so far this season.

Patrick Atkinson Roman Boothe
Jamaica’s record breaking 400 medley relay team from left to right Trudi ann Patrick,Alia Atkinson ,Breanna Roman, Danielle Boothe

Breanna who was a part of Jamaica’s record setting 400 medley relay team at the 2015 PAN AM Games started the season with a win in the very first event, the 400 yard medley relay. The Auburn Tigers A team of Alyssa Tetzloff backstroke , Breanna breaststroke, Haley Black butterfly  and Julie Meynan freestyle topped the field with a time of 3:30.79.Breanna contributed a 1:02.60 split which helped the Auburn team post the fastest time in the NCAA so this season.

She would have another top three performance in the 200 yard breaststroke when she touched in 2:16.97 (split time 1:05.90) for third spot. The win went to Alexis Yager of Tennessee in 2:15.90 and second went to Roman’s teammate Carly Cummings in 2:16.58.

Breanna Roman in action for Auburn University

For the 2016-2017 season Breanna was the fastest swimmer from the CCCAN region in the US collegiate system in the 100 yard breaststroke with a time of 59.99.

Final scores

Auburn  205 Wisconsin 146

Auburn 181 Tennessee 172.

The Tigers will next be in action on October 21 when they take on Texas &M  at home.


Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016) continued to make history for herself, The Bahamas and the CARIFTA and CCCAN regions with historic medal winning performances at the Summer Universiade in Taipei Taiwan this past August.

Before this year’s competition the last medal won in swimming from the CCCAN region had come from countryman Jeremy Knowles with his historic 200 metre butterfly Bronze medal winning performance in 1:59.21 at the 2003 Daegu South Korea Games .Jeremy was the first and only swimmer from the CARIFTA region to win medal at the Championships.

Evans with 800 metre freestyle medallists Bahamas Aquatics
800 metre freestyle medallists From left to right German Sarah Koehler Silver medallist,Italian Gold medallist Simona Quadarella and Bahamian Bronze medallist Joanna Evans

That all changed on August 25, 2017 at the Taiwan Sports University Arena when Evans touched the wall in a new National record of 8:31.18 to win the Bronze medal. That time lowered her previous record of 8:32.18 set at 2016 The Bahamas Nationals before her debut performance at the Rio Olympics. That medal win broke a 14 year medal drought for the CARIFTA and CCCAN regions. She also put more distance between herself and the other swimmers as she was already the fastest ever swimmer from a CARIFTA or CCCAN nation.

Analysis of Joanna’s top 800 metre freestyle swims

Date and venue First 200 Second 200 Third 200 Fourth 200 Final time
Atlanta May 2017 2:06.13 2:09.49 2:10.81 2:09.67 8:36.10
Nassau 2016 2:06.65 2:08.89 2:08.22 2:08.43 8:32.19
WUGs Aug 25 2:04.04 2:08.95 2:08.86 2:09.33 8:31.18

Gold went to Simona Quadarella of Italy in 8:20.54 and the Silver was won by Sarah Koehler of Germany in 8:21.67

Evans had given a hint before of what was to come when she lowered her national record in the 200 metre freestyle to 1:59.19 to make the Championship final. That record swim solidified her position as the fastest CARIFTA swimmer in the event as she had passed the previous CARIFTA best of 2:01.11 by Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004) at the Atlanta Pro Swim Series  meet on May 6. At that meet she had performances of 2:00.37 and 1:59.91. In the final on August 25 she placed 8th in a time of 2:00.70 less than 30 minutes after winning Bronze in the gruelling 800 metre freestyle.


Analysis of Joanna’s top 200 metre freestyle swims

Date and venue First 100 Second 100 Final time
Olympics  Aug 2016 59.23 1:02.04 2:01.27
Atlanta May 2017 59.22 1:01.15 2:00.37
Austin July 2017 58.89 1:01.02 1:59.91
WUGS Aug 24 2017 58.23 1:00.83 1:59.19
WUGs Aug 25 58.05 1:02.65 2:00.70

Joanna Evans Bronze medal nassau Guardian
B medallists in the 400 metre freestyle from left to right American Sierra Schmidt Bronze medallist, German Sarah Koehler Gold medallist and Bahamian Joanna Evans Silver medallist Photo courtesy of nassauguardian

A day later of August 26 she would go one better on the medal podium when she won the Silver medal in the 400 metre freestyle with a time of 4:08.52.Gold went to Sarah Koehler in 4:03.96 and the Bronze to America’s Sierra Schmidt in 4:09.82.

With that performance Joanna became the FIRST and ONLY CARIFTA swimmer male or female to win TWO medals at the Championships, the ONLY CARIFTA swimmer male or female to win a SILVER medal. In the CCCAN region she became the FIRST and ONLY CCCAN woman to win TWO medals at the Championship, and the ONLY CCCAN woman to win a SILVER medal at the Championships.


Bent and Falcon 100 metre backstroke medallists
Atlanta 1996 100 metre backstroke medallists from left to right Rodolfo A. Falcón Cabrera Silver medallist,American Jeff Rouse Gold medallist and Neisser S. Bent Vázquez Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of gettyimages

She has also tied the Cuban Olympic duo of Rodolfo A. Falcón Cabrera  (Barcelona 1992 ,Atlanta 1996 , Sydney 2000) and Neisser S. Bent Vázquez ( Atlanta 1996 , Sydney 2000) for Most Medals won at Two.

Rodolfo had won Gold in the 100 and 200 metre backstroke events in times of 55.60 and 1:59.90 at the 1993 Buffalo Games. Neisser won Gold and Silver in the same events at the 1997 Sicily Italy Games with performances of 55.82 and 2:00.37. Both would win Silver and Bronze respectively in the 100 metre backstroke at the 1996 Olympics

When Draftingthecaribbean spoke the region’s best distance freestyler she gave the following thoughts about her performances

“I was pleased with them. The times weren’t excellent but given the circumstances and line-up I was very happy”

The best in the region over the middle to long distance freestyle events also placed 23rd in the 100 metre freestyle 56.99 split time 27.87 just off her best time of 56.74. In her sights will be the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne where the best CARIFTA region performance in her signature events are two Bronze medals.

Janelle Atkinson and 800 metre freestyle Silver medallists 2002 gettyimages uk
2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games 800 metre freestyle medallists from left to right Australian Amanda Pascoe Bronze medallist, England’s Rebecca Cooke Gold medallist and Jamaican Bronze medallist Janelle Atkinson Photo courtesy of gettyimages

Those medals were won by Jamaican Janelle Atkinson at the 2002 Manchester Games in the 400 (4:13.24) and 800 metre (8:36.18) freestyle races.

It would be hard not to see her medalling in those events with her form that consistently improves each season.


Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion
Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion Photo courtesy of carifta2016mque

Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas who has been the dominant swimmer in the sprint breaststroke events at the CARIFTA age group level for the last three years continued that good form at the World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis on August 25 when she lowered her 15-17 and senior national 100 metre breaststroke record for the second time this season.


Lilly recorded a time 1:11.18 to lower the mark she had set of 1:11.40 when she was a finalist at the Commonwealth Youth Games in July in The Bahamas. She was already the CARIFTA region’s best ever placed female performer in the event at the Global championships when she had placed 24th at the Singapore edition of the Championships. Higgs has raised the bar by moving the best placing to 22nd   and is almost 2 seconds faster than that swim.

Analysis of Lilly’s 2015 and 2017 world Championship performances

Date meet Venue First 50 metres Last 50 metres Final time Placing
 2015 World Juniors Singapore 34.54 38.46 1:13.00 24th
2017 World Juniors Indianapolis 33.89 37.29 1:11.18 22nd

Lilly was also the 2nd fastest swimmer from the CCCAN region finishing just behind Mexico’s Maria Jimenez who placed 20th in a time of 1:11.01 (split time 33.08).

Rounding out the top three in CCCAN was Puerto Rico’s Marissa Lugo Mojica who placed 39th in a time of 1:17.14 (split time 35.35).