Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson reaffirmed her iconic status in the region and the World with yet another medal at the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in Hangzhou China. This time she created history in the 100 metre individual medley when she won her second consecutive Bronze medal.
Atkinson made her way to the Championship final with heats and semi finals swims of of 59.69 and 58.20 respectively.
In making the Championship final she would be seeking to break the tie with Trinidad and Tobago’s legendary swimmer George Bovell III as the only swimmers from the CCCAN region to win a medal in the event. Bovell was the pioneer, winning Bronze at the 2012 Championships in a time of 51.66. Atkinson matched this feat in 2016 in Windsor Canada with a Bronze medal of her.
When the gun sounded this morning for the final it was heavy favourite and World record Katinka Hosszu of Hungary and America’s Kathleen Baker that took the race out and were the early leaders after the butterfly and backstroke legs with times of 26.36 and 26.44 . Atkinson trailed badly and was last at the half way mark with her medal hopes seemingly in tatters.
Bestowed with a national award this year on Heroes in October Commander Alia seemingly drew upon the strength of Jamaican national heroine Nanny of the Maroons in the face of such adversity and decided to kick her race into another gear .An excellent pullout from backstroke to breaststroke and Atkinson went to work chasing down her rivals. Clearly the best breaststroke sprinter in the world she gained momentum into the final wall overhauling one rival. Another fantastic turn and she passed a competitor based on the strength of her underwater work. After that she was ticking off the swimmers one by one in the freestyle. The distance to c cover everyone was a bit too much on this occasion and she ran out of water. However she had worked herself onto the podium again to win the Bronze medal in 58.11,a season best and the third fastest time of her career. In her amazing comeback she also created history by swimming the fastest ever second half of the 100 metre individual medley in the 11 editions of 30.20. Gold went to Hosszu in 57.26 and the Silver medal to Runa Iamai in 57.85.
Atkinson would tie with the Katinka for the second most appearances in the this event with four. The record for Championship appearances is held Slovakian legend Martina Moracova. Katinka has not been in a Championship final without Atkinson. Alia now has the regional record for the most medals in the event with two Bronze medals.
Head coach of Team Jamaica Chris Anderson described the race “Alia’s 100 IM she had a great back half. The fastest back half of the meet as far the 100 IM is concerned.Her breaststroke split was great on the thrid 25 and had an amazing last 25.We are really hoping this carries over into tomorrow into the 100 breaststroke and finals.I am really looking forward to great performance”.
The next generation of swimmers who would undoubtedly be inspired her performance in the event Sara Pastrana of Honduras and Alex Maclaren of the Turks and Caicos placed 34th and 38th respectively.
It was the young ladies of Team Jamaica that provided the Gold medals on Day 3 of the 2018 CCCAN Swimming championships on Sunday July 1. Team Jamaica won Four Gold medals along with One Silver and Two Bronze medals to have a Day Three total of 14 medals Five Gold Three Silver and Six Bronze medals.
Leading the way was 11-12 standout Morgan Cogle who started the proceedings in the 200 metre freestyle. She eased in to the finals taking some four seconds off her personal best to be seeded third with a PB of 2:19.47. In the Championship final it was close until the first 50 metres then Morgan and Trinidad and Tobago age group star Zoe Anthony separated themselves from the field .At the 100 it was Zoe with a slight edge 1:04.58 to Cogle’s 1:04.76. She increased that lead at the 150 metre mark 1:39.76 to 1:40.27. Then came an awesome battle on the last 50 metre Morgan came roaring back with a final 50 of 33.89 to Anthony’s 35.01 to win in a new PB and age group record of 2:14.16 to 2:14.77 for Anthony which was also a PB. The Bronze went to the Cayman Islands standout Jillian Crooks in 2:16.95. Both Anthony and Crooks are the reigning CARIFTA Silver and Bronze medallists with times of 2:17.64 and 2:19.09 recorded in Kingston earlier this year.
Morgan lowered the age group mark of 2:15.29 set by teammate Emily MacDonald at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships (CISC) in the Bahamas and become the first Gold medallist for Jamaica in the event in over a decade
Her record breaking exploits would continue in the 400 metre freestyle relay as she anchored the team of Safiya Officer ,Isabella Sierra ,Ireland Hunter to the Gold in a total time of 4:13.74. The Silver went to Trinidad and Tobago in 4:17.32 and the Bronze to Barbados in 4:25.20.
The old record of 4:18.42 belonged to the 2012 CISC team of Angara Sinclair,Tiara Myrie,Annabella Lyn and Annastazia Chin that competed in Aruba
NO LIMITS FOR LYN
Sabrina would complete the butterfly sprint double when she won the 13-14 50 metre butterfly. She came to Aruba with a personal standard of 30.43 . Lyn who is normally know for her back end speed is showing versatility by adding the the sprint fly to her better events. She lowered her personal standard in the morning heats with a time of 30.03 to be the fifth seed heading into the Championship final. The first four finishers clocked 29 s. With teammate Emily MacDonald out the final due to illness Jamaica’s hopes lay solely with Lyn to get a medal. The faith put in her was not misplaced as she destroyed her old personal best and turned in the only sub 29 seconds performance of the race to win in 28.66. Silver went to Bermuda’s Logan Watson-Brown in 29.07 and the Bronze to Colombia’s Laura Catalina Reyes Briceno 29.42
BREAKOUT FOR BRYANNA
The year 2018 will be one to remember for Bryanna Renuart. When the year started she never won any individual Gold but turned that around at CARIFTA when she took the hardest route to Gold and captured the 15-17 400 individual medley title.
A two sport standout in both swimming and cross country track she dropped the latter to focus on swimming. That singular focus has continued to reap big dividends as she won her second career Gold in 5:12.42 holding off the challenges from Alondra Ortíáz of Costa Rica 5:13.30 Silver and Ana Pastrana Honduras 5:14.38 Bronze.
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Renuart and asked her about her accomplishments
“I was really excited to get another gold in the 400 IM. I wasn’t tapered for this meet as I have a few more this summer, so I was very proud to have found the strength to win it, especially because it is my longest and hardest event. Even though it wasn’t a best time for me, my consistency in that race gives me a lot of confidence for my future competitions with the Jamaican team.I don’t see myself as a natural distance swimmer because I have done better in sprints in the past. Knowing that I am swimming so well in that event right now makes me confident that my training is working. I’m excited to have more event flexibility in the future”.
Nicholas Vale would rattle the 15-17 age group record in the 50 metre butterfly when he won the Bronze in a personal best of 25.59. The national record stands at 25.55 to Olympian Timothy Wynter (Rio 2016) set the 2012 CISC . Gold went Trinidad and Tobago’s Kael Yorke who won in 25.17 and the Silver to Curaçao’s Mauricio Payne in 25.50.
Silver was won by the girls 15-17 400 metre freestyle relay team of Annabella Lyn (1:01.28),Bryanna Renuart (1:01.09),Naomi Eaton (1:02.09) and Gabrianna Banks (1:00.95) in time of of 4:05.37. Gold was won by Aruba in 3:57.72 and the Bronze by Honduras in 4:08.21.
The 11-12 boys 400 metre freestyle relay won the Bronze in a time of 4:11.59.The team of Daniel Mair (1:02.98),Joshua Mair (1:02,81),Jaedon Lynch 1:03.61 and Adrian Balfour (1:02.19) finished behind Trinidad and Tobago 4:01.48 and Aruba 4:11.56.
The Personal best count went to 27 at the end of of Day Three
As she did at the 2015 World Junior Championships in Singapore Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas was the CCCAN region’s top performer in the 50 metre breaststroke event today in Indianapolis.
Higgs, who is her country’s standard bearer in the event clocked 32.84 to be in place joint 20th overall with Australian Sarah Beale and be the top swimmer from the CCCAN region. For Higgs who has been unbeaten in this race for the last three years at the CARIFTA Championships this was an improvement in time and placing from 2015 where she finished 21st in 33.19. Lilly was not far off making the semi-finals as it took 32.59 to make the top 16.
Mexico’s Maria Jiminez was 28th in a time of 33.32. Guatemala’s Jimina Ximin clocked in at 36.56 for 39th. It was a keen battle for who would be the top Honduran in the event. That accolade went Paola Cwu who was marginally ahead of countrywoman Angie Vilorio 37.21 to 37.36 to finish 43rd and 44th respectively.
The fourth day of competition at CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago saw Team Jamaica winning One Gold , Three Silver and One Bronze for an overall total of Seven Gold, Six Silver and Three Bronze. The Jamaican contingent was in ninth position with 232 points. The overall tally of personal bests now stands at 34. All the medals won on Day Four were in the 100 metre freestyle event. The Gold came from Emily MacDonald in the girls 13-14 race.
For the second straight summer Emily MacDonald has crowned herself regional Champion in the 100 metre freestyle. At the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships in the 11-12 100 metre freestyle she struck Gold in a then national record of 1:00.26. One year later in the 13-14 age group she has won CCCAN title in a time of 58.83. In the process she also lowered her personal best of 59.20 that she established in the heats. This is the first medal for Jamaica in the event in over a decade. The longstanding 1997 record of 57.54 set by Olympian Janelle Atkinson has been put on notice as Emily still has a year and a half in the age group.
Emily’s 11-12 national record would not survive Day Four. The 11-12 final pitted the Bermudan star duo of Elan Daley and Payton Zelkin against Jamaican speedster Zaneta Alvaranga to see how the medals would be decided. After speaking with her coach about working the last half of her race Zaneta dug deep in the last 15 metres to challenge Daley for the Gold and win Silver in 1:00.24 in a new national age group record. Daley would win Gold in a new Bermudan record of 59.65. Zelkin would take the Bronze in 1:00.56. That is the same order that the medals were won at CARIFTA earlier this year. The last time Jamaica last won a medal in this event was 2013 when Anjuii Barrett won the Bronze.
Nathaniel Thomas added another medal to his haul when he won Silver in the boys 11-12 race. He lowered his personal best set in the morning of 59.04 to 58.37. The medal is a set up the podium from CARIFTA where he had won the Bronze medal. No Jamaican had won a medal in the event for more than a decade. Thomas is now less than a second away from the 2002 national record of 57.43 set by Brad Hamilton. The Gold was won by Bermuda’s Sam Williamson in 58.20.Bronze went to Gabriel Martinez of Honduras in 58.65.
Kelsie Campbell the only Jamaican female representative in the 18 and over at CCCAN Championships keeps adding to her personal medal account in Trinidad and Tobago. She won her fourth medal so far in the 100 metre freestyle stopping the clock in a time of 58.28. This is the first time Jamaica is medalling in the event since 2001 when Olympians Janelle Atkinson and Angela Chuck won Gold and Silver. Gold went Jumar Avila of Honduras in 57.79. Santis Gabriela of Guatemala won Bronze in 59.12.
In the boys 13-14 race Kyle Sinclair dipped below the 56 seconds barrier for the first time to set a new personal best of 55.77 and establish himself as the number one seed heading into the final. In the Championship final he had to over a bad start and work overtime in the last 25 metres to come from behind to win the Bronze in 55.04. This is a big improvement for Sinclair who had failed to make to the final at CARIFTA placing 11th in 57.43. It also breaks a decade long medal drought in the event. Also making up for a disappointing CARIFTA 2017 where he was disqualified in the event was Trinidad and Tobago’s Aqueel Joseph who won gold in 54.85. Kevon Lockhart of The Bahamas won the Silver in 54.97.