AFTER TWO DAYS MORE THAN 10 PAN AM GAMES B STANDARDS REGISTERED AT CARIFTA CHAMPIONSHIPS

The CARIFTA Championships are underway in beautiful Barbados and the region’s junior swimmers are putting on a show with great swims. Since the meet got started on Saturday at the Aquatic Centre in Wildey,St Michael the athletes have been also knocking on the door for senior representation at the PAN AM Games later this year in Lima Peru.

Jada Chatoor Photo courtesy of Bertram Blackman

In the 800 metre freestyle it was Jada Chatoor who threw down the first marker with a time of 9:19.12 under the PAN AM B standard of 9:24.97.She won the Gold medal in the 15-17 age group .This continues the family tradition of distance freestyle excellence .Her older brother Graham won the 1500 metre freestyle in his final year of junior competition at the 2018 edition in Kingston Jamaica. He is also making a name for himself in the collegiate ranks this season as a freshman at NYU.

https://draftingthecaribbean.wordpress.com/2019/02/28/team-ttos-graham-chatoor-crushes-numerous-records-to-earn-rookie-of-the-year-award-at-conference-champs/

Interestingly since being eligible to swim the distance event she has only contested the race twice and has never been defeteated. First in 2017 in The Bahamas when she won in 13-14 in 9:24.69 and now in the Bahamas.It is also the fastest winning time since a certain Joanna Evans of The Bahamas and Texas Longhorns fame contested the event in 2015. Jada has now put the national record of 9:14.78 on notice.

1500 metre freestyle medal podium from left to right Jake Bailey Silver,Luke -Kennedey Thompson Gold and brother Mark-Anthony Thompson Photo courtesy of Alcindor Bonamy

The 1500 metre freestyle for the boys in the 15-17 age group saw Bahamian Luke Kennedy Thompson dipping under the PAN AM B mark .He swam under the time standard of 16:39.97 with a 16:37.95 effort.That is major improvement from his 2018 showing in Kingston Jamaica when he placed fifth in 17:05.64.Leader for most of that race Jake Bailey just got under the B time with a Silver medal performance of 16:39.20

Bastian opening up a lead in the 200 metre breaststroke Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

In the 200 metre breaststroke overwhelming favourite from the Bahamas ,Izaak Bastian was easily under the B standard and gave his championship record of 2:17.78 and PAN AM A standard of 2:17.56 a scare with a 15-17 Gold medal winning effort of 2:18.03. The Florida State swimmer made a name for himself this NCAA season by making the Division I Championship final in the 200 yard medley relay.Bastian has only lost this race once in his CARIFTA career.

Age GroupYearTimePlace
11-1220132:57.427th
11-1220142:39.63Gold
13-1420152:28.15Gold
13-1420162:24.99 heats 2:2378 CRGold
15-1720172:21.14Gold
15-1720182:17.78CRGold
15-1720192:18.03Gold
Alexander Grand’Pierre Photo courtesy of Haiti’s Swim team

Also making a push for senior representation was Silver medallist in the 15-17 age group was Haiti ‘s Alexander Grand’Pierre.He stopped the clock in 2:25.40 just under the B standard of 2:25.79.

15-17 100 metre butterfly podium from left to right Jayhan Odlum-Smith Silver,Ian Pinder Gold and Davante Carey Bronze Photo courtesy of Alcindor Bonamy

In the 100 metre butterfly it was another Bahamian who topped the podium who held up his name to be put on the plane to Lima. Ian Pinder registered a winning mark of 56.80 to better the B standard of 56.95.

Sabrina Lyn 13-14 CCCAN Gold medallist 100 metre butterfly and age group record holder Photo courtesy of CCCAN

It was in the 13-14 age group that the 100 metre butterfly standard was bettered.Jamaica’s fastest ever junior female swimmer in the event Sabrina Lyn bettered the B time of 1:04.93 twice.In the heats she clocked 1:03.47 and then 1:03.19 in the Championship final for new PB,age group record and Championship record and the fastest female time of the meet.

15-17 200 metre freestyle podium from left to right Macdonald,Watson-Brown and Williams Photo courtesy of Mike Critchlow

In the 200 metre freestyle the entire podium party of Bermuda’s Logan Watson-Brown and the Jamaican duo of Emily McDonald and Britney Williams who bettered the PAN AM B mark.The 15-17 trio finished with times of 2:07.86,2:08.72 and 2:08.79 respectively.

Elan Daley Photo courtesy of islandstats.com

The quickest time in the 200 metre freestyle on the day belonged to Bermuda’s Elan Daley .She registered a new 13-14 Championship record of 2:08.03 before crushing that time with a final swim of 2:06.13

15-17 100 backstroke champion and new senior natior record holder Danielle Titus of Barbados

It was almost the case in the 15-17 girls 100 metre backstroke as local girl Danielle Titus won the event in a new Championship record and senior national record of 1:04.60.She broke her old Barbados record of 1:04.79 set in 2018 in Jamaica.

Gabriela Donahue Photo courtesy of floridaswimnetwork.com

Titus was pressed to the wall by Gabriela Donahue of Trinidad and Tobago who also set a new 15-17 and senior national record of 1:05.09.She lowered the mark of 1:05.38 by Kimberlee John -Williams of 1:05.38. Gabriela joins mother Olympian Karen Dieffenthaller Donahue (Seoul 1988) and sister Alexandria as senior national record holders for the twin island republic

EventNameTimeYearMeet
200 freestyleKaren Donahue2:07.031988Olympics
100 breaststrokeAlexandria Donahue1:12.332013CARIFTA
100 backstrokeGabriela Donahue1:05.092019CARIFTA

If Gabriela chooses to go to Brown she can continue the family tradition of becoming an Ivy League champion

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Davante Carey Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

Double sprint backstroke champion at these championships Davante Carey continued the strong showing by the defending champions The Bahamas with his effort in the 100 metre backstroke.He stopped the clock in 59.83.That time was under the B mark of 59.99.

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ZANETA ALVARANGA AND GIRLS 11-12 MEDLEY RELAY BLAST THEIR WAY TO NEW NATIONAL MARKS ON NIGHT 2 OF CARIFTA 2019

Night two of the 2019 CARIFTA 2019 swimming Championships provided yet another session of medals, records and excitement for Team Jamaica.The team at the end of Day Two had recorded 40 new personal bests and were in second place with 690 points and had 34 medals 11 Gold,16 Silver and Seven Bronze medals

The top performance again came from the 13-14 girls . This time it was Zaneta Alvaranga leading the way in the 50 metre butterfly.She gave Team Jamaica and fans on hand a signal of what was to come in the final when she eased to a time of 28.32 ,the fastest female time of the morning heats regardless of age group.

Zaneta Alvaranga Jamaica’s fastest ever female junior 50 metre butterfly swimmer displaying her Gold after recording the fastest female time at CARIFTA Photo courtesy of Mike Critchlow

SPEED AND POWER

In her signature event , the one lap butterfly sprinted she demonstrated why she is Jamaica’s fastest junior swimmer ever in the event.When the starter’s gun fired Zaneta worked her underwaters utilizing almost all of the 15 metres allowable to gain a tremendous advantage when she surfaced. After her breakout it was all about the clock as the field was well beaten. When she hit the pads it revealed a new personal best and national age group record of 27.84. Zaneta lowered her regional mark as the 13-14 fastest English speaking girl in the event. It would prove also be the fastest time by a girl on the night. That performance stands as the second fastest time ever done at CARIFTA by a girl as the 13-14 mark is held by Naele Portecop of Guadeloupe in 2018.She set that mark in Kingston in an epic championship final with Alvaranga where both young ladies recorded sub 28 seconds times of 27.78 and 27.94 respectively for Gold and Silver.In another podium dominated by Jamaica ,Sabrina Lyn won the Silver in a time of 29.13. The outstanding Bermudan swimmer Elan Daley , who broke Zaneta’s CARIFTA 11-12 record in 2018 and is of Jamaican parentage won the Bronze in 29.59.

11-12 girls 100 metre backstroke podium from left to right Higo Cayman Silver, Wainwright Jamaica Gold,Judd Bermuda Bronze Photo courtesy of Mike Critchlow

HOW THE WEST WON

Leanna Wainwright showed no fear in her international outing and Championship final on Day one of these CARIFTA Championships to earn Bronze in the 50 metre backstroke. That confidence from winning that medal carried over to the morning heats of the 100 metre backstroke .She topped the girls 11-12 qualifiers with a morning effort and new PB of 1:12.23. In the evening she displayed that fearless attitude once again when she opened an early lead on the field heading into the turn.Displaying a level of determination well beyond her years Leanna held her nerve when the Cayman Islands Lila Higo made a late charge to win in another PB of 1:11.65. Higo won the Silver in 1:11.76. Imojen Judd, the 50 metre backstroke champion took the Bronze in 1:12.84. Leanna’s countrywoman Giani Francis placed fourth in 1:13.41.

Leanna Wainwright with 100 metre backstroke Gold Photo courtesy of Mike Critchlow

Wainwright,who is a product of Western Jamaican swimming put Jamaica back on top of the medal podium 12 years after age group record holder Kendese Nangle (1:08.49) who in front of a home crowd in 2007

GIRLS RELAY GOLD RUSH

On the 11-12 400 medley relay team only the very confident Kokolo Foster (breaststroke) had previous CARIFTA experience . The other members Leanna Wainwright (backstroke) Giani Francis (butterfly) and Christanya Shirley (freestyle) swam as the uninitiated do , with no inhibitions and not in awe of the occasion. That proved to pay great dividends as they dominated the final to win in a national and Championship record of 4:49.77. That crushed the old mark of 4:52.00 set by the 2002 CARIFTA team of Gillian Stewart,Tamari Farquharson,Kheri Ann Robinson and Rene Wright .Bermuda took the Silver in 4:52.93 with Cayman winning the Bronze in 4:59.98.

That sparked a chain reaction and the girls relay team went on a Golden hot streak.In the 13-14 Championship final Morgan Cogle gave the team a solid start with her backstroke split of 1:15.08. Sabrina Lyn recorded the fastest breaststroke split of her life of 1:15.23 to have Jamaica challenging for the lead. Alvaranga dropped the hammer on the field with her butterfly split of 1:04.23 give Safiya Officer an insurmountable lead . Bahamian Delaney Mizell turned on the jets on the anchor leg but Officer had too much of an advantage as Jamaica won in 4:38.85. Team Bahamas took the Silver in 4:39.15 with Barbados taking the Bronze in 4:41.99.This is the second consecutive Gold for Jamaica in the event.

.Simone Vale backstroke 1:10.37 and Naomi Eaton breaststroke 1:23.27 gave Jamaica the platform for the second half of the relay to challenge for the medals. Emily MacDonald ‘s 1:04.42 butterfly leg ran down all the teams except for Trinidad and Tobago. It was left up to Britney Williams to keep the streak alive and she did not disappoint. She recorded the fastest 100 freestyle of her life of 58.77 to take the win in a total team time of 4:36.83.The swimmers from the twin island republic were second in 4:37.55 and Barbados third in 4:40.55.

Brady Macpherson Lewison 400 IM Gold medallist Photo courtesy of Mike Critchlow

MEDLEY MORNING GLORY

When debutante Brady MacPherson Lewison won the 11-12 boys 400 metre individual medley he created history for himself .He had won his first Gold medal in a time of 5:30.63, a time drop of over ten seconds. It was also the first time Jamaica had been been on podium in over two decades much less winning the Gold. The fastest time recorded by a Jamaican boy in the event was in recent years was 2010 when Kevaughn Campbell placed fourth in 5:37.89.

PUTTING UP RESISTANCE

The boys also swam well out of their comfort zones to land podium places in the medley relays.In the 13-14 boys relay legs done Nathaniel Thomas backstroke 103.73, Jaedon Lynch breaststroke 1:14.77,Jaleel Samms 1:05.34 seemed to have Jamaica outside of medal contention. Cometh the moment,cometh Daniel Mair. Known primarily for his distance and open water freestyle exploits Mair presented his sprint credentials on the anchor freestyle leg .He swam a lifetime best split 56.42 to give Jamaica the Bronze medal edging French Guiana by mere .09 of a second 4:20.26 to 4:20.35. Team TTO won in 4:13.76 with Bahamas taking the Silver in 4:16.65.

In the 15-17 category it was always going to be an uphill task against the mighty Bahamians who had the 100 metre backstroke champion in Davante Carey,CARIFTA record holder in the 100 metre breaststroke Izaak Bastian, 100 metre butterfly champion Ian Pinder and Kevon Lockhart. Nicholas Vale gave Jamaica a good shot a medal with his opening 100 metre backstroke split of 1:01.33, almost a new PB. What made the difference for Jamaica to break out the the chasing pack was a lifetime best effort of 1:06.62 by Cameron Brown on the breaststroke leg.That allowed Jordane Payne butterfly 1:00.66 and Kyle Sinclair freestyle 54.08 to push for the Silver with no real challenge in a total team time of 4:02.69. That was just off the national record of 4:01.27.

Nathaniel Thomas Silver medallist 100 metre backstroke Photo courtesy of Mike Critchlow

Other medals won on Day Two

15-17200 metre freestyleEmily MacDonald2:08.72Silver
15-17200 metre freestyleBritney Williams2:08.79Bronze
15-17200 metre freestyleNicholas Vale1:58.09Silver
11-1250 metre butterflyGiani Francis30.86Silver
11-1250 metre butterflyBrady Macpherson-Lewison29.77Bronze
13-1450 metre butterflyNathaniel Thomas26.73Silver
15-1750 metre butterflyEmily MacDonald28.96Silver
13-14100 metre backstrokeNathaniel Thomas1:02.88Silver

IZAAK BASTIAN HAS MASSIVE TIME DROP AT ACC’S TO BECOME THE FASTEST BAHAMIAN OF ALL TIME IN 100 YARD BREASTSTROKE, HELPS SEMINOLES CRUSH MEDLEY RECORD

Izaak Bastian Photo courtesy of swimswam

The 2018 CARIFTA class remains undaunted in their pursuit for excellence in senior aquatics. One swimmer from that Kingston 2018 class is freshman Izaak Bastian of the Bahamas who had a breakout meet at the 2019 Atlantic Coastal Conference Championships for the Florida State Seminoles.

Izaak Bastian

Before coming to University Bastian’s best in the 100 yard breaststroke stood at 54.21. A time which he lowered at November’s Georgia Tech Invitational where he swam 54.16(split time 25.53). In the morning heats of the event at the ACC Championships held from Feb 27 to March 2 at the Greensboro Aquatics Center in Greensboro, North Carolina he crushed that mark by exactly a second to make his first major collegiate Championship final . His split was 24.80.He is the first Seminole to make the ACC Championship final since Jason Coombs in 2016

Dustin Tynes Bahamas 2016 National Champion 100 metre breaststroke

In the medal race Izaak went out fast in 24.73 and came back in 28.08 to place sixth and earn a new personal best time of 52.81. With that time he now becomes the fastest Bahamian and English speaking Caribbean swimmer of all time in the event .The previous standard was held by Olympian Dustin Tynes (Rio 2016) when he recorded 52.93 (split time 24.78). He set that time at the 2016 Big Ten Championships while competing for Ohio State University.

2014 Baylor medley relay team Christian Selby ,Sam McHugh,Coach Dan Flack, Tynes and Luke Kalizak Photo courtesy of swimming world magazine

Tynes along with Christian Selby of Barbados were members of the 2014 Baylor team that hold the American independent high school relay record of 1:27.74.

That swim by Bastian make the second fastest performer in Florida State history behind Coombs who holds the record at 52.11 from the 2015 NCAA Division I Championships. The fastest time from the CARIFTA region is held by Aruban Jordy Groters who recorded 52.70 (split time 25.16) form the heats of the 2016 NCAA Division I Championships.

TOP TIMES FROM THE CARIFTA REGION

Jordy Groters Photo courtesy of flaswimnetwork.com
NameCountryTimeYear
Jordy GrotersAruba52.702016
Izaak BastianThe Bahamas52.812019
Raiz Tjon A JoeSuriname52.882018
Dustin TynesThe Bahamas52.932016
Greg PennyUS virgin Islands54.032014
Rafael van leeuwaardeSuriname54.312015
Julian FletcherUS virgin Islands54.442012
Adriel SanesUS virgin Islands54.462019
Serg MartinniCuracao54.562018
Bradley AllyBarbados54.712004
Fantastic FSU Four Kaleoaloha,Muratovic, Pisani and Bastian Photo courtesy of Jeremy Esbrandt

He started the competition on the best possible note as the Seminoles won the Bronze and set a school record of 1:23.65 in the 200 yard medley relay. It was the first medal for Florida State in the event since 2014 when the former relay record holders won Silver in 1:24.72. Izaak now joins country woman McKayla Lightbourn as Bahamians holding school records.

McKayla Lightbourn Photo courtesy of seminoles.com
100 yard backstroke52.392014
200 yard IM1:58.112014
400 yard freestyle relay3:15.762014
Christian Homer Photo courtesy of floridagators.com

When Florida State placed fourth at the NCAA’s 2014 they finished just ahead of the University of Florida team that had as their lead off leg Trinidad and Tobago’s 2010 Commonwealth Gold 50 metre backstroke medallist Christian Paul Homer who has split 21.88.

LegNameTimeNameTime
backstrokeEmir Muratovic21.18Pavel Sankovich20.99
breaststrokeIzaak Bastian23.78Jared Pike24.14
butterflyKanoa Kaleoaloha19.96David Knight20.46
freestyleWilliam Pisani18.71Paul Murray18.98
1:23.631:24.57

Izaak would lower his time as well in the 200 yard breaststroke. In the morning heats he earned a second swim with a time of 1:58.88.That got him a lane in the C final.In the initial stages of the race that night he trailed Notre Dame’s senior Steven Shek 55.62 to 55.15. He used a powerful back half to dominate the field and win decisively in 1:56.62 to win by over a second and half . His swim was the fastest by a Seminole at ACC’s since 2015. That also put as the best Bahamas has ever produced in the event as he bettered another Tynes’s 2016 Big ten performance. This time it was his heats swim of 1:57.46 (split time 55.98).He also rises to third overall in the CARIFTA region all time rankings.

Bradley Ally Photo courtesy of panamerican world
NameCountryTimeYear
Bradley AllyBarbados1:55.852007
Jordy GrotersAruba1:56.602016

In the 400 yard medley relay the Seminoles placed fourth in a time of 3:05.50. That is the best placing for the team since 2014 when that team set a then meet and conference record of 3:04.47

LegNameTimeNameTime
backstrokeEmir Muratovic46.22Pavel Sankovich45.31
breaststrokeIzaak Bastian52.56Jared Pike52.56
butterflyKanoa Kaleoaloha44.95David Knight45.20
freestyleWilliam Pisani41.71Paul Murray41.40
3:05.503:04.47

Izaak spoke to draftingthecaribbean on March 4 about his Conference experience

Izaak Bastian Photo courtesy of seminoles.com

” My first ACC experience was amazing to say the least.I honestly surprised myself with the times I did.I have been training all semester really hard and even last semester as well.Before ACC’s I dropped 2/tenths of a second in the 100 and 200 breaststroke .I really did not know what to expect going into this championship meet.I had been working really hard even after our mid semester meet especially during our training meet to be better than I was there.So I was hoping to be faster but I honestly did not know how much faster I would be .So to come out with a 52.8 was really exciting for me because I was 53.1 in the morning so I thought I would probably go 53 again. But somehow I went 52.8 .I was really happy about that.I honestly did not know I had beaten Dustin’s best time so that is really encouraging going into my next three years to know that I have already done that and hopefully will have a long way to go and more time to drop .Also the 200 was pretty good.It was poorly executed in the morning but luckily I got another swim. I was able to improve my time and fix my mistakes. I think I could have been faster if the 200 was on any other day than the last one. I was a little bit tired going into the final day.Meets like CARIFTA have prepared me for these longer four or five day meets.It was not too bad but I believe I could have been a little bit faster. It was a great experience overall.Our senior did very well so it was great to see them on their last ACC’s performing so well for the team.The team atmosphere was really something different.Everybody getting behind each other no matter what race it was.You always had people creaming from the sidelines cheering.It was just a great atmosphere to be in and race in so I am really happy to be a part of this team and to be a part of something big like that to make my first ACC’s as a freshman and score for the team was a big deal for me”.

2018 SWIMMING ACHIEVEMENTS-IZAAK BASTIAN NAMED JUNIOR ATHLETE OF THE YEAR BY THE NASSAU GUARDIAN

Regional standout Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas was recently named the Nassau Guardian Junior Male Athlete of the Year for 2018.

Izaak Bastian Championship record holder in the 50 metre freestyle and CARIFTA’s fastest ever swimmer Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

Bastian who still has one of year of CARIFTA eligibility has stood as one of the region’s top breaststroker at the junior level and has started to compete regularly at the tough World Junior and senior level.

He started the year well proving invincible at the inaugural UANA Cup in Florida and the CARIFTA Championships ensuring his name was etched in the record books

Meet50 breastPlace100 breastsplitPlace
UANA29.23 CRGold1:04.37 CR30.29Gold
CARIFTA28.69 CRGold1:03.12CR30.12Gold
Meet200 breastsplitPlace
CARIFTA2:17.78 CR ,NR1:05.33Gold
Bastian celebrates Championship record breaking swim in Kingston Jamaica .Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

In addition to a five star performance in the breaststroke events which included a senior national record in the 200 metre event he also added a top class performance in the 50 metre freestyle. He won Gold and set the Championship record in the land of the sprinters with a time of 23.25 . That took down the record of the region’s number one sprinter for 2018 Renzo Tjon A Joe of Suriname

Renzo Tjon A Joe reacts to winning Gold in the 15-17 metre freestyle in 2013 in Kingston Jamaica. Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

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With a very short turnaround time Bastian was off to Australia to test his mettle against the best of the Commonwealth . In the 50 metre breaststroke he raced against the best in the world in the form of global standard bearer Adam Peaty of England. He maintained the Bahamian record of making the semi finals and recorded a time of 29.28

Dustin Tynes Photo courtesy of Ohio State Swimming
YearSemi final timeSwimmer
201429.53Dustin Tynes
200230.90Travano McPhee

There would be more senior meet action in store for Izaak as he would head to the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Colombia in the summer. His best result would be in the 100 metre breaststroke where he would make the Championship final and set a personal best of 1:02.91 to place seventh.

Izaak Bastian Photo courtesy of swimswam

Bastian would then start college at Florida State University and be back in competition for his nation at the Youth Olympics in Argentina in October. His best performance would in the 50 metre breaststroke. He would first record the fastest time ever from the English speaking Caribbean with a time with a 29.01. That would enable him to make the semifinal of the event, a first for a swimmer from the English speaking Caribbean . He would record a time of 29.35. He would also record the fastest time ever from the English speaking Caribbean in the 200 metre breaststroke with a clocking of 2:22.37.

At Florida State University he has made an impact on the programme. In the 100 yard breaststroke he is currently ranked 9th overall in the Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC) with a personal best and NCAA B time of 54.19. He is also just outside the Seminoles all time top ten performers in the event with the tenth fastest swimmer Ryan Telford having a time of 54.02.

The 200 yard breaststroke sees him holding number 5 on the ACC conference top times listing with a 1:57.29 . The all time top performers list also sees him at fifth place with fellow CCCAN representative Julio Horrego of Honduras at number 6 with a time of 1:57.96.

Julio Horrego .Photo courtesy of seminoles.com

When draftingthecaribbean contacted Izaak we got his thoughts on 2018

Jesse Marsh Jamaica second from right Izaak Bastian Bahamas third from right along with their St Andrew’s teammates of the 200 medley relay

“This year was actually pretty good for me it was actually one of my better years. It comes with different training as well. I was at Saint Andrews for four years which did very well for me and switching it up for me (being at college ) is going to help me. It started off with UANA and before the competition I had taken 3 to 4 weeks off so I could mentally reset to get this year in order and my training blocks in order and I actually swam better than I expected to there. With those swims it gave me the confidence going into the year. Even though I took time off I am capable of a lot more so that was always in the back of mind giving me a confidence boost there. For CARIFTA I wanted to put it all in the pool and see what I could do. I try to bring my best every year but 2018 I really wanted to bring it. So I talked to Sid Cassidy ( Head Coach at Saint Andrews) about it so that we were on the same page. I wanted to fully taper down , shave and be the best I could be for a meet at that time. I went to Jamaica and I honestly think I surpassed my expectations .I won every event I swum except for the 100 metre freestyle.

Jeron Thompson and Kael Yorke .Photo courtesy of Trinidad Express

I had a really good time racing all the guys like Kael Yorke and Jeron Thompson from Trinidad and Tobago, Luis Sebastian Weekes from Barbados, Tyler Russell from The Bahamas. After that I went straight to the Commonwealth Games , my first senior international meet. It was a great experience but not the best meet coming straight from CARIFTA , getting sick right after CARIFTA and flying two days. It was rough but I still wanted to go knowing I would miss some of my better events 200 metre breaststroke and 100 metre breaststroke.I still wanted to go to have my first senior international exposure to prepare for the rest of 2018 and 2019. It was my first time in a village and I had a lot of fun and getting to meet some of the older guys from the other sports like Shaunae Miller-Uibo and stars like that. I really wanted to test myself. Last summer I went to FSU and started to train long course there. We went to CAC Games with somewhat of a taper.It was not what I was used to for a taper . I went there with the same mentality as CARIFTA ,just bring it and see what I could do.Even though I had changed programmes still have the confidence to know the training made sense and was going to work out for me. I went best times and had a good time there.It was a great time in Colombia especially with the new training and learning to trust their process now instead of what I was normally used to because I will be working with them for the next four years.At the Youth Olympics I did my best and like the Commonwealth Games I made the semis in the 50 metre breaststroke. At FSU we had our mid season meet (the Georgia Tech Invite Nov 15 to 17) and it was good to see the team dynamics works at a championship meet. It was definitely more taxing than the normal one day duel meet. I am in training for our championship meet ACC’s which are the end of February and the beginning of March and NCAA hopefully in Austin Texas the end of March. At our training in Deerfield we ramped up the training and really got to see what we were made of”.

CARIFTA BREASTSTROKE CHAMPIONS LILLY HIGGS AND IZAAK BASTIAN NAVIGATE MAKE FIRST SENIOR LEVEL CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS

The Bahamian duo of CARIFTA Champions Lilly Higgs and Izaak Bastian made the championship finals at the 2018 CAC (Central American and Caribbean) Games in Barranquilla Colombia on July 20 and 21st respectively.

final preparations for free final Izaak
Bastian makes last minute preparations for his race at CARIFTA 2018. Photo courtesy of Rochelle Bastian

This competition marks their second opportunity participating at a senior level meet, the first time was earlier this year at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. With more rest between competitions both swimmers who hold the fastest time ever in this event at the CARIFTA level were able to make the Championship final in the 100 metre breaststroke events. Lilly placed fifth in a time of 1:11.32 just ahead of countrywoman Laura Morley who stopped the clock in 1:12.34. In 2014 there was also a Bahamian as Lilly’s older sister Albury had placed fourth in 1:14.06.

Higgs sisters CAC 2018
CAC 100 metre breaststroke championship finalists in 2018 and 2014 Lilly and Albury Higgs Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

 

 

Bastian lowered his best time twice .In the heats he had a time of 1:02.99 (split time 29.49)  and in the final he placed seventh 1:02.91( split time 28.96). His split is significant as he won the 50 metre breaststroke at CARIFTA in Kingston Jamaica earlier this year in 28.69.

Izaak and Lilly Shelly Bas productions
Izaak Bastian and Lilly Higgs after their historic 2017Commonwealth Youth Games  Silver medal winning performances Photo courtesy of Shelly Bastian

 

The presence of three Bahamians in Championship finals at this competition also speaks to the proficiency of that nation in this stroke.

Draftingthecaribbean contacted Lilly and asked about her first senior level Championship final and she gave us her thoughts about her first day of competition

“Overall, my races today went pretty well. This morning I swam the backstroke leg on the mixed 4×100 medley relay and later swam 100 breaststroke and qualified for the A final. My prelims swim wasn’t what I wanted, but I was still able to get another swim and am very happy with my finals swim!”

 

Renzo Tjon A Joe seeks regional sprint hat trick at CAC Games after 50 metre freestyle wins at South American Games and CCCAN

Suriname’s Olympian Renzo Tjon A Joe will be looking for a regional tri fecta in the 50 metre. So far this season he claimed the FASTEST SWIMMER title at the 2018 South American Games in Bolivia and the CCCAN Championships in Aruba and will be seeking to do the same in Colombia. At the Rio Olympics he was the CAC region’s top sprinter placing 21st

Renzo South american
Renzo celebrating South American Games Gold in the 50 metre freestyle Photo courtesy of therenzotjonajoeofficial fan page

He started his hot streak at the G.A.M.C. Aquatics Center at Mariscal Santa Cruz Park in Cochabamba in May when he  topped the sprinters in a time of 22.65. Winning the Silver was Venezuela’s Cristian Quintero who touched in 22.71 and Brazilian André Calvelo took the Bronze in 22.80.

Renzo CCCAN
18 and over 50 freestyle medallists Greene, Tjon A Joe and Reyes Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

He would strike more Gold at the CCCAN championships at Pisina Olimpico Roly Bisslik in  early July when he was the only sub 23 seconds swimmer as he clocked 22.88  after being 22.86 in the heats. Silver went to Gershwin Greene of The Bahamas in 23.52 and the Bronze was won by Franco Reyes of Panama in 23.65.

He will now set about the challenge of taking his first CAC Games title after winning Silver in Veracruz Mexico in 22.62.Winning on that occasion was legendary regional swimmer Olympic medallist George Bovell III of Trinidad and Tobago who won his third consecutive title. Defending the throne this time for the twin island republic will be Olympian Dylan Carter and Joshua Romany. He would be familiar with the duo swimming against them in the junior ranks at CARIFTA.

Renzo CARIFTA 2013
Renzo Tjon A Joe reacts to winning Gold in the 15-17 metre freestyle in 2013 Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

They also finished in the order Renzo 23.44, Dylan 23.46 and Joshua 24.27 in  2013 in Kingston Jamaica when he set then fastest time for CARIFTA  23.37 in the heats before taking Gold.

Izaak celebrates
Bastian celebrates Record swim Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

The swimmer that that took that record from him Izaak Bastian at CARIFTA 2018 also in Jamaica with a time of 23.25 will also be in the 50 metre freestyle lineup trying to deny him the triple.

In 2014 at the South American Games in Chile he finished with the Bronze with 22.88 and this year he upgraded it to Gold. After winning the Silver in  Veracruz Mexico will we see Renzo mining Colombian Gold? Will he also be able to break his own national record which is the same time as the 2010 Games record held by Bovell at 22.23 ?

 

ALBURY HIGGS CONTINUES CAC PREPARATIONS WITH YET ANOTHER RECORD BREAKING BREASTSTROKE SWIM

Albury Higgs continued her record breaking run from the 2018 REV National Swimming championships with another record  breaststroke swim at the 2018 Bulldog Grand Slam in Athens Georgia.

 

Competing in the 100 metre breaststroke at the Garbielsen Natatorium on July 6 Albury qualified for the B final with a time of 1:12.12 (split time of 33.42). In the final later that afternoon she used a different approach to the one she employed in record breaking swim in Nassau. She attacked the race from the start with a split of 33.31. That gave her an early advantage of more than a half a second.She would not be caught and split 37.46 on the second 50 metres to win the race in 1:10.77.

100 breaststroke nationals 2018
2018 REV National Swimming Championships 15 and over medal podium from left to right Lilly Higgs, Albury Higgs and Laura Morley Photo courtesy of Pleasants Parott Higgs

COMPARISON OF RECORD SWIMS

100 metre breaststroke 2018 REV National 2018 Bulldog GrandSlam
First 50 metres 36.65 33.31
Second 50 metres 34.52 37.46
Final Time 1:11.17 1:10.77

Albury who lowered the national standards in the 200 and 100 metre breaststroke last month has now bettered the automatic qualifying standards for the 2019 PAN AM Games of 1:11.11.She is also another step closer to going under the mythical 1:10 barrier . Also of note that time would have won the Gold medal at the 2014 CAC (Central American and Caribbean ) Games where she had placed fourth.

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Albury she gave us her impression of the race and spoke about her tactics

“I was trying to take out the first 50 faster than I had previously this summer. It went well considering I didn’t rest for this meet, so I am hoping that rest will help me bring the last 50 home a little better. Excited for CAC and to represent the Bahamas one more time this summer!”

Team Bahamas will also be represented at the 2018 CAC Games from July 20 to 25 in Barranquilla, Colombia by Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016),Lilly Higgs,Laura Morley, Izaak Bastian, Kohen Kerr and N’Nhyn Fernander

Bahamas women
Bahamas women on 2018 CAC team from left to right Evans,Higgs and Morley

Bahamas men
Bahamas men on 2018 CAC team from left to righ Bastian, Fernander and Kerr