EMILY MacDONALD LOWERS OLYMPIAN CLAUDIA POLL’S 100 FREESTYLE MEET STANDARD TO RECORD REGIONAL GOLDEN DOUBLE (CARIFTA AND CCCAN TITLES)

Day Four of the CCCAN Swimming championships saw Team Jamaica adding Four more medals to their tally One Gold , One Silver and Two Silver to have Eighteen medals Six Gold ,Four Silver and Eight Bronze medals.

Getting the Gold for the land of wood and water was Emily MacDonald in the girls 13-14 100 metre freestyle. She bounced back from illness on Day Three to win the freestyle title.

Emily Mac 13-14 100 free podium
13-14 100 metre freestyle medal podium from left to right Watson-Brown Bermuda, MacDonald and Libreros Bolivar Colombia Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

In the Championship final she recorded the only sub 28 seconds split at the halfway mark and then pulled away from the field to record a new personal best and CCCAN meet record of 57.95. It was also the fastest 100 metre freestyle time recorded by a girl at the Championship.

Claudia Poll panamerican world
Claudia Poll Photo courtesy of panamericanworld

That lowered the the more than three decades old standard of 58.34 byCosta Rican Olympic Gold medallist Claudia Poll (1996,2000 and 2004). MacDonald also is closing in on the national age group record of 57.54 held by Olympian Janelle Atkinson (2000,2004). It was Poll who held off Atkinson to win the Bronze in the 400 metre freestyle at the 2000 Sydney Games . That fourth place position at the Olympics is the joint highest placing at the Games along with Alia Atkinson’s fourth place at the 2012 London Games.

 

Winning the Silver was Bermuda’s Logan Watson-Brown in 58.82 and the Bronze to Colombia’s  Manuela Libreros Bolivar 1:01.38.

100 free CARIFTA 13-14
13-14 100 metre freestyle medallists at CARIFTA 2018 in Kingston from left to right Watson-Brown Bermuda Silver ,MacDonald Gold, Alvaranga Bronze Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

 

It also  marked the regional Golden Double as she captured the same title at the CARIFTA Games in her hometown of Kingston in April . It marked the second time she is completing the double after doing so in the 11-12 age group in 2016

Regional record for the 100 metre freestyle

Date Meet Medal Time
March 2016 CARIFTA Gold 1:02.02 split 29.40
July 2016 CISC Gold 1:00.26 split 29.18
April 2017 CARIFTA Silver 59.28 split 28.33
July 2017 CCCAN Gold 58.83 split 27.89
April 2018 CARIFTA Gold 57.99 split 28.17
July 2018

 

CCCAN Gold 57.95 split 27.79

Emily spoke to draftingthecaribbean about her performance after the race

“Going the 100 I was a bit nervous at first. The meet has  not been great so far .In my 200 metre freestyle I got a cramp in my leg and ended up doing a bad time as I added 5 seconds to my personal best and I did not swim the Championship final of the 50 metre butterfly because of that injury and the 100 metre butterfly was not a good race overall.so going into this race I was very nervous as I did not know how I was going to perform because I had not done well so far but I was just going to try my best. That was my mindset heading into the final.I told myself I prepared for this meet and I have trained so hard for this and it does not make sense not swim my heart out. Going into the heats  said I am going to just try and hopefully come in the top 8 fand hopefully seed first for the final. That is what I did and ended up doing a 58.70 .Going into the final I was going up again Logan Watson-Brown from Bermuda who I know is a great swimmer and I was even more nervous.I knew I wanted to get a Gold medal but was still not sure because of how I was performing. Before I stepped on the blocks I knew I had done all that I can to get this far and I know that I have done all I could possibly do to achieve a best time in this race so I was going to do what my coach told me to do which was best time.As I swam the race I remembered doing the splits in training  and swimming the first 50 in a particular time and pushing hard on the last 25 metres into the wall which I did and recorded a personal best which I am very happy about and I got the Gold medal that I wanted”.

Cameron Brown 15-17 50 breaststroke medal ceremony
15-17 50 metre breaststroke medal podium from left to right Brown,Cheong and Russell Photo courtesy of CCCAN

In the Boys 15-17 50 metre breaststroke Cameron Brown ended a decade old medal drought for Team Jamaica when he secured the Silver in a new personal best of 30.23. He tied Brandon Cheong for the medal while the Gold was won by The Bahamas Tyler Russell in 30.16. The last time Jamaica got a medal in the 15-17 age group in this event was in 2007 in El Salvador when age group star Brad Hamilton won Silver in 30.59.

Cameron gave his thoughts to draftingthecaribbean about the swim

“I knew it was going to be straight line line heading to the wall.I pushed to the very last second.I was suprised to see a new PB of 30.23 when I looked at the scoreboard”.

Morgan 100 free Harold Wilson
11-12 100 metre freestyle medallists from left to right Vickles Silver medallist,Crooks Gold medallist and Cogle Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

11-12 dynamo Morgan Cogle secured  more precious metal at the Championship .She lowered her 100 metre freestyle from 1:03.11 to 1:02.59 to secure Bronze.The title went to Jillian Crooks of the Cayman Islands in a time of 1:01.72 and the Silver to Gabrielle Vickles of Trinidad and Tobago in 1:02.33.

Cogle 200 IM Bronze pict
11-12 200 IM medallists from left to right Crooks, Anthony and Cogle Photo courtesy of CCCAN

In the 200 metre individual medley she ended a more than decade old drought when she won Bronze in 2:37.44.That medal winning swim puts her within sight of the age group record of 2:36.26 set by Annabella Lyn in 2012. Gold was won by the another 11-12 standout Zoe Anthony of Trinidad and Tobago in 2:32.91 and Silver to Crooks in 2:36.70.

 

Bronze was won by the 15-17 800 metre freestyle relay team of Annabella Lyn ,Gabrianna Banks, Bryanna Renuart and Naomi Eaton who stopped the clock in 9:07.22. Gold went to Aruba in 8:48.55 and the Silver to Honduras in 8:59.65.

The personal best tally moved from 28 to 47 at the end of Day Four

Name Event Personal Best Previous Best
Morgan Cogle Girls 11-12 200 IM 2:39.42 2:41.26
Morgan Cogle Girls 11-12 200 IM 2:37.44 2:39.42
Joshua Mair Boys 11-12 200 IM 2:37.13 2:41.26
Jaedon Lynch Boys 11-12 200 IM 2:39.06 2:40.93
Sabrina Lyn Girls 13-14 200 IM 2:37.06 2:44.98
Sabrina Lyn Girls 13-14 200 IM 2:35.25 2:37.06
Nathaniel Thomas Boys 13-14 200 IM 2:29.56 2:29.83
Joshua Mair Boys 11-12 50 metre breaststroke 36.52 37.23
Joshua Mair Boys 11-12 50 metre breaststroke 36.14 36.52
Jaedon Lynch Boys 11-12 50 metre breaststroke 36.23 36.45
Sean-Douglas Gooden Boys 15-17 50 metre breaststroke 31.35 31.43
Cameron Brown Boys 15-17 50 metre breaststroke 30.23 30.64
Morgan Cogle Girls 11-12 100 metre freestyle 1:03.10 1:03.11
Morgan Cogle Girls 11-12 100 metre freestyle 1:02.59 1:03.10
Adrian Balfour Boys 11-12 100 metre freestyle 1:02.42 1:03.28
Emily MacDonald Girls 13-14 100 metre freestyle 57.95 57.99
Nathaniel Thomas Boys 13-14 100 metre freestyle 56.12 56.95
Daniel Mair Boys 11-12 100 metre freestyle 1:02.60 1:06.15
Jaedon Lynch Boys 11-12 200 metre butterfly 2:46.50 2:51.11
Jordane Payne Boys 15-17 200 metre butterfly 2:17.58 2:18.43

 

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ZAREK WILSON LEADS STRONG 11-12 AGE GROUP TO BE A MAJOR FORCE IN TEAM TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO’S MEDAL COUNT AT CARIFTA 2018

The recently concluded 2018 CARIFTA Championships saw a very strong contingent from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago dominating the 11-12 age group in Kingston.The 11-12 team included Nikoli Blackman,Zoe Anthony,Joy Blackett,Gabrielle Vickles,Josiah Changar,Amelia Rajack,Savannah Chee-Wah, Stachys Harley,Nieshelah Caseman, Caitlyn Look Fong ,Sheni St Hilaire and Zarek Wilson.

Team TTO 11-12
TEAM TTO 11-12 swimmers at CARIFTA 2018 Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

They were also the major force behind the squad earning 19 Gold 19 Silver and 7 Bronze as the youngsters hauled in 15 Gold, 14 Silver and Two Bronze.

Team TTO opening ceremony
Team Trinidad and Tobago at the opening ceremony Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

In the relays Team TTO did not place below Silver for any relay and fittingly they won the 400 mixed freestyle relay . The team of Anthony , Changar ,Chee-Wah and  Blackman swam under the old Championship record of 4:10.82  twice, in the heats 4:05.25 and final 4:08.60.

young 11-12 female
11-12 400 medley relay Silver medallist from left to right Zoe Anthony, Caitlyn Look Fong, Neishelah Caseman, Savannah Chee-Wah Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

 

T and T Gold medal
400 medley relay Gold medallists from left to right Josiah Changar, Nikoli Blackman, Stachys Harley, Zarek Wilson Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

The 11-12’s got their CARIFTA 2018 off on a Golden note as Zoe Anthony won the 200 metre breaststroke in a time of 2:53.55

Zoe Anthony competing in the heats of the 200 mtre breatstroke
Zoe Anthony competing in the heats of the 200 metre breaststroke Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

Leading the medal charge for the 11-12 age group was Zarek Wilson who won 13 Gold medals and set a CARIFTA record in the 400 metre freestyle on his way to winning  the high point trophy .

Elan and Zarek hrold wilson photos
11-12 high point winners girls and boys Elan Daley of Bermuda and Zarek Wilson Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

In many of 11-12  victories for the boys Team TTO delivered a one –two punch for the boys as Wilson and his countryman Nikoli Blackman set a pace that gave their competitors too much to handle.

Blackman and Wilson
Nikoli Blackman and Zarek Wilson Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

Draftingthecaribbean contacted Wilson and he gave us his thoughts

“After Carifta 2017 where I won 2 individual bronze and 2 relay golds I was both satisfied and disappointed at the same time.  Satisfied to have qualified for Carifta after competing at the Goodwill level for several years.  Disappointed because I wanted to achieve so much more.  After the Bahamas, I was able to train more consistently and pay more attention to my dryland exercises, since the Secondary Entrance Exam was now behind me.

Zarek Wilson
Zarek Wilson Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

This year in Jamaica I was satisfied with what I had achieved, especially since this was my final year of the 11-12 age group.My coach, Edmund Pouchet, expanded my swim program, adding new events like the 400 metre  freestyle and 400 metre  individual medley.  These two events ended up being memorable.  The 400 metre freestyle was a battle with my friend Nikoli Blackman.  We both went under the Championship record (4:29.92 Samson Boileau Guadeloupe), but I was able to out touch him at the end (4:27.78 to 4:27.89).

Zarek with Landon Von Kanel trophy
Wilson with the Landon Von Kanel trophy for the 11-12 swimmer who wins both the 200 and 400 metre freestyle races. It is awarded in honour of Von Kanel who was a top swimmer from The Cayman Islands who left us too soon Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

And the 400 metre individual medley was on the back end of a triple, which  included the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke.  Head Coach Shawn Pouchet really encouraged me when I was feeling tired.  He reminded that I had actually been been practicing for days like this.  His encouragement paid off for me.  Even though it was painful, I was able to persevere and gain my third personal best of the day  (5:10.41).

Blackman and Wilson preparing to race
Zarek and Nikoli preparing to race Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

 

CARIFTA in Jamaica was a really enjoyable experience for me. The atmosphere was great and I was happy to share the podium with my team mate and friend Nikoli on multiple occasions.  We have been swimming, competing and having fun together since we were  6 or 7 years old. Now that CARIFTA is over, I am preparing for CCCAN in Aruba.  After that I will sit down with my coach, Edmund Pouchet, and begin planning for next year, which will be my first year in the 13-14 age group”.