The 2018 Dean Martin Memorial swim promised to be an exciting three days of swimming action and the first session held at the National Aquatic Centre did not disappoint. Leading the way on night one of action was young sensation from the Camana Bay Aquatics Club from the Cayman Islands Jillian Crooks.
Her last competitive outing saw her smashing eight national records including a senior national record in the 25 metre pool. The question now was could she transfer her short course form to the big pool (50 metre ) .Question asked Answer EASILY.
In her very first event the 100 metre backstroke she produced a new PB, meet record and 11-12 Cayman national record swim and the fastest time ever swum by an 11-12 girl in Jamaica of 1:08.40. That was the only sub 1:10 swim of the day and also the fastest female performance ever at meet. With splits of 33.43 and 35.95 Jillian proved herself a class a part.
She has also shown much improvement as the youngest swimmer in the Championship final of this event at CARIFTA in Kingston earlier this year she had placed 5th in 1:15.71. The old national record of 1:10.45 has already belonged to Jillian from her CCCAN Silver medal winning performance. The old meet record belonged to Jamaican age group star Angara Sinclair at 1:14.97.The previous fastest ever mark by an 11-12 girl was held by Trinidad and Tobago’s Tyla Martin who won Gold in that age group at CARIFTA 2010
In her next race on the night she would destroy another Cayman 11-12 age group record in the 200 metre individual medley. At the 2018 CCCAN Championships in Aruba she won the Silver medal in a time of 2:36.70. After she swum the race it would become part of history as she clocked the only sub 2:40 time time on the night and the fastest ever female performance at the meet of 2:34.88. The old 11-12 record of 2:42.65 belonged to another Jamaican age group star Victoria Ho. An aggressive opening butterfly leg changed the course of the race and allowed her to win easily.
Second in the 11-12 age group was Jamaican age group star and 2018 CCCAN Bronze medallist in the event Morgan Cogle of Jupiter Dragons who stopped the clock in 2:43.81.
There would be another quality performance in the 11-12 age group as CARIFTA’s top 11-12 male swimmer Zarek Wilson of Blue Dolphins of Trinidad and Tobago won the 1500 metre freestyle in 18:24.66 . That shattered the previous fastest 1500 metre freestyle of 18:51.65 set by Zachary Moore of the Stingrays Swim Club in 2015. He also produced the fastest time across all age groups on the night.He would also set a new mark in the 11-12 200 metre individual medley as he became the first 11-12 swimmer under 2:30 seconds at the meet with a top age group time of 2:28.86
Jamaica’s first CCCAN open water medallist Daniel Mair of the Tornadoes Swim Club dropped more than 10 seconds to place second overall in the 11-12 age group with a time of 19:04.69.
Jamaica’s 2018 15-17 CARIFTA Championship Gold Medallist in the 200 metre freestyle Britney Williams lowered the 15-16 age group meet record in the 100 metre backstroke.The Swimaz aquatics athlete touched the wall in a time of 1:15.16 .That bettered the old meet record held by Angara Sinclair of 1:16.01.
There would be an exciting battle in the 15-16 10 metre backstroke as Kyle Sinclair of the Y Speedos and and a member of the 15-17 2018 CARIFTA 200 freestyle team that set the Jamaican age group record in the event and Jordan Crooks,2018 Youth Olympics flag bearer of the Cayman Islands and Camana Bay Aquatics went stroke for stroke to the wall . Sinclair got the victory in 1:03.75 and Jordan a touch behind in 1.03.98.
When the CCCAN open water swimming competition concluded in Aruba history was created for Jamaica as Daniel Mair became the first ever medallist in this discipline .This as he won the Silver medal in the 12-13 age group in the 3K event held at Mangel Halto.
Prior to this the only medals won in age group competition was Dominic Walter who won the Silver in the 5 K event at the now defunct Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships at the 2010 edition in Cuba in a time of 104.5.33 ,Michelle Dols who earned a Silver medal in the 2015 in the 5K event at CARIFTA in Barbados and Annabella Lyn who won CARIFTA Bronze at home in Jamaica in the same event this year.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Mair on July 18 he spoke about qualification for the competition as well events of the day of the swim from getting off the bus to the actual race
“The truth is I really wasn’t trying to qualify for CCCAN Open Water. In an effort to improve on my 1500 metre freestyle free I achieved a time that qualified me for the open water event. So training for the open water event had to be somewhat of a crash course as it was going to be my first time. I trained at Port Royal three Sunday mornings with a group of adults who knew how to swim open water, and sometimes with competitive swimmers. We swam between 1,000-3,000 metres up and down the shoreline. I also did one session in the pool where I learned how to start, turnaround the buoys and spot . One of my main objectives during training was getting over my fear of what lives in the sea and I would say after my first training session in the ocean I quickly overcame that fear. I am 100% sure that these sessions helped my performance”.
“When I got out of the bus and went to look at the course, it was a lot larger than I expected and honestly that made me very nervous. Also that morning I had to go through many different stages to get ready for the race. For instance, I had to go to a medical check, cut my nails, get my number put on me, Vaseline my body, put my tracker on, and all of this was happening very fast and everybody was frantic and trying to get everything done.It was a bit distracting at the time but a few minutes before the race I just tuned everything out and focused on my race and doing my best”.
EVOLUTION OF THE RACE
“So as I mentioned already the track looked very large in real life, it was a rectangle and one lap around it would be equal to 1 km so we had to do three laps And at the time it seemed like a lot. My start was not very good because I didn’t know what was going on so when they blew the whistle to go I was confused and started at the back of the pack. As I settled I was able to secure a second place spot. First place seemed out of reach because the person in first place had gone way before me from the start. In the first quarter of the first lap I was racing a Trinidadian girl and she fell back quite quickly and after she fell back Aruban Ronald Fun caught up to me and for about two laps we were staying head to head. He was in front of me sometimes, I was in front of him sometimes but after the second lap he fell back and I went forward. After the second lap I felt really good, I started to warm up and as a result my legs started to feel energized and ready to kick so I kicked and pulled and I just went all out on the third lap and when I saw the finish on the last quarter I just went full speed and when I touched that pad I gave it my all”.
“When I got out of the ocean and walked back up to my coach and mom I was glad that the race was finally over and I could rest because CCCAN was now officially over. I went up to my coach and my mom and sat down, took some deep breaths, drank some water and relaxed and I looked over to my coach. She showed me my time and my placement and I asked her if that was a silver medal and she said yes. I was very happy. Later on I was awarded the medal and that’s when it clicked. That I had won an individual medal at CCCAN and that every long, hard distance set that I had done in training had finally paid off”.
The medal podium saw Trinidad and Tobago’s Nikoli Blackman topping the event with a time of 45.15.01 , Mair the Silver in 48.11.73 and Fun the Bronze in 48.55.95.
The final day of competition at the CCCAN swimming Championships in Aruba on July 2 saw Team Jamaica adding Two Gold, Three Silver and Three Bronze medals.
The highlight of the day was Emily MacDonald who completed the freestyle sprint double .A day after she completed the record regional Golden Double (CARIFTA and CCCAN titles) in the 100 metre freestyle she did the same in the 50 metre freestyle. She took the race in a time of 26.48 a new PB, CCCAN and CARIFTA all time best.It was a mere .03 of a second outside of the automatic Youth Olympic qualifying mark of 26.45.
This makes her unbeaten for the 13-14 age group at CCCAN as she took the title in Trinidad and Tobago as well last year in 27.20. In April of this year in her hometown of Kingston she won the splash and dash in a time of 26.76 lowering the record of 26.81 held by Bermudan Madelyn Moore. In Aruba she would take down another Moore standard of 26.65 , the unofficial all time regional record. Emily has been Golden in all but one meet at the regional level since 2016.
26.48 record 26.65
MacDonald had the second fastest time of the competition. That accolade went to none other than Madelyn Moore who lowered the 15-17 meet of 26.13 by Suriname’s Olympian Chinyere Pigot (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) when she stopped the clock in 25.97.
Silver went to Bermuda’s Logan Watson -Brown in 27.24 and the Bronze to Aruba Chloe Farro 27.67.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Emily she gave her thoughts on her performances
“I’m very happy about winning events in the meet for my age group and breaking Championship record for both events .It gives me the assurance that I have the potential to be a great sprinter”.
There would almost be another regional record Golden Double in the 400 metre medley relay as the team of Simone Vale, Sabrina Lyn, MacDonald and Amore Hunter just missed the CCCAN record of 4:34.23 held by the 2005 Mexico team and their own national age group record of 4:33.81 when they won Gold in 4:34.48.Silver went to Colombia in 4:38.89 and Bronze to Aruba in 4:52.40.
butterfly Zaneta Alvaranga
There would be another national record for Morgan Cogle in the 11-12 200 metre backstroke.She lowered the 2007 Kendese Nangle record of 2:36.00 set at CCCAN 2007 in El Salvador in the morning heats with a time of 2:35.21. She would go on to win Bronze in the final in 2:35.29. Jillian Crooks of the Cayman Islands took the Silver in 2:33.98 with Gold going to Elizabeth Jimenez Garrido of the Dominican Republic in 2:33.23.
In the 400 medley relay Cogle backstroke ,Brooke Hopkins breaststroke ,Ireland Hunter butterfly and Safiya Officer won the Silver in a new national age group record of 4:56.06. That bettered the old 2007 record of 4:58.67 set in by the 2007 CARIFTA team Brittany Kenney, Kendese Nangle, Raynae Hall and Alexia Royal-Eatmon.
COMPARISON OF TIMES
Gold went to Trinidad and Tobago in 4:51.10 and the Bronze to Barbados in 5:06.93.
In the 15-17 Girls 50 metre freestyle it was Gabrianna Banks getting the medal for Team Jamaica . She stopped the clock in a new PB of 26.69 for the Silver. The performance marks consecutive Silver medals for Banks who won Silver in her last year of 13-14 in the twin island republic last year in 27.28. The Bronze went to Victoria Russell of The Bahamas in a new PB of 26.93. This is the first medal for Jamaica in 2017 since Breanna Roman won Bronze in 27.59 at CCCAN 2011 in Puerto Rico.
There would be a Bronze for Nathaniel Thomas in the 13-14 age group in the 50 metre freestyle as his effort was timed in a PB of 25.33. This is a step up from his performance at CARIFTA where he placed ninth in 26.19. Silver went to Malik Nelson of Trinidad and Tobago in 24.50. Gold went to the fastest 13-14 swimmer of the season Lamar Taylor of The Bahamas who won in a new CCCAN record of 23.94 to add to his CARIFTA title which he won in 24.27 and as well as National title in 23.79.
There would be Bronze for Safiya Officer in the girls 11-12 race she touched in 27.71.Silver went to St Lucia’s Naima Hazell in 27.61 .
The Gold went to the Cayman Islands Jillian Crooks who lowered the 1995 meet standard of 27.55 set by Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympian Cerian Gibbes who went to the Atlanta 1996 Games as a 13 year old.
The 11-12 boys 400 metre medley relay team won Silver . The team of Daniel Mair (backstroke) 1:16.61,brother Joshua (breaststroke)1:20.15 ,Jaedon Lynch( butterfly) ( 1:10.15) and Adrian Balfour (freestyle) 1:01.55 touched in 4:48.55 to finish behind the Trinidad and Tobago team that won in 4:41.05.the Bronze was won by Aruba in 4:53.76.
The 15-17 boys won the Bronze in their medley relay. The team of Nicholas Vale (backstroke) 1:01.47 ,Sean-Douglas Gooden (breaststroke) 1:09.48 ,Jesse Marsh (butterfly) 56.91 and Cameron Brown (freestyle) 55.86 touched in 4:03.72. Gold was won by The Bahamas in 3:59.57 and the Silver to Trinidad and Tobago in 4:01.63.
The second session of the 2017 Neville Alexander Memorial Swim Meet on Saturday May 26 being held at the National Aquatic Centre saw two more national records lowered .Both new marks were set in the 200 metre medley relays. The first standard to be set was by the Marlins 9-10 girls relay team. That squad comprising of Giani Francis backstroke, Kokolo Foster breaststroke, Christanya Shirley butterfly and Saidah Brown freestyle set a new time of 2:32.52. That bettered the meet record of 2:36.80 by the 2012 Marlins team of Deandra Reynolds, Raynna Mitchell, Ahkira Brown and Britney Williams. The Marlins swimmers have lowered the national record twice in a month. The previous Jamaican record of 2:33.52 was set by the same quartet at the Tornadoes Invitational on May 7.
In the 11-12 boys age group Nathaniel Thomas joined forces with his Tornadoes teammates to record his second national record in as many sessions. The medley relay team of Zachary Jackson-Blaine backstroke, Nikolos Gordon-Somers breaststroke, Jaleel Samms butterfly and Thomas freestyle combined for a new national record of 2:11.04.They crushed the meet record of 2:19.57 by the 2012 Tornadoes team of Jesse Marsh, Christian Alberga, Joseph Black and Jordan Smith. Like the Marlins girls team the Tornadoes boys are rewriting the record books for the second time in a month.At their club’s invitational the squad swam a then national record of 2:11.51 . On that occasion Thomas swam the backstroke and Jackson-Blaine handled the freestyle duties
Earlier in the meet Thomas dropped almost 2 seconds in the 11-12 boys 100 metre backstroke to lower the 2004 meet record of 1:12.37 set by the Y Speedos’ Ramon Walton to 1:10.77.
Also setting new medley meet records were the Y Speedos Swim club in the 9-10 boys and 13 and over boys’ races. In the younger age category the team of David Morris backstroke, Dirk Harrison breaststroke, Zack –Andre Johnson butterfly and Courtney Bailey freestyle set a new record of 2:41.74.that bettered the 2016 mark of 2:42.31 set by the Tornadoes team of Daniel and Joshua Mair, Israel Allen and Jomo McMayo.
The 13 and over squad of Kyle Sinclair backstroke, Jevaun Jackson breaststroke, Jordane Payne butterfly and Sidrell Williams freestyle set a meet record of 1:57.36. That time took down the 2014 performance of 1:58.91 by the Marlins squad of Nicholas Haughton, Xavier Phillips, Orane Garrick and Keith-Jordan Wilkinson.
Getting his name on the meet record books was the Y Speedos’ Zack-Andre Johnson in the 8 and under boys’ 50 metre butterfly. He lowered the 2011 standard 38.84 of former teammate Cameron Brown when he stopped the clock in 36.79.That doubled his Gold medal count for the day as he also won the 50 metre backstroke in 43.14.His teammate Renae Chung also did the butterfly and backstroke double posting winning times of 42.18 and 44.57 respectively.
Other double individual winners included Sidrell Williams of the Y Speedos and Sabrina Lyn of the Tornadoes Swim Club. Sidrell took the 200 metre freestyle and butterfly events in times of 2:07.40 and 2:22.70. Lyn won the 11-12 50 metre breaststroke in 41.14 and the 200 metre butterfly in 3:02.63.
Britney Williams of Swimaz Aquatic Swim Club repeated her 2016 success in the 200 metre freestyle winning this year in 2:19.65.
In the 50 metre breaststroke series the 11-12 boys race was won by Nikolos Gordon-Somers of Tornadoes Swim Cub in 39.11.
The 13 and over girls event went to Naomi Eaton of the Y Speedos in 38.09. The male equivalent went to Sean-Douglas Gooden of Tornadoes in 32.19.
In the other backstroke races Shirley in the 9-10 50 metre backstroke just missed breaking the 2007 meet record of 37.10 set by teammate Stefani Webley when she hit the wall in 37.72. Israel Allen of Tornadoes won his second individual race in the boys when he touched in 38.71. Zaneta Alvaranga of the Y Speedos won the 11-12 girls’ 100 metre backstroke in a personal best time of 1:17.64.The 13 and over girls’ race went to her teammate Brianna Anderson in 1:11.64.
Winning his first race on Jamaican soil was Coach Santiago Gonzalez of the Sailfish Swim Academy from Montego Bay. He won 13 and over boys race in 1:03.42.
The Y Speedos Swim club would take both the girls 11-12 and 13 and over 200 medley races. The 11-12 team of Zaneta Alvaranga, Callier Maxwell, Paig’e Lewis and Jadean Dixon won in 2:25.79.The senior girls team of Brianna Anderson, Naomi Eaton, Paris Clare and Leanne McMaster won in 2:13.77.
There was another successful staging of the Neville Alexander Memorial swim meet at the National Aquatic Centre in Jamaica from May 27 to 29.The event saw three national marks falling amongst a host of meet records.
Yet again making their mark in the history books were Christanya Shirley of the Marlins Swim Club, Emily MacDonald of Swimaz Aquatics and the Y Speedos relay team of Kyle Sinclair, Cameron Brown, Jordane Payne and Chester Adams.
Shirley of the Marlins who seemingly breaks a record every time she swims set another national mark in the 50 metre breaststroke. This time she lowered the 1995 mark of another exceptional age group swimmer Allison Bardowell from 44.47 to 43.65. Her fantastic swimming this season would also see her setting meets marks in the 50 metre breaststroke 43.65 and 50 metre freestyle 34.45.
Not content with having the national mark in the 50 metre freestyle Emily MacDonald of Swimaz would add the freestyle sprint double to her growing list of accolades. After a few words on encouragement from the soon to be former record holder Breanna Roman the young sprinter attacked the event and succeeded in lowering Roman’s record from 1:01.86 to 1:01.71.Both swimmers were coached to the national record by Swimaz head Coach Lynval Lowe
The Y Speedos quartet of Kyle Sinclair, Cameron Brown, Jordane Payne and Chester Adams continued to lower the 13-14 national mark in the 200 metre medley relay. At the Tornadoes meet in April the team combined for a new national standard of 2:02.86.They would shatter that mark with a new combined effort of 2:01.61.
The Olympic qualifier saw other high quality performances across the age groups. A standout performer from the United States was young Morgan Cogle of Jupiter Dragons team from Florida. She set three meet records in the 10 and under category at the competition .She lowered the 200 individual medley record from 2:59.52 to 2:58.62. In the 100 metre freestyle she swam her way to 1:11.08 bettering the old time of 1:11.77 .In the 50 metre breaststroke she demolished the old time of 41.34 to record an incredible 37.13.
Local swimmer Safiya Officer of the Blue Seals Swim club etched her name ion the record books by taking down the 50 metre freestyle mark of current sprint sensation Emily MacDonald. Safiya will be the new record holder with a time of 31.33 undercutting the standard of 31.39.
The boys would not be out done as the Tornadoes 9-10 boys lowered meet record in both relays. In the 200 metre medley relay the team of Daniel Mair, Joshua Mair, Israel Allen, Jomo McMayo took exactly one second off the meet record to post a time of 2:42.31.In the freestyle relay the line up would be Daniel Mair, Joshua Mignott, Joshua Mair, and Israel Allen. That team would lower the meet record by almost 2 seconds when they stopped the clock in 2:19.70.
In this age group there was a fantastic match up of the best young sprinters in the island Emily MacDonald and Zaneta Alvaranga of the Y Speedos. The old standard of 31.60 had belonged to Kendese Nangle of Blue Seals since 2007. The mark would not last the competition as in the head to head clash both swimmers would break the 31 second barrier and record personal bests. Finishing first was Zaneta in a new meet record of 30.63. In the Silver medal position and well under the record was Emily in a time of 30.89.The national record of 29.97 should go by the end of the calendar year if both swimmers continue in their current upward trajectory.
Emily would take the sprint freestyle meet record double as she added the 50 metre freestyle title on the final day of competition. She would take down the 2011 mark of 28.48 of D’Ageane Clarke and win the event in a time of 28.08.
Western Jamaica had their top swimmer put in his name in the books. Rin Gyles of Blue Marlins swim club lowered the 2008 mark of Timothy Wynter of 33.50 when he hit the pads in 33.15.
13 and over
In the senior category it was 2016 Olympic hopeful and current Auburn University student Breanna Roman who did the most damage to the record books as she set five. Roman who swam for Swimaz aquatics locally before moving overseas took down the 200 metre freestyle by 3 seconds when she won in a time of 2:12.33. In the 200 metre breaststroke the record was lowered by over 7 seconds she touched in a time of 2:43.46. Breanna became the first woman under the minute at this meet when she was timed in 59.73 lowering her 2011 mark of 1:00.06. She took down another of her 2011 records and completed the freestyle trifecta when she crushed the mark of 27.95 to register 27.23.The 100 metre breaststroke saw similar destruction as she mover her mark from 1:17.97 to 1:14.13.
Jamaica seems likely to have another distance standout in the form of Joseph Cardozo from Flying Fish USA . That team based in Florida is headed by 1984 Olympian and iconic swimmer Andrew Phillips . Cardozo shattered the meet marks of current national distance standard bearer Dominic Walter in both the 400 and 1500 metre freestyle events. In the 400 metre he moved from 4:26.90 to 4:19.80. In the 1500 metre freestyle he became the first swimmer at this meet to crack 17:30 as he won handily in 17:26.85 bettering the old meet standard of 17:35.10.
Jesse Marsh who is conditioned at Saint Andrews also in Florida lowered another of Walters’s records. This time it was in the 200 metre butterfly. He bettered the open record of 2:18.53 on his way to becoming the new record holder in a time of 2:16.60.
The Y Speedos team of Brianna Anderson, Angara Sinclair, Paris Clare, Sage Sinclair set the final meet mark of the competition when they took the title in the 13 and over 200 metre freestyle relay. They bettered the Marlins standard of 1:58.95 set by Marlins Brittany Bartley, Stefani Webley, Shade Thaxter, and Octivia Gray to record a new time of 1:58.12.
The meet saw Olympians Belinda Phillips (1972 Munich) and Andrew Phillips and Allan-Roy Marsh (1984 Los Angeles) offering advice and best wishes to the 2016 Rio Olympic Hopefuls Breanna Roman and Sidrell Williams.