Through consistent hard work and determination Aruban Daniel Jacobs finally earned the honour of being on top of the podium in the 200 and 400 metre freestyle events at his final CARIFTA championships in Kingston.
The first part of the Gold medal mission in the 15-17 age group was achieved on April at the National Centre on April 1 in the 200 metre freestyle race. He put up the second fastest time in the morning when he stopped the clock in 1:57.66.
The final saw him making a decisive move on the first 50 metres splitting 26.64. The field could not recover from that early blast and Jacobs would go on to take the title in 1:55.85, the fastest time ever swum by an Aruban at CARIFTA.The Silver went to Mauricio Payne of Curacao in 1:56.82 and the Bronze to Graham Chatoor of Trinidad and Tobago in 1:57.15.
The road to victory in the 400 metre freestyle on April 3 was not as smooth as he battled Chatoor for all 8 laps before out sprinting him to the wall 4:05.64 to 4:06.10.The Bronze went to John Bodden of the Cayman Islands in 4:12.20
THE PATH TO CARIFTA 200 AND 400 METRE FREESTYLE GOLD
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to the Oranjestad native about representing Aruba at CARIFTA,heading to Georgia Tech to start his college career and what the future now holds for him
“I did not participate at last year’s CARIFTA as Aruba decided to go to another competition, so I am happy to have participated this year as CARIFTA is one of my favorite competitions in our region. To have ended my CARIFTA career and winning Gold in my two main events and hearing Aruba’s anthem play while standing on the podium was a great feeling. My CARIFTA career started as an 11 year old representing Aruba. It has been and always will be an honor to represent my country and I will take great memories with me for a life time. I have made many great friends over the years at CARIFTA and am sure we will continue this friendship into our next stage of our careers. Even though my CARIFTA career has ended, I am very excited to go on to the next level in my career, being college swimming. I will be swimming for Georgia Tech starting in August of this year and can’t wait to get started. Currently I am preparing for CCCAN which will be held in Aruba the end of June and afterwards hopefully I will be preparing for Youth Olympics 2018. So my summer will be mostly spend in the pool and gym”.
No stranger to setting national relay records since making her first national team in 2016 Shaun Johnson had not set any individual national age group records. All that changed in a Bronze medal winning performance in the 50 metre butterfly on Sunday April 1 at the National Aquatic Centre in Kingston Jamaica at the 2018 CARIFTA Championships.
The Georgetown University bound student entered the competition with a personal best time of 29.24. She would register her first sub 29 seconds swim and do that in great fashion as she would also lower the 15-17 national record. The morning heats saw her swimming to a time of 28.72. In making the Championship final she lowered the 15-17 age group record of 28.87 set by Alia Atkinson at the CCCAN Championships in August 2005.
She would have more to offer in the final as she went faster clocking 28.52 to earn the Bronze medal.Silver went Elinah Philip of the British Virgin Islands in 28.29 and the Gold to Curacao’s Chade Nercisio. This performance shows marked improvement since 2017 when she placed eighth in the Championship final in 29.24
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Johnson today and got her opinion about her record breaking performance and her last CARIFTA Championships .
“This CARIFTA was probably my best one yet- I was selected to be a team captain which was made to be a very easy job with the help of the other swimmers, coaches, and team managers. I’ve spent the past few weeks training at Pinecrest with their phenomenal coaches, and they really helped to make this CARIFTA a great one for me- I was able to get early exposure to swimming in LCM and swim alongside other CARIFTA swimmers from other countries as well as Jamaica.
I think it would be an understatement to say how surprised I am about how the butterfly events turned out for me; I haven’t been a flyer for some time now as I have had issues with accommodating stroke rate/strength with my height but Mariusz Podkoscielny really helped me out with that and after working persistently I had great results. I think I performed towards to the level that I have been training to but I will have to continue to work harder for Jamaica and I’m excited to see what that will look like in the future”.
Since 2014 no other nation other than The Bahamas has won a breaststroke event in the 15-17 girls age group. Thanks to sweeps by Laura Morley in 2014, Albury Higgs in 2015 and the joint efforts of the Higgs sisters Albury and Lilly in the years 2016 and 2017 all other nations have been kept out.
With Laura and Albury now navigating in senior water the defence of the Bahamian streak is left to Lilly and teammate Victoria Russell.
Russell who made her first international final at last summer’s Commonwealth Youth Games will be looking to make her mark at her final year at CARIFTA. She is ranked second in the 50 and 100 metre events and fourth in the 200.
Lilly who has committed to swim for the University of North Carolina this September will be looking to lower the Championship record in all three races. Higgs who has is undefeated at these Championships will be looking to lower her records in the 50 and 100 as well as her sister’s in the 200.
Higgs and Russell will be looking to turn back the expected challenges of Aruba’s Anahi Schreuders, Curacao’s Chade Nercisio and Jamaica’s Bryanna Renuart along with other outstanding swimmers from around the region. After competing in Kingston, Higgs will jet off to make her senior international debut at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in GoldCoast Australia. Currently she is the only Bahamian swimmer to medal at the Commonwealth Games when she copped the Silver medal at the Youth Games at home in 2017.
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.
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”.
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.
Gardner-Webb’s star freshman from Curaçao Seggio Bernardina had a great Coastal Collegiate Sports Association debut at the 2018 edition of the Championship. The meet which ran from Feb 14-17 in Athens Georgia saw Seggio winning Two Gold , One Silver and Two Bronze medals as well as recording all personal bests in his individual events.
His first trip to the top of the podium came in the 200 yard freestyle relay. In that fellow freshman standout Eli Coan 20.35,|Zach Dingfield 20.37,Bernandina 20.34 and Mason Hutchinson 20.57 combined for a winning total time of 1:21.63.Seggio had the joint fastest split of the relay event.
The team from Boiling Springs North Carolina would win another sprint freestyle relay Gold in the 400 yard event. That team would see Eli start again with a split of 45.35, followed by the Seggio 44,24,Justin Conklin provided handled third leg duties with a time of 45.10 and Dingfield anchored in 44.30. The team took the event in 2:58.99, just off the school record of 2:58.41. Seggio again had the fastest split.
In the 100 yard butterfly Bernardina recorded PB’s twice, in the heats and the Championship final. In the heats he lowered his PB of 49.39 with a 48.97 (split time 23.30). He would be even faster in the final touching in 48.28(split time 22.62) to win the Silver behind Filip Svedberg of Old Dominion 47.74. Seggio’s time was just under the NCAA Division B time of 48.29.
In the 400 yard medley he split 48.04 on his butterfly to help the team to the Bronze in a total time of 3:17.62 .They just missed the school record of 3:17.04.The Trinity Christian Academy graduate would record handle the butterfly duties on the shorter 200 yard medley relay with a split of 21.65 .The team would stop the clock in 1:30.21 for another Bronze.
In the 50 yard freestyle he would get under his personal record of 20.93 with a 20.72 blast in the morning heats. He would be close to that time in the Championship final with a seventh place time of 20.82.
In the 100 yard freestyle he came close to his personal best of 45.61 with a time of 45.69. He bettered that time with another seventh place finish of 45.57(split time 21.68).
Gardner-Webb would place third in the men’s competition with 849 points. Incarnate Word would take the male championship with 849 points.
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
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 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 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.
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.
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