Heading to the London 2012 Olympics no English speaking Caribbean swimmer had graced the final of the 50 metre freestyle.

The legend known as George Bovell III of Trinidad and Tobago made his intention known from early at the London Aquatics Centre with the fastest swim of the morning heats with a blast of 21.77.

The semifinals of the splash and dash would see him repeating that time and getting the fifth fastest time in the final.

The final on August 2,2012 saw him cutting through the water to place seventh in 21.82.

History created and another chapter written in the Bovell legacy.


Before Bovell at the Olympics there was Hilton Woods of then Netherlands Antilles who had placed eighth in then B finals in 1988. Woods, the 1987 PAN AM Games Bronze medallist (23.39) made it to the B final with a swim of 23.46 before registering 23.65 in his second swim at the Seoul Games.Finishing just ahead of Woods was Mark Andrews 23.64 who represented Trinidad at the PAN AM Games a year earlier and had won Bronze in the 100 metre freestyle.

Allan Murray .Photo courtesy of

In 1996 Allan Murray of The Bahamas , a great CARIFTA region sprinter of his era also made it to the B final. He set a then national record of 22.75 in the heats to be 11th overall. In the B final he tied for fourth place in the race with the legendary Brazilian sprinter Gustavo Borges in a time of 22.92.


Staying in Europe exactly a year later at the Barcelona World Aquatic Championships George would make another breakthrough for the CARIFTA region. This time the series leading into the final was like a building swim. Bovell was 14th in the early qualification with a time of 22.09. The semi finals saw him cracking the 22 seconds barrier with a 21.74 earning the last available spot.

Men of Speed. 2013 medla podium from left to right Morozov, Cielo and Bovell

This August 3,would be even better than the previous year. His reaction time was 0.71 off the blocks his turn of speed however would be even greater as he rocketed to 21.51 to earn the Bronze medal. Silver went to Vladimir Morozov of Russia in 21.47 and the Gold to Brazilian César Cielo in 21.32.

Bovell in flight . Photo courtesy of Mike Lewis


Bovell at this stage in his career had made three World Championships finals and also set the Championship record in 2009 with his still standing national record swim of 21.20 during a swim off to make the Championship final. No other swimmer has made the 50 metre freestyle final so many times or held the Championship record.

Ricardo Busquets .Photo courtesy of primerahora

Only Puerto Rican sprint star Ricardo Busquets who won Bronze at the 1998 Perth Championships can match Bovell re medal count.


What makes those years especially historic and inspirational is what George overcame before the London Olympics.Reggae icon Buju Banton summed it up best in his hit song “Not An Easy Road”

“It’s not an easy road
And many see the glamour and the glitter so them think a bed of rose”

In his own words Bovell spoke about his ordeal to his home club Marlins of Trinidad and tobago

” My brain injury before London – I had terrible vision and memory loss. I was forced to remain very quiet because if my blood pressure raised from an elevated heart rate it could have caused the bruise on my brain to bleed, giving me a stroke which could have been potentially fatal. It was a very stressful time because for a while there I had no guarantee that everything would be ok and the prospects having a stroke or having to undergo brain surgery had me absolutely terrified and unable to have peace of mind. After progressive brain scans we saw that my brain healed up and I was allowed to return to training. I lost so much strength and fitness that I think to fight back and make it to the Finals in London will be something that I will continue to be proud of for the rest of my life.”

The legacy of Bovell III continues to be a source of motivation not only for the swimmers of the region that he represented but athletes in all sports. An indomitable spirit and an unquenchable thirst for excellence.



On this day sixteen years ago Bovell was already building a legendary swimming career and his swim in the NCAA Division I Championships cemented his status in the year year that would be arguably one of the best of his career.

Goerge Bovell III Photo courtesy of

Heading to Nassau County Aquatic Center, East Meadow, New York George had crowned himself as the SEC Champion having won the title in Georgia a month earlier. Those Conference Championships were held in short course yards. In the final he set a new Championship record and pool record of 1:43.73 holding off another legend in the making University of Florida’s Ryan Lochte who won the Silver in a time of 1:43.84 .

Ryan Lochte .Photo courtesy of

Bovell broke the championship record of American Olympian and Florida Gator Greg Burgess 1:43.91 and the pool record of 1:44.03 held by Austrian Olympian Stanford’s Markus Rogan .

Burgess won the Silver medal in the 200 metre individual medley at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and would rise to the rank of Major in the US Marines.He,like George was a student of the world famous Bolles high school.

George was already the best 200 Individual medley swimmer ever in the yards pool having won the 2003 NCAA crown in 1:42.66.

In New York a new challenge awaited the Caribbean Conqueror as the meet would be held in the 25 metre pool. The world record in the 200 IM belonged to Hungarian Attila Czene and Jani Sievinen of Finland at 1:54.65.

Attila Czene .Photo courtesy of American Hungarian federation

Czene had won the Bronze in the event at the Olympics behind Burgess and teammate Tamás Darnyi. Four year later at the Atlanta 1996 Games he would win Gold . He would make his last Olympic appearance at the 2000 Sydney Games ,just finishing outside of the podium placing fourth.Attila had set his world record as a freshman at Arizona State when the NCAA held the 2000 Championships in short course metres

Jani Sievinen .Photo courtesy of

Sievinen had won the Silver behind Attila in 1996. He had set the World record five times in the 25 metre pool and held the World record in the Olympic sized pool for nine years

In the morning heats it was clear that sea change was in the making for CARIFTA region swimming as he topped the qualifiers with a time of 1:54.68. In the final after the first 100 metre it was a three man between future Olympic medallists Rogan, 52.97, followed by Bovell with Lochte a touch behind 54.06. Bovell used a breaststroke split of 32.99. His rivals could not handle that Caribbean heat as they both had splits of 34s. That break away led to the fastest freestyle split of 27.01. The total time read a new new pool, national , NCAA , US Open and World record time of 1:53.93.

Markus Rogan .Photo courtesy of

Rogan won the Silver in a time of 1:55.51 and Lochte the Bronze in 1:55.62.


200 IMCzene 2000Bovell 2004
Total Time1:54.651:53.93
Bovell posing with Gold medals won at the 2003 PAN AM Games .Photo courtesy of


1999PAN AM Games Canada2:08.081st B final
2001World Champs Japan2:01.504th
2003World Champs Spain2:00.065th
2003PAN AM Games Dom Rep1:59.49Gold CR
2004NCAA Championships 1:53.93GOLD WR


In winning Gold Bovell would become the first English speaking CARIFTA region swimmer to hold a swimming world record. He would hold the world standard for more than a year when another Hungarian László Cseh would set a new mark of 1:53.65

Fred Bouquet .Photo courtesy of

In 2004 swimmers in the NCAA system and across the world knew of Auburn’s FOUR HORSEMEN Americans Derek Gibb, Ryan Wochomurka, Frenchman Fred Bousquet and Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell III. They rode into the Championships and certainly brought an end to thoughts of any other male team lifting the title in the sprint freestyle events. As they took the 200 and 400 metre freestyle relay titles.

George Bovell III21.40
Derek Gibb21.04
Ryan Wochomurka20.76
Fred Bousquet20.55
Total Time1:23.75
George Bovell III47.06
Derek Gibb47.16
Ryan Wochomurka47.51
Fred Bousquet47.12
Total Time3:08.85

Both relay efforts were the fastest the world had ever seen . The 200 metre freestyle relay record was 1:24.83 and the world record 1:25.55.Bovell recorded the second fastest time at the Championships leading off this relay . Fast Freddy Bousquet would set the world record in the individual race clocking 21.10.

In the 400 metre freestyle relay the World record had stood to Sweden at 3:09.57 and the NCAA record 3:11.25. The times had to stand as a world best because of the different nationalities the FOUR HORSEMEN represented.

George Bovell would leave the NCAAs with One official World record and Two unofficial World records.

The meet was a great success for Bovell as he lead off the 200 metre freestyle relay in the second fastest time done at the meet. He would also take Silver in the 400 medley anchoring the relay team with a time of 46.58.In the 800 metre freestyle relay where the team placed fourth he started off in a time of 1:44.81 that would have would won Gold in the individual race. In the individual 200 metre freestyle he won the Bronze in 1:45.13.

The NCAA Championships proved critical in another major CARIFTA milestone at the 2004 Athens Olympics which draftingthecaribbean will discuss when that date is near.

The swimmers from the twin island Republic and the region can take pride in George’s efforts and the path that he has made for those that have come after.


Trinidad and Tobago’s Graham Chatoor continues to rise to the occasion when the big meets arrive. The latest evidence of his quality was seen at University Athletic Association (UAA) Conference Championships Wed Feb 12- Sat Feb 15 while representing his school New York University.

Graham travelled to the University of Chicago with a personal best of 4:26.85 recorded at the Ithaca College Bomber Invitational . That time rattled the school record of 4:26.60 held by Ian Rainey from 2015. That standard was again given its final rites during the heats when Chatoor cruised to number one seeding of 4:27.85.He also eased past his Conference Championships record time of 4:27.89.

Graham before 500 yard freestyle title defence. Photo courtesy of Laurence Holzman

In the Championship final Emory sophomore Patrick Pema lead the field opening with a 100 split of 49.46. Pena kept at bay Chatoor, his teammate Thomas Pritchard and University of Washington’s Mason Kelber. Graham who is known as the “Closer ” in the event did just that. With Pema having almost a 2 second lead going into the last 50 yards Graham cut that down as Pema split 3:58.07 to Chatoor’s 3:58.74. Then it happened, the 6’5 sophomore from Port of Spain put in the turbo and split 25.60 to ensure that the tittle stayed in New York courtesy the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago with a new personal best, school , Championship and Conference record of 4:24.30.

Silver went to Pema in 4:24.97. The Bronze was earned by Mason Kebler in 4:25.69.

Graham Chatoor on the butterfly of the 400 yard individual medley Photo courtesy of Laurence Holzman

The following day he would get another personal best in the 400 yard individual medley . He started the season with a time of 4:17.97. In the morning heats he dropped that to 4:13.61.

Chatoor pushing toward yet another personal best on the breaststroke leg of the 400 yard individual medley .Photo courtesy of Laurence Holzman

In the C final he placed third in another best of 4:12.82.

In the 800 yard freestyle relay the NYU team moved up from 5th place to fourth. This time completed the longest freestyle relay in a time of 6:43.14 compared to 6:48.73 in 2019. Chatoor also was much faster on his second leg duties as he split 1:40.13 compared to 1:42.95 last year.

In his final event the 1650 yard freestyle earned another podium position . He won Bronze in a time of 15:22.40 faster than his winning time last year of 15:24.13. Silver was won by Kebler in 15:21.93 and the Gold to Pritchard in 15:15.44.

The Violets placed third overall with 1298. Runner up position went to University of Chicago in 1579 and the overall champions were Emory with 1595.5.


Graham at the 2019 PAN AM Games Photo courtesy of Total SporTT

Chatoor ‘s performance follows up on a great 2019 long course season where he lowered the national record in the 1500 metre freestyle. At the 2019 PAN AM Games in Lima Peru. He established himself as the best long distance freestyler ever from the twin island republic with a time of 16:13.84. The old standard of 16:19.43 was set by Sebastian Paddington more than 2 decades earlier. In swimming that race he also got under the national mark of 8:40.00 set by the legendary George Bovell III in Santa Clara in 2000.


Chatoor will head to the Division III Swimming Championships ranked third nationally in the 500 yard freestyle and 1650 yard freestyle. He will be looking for national titles as well as the mantle of the CARIFTA region’s fastest ever swimmer in the 1000 and 1650 yard freestyle events.

Matthew Lowe .Photo courtesy of Towson University

He established himself as the best with his title winning swimming in the 500 yard freestyle bettering the time of 4:24.79 set by Bahamian Matthew Lowe. He will also be chasing down Lowe’s standards in the 1000 and 1650 yard freestyle of 9:13.80 and 15.16.95. Lowe set those standards when he won the Colonial Athletic Association Championships title in the mile swim in 2015. Lowe is now an assistant coach at his alma mater Towson University


500 yard freestyle4:24.344:24.79
1000 yard freestyle9:15.839:13.80
1650 yard freestyle15:22.4015:16.95
400 LCM freestyle4:02.774:01.07
1500 LCM freestyle16:13.8416:07.43
Graham Chatoor powering his way to Gold in 2019. Photo courtesy of

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to the defending UAAA 500 yard freestyle champion in February and got his thoughts about the 2020 Conference Championships.We asked Chatoor what was going through his mind those last 100 yards of the 500 yard freestyle as he went for the win

“I honestly didn’t even see the guy that I was racing until the last 25 yards. I was mostly just trying to finish strong, thinking I was coming in second because the other guy (Pema) took off really quick. When I saw that I was with him I put my head down and started sprinting because I realized I could actually win”.

We also asked about how training been for this year to get such a time drop from last year

” I’m definitely working a lot harder this year, and training’s gotten more difficult too. My coach and I set out goal times at the beginning of the year, and I’ve hit two of them so far. Going for the third one at NCAA’s next month.I’m working a lot more on the fine-tuning and technical aspects of my races”.

He also spoke about tell me his record breaking 1500 metre freestyle swim in 2019 where he broke the old national standard of the 1500 freestyle 16.19.43 and  the 800 metre freestyle where he split 8:36.00 which is better than Bovell’s 8:40.00.

“In that one I was focusing on just keeping my stroke long and strong, so as not to panic and start chopping.  I knew I was on the 800 and 1500 records so I was doing my best to just stay smooth and accelerate as I went along. I didn’t know I got the 800 record till I got out”.

He also elaborated on the lessons he learnt from hisfirst NCAA’s that will help in 2020 and a tough set that has helped with his progress this year

” I definitely wasn’t mentally prepared enough going into NCAA’s last year, but I’ve been working on that a lot more now.My coach has a test set where we do 15 100’s on 1:30, all out, and we have to remain consistent throughout the set.We do it a few times a year, so seeing the progress and the times dropped definitely gives a confidence boost”.


Patrick Groters Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Before 2019 became history Aruban Patrick Groters was making his own for Aruba and himself. Competing at the US Open in December Patrick lowered the national record in the 200 individual medley. He crushed the old standard of 2:03.33 set during the preliminaries of the 2019 Pan AM Games in Peru to take it down to 2:01.62  on Dec 5.He set that time during the morning heats of the meet bettering the 2020 Tokyo Olympic B standard of 2:03.26.
That historic swim would earn him a second swim in the B final where he would again be much better than the B standard placing sixth in a time of 2:01.84.

The meet which was held at the McAuley Natatorium , home of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games sees Patrick as fourth  on the all time rankings of the best from the CARIFTA region in the event.

Jeremy Knowles Photo courtesy of Bahamas swimming
Bradley AllyBarbados2008 Olympics1:58.57
George Bovell IIITrinidad and Tobago2004  Olympics1:58.80
Jeremy KnowlesThe Bahamas2008 Olympics2:01.35
Groters Brothers Patrick and Jordy

Patrick is being guided on his road to Tokyo by his older brother Jordy. Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Jordy after the competition and got his thoughts about Patrick’s progression since the PAN American Games in August

“During the taper Patrick was definitely swimming very confidently and doing some pretty good times. Swimming the same race seemed very reasonable. During the race, however, the splits he did were faster than what we had trained for. The butterfly was right on what he needed to be. The 29.9 backstroke and 35.4 breaststroke were absolutely unreal. We had trained to for 30-mids in backstroke and 36 in breaststroke. The freestyle was the only let down of the race, being the only split that was slower than his race at Pan AMs by about half a second. We tried to improve that freestyle in Finals and it was even more obvious in that race how crucial a good closing leg is. Patrick swam in between Will Licon (2019 US PAN AM Games Gold medallist in the 200 IM) and Caeleb Dressel (2016 Olympic Gold medallist,2019 50 metre freestyle World Champion)  in the B final and was ahead of Dressel and right behind Licon at the 150. Dressel’s monster freestyle leg almost won him the race, touching only 0.01 behind Licon. Patrick touched two seconds after them despite being “in the race” at the 150. To be fair, Patrick’s freestyle was a bit faster than the morning but he wasn’t under 30 seconds like he was at Pan AMs. Considering how much of the other splits he improved from Pan AMs, he could’ve been 29 low or maybe even 28 high. Had he done that then he could’ve even been 2:00“.

Record ComparisonPAN AM GamesUS Open
Total Time2:03.332:01.62

Jordy also spoke about the way forward

“Regardless of all these hypotheticals, I was beyond ecstatic with the result. Another giant time drop so close to the last one is a huge confidence booster and a great sign for the coming months. There’s still about 6 months to go before the Olympic qualification window is closed. Six months to work on the back-half and make sure he can race the likes of Dressel and Licon until the end! I believe six months is more than enough time to make another 200 IM improvement and even challenge the A standard. He’ll definitely be challenging the B standards in both Backstrokes, as well. Those events were a little off this meet but the mission was a success. We came here to get a B cut and he was well beneath it”.

Andrew Phillips Photo courtesy of

The CARIFTA region has enjoyed success in this event. In 1984 Jamaican Andrew Phillips became the first person to make the Olympic final placing sixth  in a then national record time of 2:05.60.

Bradley Ally Photo courtesy of panamerican world

In 2008 in Beijing China Bradley Ally of Barbados was just .10 outside the Olympic Final with a semi-final effort of 1:59.53 finishing ninth overall. He had set the CARIFTA region’s fastest time ever with a swim of 1:58.57.

George Bovell III Photo courtesy of

The crowning moment for this event was the Athens Bronze medal swim by Bovell in a time of 1:58.80.

The region is looking forward to seeing what the next few months will hold for Patrick as he looks to add to the Aruban and CARIFTA legacy at the Olympics.

2019 WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS 50 metre breaststroke women Commander Alia Atkinson continues to be the CCCAN standard bearer with fourth place Championship finish

When Jamaican and CCCAN swimming icon Alia Atkinson navigated her way to second place in her semi final breaststroke she ensured that there would be a swimmer from the region competing in a Championship final.

In that final Atkinson gave it her all and finished fourth in a season best time of 30.34. Gold was won by American Lilly King in 29.84, Silver to Benedetta Pilato of Italy in 30.00 and the Bronze to Russian Yulia Efimova 30.15.

Alia Atkinson prepares to compete

In making the Championship final she created more history. In making the the semi finals she is the only swimmer from the CCCAN region to make three semi finals in this event. In making the Championship final she is the only swimmer from the CCCAN region to make two Championship final in the race. In fact she is the only swimmer male or female to make it beyond the preliminary round of the event.

Atkinson still retains the CCCAN record for the best placing in a 50 metre event at the 2015 Kazan World championships with her Silver medal and national record swim of 30.11.Other swimmers who have earned the distinction of making a World Championship final in a 50 metre race include fellow legends George Bovell III of Trinidad and Tobago and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of The Bahamas.


Goerge Bovell III Photo courtesy of
NameEventTime YearPlace
Alia Atkinson50 breaststroke30.112015Silver
George Bovell III50 freestyle21.512013Bronze
Alia Atkinson50 breaststroke30.3420194th
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace50 freestyle24.4420156th
George Bovell III50 freestyle22.0420117th
  Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 50 butterfly25.9320157th
George Bovell III50 freestyle21.5320097th
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace Photo courtesy of Mike Lewis

National record holder Evita Leter recorded her second best performance at the World Champs when she placed 41st in a time of 34.58.

Evita Leter

This is Leter’s fourth consecutive World champs competing in this race.

Naima Hazell Photo courtesy of Eddie Hazell

St Lucian Naima Hazell who was fifth in this event at CARIFTA in the 13-14 age group with a time of 35.85 shattered that time with a new PB and St Lucian 13-14 record to place 42nd overall in a time of 34.79. . Hazell who has one more year in the age group will be aiming for the CARIFTA Championship record which stands at 34.29. It was set by Shne Joachim of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 2015.

Naomy Grand’Pierre

Haiti’s first female Olympian Naomy Grand’Pierre who is back in the water after a significant time recovering from injury was 46th in a time of 37.02.


The fans at the Aquatic Centre in Wildey, St Michael Barbados were on hand to witness a lightning quick national record performance in the 15 and over 100 metre backstroke by Jack Kirby. The occasion was the 28th Aquatic Centre International Invitational Swim Meet.

Jack Kirby Photo courtesy of Pirates Swim Club Barbados

Before second day of the competition on May 25 the fastest a Barbadian swimmer had ever navigated the two back stroke race was 56.19 . That mark was set by Kirby in a fifth place finish in the Championship final at the 2018 CAC (Central American and Caribbean Games)in Barranquilla Colombia. But this is new year with new standards to be achieved and Jack certainly did that .

When the starter’s gun sounded two swimmers separated themselves from the field with their excellent underwater work Kirby of the Pirates Swim club and Nicky Neckles Olympian (1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney and Athens and CAC 100 metre backstroke medallist (Bronze 2002,Gold 2006,Silver 2010).

Barbados Backstroke Stars Jack Kirby and Olympian Nicky Neckles Photo courtesy of Pirates Swim Club

Jack gained the ascendancy and pushed his way to the lead with a split of 27.77. Kirby’s underwater work was almost as good if not better than the start . He used that to gain a sizeable lead and all eyes were now on the clock. He did not disappoint with a final 50 metres timed at 28.03 which helped to a total time of 55.80.

There was a change of tactics for this record swim as he went out more conservatively to bring it home faster. As evidenced by his splits in 2018 which were 26.77 and 29.42

The first swimmer under 56 seconds in the event in Barbados lowering the meet and open record of 56.76 set by Venezuela’s Luis Rojas in 2012. Second went to Neckles of Flying Fish Masters in 1:01.29 and Bronze to Nkosi Dunwoody of Alpha Swim club in 1:07.37.

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Kirby about his achievements and he gave us the following thoughts.He first spoke about why the race was special

” The race was special because I was able to achieve my goal at home in front of my friends and family”.

He also spoke about the training behind his great underwater work

” For the underwaters, I practice them everyday in warm up. We always have these 8 50s and as I go through them, I do 4 kicks off the turn for 3 50s, 6 kicks off the turn for 3 50s, and 8 kicks off the turn for the last two. The goal is to work on going far with those kicks. So by time I get to the 8 kicks, I break out at 15 metre mark. In the race, I do 8 kicks off the turn, hoping to get to the 15 metre mark”.

He also told draftingthecaribbean about his mindset before the race

” I kept my thoughts pretty relaxed before the 100 back. I planned to go after it the same way I always do. Back half it because I’m pretty good with easy speed, so I had to trust my wall and back end speed”.

His new personal best and national record also moves him past Jamaican record holder Olympian Timothy Wynter, a recent USC (University of Southern California) graduate on the best all time English speaking CARIFTA region list. That list is headed by another USC graduate Trinidad and Tobago Olympian Dylan Carter.Jack now holds two of the three senior national backstroke records to include the 50 metre backstroke at 26.07. The last remaining record he does not own is the 200 . That mark was set by Neckles in 2006 in a time of 2:00.85.

CARIFTA backstrokers at USC from left to right Carter,Kirby and Wynter Photo courtesy of swimmingworld
NameFirst 50 Second 50100Year
Dylan Carter TTO26.4127.6854.092019
Rex Tullius USVI26.6128.4655.072016
George Bovell III TTO26.1829.0455.222012
Jack Kirby Bar27.7728.0355.802019
Bradley Ally Bar27.3828.5055.882011
Timothy Wynter Jam26.9329.2256.152016
Shaune Fraser Cay28.0628.9356.992011
Jack Kirby Bar26.7729.4256.192018


Outgoing Missouri senior Aruba’s Mikel Schreuders is leaving the SEC Championships with his name in the record books and his first title in the 200 yard freestyle.

Mikel Schreuders the best 200 yard freestyler the SEC Championships has ever seen.Photo courtesy of Madeline McKernan

Last night in Georgia he reaffirmed his position as the best 200 yard freestyler that the Championships has ever seen when he won Gold in a new PB, school and SEC record time of 1:31.27 . That bettered his lead leg relay split of 1:31.61 on the opening day of the SEC Championships at the University of Georgia.Silver was won by Joey Reilman of Tennessee in 1:32.35 and the Bronze went to Khader Baqlah of Florida in 1:32.71. He is now the second fastest swimmer in the event across all divisions this year. Through determination and the goal to set higher standards for himself each year at these Championships Schreuders had swum faster all of the four years he has competed.


200 yard freestyleGoldBronzeFourth Fifth
First  5021.2022.1722.1222.92
Second 5023.0323.9323.9223.99
Third 5023.2723.5424.0323.56
Fourth 50 23.7723.6024.0023.88
Final time1:31.271:33.241:34.061:34.35

Schreuders now adds Aruba to the CARIFTA region nations that have won individual titles in the men’s 200 yard freestyle

Shaune Fraser Photo courtesy of

2004George BovellAuburn1:34.54Trinidad and Tobago
2007Shaune FraserFlorida1:35.05Cayman Islands
2008Shaune FraserFlorida1:34.23Cayman Islands
2009Shaune FraserFlorida1:33.73Cayman Islands

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to the SEC Champion after his race and he shared his thoughts on the race

“The race was amazing .Before the race I was not trying to focus on any specific time.I was just trying to go out there and have fun and do the best I can. I felt good the entire way.Afterward of course it hurt a little bit but that always happens.It feels good not only to represent my school and my name but also Aruba and all the kids from the Caribbean”,

Mikel Scrhreuders.Photo courtesy of mutigers


The second day of the SEC championships being held in Georgia. Mikel Schreuders and Albury Higgs both set new personal bests and recorded their highest ever placings in the 50 yard freestyle and 200 yard individual medley respectively.

Albury Higgs Photo courtesy of

Higgs of the Bahamas competing for the South Carolina Gamecocks earned her first ever spot in an SEC final in the 200 yard IM when she lowered her personal best from 2:00.37 to 1:58.30, an NCAA B qualifying time. In 2018 she had placed 38th overall. She would have more in store in the C final as she lowered that time further to place 6th overall in 1:58.24. This is a big improvement from November 2018 when she recorded her previous best heading into the SEC’s as seen by the splits below

Albury Higgs
Total time2:00.371:58.24

With her SEC performance Higgs now moves from joint fourth to the third fastest performer in South Carolina history.

Mikel Schreuders Photo courtesy of

Aruban Mikel Schreuders of Missouri earned his best ever placing in the 50 yard freestyle when he won Bronze in the event in a new personal best time of 19.24. Coming to Georgia Mikel had a personal best time of 19.45. He lowered that in the morning heats to 19.31. Schreuders has swum faster each year he has contested this event.

201819.691st C final

With that swim he now moves from fourth to second fastest all time in Missouri Tigers history. He moves to being the third fastest ever performer from the CARIFTA region . The list is headed by the legendary George Bovell III Trinidad and Tobago who is the region’s fastest ever swimmer in yards, short course metres and long course metres

Goerge Bovell III Photo courtesy of
2009George Bovell III18.98
2017Dylan Carter19.04
2019Mikel Schreuders19.24
2018Justin Plaschka19.30
2009Shanune Fraser19.30
Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of

In 2017 at the NCAA Championships during the heats Schreuders had anchored the 200 yard freestyle relay to a time of 1:16.78 , a new school record,with a split of 19.61.That enabled the Tigers to make the final . He never swum in the final and the team placed seventh with the exact same time. In Georgia he blew past the 19 seconds barrier to split 18.77 on the second leg. Mikel, along with Luke Mankus 19.48,Danny Kovac 19.14 and Kyle Leach 19.29 combined to swim to a new school record of 1:16.68 and place fourth.

Mikel Schreuders in action Photo courtesy of Krebs


The second day of the Tokyo leg of  the FINA World Cup was another successful day for the Caribbean at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center with Commander Alia Atkinson leading the way with yet another breaststroke Gold, Dylan Carter shattering his national backstroke record and recording the best ever time form the CCCAN region and Elisbet Matos swimming under 2 mins in the 200 metre freestyle.

Alia in Berlin after competition
Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of FINA Swimming World Cup – Berlin / Official Fanpage

Alia Atkinson , world record holder in the 100 metre breaststroke was back at her irrepressible best in the championship final of the event.The race was always going to be a battle between Atkinson and her Russian rival Yulia Efimova. With the sounding of the starter’s gun it was an identical reaction time between Alia and Yulia with both registering a response of 0.67. That would be where the similarities would end. Atkinson known for her excellent underwater work displayed that and took the early advantage. It would be a lead she would not lose as she took the first half of the race out in 29.67 shadowed by Efimova in 29.78.  There would be no waning of strength on the second 50 metres as Alia outsplit the field again with a time of 33.42 to win a time of 1:03.09. This her second consecutive win in the event this season.

Video courtesy of FINA

Yulia won the Silver in a time of 1:03.42. The Bronze went to Siobahn  O’Connor who clocked 1:05.07. Atkinson took out the race in her fastest split for the season and still had the speed endurance to take the win which augurs well for the defence of her title at the World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou China from Dec 11 to 18.

Dylan Carter
Dylan Carter Photo courtesy of Dylan Carter

When Dylan Carter flew into Tokyo his nation’s national record for the 50 metre backstroke stood at 25.14 held by Jeron Thompson.That time would be committed to the pages of history as he lowered the Republic’s national record as well as the unofficial CCCAN record to become the first from the region under 24 seconds in the event with a clocking of 23.73.

Rodolfo Falcon Photo courtesy of

He bettered the CCCAN best of 24.32 set by another icon from the region Rodolfo Falcon of Cuba.Falcon had set that time on Mar 17,2000 when he won the Bronze medal in the event at the World Championships in Athens Greece. Carter’s newly minted standard from the heats would get the same record breaking treatment in the Championship final as he placed fourth in a time of 23.43.

The Gold went to Jiayu Xu of China in 22.87. The silver to American Michael Andrew in 23.17 and Japanese Takeshi Kawamoto in 23.36. Carter’s time would have made the World Championship final in event in every edition from 2000.

There would be another Championship final for Carter as he qualified for the final of the 100 metre freestyle with a time of with a time of 48.06 (split time 23.08). In that final he would place 5th in a time of 47.75( split time 22,79) .Carter had the fastest reaction time of the field of 0.59 of a second.

The race was won by Russian Vladimir Morozov in 45.16,in yet another World Cup record, Silver to Australian Kyle Chalmers in 45.78 and the Bronze to American Blake Pieroni in 46.79.

Elisbet Matos Photo courtesy of

Cuba’s Elisbet Matos remains on pace for good performances at  the upcoming World Championships with her performance in the 200 metre freestyle.She recorded a time of 1:58.80. At the last edition  of the Championship in 2016 she had placed 30th in a time of 2:01.08.







Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of

Miss Alia Atkinson will formally be conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander on Jamaica’s Heroes Day from Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, at King’s House tomorrow October 15. She is being recognized for  outstanding representation of Jamaica in the field of swimming and being the first black woman to win a World Championships Title.

John Lopez Photo courtesy of Jamaica Information Service

The sport of swimming will also be represented tomorrow by veteran swim Coach John Lopez who will be awarded the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Officer for his  contribution to disability and paraplegic sports.Mr Lopez founded the Marlin Swim Club in 1959, and started a swimming programme at the Mona Rehabilitation Centre (now Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre) in 1963.

George Bovell
Goerge Bovell III Photo courtesy of

Alia covered herself in more glory by lowering her own world record in the 50 metre breaststroke ( 25 metre pool ) to 28.56 on October 6. With that record Atkinson extends her lead in having the most world record swims from the region. Also on this list are Olympians George Bovell III and Martinique’s Coralie Balmy.

Coralie Rio
Coralie Balmy Photo courtesy of Coralie Balmy

Name Country Event Time Date Location
George Bovell III Trinidad and Tobago 200 metre IM (scm) 1:53.93 March 25,2004 East Meadow NY USA
Coralie Balmy Martinique/France 200 metre freestyle (scm) 1:53.18 December 6,2008 Angers,France
Alia Atkinson Jamaica 100 metre breaststroke (scm) 1:02.36 December 2,2014 Doha, Qatar
Alia Atkinson Jamaica 100 metre breaststroke (scm) 1:02.36 August 26,2016 Chartes,France
Alia Atkinson Jamaica 50 metre breaststroke (scm) 28.64 October 26,2016 Tokyo,Japan
Alia Atkinson Jamaica 50 metre breaststroke (scm) 28.56 October 6,2018 Budapest ,Hungary

Maureen Croes
Maureen Croes General Secretary of CCCAN

Maureen Croes ,General Secretary of CCCAN , the regional governing body for swimming had the following thoughts on Atkinson’s World Record.

“Another very positive result for our region. Very proud to see Alia’s hard work and determination pay of and bring her in the well deserved spotlight. I hope that her story can bring excitement to our entire region, for the athletes, for our sport as a whole and  maybe even for the administrators, leaders and coaches  to see that it is possible to compete on the World stage”.

Eddie Hazell
The President of the St. Lucia Amateur Swimming Association, Eddie Hazell

The President of the St. Lucia Amateur Swimming Association, Eddie Hazell also offered congratulations and spoke of Alia’s impact on the region

“We in St.Lucia are elated at the success and achievements of Alia. She is well known to quite a few of our swimmers who has had the honor of both speaking too and receiving words of encouragement from her. Not surprising, her personal journey now acts as an inspiration to many of our competitive swimmers. St. Lucia Amateur Swimming Association extends congratulations to Alia on such a superb performance. We stand with you in pursuit of your goals and wishes you all the best. Thank you Miss Atkinson – you are a true inspiration to all”.

Jason Wickham
ASATT PRO Jason Wickham

Words of praise also came from the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago through its Public Relations Officer Jason Wickham

“On behalf of the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago we would like to extend our congratulations to Alia Atkinson on the establishment of a new world record. Alia has been flying the flag of Jamaica and the entire region for a number of years and this is testament to the hard work she has put in. She continues to bring glory to the Caribbean. Coming from this and the success of  Caribbean athletes on the world stage including our Dylan Carter that there will be a   region wide mentor ship initiative from our seasoned athletes so that will continue producing top class athletes that will excel on the global stage”.

Algernon Cargill Bahamas
President of The Bahamas Aquatics Federation Algernon Cargill

President of the Bahamas Aquatics Federation Algernon Cargill also lauded Atkinson

“The Caribbean has produced many firsts in sports certainly we know about all the successes in track and field and swimming has been producing  the same level of outstanding results. The Bahamas Aquatics Federation extends sincere congratulations to Alia Atkinson and our friends in the ASAJ on Alia’s outstanding world record. She has demonstrated that aquatic sports in the Caribbean is among the best in the world.Not only because of Alia’s outstanding swim in the breaststroke but moreso because we are always overshadowed by the results of track and field. Alia has broken through and again has set another world record .Her performance in the  50 metre breaststroke will be an example for many Caribbean swimmers to emulate in the future. What is outstanding is that she is achieving these results in the latter stages of her career and she has demonstrated that when you continue to work hard and compete clean that you will be blessed with outstanding results.The Bahamas Aquatics Federation recognizes that Alia’s started during her CARIFTA years and continued during her college career and of course the The World Championships and Olympic Games.She has continued to work hard and her diversity in swimming other events positions for an outstanding performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.So we congratulate Alia and wish her well and continue to pray that she will continue to represent the Caribbean of course Jamaica at the high standard as she has always done”.

King’s House serves both as the official residence of the Jamaican Head of State and as a Department of Government.