Curacao’s Chadé Nercisio and Jamaica’s Zaneta Alvaranga continued to fine tune their preparations for the 33rd CARIFTA Championships in Kingston Jamaica with record breaking butterfly swims for their nations.

Chadé established herself as the number one female age group swimmer in the CARIFTA region in the 50 metre butterfly in 2017 when she clocked 27.59 to win the Gold medal in the 15-17 age group at the 2017 CCCAN championships in Trinidad and Tobago. At the recently concluded Southern Zone Sectional Championships in Plantation, Florida  the East Coast Swim Club representative put clear water between herself and the field in the Championship final of the race when she took the Gold in a new Senior national and 15-17 record of 27.55.Silver went to Alena Kraus of Makos Aquatic Club in 28.24.

Chadé Nercisio starts her race Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Curacao’s “Warrior Princess” is already faster than the existing CARIFTA record of 28.12 by Martinique’s Mika Heideyer . When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Nercisio she gave her thoughts on the race and her preparation for CARIFTA

“I did not know I would go that fast in the 50 metre butterfly. I had other races the day before but they did not go as well as expected so when I swam 27.55 in the 50 I was so happy I dropped .04. I wasn’t expecting it and it did not feel as fast as the time was so it was definitely a big surprise.I am not going to be tapering for CARIFTA but I am going to be trying to do my best times without a taper to see where I am for the CAC (Central American and Caribbean Games) July 19 to August 3”.

Zaneta Alvaranga Photo courtesy of Cheser Adams

Jamaica’s Alvaranga  in 2017 broke  the 11-12 50 metre butterfly record four times .So far this year she has the 13-14 record twice to put the mark at 29.19 at the Walter Age Group Championships held in February. She would complete the trifecta of record butterfly swims when eclipsed the 100 metre butterfly record of Emily MacDonald of 1:05.86 when she stopped the clock in 1:05.81. The old record was sent just in UANA Cup in Florida which shows the progression of the sport at the age group level. She gave her thoughts about her record swim and her readiness for CARIFTA.

“I feel good about breaking the 100 metre butterfly national age group record in my first year in 13-14.I felt a little bit nervous at the start but I was confident that I would do well. In the race I felt in control because I swam a practice pace that I rehearsed in training”.

The swimming portion of the CARIFTA Championships run from March 31 to April 3 at the National Aquatic Centre.



Day Two of the UANA Cup saw outstanding performances from the CARIFTA region’s swimmers in the 15-17 age group. The names Jacky Kirby of Barbados Gold 100 metre backstroke, Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas Gold 50 metre breaststroke and Kael Yorke of  Trinidad and Tobago Bronze 100 metre butterfly were the headline acts.

Jack Kirby UANA Gold medallist and Barbadian age group in the 100 metre backstroke

Kirby, who was named Junior Athlete of the Year for 2017


was sensational in winning the 100 metre backstroke in a time of 56.34.That broke his age group record of 57.01 set at the Commonwealth Youth Games in July in The Bahamas.

Bradley Ally panamerican world
Bradley Ally Photo courtesy of panamerican world

It also brings him closer the senior national record of 55.88 Olympian Bradley Ally (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008,London 2012) set at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai China .Ally splits then were 27.38 and 28.50. Not only did Jack establish a meet record for the event he also beat the Youth Olympics A qualifying mark of 56.96. He went out in 27.40 and came back in 28.94. No other swimmer at the meet had Jack’s back end speed in the event as he recorded the only sub 30 seconds second 50 metre split. Silver went to Guillermo Cruz Zuniga of Mexico who clocked 58.80 and the Bronze to Anthony  Rincón Velasco of Colombia  who was timed in  59.25.Jack gave his impressions of the race to draftingthecaribbean after the race

“The goal for the 100 metre backstroke was to make the 56 low.I had no idea about the senior national record I was just really focusing on the 56 low. I really wanted to get that time because by summer I want to get into the 55 range.Also in terms of competing in 2020 this helps in getting me to 53”.

Izaak Bahamas Nationals
Izaak Bastian  Photo courtesy of Bahamas Swimming

Also winning Gold and establishing a  new meet record was Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas who touched in a time of 29.23 just out touching Cruz Zuniga of Mexico won another Silver in 29.32. Andre Martijena Díaz of the Dominican Republic took the Bronze in 30.19.Izaak gave his thoughts about the race after his win

“The 50 breaststroke was much better than I expected it to be.I did not expect to feel as good as I did in the water.There were a few small things I felt I could fix.I felt I was rushing my stroke a little bit but that just comes with more practice and experience in the race and getting up and going in the morning.That was what this meet was all about for me trying to go as fast as I can in the morning so I can get used to those other big meets like the Commonwealth Games coming up where I am used to swimming fast at night and not in the morning.I am trying to change that to swimming fast in the morning so those swims actually count for something instead of just holding back for the night.I know when I go those bigger meets I wont be able to hold back and maybe not even get a second swim.The race itself was pretty good I got to race some really fast guys.It was a close one this morning I don’t know how I pulled it off my last 5 metres I tried to hold it all together and come in as I fast as I could and finish on a full stroke”.

Kael Yorke Bronze medallist in the 100 metre butterfly

Kael Yorke won the Bronze in the 100 metre butterfly. He spoke to draftingthecaribbean about his races

“ For my first event the 50 freestyle it wasn’t as good as I expected it to be because I added on time and I wasn’t feeling myself in the water I didn’t let it get to me because I have not been training for while. I took a long break for the Christmas holidays and I only started back training nine days ago so it was a good attempt at the 50 freestyle. I put the focus on my 100 metre butterfly today and tried to do my best. For training for only nine days I thought I did well I swam a 56 not far from my personal best off 55 which was a tapered time. Overall the UANA Cup experience has been a good one so far.The weather conditions are not what my teammates and I are used to because we are accustomed to warmer weather but  just being able to compete at this level with the Mexicans, the Colombians and Central Americans is a great experience and I continue to strive to do better in my other events”

Other top CARIFTA region swimmers for the day included



sam bailey uana cup cayman swimming
Sam Bailey of the Cayman Islands Top CARIFTA 15-17 swimmer in the 400 IM Photo courtesy of Cayman Swimming
Britney williams UANA day 2
Britney Williams top CARIFTA 15-17 swimmer in the 200 metre freestyle


Ileana Bocage
Ileana Bocage top 15 -17 CARIFTA swimmer in the 50 metre breaststroke
Name Country Event Age Group Time Place
Sam Bailey Cayman Islands 400 metre IM 15-17 5:23.05 7th
Chadé M. Nersicio Curacao 100 metre butterfly 15-17 1:05.97 8th
Britney Williams Jamaica 200 metre freestyle 15-17 2:09.74 7th
Graham Chatoor Trinidad and Tobago 200 metre freestyle 15-17 1:59.43 12th
Ileana Bocage Trinidad and Tobago 50 metre breaststroke 15-17 34.70 4th
Danielle Titus Barbados 100 metre backstroke 15-17 1:06.30 5th


As some of the CARIFTA region top age swimmers prepare for themselves for competition at the inaugural UANA Swimming Cup in Coral Springs Florida starting tomorrow January 19 draftingcaribbean looks back at the region’s youngsters efforts at the 2017 SPEEDO Winter Junior Championships -EAST in December. The UANA Cup is designed for athletes from Central America, South America, and the Caribbean that are in UANA Zones 1 and 2. Hence Americans and Canadians will not be invited

On December 8 in Knoxville Tennessee Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas who represents SwimMac Carolina was the most outstanding female CARIFTA performer. Lilly, who was voted The Nassau Guardian’s Junior Female Athlete of the Year made her first Championship final in the 100 yard breaststroke.

Link to Women’s 100y Breast A Final | 2017 Speedo Winter Junior Championships – East


She placed 8th of the 102 competitors in the field with a time of 1:01.86. Her previous placings were 9th in 2015 and 11th in 2016.

Higgs on way to sprint breaststroke double at CARIFTA 2017
Lilly en route to the 100 metre breaststroke Gold medal at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas Photo courtesy of Micheal C Lyn

Higgs has been unbeaten at the CARIFTA level in the  100 metre breaststroke for the last three years and holds the 15-17 age group record at 1:11.92.

Higgs finished 57th in the 400 yard individual medley in a time of 4:26.97 just off her personal best of 4:25.49.

Lauren Hew Saint andrews aquatics
Lauren Hew Photo courtesy of Saint Andrews Aquatics

Lauren Hew of the Cayman Islands and Saint Andrew’s Aquatics was 66th in the 100 yard backstroke in a time of 56.37. Hew, won the CARIFTA Gold medal in her final year of the 15-17 age group in 2017 in the 100 metre backstroke and holds the record at 1:05.94. She also finished 80th in the 200 yard freestyle in 1:52.27. Lauren also won the 200 metre freestyle at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships in 2:05.98 finishing ahead of Higgs.

Chadé Nercisio before her race Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Curacao’s Chade Nersicio was 17th in the 200 yard freestyle relay team in a time of 1:34.93.She was just off her best time of 57.98 in the 100 yard butterfly as she hit the wall in 58.01. It would be another close miss for a personal record for the East Coast Aquatics swimmer in the 100 yard breaststroke as she stopped the clock in 1:05.72 and her personal record is 1:05.48. Nersicio is ranked 3rd in the 15-17 100 metre breaststroke with a time of 1:14.61.




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.

Higgs on way to sprint breaststroke double at CARIFTA 2017
Lilly en route to the 50 metre breaststroke Gold medal at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas Photo courtesy of Micheal C Lyn

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 in action
Chade Nercisio Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

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.

Lauren Hewe Photo courtesy of

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



On the first day of the 2017 SPEEDO Winter Junior Championships – East at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville Tennessee on Dec 6 the CARIFTA region had reason to celebrate through the medal winning performances of regional standouts Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas representing SwimMac Carolina and Jack Kirby of Barbados representing Baylor Swim Club.

Lilly Higgs North Carolina

Higgs , a University of North Carolina commit, swimming as a member of the 200 yard medley relay A team won the Bronze medal. The squad of Julia Menkhaus backstroke 25.05, Higgs breaststroke 28.07, Sophie Lindner butterfly 23.96 and Olywyn Bartis 22.64 recorded a total time of 1:39.07. Being held simultaneously in University of Iowa Recreation Center in Iowa City Iowa is the competition for the West. When the results from meets in both the East and West are combined the SwimMac time was the 4th fastest of the 104 competing teams. Lilly also recorded the 8th fastest breaststroke split overall.

Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion
Lilly Higgs looks back at the clock after capturing the 15-17 100 metre breaststroke title at the 2016 CARIFTA Championships

She is also the reigning 15-17 CARIFTA champion in the 50 metre breaststroke and has been unbeaten in the sprint breaststroke events  for the last three years.

Kirby would win the same colour medal as his regional counterpart as his Baylor team won the Bronze in the 200 yard medley relay as well. With the combined results the team was also the 5th fastest overall.

Jacky Kirby in action in the backstroke  Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

Jack crushed his previous personal best of 23.70 in the 50 yard backstroke with a lead off swim of 23.03.His teammates Piotr Kurleto breaststroke 25.28, Zachariah Althoff butterfly 22.32 and Robert Freeman freestyle 19.92 finished in a time of 1:30.55.

Jack Kirby Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

Kirby, who is the reigning CARIFTA Silver medallist in the 15-17 50 metre backstroke had the 18th fastest backstroke split of 101 competing teams.

Bronze medal winning Baylor team
Kirby with members of his Baylor relay team Photo courtesy of Baylor swimming

There would be more success for Kirby as his 800 yard freestyle relay team the held the 800 yard freestyle championship record briefly before their time was bettered by two other teams to finish with the Bronze medal. The same team from the medley relay team Althoff 1:39.20,Kirby 1:39.17,Kurleto 1:37.84 and Freeman 1:34.44 stopped the clock in 6:30.65. That bettered the 2016 Scottsdale Aquatics meet record 6:31.93. Silver went Mason Manta Rays in 6:28.95 and Gold to the Carmel Swim Club in 6:28.25.

Chadé Nercisio  Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Others in action from the region on the day was Curaçao’s star sprinter Chadé Nercisio who anchored her East Coast Aquatics Swim club to 29th spot in the East Championships with a quick split of 22.92. The 20 fastest overall anchor from both meets. The final team time was 1:45.52.At her last CARIFTA Championship in 2016 she won the 13-14 50 metre freestyle.

Irvin via Rafael
Irvin Hoost Photo courtesy of Rafael Van Leeuwaarde

Irvin Hoost of Suriname provided the 7th fastest freestyle anchor split of both meets with his time of 20.01 .That powered his Metro Aquatics Swim club to 10th in the East with a time of 1:31.55.Hoost recently won the Florida 2A State Championship in the 50 yard freestyle and was 6th in the 50 metre freestyle at his last CARIFTA Championships.

Joseph black M Lyn
Joseph Black .Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

In the 800 yard freestyle relay Jamaican Joseph Black gave his Peddie Aquatics team a second leg of 1:42.84 to help to 6:51.92 and 27th overall in the East. Black was a member of the 800 metre freestyle team that won Jamaica’s first Gold medal in the 15-17 age group.




Trinity Christian Academy and Curaçao’s sprint star Chadé Nersicio was always a force to reckon with at the Florida High School Championships 1A championships but the 2017 edition saw her making a statement with a medal haul of 2 silvers and 2 Bronze medals.

In the 50 yard freestyle she blazed a Golden trail to the 1A State Finals held at the Sailfish Splash park Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Florida on November 4.

Palm Beach County champs
Chade with Outstanding Female Trophy at 2017 Palm Beach County championships


At the Palm Beach County Swim Championships on October 6 she smashed her 2016 meet record of 23.42 to touch in 23.10.Chade would also be named joint outstanding female performer for her exploits at the meet. Another Gold medal would be earned at the District Championships on October 20.She would again be in record breaking form as she lowered  her own 2016 pool record at the Saint Andrews pool from 23.32 to 23.31.The following weekend would see her lifting the Regional Crown in a time of 23.47. At the grand finale on November 4 she eased into the A final with a time of 23.40.

chade 50 yard freestyle Silver M Lyn
Chade with 50 yard freestyle Silver medal Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn


The night’s final was a close affair where she was just out touched for the Gold by Monteverde’s Kaitlyn Schorr  22.89 to22.93. It was the closest 1A final since 2008 when Bolles teammates Megan Fonteno and  Dana Nessler finished in times 23.45 and 23.49 respectively. The performance was a personal best for Nercisio and added to her previous medals in the event. In 2016 she won Bronze in 22.96, her previous personal best  .In 2015 saw her earning the  Silver in 23.41 , finishing runner up to Schorr who won in 23.05. At the  CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago this summer she won the Silver medal in the 15-17 girls 50 metre freestyle in a new age group and senior national record of 26.45.

District champs Chade Trinity christian
Chade after a succesful District championships Photo courtesy of Trinity Christian Academy Athletics

The build-up in the 100 yard freestyle was equally successful as she took the Palm Beach County, District and Regional titles.

Chade nercision 100 yard Bronze chade site
Chade Nercisio with 100 yard freestyle Bronze medal Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn



In the Championship final she went out in 24.50 and came back in 25.72 to record 50.22 for the Bronze medal. That lowered her personal best of 50.47. The Gold went to Schorr in 49.90 and The Silver to Andrea Santander of Pine Crest in 49.99.At the CCCAN Championships she took the 100 metre freestyle Gold in a new age group and senior national record of 57.67.

Trinity christian Silver medal 200 yard freestyle relay trinity christian athletics
Trinity Christian Academy Warriors Silver medal winning 200 yard freestyle relay team from left to right Hailey Rudd,Chade, Nicole Gomez and Eriana Temperino Photo courtesy of Trinity Christian Academy Athletics

In the final of the 200 yard freestyle relay the Warriors team was in the 5th place after legs of 23.88 by Eriana Temperino ,Nicole Gomez 24.17 and Hailey Rudd 25.08.It was then Chadé unleashed a devastating anchor leg of 22.34 to take the Lake Worth based institution  from 5th to the Silver medal position and new school record of 1:35.47. That anchor leg split is the fastest split of all the 4 state Finals for 2017. It is also the fastest split by girl in 1A since 2002 when Christina Swindle clocked 22.09.Gold went to Pine Crest in 1:34.70.

In the 400 yard freestyle the Warrior Princess would again record the fastest split of the day with an anchor leg time of 50.24 to propel the same quartet from 5th to Bronze in a new school record of 3:28.62.Silver went to Bolles in 3:28.17 and the Gold to Pine Crest in 3:27.85.

Trinity Christian would finish 4th overall at the Championship in the girls standings with 161 points.



Three of the CARIFTA region’s top sprinters will be in action tomorrow in the 50 yard freestyle at the 2017 Florida High School Athletic Association 1A state championships to be held at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Florida. The swimmers are Chadé M. Nersicio from Curaçao representing Trinity Christian, Jamaica’s Emily MacDonald representing the Bolles School and Lauren Hew of the Cayman Islands representing Saint Andrew’s.

Chadé Nercisio before her race Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Chadé will enter the preliminaries as the top seed in the event with a time of 23.47. Last season at the CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago she set a new national record to win the Silver medal in the 15-17 age group in 26.45. She would go on to record 26.91 at the World Championships in Budapest Hungary . This season in the 25 yard pool she has been in good form recording wins at the Palm Beach County championships,1A District 10 and 1A Region 4 Championships. At the County championships she lowered her 2016 of 23.42 to 23.10.

Date Meet Time
Oct 7 Palm Beach County Champs 23.10
Oct 20 1 A District 10 Champs 23.31
Oct 27 1A Region 4 Champs 23.47

She has been on the podium the last previous two years and will seek to be on the top of the podium for the first time tomorrow.

Year Event Time Placing
2016 50 yard freestyle 22.96 3rd
2015 50 yard freestyle 23.41 2nd

The third seed will be Jamaica’s Emily MacDonald. The Bolles recruit in her first season underlined her sprint credentials by winning at the 1A District 2 Champs and the 1A Region champs.

Date Meet Time
Oct 17 1 A District 2 Champs 24.64
Oct 26 1A Region 1 Champs 23.88
Emily MacDonald 100 freestyle Gold
Emily MacDonald 13-14 50 metre freestyle Gold Medallist Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

Emily who was ill at CARIFTA in The Bahamas placed 4th in a time 27.60. Regular service was resumed at CCCAN in Trinidad and Tobago when she won the 13-14 50 metre freestyle title 27.20. in 2016 on her way to the freestyle sprint double. In her last year of the 11-12 age group in 2016 she had completed the Golden double capturing the freestyle double at CARIFTA and CISC.

Laure Hew 2017 Saint andrews.PNG

Hew of the Cayman Islands who in 2016 made the Championship final in the 100 yard freestyle has made the move to the 50 yard race this season. She is ranked 8th on the heat sheet with a time of 24.09.Lauren has put up good performances in the event leading up to Saturday’s grand finale with top 3 performances at Palm Beach County, Districts and Regional champs.

Date Meet Time
Oct 7 Palm Beach County Champs 23.46 2nd
Oct 20 1 A  District 10 Champs 24.25 2nd
Oct 27 1A Region 4 Champs 24.09 3rd

These swimmers along with other in the upcoming 2A, 3A and 4A championships will be trying to get their names alongside other CARIFTA region swimmers who have won 50 yard freestyle titles and laid claim to being the fastest high school swimmer in Florida.

Past 50 yard freestyle winners
Past Regional Florida High school 50 yard champions from left to right Alexandria Donahue,Natasha Moodie and Chinyere Pigot Photos courtesy of swimmingworld

CARIFTA 50 yard freestyle  Florida High School State Championships winners

Name Country School Division Year Time
Alexandria Donahue Trinidad and Tobago Tampa 4A 2013 23.60
Chinyere Pigot Suriname Doral 1A 2010 23.52
Natasha Moodie Jamaica Miramar 3A 2005 23.72