Day one of the Tennessee State Champs on Friday Feb 9 saw the CARIFTA region earning Two Gold medal from the Barbados Boys at Baylor Luis Sebastian Weekes and Jack Kirby.
Luis won his first individual Gold medal in his final high school meet in the 200 yard individual medley. He had set a new personal best of 1:51.36 (Split time 52.72) in the event at the SPEEDO Winter Nationals -East in December but would not be content with that in his final school meet. In the morning heats he cruised to the Championship final with a new PB of 1:50.99 (split time 52.45) to be the top seed. In the final he opened faster than in the preliminaries with butterfly split of 24.29 to be fourth. He then unleashed a 27.78 backstroke leg to take the lead and halfway split of 52.01 .Jack Hamilton of Webb tried to make a move with Weekes and stay close with his split of 52.34. As the boys from Baylor have shown they have superior back end speed and this would be no different Weekes pulled away on the breaststroke leg to gain a lead of more than a second then recorded the fastest freestyle leg of the meet of 26.35 to record yet another personal best of 1:50.22 to win by almost 2 seconds. Gabriel Johnson of Chattanooga Home School won Silver in 1:51.95 and Hamilton won the Bronze in 1:52.68. The Gold emphasized the great improvement Weekes has made in the last year as he finished 4th last year in 1:52.17. He now moves form 11th all time at Baylor to 4th and the number one CARIFTA region swimmer at the school.
The meet started with the CARIFTA connection of Kirby and Weekes providing the first half of the Gold medal winning 200 medley relay team.
In the preliminaries Kirby continued his great PB breaking streaking when he broke 23 seconds for the 50 yard backstroke for the first time. His previous best was 23.03 set leading off the relay team at the SPEEDO Winter Junior National Championships –East. Yesterday he rocketed to 22.65. In the final he was again under 23 seconds leading off in 22.82. Weekes provided a breaststroke split of 25.41 to give Baylor an insurmountable two second lead. Teammates Zach Althoff butterfly 21.96 and Piotr Kurleto freestyle 20.37 ensured that the team romped home to a more than two second win clocking 1:30.56. Maryville High won Silver in 1:33.99 and McCallie won Bronze with Jamaican Alex Mignott doing anchor leg duties in 1:34.78.
This win is the third fastest performance in Baylor history. The second fastest includes the quartet that had Kirby leading off at the 2017 Winter Junior Nationals that did 1:30.55. The fastest time at Baylor and the fastest high school performance is 1:27.74 from 2014 that included Bahamian Dustin Tynes and Barbadian Christian Selby. This is the first Gold medal for Baylor since the 2015 season where the team won in 1:32.20 and included Bahamian Gershwin Greene and Selby.
The Bahamas’ Gershwin Greene had an impressive showing at the recently concluded 2017 TISCA ( Tennessee Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association) held from February 10-11 at the Allan Jones Aquatic centre at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Representing the Baylor school Greene won Gold and Silver medals.
Gershwin’s victory would come in the 200 yard freestyle relay when the Baylor team of Trey Freeman Jr (20.21), Greene (20.60) ,Matthew Boyer (20.89) and Jack Best (21.33) clocked a winning time of 1:23.03. The Baylor Boys repeated their 2016 success as they won last year in 1:23.18. Greene was faster at this year’s Championships as he clocked 20.67 on the 2nd leg in 2016.
He would earn another medal in the 200 yard medley relay. The team of Zach Althoff backstroke (23.16), Boyer breaststroke (25.75) ,Peter Lochmaier butterfly (21.92) and Greene freestyle (20.50)won the Silver in a combined time of 1:31.33. This was an improvement for the same team that swam 1:31.99 for the Bronze medal in 2016.
In the 50 yard freestyle Greene , who won the Bronze medal in the boys 15-17 50 metre freestyle at CISC last summer showed improvement from the 2016 TISCA Championships. He placed 4th this year in 20.99. He was faster in the morning heats in a time of 20.98 just off his personal best of 20.95. In 2016 he was 5th in 21.13.The Bronze medal was by Mathew Lattin of Brentwood High in 20.97 a mere .02 ahead of Gershwin.
In the 100 yard freestyle he was 4th in a time of 46.23 (split time 22.10) .In the morning heats he clocked a personal standard of 46.22 (split time 22.01) bettering his previous best of 46.59. Last year he was 8th in a time of 47.11 after clocking a then personal best of 46.59 in the preliminaries.
Baylor won the boys’ Championship with 377 points as well as the combined Championships with 584 points.
The final day of action of the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming championships in Hawaii saw the entire male contingent from The Bahamas in action in the 50 metre freestyle. It would be Gershwin Greene and Jared Fitzgerald who would make it to the final in the event.
Greene entered the meet with a 23.71 which he registered at the RBC national championships when he won Bronze in the 15 and over category. He equalled that time of 23.71 to place 13th overall and earn a second swim. In the B final he went faster to clock 23.68 to finish 7th overall. He had the following thoughts about the competition
“Overall I have been learning from the top swimmers in the World. This is my first meet outside of the Caribbean regional meets and some the United States (mainland) meets I .It is really motivating me to learn from them and be the best I can be.”
Fitzgerald who recently committed to the University of Indiana (https://swimswam.com/bahamas-national-teamer-jared-fitzgerald-commits-indiana-2017) and is the reigning 15-17 CARIFTA champion continued his quest for his first sub 24 seconds performance. After taking the CARIFTA title in Martinique in 24.00, he would log 24.06 for 4th at the Caribbean Islands Swimming championships CISC. In the heats he would post 24.02. The B final saw him placing 8th in 24.05.
Izaak Bastian who is the 2016 13-14 boys CARIFTA champion in the event equalled his Gold medal winning time and personal best time of 24.25 to place 24th .
The 15-17 Silver medallist N’nhyn Fernander was 25th in 24.27.
Bastian would just miss a second swim in the 200 metre breaststroke when he placed 17th in 2:26.08 (split time 1:09.59).
The quartet would combine their efforts for 7th in the 400 metre medley relay. The splits for each leg were Greene backstroke 1:05.17, Bastian breaststroke 1:06.82, Fernander butterfly 55.89 and Fitzgerald freestyle 52.49 for a total time of 4:00.17. The day before in the 400 metre freestyle relay they were also 7th. In relay order the splits were Fitzgerald 52.19, Fernander 52.64, Bastian 54.79 and Greene 53.44 for a final time of 3:33.06.
Day 2 of the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii of Friday August 25 saw the region’s male swimmers in action in the 100 metre freestyle and 100 metre breaststroke.
Jared Fitzgerald of The Bahamas qualified for a lane in the afternoon in the 100 metre freestyle event when he posted a time of 52.13 (split time 24.96). Fitzgerald’s earlier efforts in the season saw him winning Silver medals in the 15-17 boys category both at CARIFTA and CISC (Caribbean Islands Swimming championships). He was also a member of a record setting Peddie School’s 200 yard freestyle relay team that broke a standard that lasted over a decade. In the evening’s B final he had 50 metre splits of 25.01 and 27.21 to place 7th in a time of 52.06. That barely missed his lifetime best of 52.05 set at CISC. After the swim he had the following words
“Overall I am happy with my results so far.I am really enjoying the experience I am getting here. I am enjoying racing against the top swimmers who are my age.This is really motivating me to get back in the pool and train harder for next season.”
Teammate Izaak Bastian has been in great form in the boys 13-14 100 metre breaststroke for the year 2016 .At CARIFTA he captured Gold in a championship record time of 1:07.24. At his national championships he took the Gold again in a new meet record of 1:07.22. AT CISC he raised the bar for 13-14 boys when he became the first swimmer to go under 1:07.00. In the process he also lowered the Bahamian record of 1:07.22 by 2016 Olympian Dustin Tynes. In Hawaii the regional standard was set even higher. Competing in the heats he posted a time of 1:05.86 (split time 30.95 and 34.91) to finish 21st in yet another English speaking CARIFTA region best. He had the following thoughts
“ I have been having a good meet so far. It is good exposure for me. It is my first big international meet. I have been having a good time swimming against the top juniors in the world and it has been great to have this experience.
Also in action in the 100 metre freestyle at the high quality junior meet on Friday August 25 were Bahamians N’nhyn Fernander, Gershwin Greene and Bermudan rising star Jesse Washington. Fernander took almost a second off his lifetime best when he clocked 53.01 (split time 25.43) to place 33rd. Greene was just off his personal best of 53.28 when he clocked 53.41 (split time 25.78) for37th overall. Washington finished just behind Greene when he registered a time of 53.65 (split time 25.54).
The CARIFTA region’s talented youngsters are currently displaying their skills at the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Hawaii. Two countries will represent the region at this meet, The Bahamas and Bermuda.
The Bahamas contingent includes sisters Albury and Lilly Higgs, N’nhyn Fernander, Gershwin Greene and Jared Fitzgerald. The team from Bermuda consists of Jesse Washington and Madelyn Moore.
The meet which also features teams from the United States of America, Japan, Canada and Australia has seen a number of competitors and meet record holders that have gone to perform well in senior waters. Those names include Rio 2016 Gold medallists Townley Haas and Simone Manuel.
On the first day of competition on Wednesday August 24 Fernander and Fitzgerald set personal bests.
In the 200 metre freestyle Jared dropped time by more than a second to stop the clock in 1:58.96 (split 57.57) and finish 26th.
Teammate Fernander lowered his personal best time by almost time by almost 2 seconds to register a time of 1:01.88 (split time 29.81) for 18th .
Lilly was 42nd in the 200 metre freestyle with a time of 2:12.12.Washington was 29th in the male equivalent in 2:02.67.His teammate Moore was 28th in the 100 metre backstroke in 1:09.23.
The final day of the 2016 RBC National Swimming Championships on Sunday June 26 saw the sprint monarchs Olympians Elvis Burrows and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace retaining their titles in the 50 metre freestyle.
Burrows beat the field convincingly to crown himself the Fastest Man in the Bahamas in a time of 23.26. Earlier in the heats he took the longstanding Championship record of 23.21 set by fellow Olympian Allan Murray in 2000 when he was timed in 23.01.That performance was under the 2016 Rio Olympics B standard time of 23.05 The victory by Burrows marked his 8th senior national title since 2008.
The title wins were as follows
The 26 year old sprinter who represented Freeport Aquatics at the Championships had the following thoughts about his performances.
“My training has been going well for the last year and a half .I got the B cut back in November and I am swimming very close to that time right now. I expect to go much faster at the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships. Overall at Nationals I got two meet records that was my goal and I achieved it so I am happy with my performance”.
Winning the Silver medal was Perez Moss of Alpha Aquatics and the Bronze went to Gershwin Greene in 23.71.
Sprint queen Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace marked her 8th senior title in emphatic fashion. She broke her championship record 25.10 with her morning heats swim of 25.05.In the final she would lower it even further and become the first Bahamian woman under 25 seconds at nationals with a 24.94 clocking. That performance was her 3rd best effort of the season and both swims were under the 2016 Rio Olympics A standard time of 25.28.
Her previous title wins were as follows
Winning Silver was team mate Joanna Evans in 27.07 and Alpha Aquatics took the Bronze in 27.83.
In the men’s 100 metre breaststroke Dustin Tynes recorded a hat trick of wins when he took the event in 1:03.03. He broke the Championship record of Jeremy Knowles set back in 2008 of 1:03.78. Tynes headed a Swift Swimming sweep as team mates Joshua Wong and former record holder Knowles won Silver and Bronze in 1:08.49 and 1:08.78 respectively.
The women’s race saw Albury beating sister Lilly for the Gold 1:13.81 to 1:14.41. The Bronze went to Victoria Russell of Alpha Aquatics in 1:17.23.
Joanna Evans led another Swift Swimming trifecta in the 400 metre freestyle when she stroked her way to a time of 4:17.37. Teammates Lilly Higgs and Brianna Nesbitt were timed in 4:52.09 and 4:53.20 respectively. The win by Evans was under the 2016 Rio Olympic B standard time of 4:17.80.The win marks her 4th victory as a senior.
The national senior relay title went to the team of Perez Moss, Miller Albury, Jared Fitzgerald and Armando Moss from Alpha Aquatics. They crushed the championship record of 3:36.47 set by Barracudas team Matthew Lowe, Gershwin Greene, N’Nhyn Fernander and Kohen Kerr with their total time of 3:31.54. That winning performance threatened the national record of 3:31.46 set by the 1999 PAN AM Games team of Christopher Murray, Jeremy Knowles, Christopher Vythoulkas and Allan Murray. The previous Championship record holders the Barracudas went under their 2015 time with a 3:35.70 swim. Swift Swimming won the Bronze medal in 3:51.15.
In the 13-14 age group Izaak Bastian set a new record in the 100 metre breaststroke with a 1:07.52 clocking. He would join teammates Kevon Lockhart, Benjamin Lundy and Benjamin Lundy in setting new Championship mark of 3:49.68 in the 400 metre freestyle relay.
Izaak’s record breaking exploits would extend to the sprint freestyle as he became the first 13-14 swimmer under 25 seconds when he registered 24.56 to take the 50 freestyle title.
Peter Morley of Swift Swimming gave the 13-14 200 metre backstroke national record of 2:16.56 a scare when he touched in a new championship record of 2:16.88. That crushed the old standard of 2:19.58.
Lamar Taylor of Freeport Aquatics completed the freestyle championship record sprint double. This as he took the win and set a new standard in the 11-12 boys 50 freestyle in a time of 26.79.
Swift Swimming took the team title with 1768.50 points.Second went to Barracudas Swim club with 1611.50 and third to Alpha Aquatics with 860 points.
Charlotte Backovic Bronze medallist Girls 50 metre freestyle Photo courtesy of carifta2016mque
Bahamian standout Izaak Bastian (Saint Andrews) accounted for 3 of the 8 records that fell on the final day of the 2016 CARIFTA swimming championships on Friday March 25.
The first Championship record actually fell to Kenzo Simons in the boys 13-14 age group as he bettered the 2011 record of Aruban Jordy Groters (Missouri) by the slimmest of margins 24.49 to 24.50.
He would return to swim the identical time in the final but that is when Bastian dropped more than a second from his preliminaries to time to record a new Championship record of 24.25. In setting the record he also lowered the 24.64 Bahamian age group record set Gershwin Greene (Baylor) in 2013.Simons would pocket the Silver while Julien Berol of Martinique took the Bronze in 24.69.
He would lower another Championship record in the 100 metre breaststroke .He would take out the first 50 in 32.46 and come home in the only sub 36 split of 35.30 to touch the wall in 1:07.76.That time bettered the 1:07.99 set by countryman Dustin Tynes (Ohio State) in 2011. Bastian swept the breaststroke events all in record time. Jeremie Delbois of St Maarten was second in 1:10.68 while Luke Gillette of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 1:11.17.
Izaak’s final Gold medal and Championship record was in the 200 metre freestyle relay. The team of Heindrick Champrobert 25.76, Samuel Gibson 25.45, Darren Laing 25.44 and Bastian with the fastest split of the relays 23.89 touched in a total time of 1:40.54.The old record of 1:40.90 was set by the 2010 Trinidad and Tobago team of Joshua Romany (Tennessee) Dylan Carter (USC), Blaine Sobrian and Keegan Boisson-Yates (Iona). The 2013 age record of 1:42.58 set by Jared Fitzgerald (Peddie),Alexander Encinar (Peddie) Miller Albury (Cantebury) and Michael Hernandez. Martinique won the Silver medal in a time of 1:41.32 and Suriname the Bronze in 1:41.73.
McCallum Clarke of Barbados completed the breaststroke sweep in the 11-12 age group. He broke the Championship record of 1:13.81 by Aruba Brandon Cheong set in 2014 when he clocked 1:13.67.That time equalled his age group record set in February of this year. In the final he went out in 35.23 over a second and clocked the only sub 38 last 50 of 37.87 to win a new Championship and Barbadian age group record of 1:13.10.Silver went to Alexander Joachim of St Vincent and the Grenadines in 1:17.30 and the Bronze to Sam Williamson of Bermuda in 1:19.34.Sam broke Keegan Wooley’s Bermudan age group record of 1:22.23 set in December 2015.
It was yet another dominant display by the Higgs sisters Lilly and Margaret (SwimMAC Carolina) in yet another breaststroke event. Both ladies went out in hard in times of 33.87 (Margaret) and 33.97 (Lilly) respectively. Coming home Lilly split the only sub 39 time of 38.15 to edge her sister for the Gold 1:12.12 to 1:12.94.She also earned herself the Championship record as she beat the standard of 1:12.33 set by Trinidad and Tobago representative Alexandria Donahue (Brown) in 2013.Jamaican Bryanna Renuart won the Bronze in 1:16.58.
In the backstroke events it was Barbadian rising star Danielle Titus that took the spotlight in the 200 metre race .In the final she held off the challenge of Bermudan standout Emma Harvey 2:25.72 Silver and Yasmina Frederic of Guadeloupe Bronze 2:32.04 to take Gold in a new Championship record of 2:24.16. For Titus that breaks the Barbadian age group record of 2:27.75 set by Amara Gibbs set in 2011.It was also the fastest time done by a girl in the 200 metre backstroke race at the Championships. Harvey also lowered her age group record of 2:31.64.
Jamaican Olympic hopeful Keanan Dols lowered the 15-17 boys’ record of 2:07.48 set Cayman Islands Olympian Brett Fraser (2008, 2012) in 2007 to 2:07.26 in the morning heats. He would return to take the Gold medal in the final with a time of 2:07.30. The Silver medal was won by Patrick Groters (Pine Crest) in new Aruban age group and senior national mark of 2:08.95.Groters had set both previous standards at 2:09.34 set CARIFTA 2015 in Barbados.
In the 400 metre freestyle events Laureen Foumann of Guadeloupe completed the 11-12 200 /400 double when she won in 4:50.79.Silver was won by Danielle Treasure of Barbados in 4:52.17 while the Bronze went to Lamar Taylor of Trinidad and Tobago in 4:53.43.
In the 13-14 girls age group Titus of Barbados won in 4:40.37 ahead of Franelly Angele of Guadeloupe 4:45.60 and Jada Chatoor of Trinidad and Tobago 4:45.89 who repeated her .Bronze medal performance in the 200 race.
The senior girls race went to Barbadian Hannah Gill (Baylor) in a time of 4:29.76.Lilly Higgs won yet another medal placing second in a time of 4:34.89.The Bronze was won by Vanessa Esposito of Bermuda in 4:35.50 in a new Bermudan 17-18 record. The previous record was set by Nicole Yearwood at the 2009 CARIFTA championships.
In the 11-12 boys age group it was the exact same order from the 200 race as Mitch Bourgeouis won in 4:32.94.His teammate Tom Lerno took the Silver in 4:38.86 and Clarke of Barbados the Bronze in 4:44.00.
In the 13-14 age group Anaique Zachelin of Guadeloupe 4:15.03 Gold switched places with Heindrick Champrobert of Martinique 4:19.11Silver from the 200 event, The Bronze was won by Anthony Mercury of Guadeloupe in 4:21.15.
Alex Sobers of Barbados repeated his 2015 feat of being the senior boys 200/400 freestyle champion as he won in 4:02.01.He killed of the race as a contest with his 200 split of 1:57.25, the only sub 2minute split of the competition. Second was his teammate Damon St Prix in 4:07.94.The Bronze went Aruban Daniel Jacobs in a time of 4:08.87.
In the sprint event Jamaican Emily MacDonald was crowned the fastest 11-12 girl in the CARIFTA region when she touched the wall in 28.15.In winning the race she also lowered the 2001 record of 28.23 set by Olympian Alia Atkinson (2004, 2008, 2012).The Silver went Naele Portecop of Guadeloupe in 28.80 and the Bronze to Logan Watson-Brown of Bermuda in 28.83.
Chade Nercisio of Curacao is the fastest 13-14 girl in the CARIFTA region as she stopped the clock in 26.98. She finished ahead Harvey of Bermuda 27.17 and Analia Pigree of French Guiana 27.29.
The senior girls title went to Bermudan Madelyn Moore in a time of 26.75.She held off Jamaican Kelsie Campbell who touched in 27.13 and Charlotte Backovic of Guadeloupe 27.32.
The fastest 11-12 boy in the CARIFTA region is Youris Geran of Guadeloupe who clocked 27.07.The Silver was won by Leandro Berenstein of Suriname in 27.22 and Lamar Taylor of the Bahamas won Bronze in 27.68.
Jared Fitzgerald of the Bahamas crowned himself the senior boys sprint king with his clocking of 24 .00.He was pushed to the win by teammate N’nhyn Fernander 24.11and Steven Aimable of French Guiana 24.15.
In the 100 metre breaststroke races Sabine Ellison of the Cayman Islands proved she was the best female breaststroker in the 11-12 age group when she completed the sweep and won the 100 in a time of 1:23.67. Kate-lye Brivet of Guadeloupe won the Silver in 1:24.99. Audrey Moore of the US Virgin Islands took the Bronze in 1:25.27.
Nercisio of Curacao confirmed she had no equal in the 13-14 when she took the 50,100 and 200 treble. She won the 100 metre race in a time of 1:15.89. Willi-insha-marie Jules-Marthe of Martinique won the Silver in 1:17.54.Guadeloupe’s Farah Sheikboudhou took the Bronze in 1:18.77.
Adriel Sanes of the USVI took the senior boys title in the 100 metre breaststroke. His opening 50 split of 30.49 proved to be the major difference as he held off Trinidad and Tobago’s Jeron Thompson 1:05.45 to 1:06.23.The Bronze went Alexander Encinar of the Bahamas in 1:07.15.
In the 200 metre backstroke races Treasure of Barbados held off a fast finishing Anouk Kamise of Guadeloupe to take the 11-12 title 2:30.03 to 2:30.73.She also prevented Kamise from sweeping the event .Kamise’s teammate Foumann won Bronze in 2:37.71.
Lauren Hew of the Cayman Islands prevented yet another sweep of the top spots by the Higgs sisters when she took the senior girls event in 2:27.12.Margaret took the Silver in 2:29.33 while sister Lilly was a touch behind in 2:29.51.
Yael Touw Ngie Tjouw of Suriname completed his marathon individual programme when he completed the 13-14 boys backstroke sweep. He took the event in 2:14.83 ahead of teammate Simons in 2:16.58 and Peter Morley of the Bahamas 2:17.80.
The 200 metre freestyle relays which was the last event of the competition saw the ladies of Guadeloupe being crowned the fastest in the 11-12 age group with a time of 1:58.86.They finished ahead of Martinique and the Bahamas who were timed at 1:59.55 and 1:59.97 respectively. The fastest split was provided by Guadeloupe’s anchor Naele Portecop who clocked 28.38.
The ladies from Trinidad and Tobago are the fastest in CARIFTA region for the 13-14 age group as they took top hours in a time of 1:53.57.They held of the challenges of Barbados 1:55.30and Martinique 1:56.95 respectively. The fastest split was recorded by Danielle Williams of Trinidad and Tobago who anchored her team in a time of 27.82.
The senior girls relay was won by the Martinique team in a time of 1:50.75.Team Jamaica finished with the Silver in a new national age group record of 1:50.85 and Guadeloupe took the Bronze in 1:51.09.The fastest split was recorded by Mika Heideyer of Martinique who recorded 26.91 on third leg duties.
In the 11-12 boys race Guadeloupe were crowned Champions with their time of 1:50.24.Bahamas won the Silver in a time of 1:54.73 with Barbados taking the Bronze in a time of 1:55.31. The 50 freestyle Champion Geran ensured that he left the meet with a sub 27 clocking .He led off his team with a time of 26.97, the fastest of the relays.
The final race saw the Bahamas team confirmed as the fastest in the CARIFTA region with their winning time of 1:37.48.Trinidad and Tobago won the Silver in 1:38.08 and the Bronze went to Martinique in 1:39.28.The fastest split was record by N’nhyn Fernander who posted 23.78 on the 3rd leg for the Bahamas.
Guadeloupe topped the medal standings winning 23 Gold, 25 Silver and 18 Bronze medals. Bahamas finished second overall with 22 Gold, 22 Silver and 12 Bronze medals. Barbados was third with 18 Gold, 11 Silver and 15 Bronze medals.