Rio 2016 Olympian Alex Sobers has established himself as the go to man for Barbados in the freestyle events in recent years from the 100 metres upwards.

Alex Sobers CISC Gold
Alex Sobers with Gold after winning the 15-17 boys 400 metre freestyle in a meet and Barbados senior national record of 3:57.30


Having already captured the 400 metre national record with a time of 3:57.30 at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships it would be natural that the 200 metre national standard of 1:52.30 held by Olympian Bradley Ally (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008,  London 2012) would be a target heading into the World Championships in Budapest.

On June 30 in the Men’s 18 and over at the CCCAN Championship final in Trinidad and Tobago he placed fourth in a then personal best time of 1:53.00. That swim put the record on notice that it would be a matter of time before he lowered it.

Less than a month later he would fall agonizingly short of the mark when he hit the pads in a time of 1:52.50 ranking him 44th overall. That performance was the best time ever done by a swimmer from Barbados at the World Championships. It was also the best placing by a man from Barbados at the global competition. The previous best time and placing was 1:57.74 and 68th spot by Christian Selby at the 2015 Kazan Championships.

Damian Alleyne
Damian Alleyne Barbados Olympian (2000,2004) Photo courtesy of Khalil Goodman for Better Health Magazine June 2011

That swim put him ahead of the former national record holder Olympian Damian Alleyne (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004) who had set the record at 1:52.75 winning heat 3 of the event at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games on Sep 17, 2000.

Bradley Ally panamericanworld
Bradley Ally Photo courtesy of PanamericanWorld.com


Ally lowered that mark almost seven years later leading off the Pine Crest 800 freestyle A team at the 2007 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships in Indianapolis. That team which would place fifth overall in 7:31.23 included Cayman Islands Olympian Shaune Fraser (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012) handling second leg duties.

Analysis of the fastest three swims by a swimmer from Barbados

Name Date Meet First 50 Second 50 Third 50 Fourth  50 Final time
Damian Alleyne Sep 17,2000 Olympics 27.04 28.48 28.81 28.42 1:52.75
Alex Sobers July 24,2017 World Champs 26.82 28.38 28.75 28.55 1:52.50
Bradley Ally Aug 2,2007 US Nationals 26.14 28.27 28.62 29.27 1:52.30

Sobers, who is now sophomore at Emmanuel College made a huge impact for the Franklin Springs Georgia based institution in the 2016 -2017. see link below


500 freestyle medal podium from left to right Silver medallist Stanislas Raczynski (Emmanuel),Gold medallist meet record holder Alex Sobers (Emmanuel),Bronze medallist Erwin Ortiz Torres(Mars Hill) Photo courtesy of http://www.goeclions.com

He set three individual records and was a part of four record breaking relay teams.

Event Time
100 yard freeestyle 44.26
200 yard freestyle 1:35.95
500 yard freestyle 4:27.56
200 yard freestyle relay 1:22.55
400 yard freestyle relay 3:00.26
800 yard freestyle relay 6:42.23
400 yard medley relay 3:18.77

He got the 2017 -2018 to a winning start as Emmanuel won their Invitational on Saturday Oct 7. Sobers won the 100 yard freestyle by almost four seconds touching the clock in 45.29.That swimis also the fastest time in Division 2 so far.He also had the fastest 50 freestyle split of all relay legs as he anchored the A team to 1:27.53 with his split of 21.10.



Top Barbados age group swimmers repesenting the Baylor School at the 2017 Tennessee State Championships Photo courtesy of Barbados Aquatic Centre

The Barbados effect at the Baylor school was seen in the quality performances of Jack Kirby, Luis Sebastian Weekes and Hannah Gill at the recently concluded   2017 TISCA (Tennessee Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association). The meet which was held from February 10-11 at the Allan Jones Aquatic centre at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville saw the trio making Championship finals in all their events. The highlight was the Gold and Championship record by Jack Kirby in the 400 yard freestyle relay.

Jack Kirby Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

In the 400 yard freestyle relay championship final Kirby was drafted in to swim the last leg. In the race the team of Trey Freeman Jr 44.24,Zach Althoff 45.59,Peter Lochmaier 45.72 and Kirby 45.66 produced a new Championship and .  The State Championship record of 3:04.00 was held by the 2015 Baylor team that had another age group standout from Barbados Christian Selby as anchor . It narrowly missed the school record set last December of 3:01.21.

Kirby would make it to another Championship final when in the morning heats of the 200 yard individual medley he stopped the clock in the 1:54.68 .That beat his previous personal best of 1:54.77. He again would be faster in the final when he placed 6th in a time of 1:54.58 (split time 52.84). That is a major progress from 2016 when he placed 8th in the B final in 1:58.28.

Jacky Kirby in action in the backstroke at the 2017 Tennessee State Championships Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

The 100 yard backstroke would see even great improvement .In the preliminaries he posted a time of 50.74 (split time 24.74) beating his old pb of 51.13.In the championship final he went out even faster 24.48 and came back in 25.66 to register yet another personal best of 50.14 for 6th place. Last year he had placed 8th in the Championship final after registering 51.13 in the preliminaries. Jack is now ranked 5th all-time in Baylor history.

In speaking to draftingthecaribbean’s reporter on location Tastey Blackman Kirby described the meet

“It was awesome. All best times and that last race (the 400 yard freestyle relay) was the best one. That was a best time (split) by 2 seconds for me”.

Luis Sebastian Weekes Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

Fellow countryman and teammate Luis Sebastian Weekes qualified for the 200 yard individual medley posting a time of 1:53.39 (split time 53.36),That easily beat his personal standard of 1:54.77. In the final he was 6th at half way mark with a split of 53.91 but used a strong back half of 58.26 to hit the pads in 4th place. That performance ranks Luis as the 7th fastest in Baylor history.

Luis Sebastian Weekes Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

In the 100 yard breaststroke Weekes crushed his pb of 58.99 to post a morning heats time of 58.15(27.29). The final saw him taking out the first 50 yards more than half a second faster than in the preliminaries 26.68. That early speed helped him to his first sub 58 second time of 57.56 and 6th place overall. That moves Luis from 15th to the 8th fastest Baylor swimmer in Baylor history. Additionally he is the 3rd fastest CARIFTA swimmer at Baylor behind Bahamian Dustin Tynes 55.77 and Jamaican Brad Hamilton 57.12.

In speaking to draftingthecaribbean’s reporter Tastey Blackman after the 100 yard breaststroke described the race

It was amazing. Best experience of my life especially with all my teammates cheering me on”.

Hannah Gill Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

Countrywoman Hannah Gill repeated her good from 2106 when she made Championship finals in the 200 and 500 yard freestyle as well as the 400 yard freestyle relay. In the 200 yard freestyle she placed 7th in a time of 1:53.61. In the heats she had challenged her pb of 1:53.35 when she posted 1:53.40. That is an improvement in position when she was 8th in the final in 1:54.30.Hannah was 7th in the 500 yard freestyle in a time of 5:02.03. The final of the 400 yard freestyle saw Gill posting an anchor leg split of 52.46 to help Baylor to 7th in a time of 3:36.53.Hannah registered a much faster split than 2016 when she was timed in 53.87.

Victorious Baylor Team Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

Baylor won the boys’ competition with 377 points. McCallie finished 3rd with 165 points. In the girls’ competition Baylor was 3rd with 207 points. The combined team rankings saw Baylor victorious with 584 points.


Christopher Courtis
Christopher Courtis Photo courtesy of swimbarbados.com

The 3rd day of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada saw a number of Barbados swimming records threatened by Chris Courtis, Danielle Titus and Alex Sobers.


On Thursday Dec 8 Courtis swam 24.94 in the morning heats of the 50 metre backstroke to place 36th . That swim just missed his senior national record of 24.79 set this Feb. Courtis was also the highest ranked Caribbean swimmer in the event. It also betters the best time by Barbadian man in the event since 2000. The previous best time was 25.71 by Nicky Neckles at the 2002 Moscow Championships.

13-14 50 backstroke champion and senior natior record holder Danielle Titus of Barbados
Danielle Titus 

Danielle Titus also put the senior national record in the 200 metre backstroke record on notice while also just missing the 13-14 age group mark. The senior national mark of 2:21.08 by Lee Ann Rose and the 13-14 age group record of 2:21.18 by Amara Gibbs barely survived. This as Titus touched in a time of 2:22.76 (split time 1:08.99). However it was the best time and placing by a Barbadian woman at these Championships. The previous best was 2:24.22 and 43rd  by Deandre Small in  2014 in Doha.

Alex Sobers CISC Gold
Alex Sobers 

Teammate Alex Sobers was just off the 15-17 50 metre freestyle record when he clocked 23.50 for 72nd . The record stands at 23.32 set Christian Selby in 2014.He beat the best time by a Barbadian in the event since 2000 when he bettered the 24.98 he did in Doha. Sobers is the now best placed Barbadian man in the event .He betters the 80th plac showing by Andrew Jones from the 2006 Championships in China


Keanan Dols Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Jamaica’s Keanan Dols was a member of the Riverview High school team that captured the boys’ titles at Florida 4A Championships title at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Florida on Saturday Nov 5.

Victorious Rams 200 yard medley relay team from left to right Keanan Dols, Tyler Carmichael,Austin Katz and Brett Riley Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Dols, who will be making his senior team debut at the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada next month had podium finishes in 3 of the 4 events that he contested. He was atop the podium in the first final contested in the evening, the 200 yard medley relay. His Rams team of Austin Katz backstroke (22.54), Brett Riley breaststroke (26.82), Keanan butterfly (22.29) and Tyler Carmichael freestyle (21.87) took top honours in a total team time of 1:33.52. This is the second consecutive title for the Rams in this event.

The influence of the CARIFTA region is seen in this event as the fastest ever medley relay in high school history was set by the 2014 Baylor team that included Olympian Dustin Tynes from The Bahamas and Christian Selby of Barbados that has the standard at 1:27.74.

Keanan Dols race start Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

It was in the 200 yard freestyle relay where Dols who is a senior had his best executed race. He clocked 21.44 to lead off his team that included Katz (20.69), Brendan Firlie (21.29) and Aye-Chan San Tun (21.70).The team’s final Silver medal winning time was 1:25.12.The winners were Fleming Island who won in 1:24.53.

Keanan Dols backstroke start Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

He would win yet another medal this time in the 100 yard backstroke. In the final he had the fastest 2nd 50 yards of 25.57 but was just out touched for the Gold by Mason Wilby 50.22 to 50.28. That time is the best ever for Keanan in a Championship final.

At the World Short Course Championships in the 25 metre pool he will be chasing the 100 metre backstroke record of 55.55 set by Timothy Wynter at the 2012 Istanbul Championships.

Keanan on breaststroke leg of 200 yard individual medley Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

In the 200 yard individual medley in a very tight finish Dols clocked a personal best of 1:49.74 to finish 4th overall. The top 4 finishers all dipped under the 1:50 mark with 1:49’s across the board. Robert Finke (Countryside), 1;49.34 Gold ,John Fulginiti (Hagerty) 1:49.53 Silver and John Hutton (Fleming Island) 1:49.55 Bronze.

The CARIFTA region has a say in the record books as the state record is held by Olympian Bradley Ally (St Thomas Aquinas) at 1:46.31 set in 2004.When he set that standard it was the fastest time ever by a high school swimmer.

In Windsor Keanan will be challenging the 200 metre individual medley record of 2:08.88 set by Dominic Walter in 2015.


Riverview took the male title with 276 points, Fleming Island 2nd with 189 points and Countryside 3rd with 160 points. When asked about the win Keanan had the following thoughts

“It’s pretty exciting to win our 3rd straight championship. It’s something we sometimes take for granted with how successful both our men’s and women’s teams have been but it’s still pretty meaningful”


Daniella Van Den Berg
Daniella Van Den Berg Photo courtesy of sportkidsaruba.com

The first day of the Orlando Pro Swim series got underway on Thursday March at the YMCA of Central Florida aquatic Center with a number of the CARIFTA region’s swimming participating in the 3 day meet.The competition which will see action from a number of international competitors also serves as an offcial Rio 2016 Olympic qualifier.
In the heats of the women’s 200 freestyle Aruban Daniella Van Den Berg lowered her national record of 2:08.06 set in 2014 to 2:07.22 . That performance placed her 58th overall. She also made a big season drop from 2:08.73.Her split time was 1:02.05.
In the men’s equivalent Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter had the fastest time among the CARIFTA region men with a 1:52.77 (split time 53.54) to have the 25th fastest from the morning heats. He did not contest D finals.Trinidad and Tobago’s Emiro Goossen had dropped his season best from 1:57.12 to 1:54.19 (split time 56.21) for 43rd .Christian Selby of Barbados dropped his season best as well from 1:59.53 to 1:55.01 (split time 55.94) for 56th. Countryman Alex Sobers was 63rd with a time of 1:55.56 (split time 56.03).Matthew Lowe of the Bahamas was 83rd in a time of 1:57.48 (split time 58.04).
In the 100 metre breaststroke Trinidad and Tobago’s Alexndria Donahue was 6th in the C final with a time of 1:14.19.She was faster in qualifying with a time of 1:13.58 (split time 34.36).Bermuda’s Lisa Blackburn was 8th in that final in a time of 1:15.08.In the morning she almost bettered her season best of 1:14.11 with a 1:14.47 (split time 34.28).
Raiz Tjon-A-Joe lowered his season best in the 100 metre breaststroke of 1:09.02 when he clocked 1:05.62 (split time 30.16). In the C final he was 8th in a time of 1:07.13.
Suriname’s Zuhayr Pigot was 39th in the 100 metre butterfly in a time of 56.00.His split time was 24.87.


Emiro Goosen
Emiro GoosSen Photo courtesy of floridagators.com


At the Bulldog Invitational held Feb 27-28 saw Trinidad and Tobago representative Emiro Goossen continuing to lower his personal bests.

Goossen who represents the University of Florida lowered his personal best in the 200 yard freestyle from 1:37.84 to 1:36.81 .In the final he finished 4th in a time of 1:37.66.Both times were under the NCAA B time of 1:37.84.In the 100 yard freestyle he lowered his personal best of 44.46 to 44.06 in the heats. He was just off that time in the final when he clocked 44.07 for 2nd.Both performances were under the NCAA B standard time of 44.46. In the 500 yard freestyle he lowered his personal best of 4:41.65 to 4:36.21.


Also competing at the meet was Christian Selby for Auburn. The Barbadian freshman recorded a personal best time in the 200 yard freestyle when he clocked 1:39.28.He also swam season best times in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle of 20.56 and 45.41.

His Jamaican teammate Breanna Roman had times of 1:02.72 in the 100 yard breaststroke, 23.45 in the 50 yard freestyle and 50.77 100 yard freestyle.

Trinidad and Tobago swimmer Tyla Martin (Florida) had times of 5:03.72 in the 500 yard freestyle, 56.99 in the 100 yard butterfly and 2:03.33 in the 200 yard butterfly.

Florida Gulf Coast swimmer Evita Leter of Suriname recorded a personal best time in the 100 yard freestyle of 52.94.She also posted a1:03.15.

Georgia’s Kimberlee John- Williams had times of 54.99 and 2:04.23 in the 100 and 200 yard butterfly respectively.


Joseph Black.Jared Fitzgerald,Peddie Coach Greg Wriede,Alexander Encinar ,Sariyah Sherry,Peter Morley Photo courtesy of Joseph Black
Tyler Russell,Peter Morley,Alexander Encinar,Jared Fitzgerald Photo courtesy of Milena Russell
Sian Longley
Sian Longley Photo courtesy of thenassauguardian.com
Miller Albury
Miller Albury Photo courtesy of theabaconian.com


The first day of the 2016 Easterns on February 19 at the La Salle University’s Kirk Natatorium in Philadelphia saw the CARIFTA region being a part of history. This as Bahamian Jared Fitzgerald and Jamaican Joseph Black were members of the Peddie School’s record breaking 200 yard freestyle relay.

Prior to the Championships the record in the event of 1:22.70 had been held by the 1992 Mercersburg Academy team. In the morning preliminaries the team had set the fastest time heading into the Championship final of 1:23.78.In the final they brought the heat to the final in pursuit for the win and the record. The team of lead leg Nathan Stern 21.07 2nd leg Michael Blank 19.89, Black 20.94 and Fitzgerald 20.71 blitzed the field to the to take the title and the record in a time of 1:22.61. Their margin of victory was over two and a half seconds.

Video of Final


Interview with Swimming World


Black and Fitzgerald join St Lucia’s Josh Daniel and Jamaica’s Brad Hamilton as title holders in the 200 yard freestyle relay. Daniel was a part of the 2013 Peddie team that won the event in a time of 1:23.84.Josh who now attends Brown University had led off the team in 21.66. Hamilton (University of North Carolina) was a part of the 2007 Baylor team that won in 1:24.12. Brad had started the race for Baylor with a split of 21.62.Interestingly the overall high school record of 1:19.27 by the 2012 Bolles team included Trinidad and Tobago swimmer Emiro Goossen who attends the University of Florida.

In individual action Fitzgerald had finished 4th in the Championship final of the 200 yard freestyle in a time of 1:41.66. In the morning heats he had lowered his season and personal best of 1:42.73 to 1:40.76.Black worked his way to the B final of the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 21.76. That lowered his season and personal best time of 21.80. He finished 4th in the B final with a time of 21.80.

Also winning a medal of the opening day was their teammate Barbadian Sariyah Sherry. Her team lost a close battle to Mercersburg Academy who took the title in 1:35.74. The Peddie team of Nika Blank 23.86, Sherry 24.08, Erin Fago 25.05 and Vanessa Ruiz 22.90 pushed Mercersburg all the way with their total time of 1:35.89.The overall Prep school record is held by the 2012 Baylor team with a time of 1:31.18.That team included Bermudan Ashley Yearwood (Denison), Kimberlee John-Williams (Georgia) of Trinidad and Tobago and Bahamian Bria Devaux (Nebraska).

In the 200 yard freestyle Sherry lowered her season of best twice on the day. She moved it from 2:03.42 to 2:02.13 in the morning .In the C final she lowered it again to 2:01.60 to finish 2nd.

Her countrywoman Sian Longley who represents the Linsly School was a member of the team that won the C final in the 200 yard medley relay. Longley split 27.86 for the butterfly leg as they won in a time of 1:56.51. She was 24th in the 100 yard butterfly in 1:03.59.

Mercersburg’s Bahamian swimmer Tyler Russell helped his school to 2nd place in the 200 yard medley relay B final. Tyler clocked 27.18 on his backstroke leg to help them to a time of 1:40.36. Russell was faster in the morning heats having clocked 25.84 In the 200 yard individual medley he lowered his season and personal best time of 2:02.76 to 1:58.82 and make the B final. He would register yet another sub 2 minute swim when he set another new personal best time of 1:58.65 to finish 7th.

His countryman Alexander Encinar of Peddie swam as on their exhibition team in the 200 yard medley relay. He clocked 27.03 as the team posted a total time of 1:37.16.Encinar lowered his season best of 2:02.84 and his personal best of 2:01.53 in the morning heats of the 200 yard individual medley to 2:00.18. He would make the B final with that performance .In the final he would register his first sub 2 minute swim with a 1:59.52 and place 8th.

His countryman Miller Albury of Cantebury School helped his school to 5th in the B final of the 200 yard medley relay. Miller split 25.18 on the opening backstroke leg to help them to a total time of 1:45.05. The overall high school record for the 200 yard medley relay is held by the 2014 Baylor School at 1:27.74. That team included Bahamian Dustin Tynes (Ohio State) and Christian Selby (Auburn) of Barbados. In the 50 yard freestyle he lowered his season best of 23.39 to 22.47 to progress to the C final. In his evening swim he clocked 22.57 to finish 3rd.

Another Bahamian recording a personal best on the opening day was Peddie’s Peter Morley. He lowered his season and personal best of 2:05.55 in the 200 yard individual medley to finish 18th in 2:03.89.