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!”

 

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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

 

 

2018 REV National Swimming Championships LAMAR TAYLOR CLOSES IN ON BECOMING THE FASTEST 13-14 SWIMMER IN THE ENGLISH SPEAKING CARIFTA REGION OF ALL TIME, LOWERS THREE NATIONAL RECORDS IN SIX GOLD MEDAL PERFORMANCE

When Lamar Taylor had been disqualified in the Championship final in the boys 13-14 50 metre freestyle at the 2017 CCCAN Championships after qualifying with a time of 25.18  in  July  he told draftingthecaribbean would be using that moment as inspiration to be even faster . Less than than a year later he has been true to his word by breaking the national record in the 50 metre freestyle and closing in on being the fastest 13-14 swimmer from the English speaking CARIFTA region OF all time.

Lamar Taylor UANA
CARIFTA region’s top 13-14 boy at the UANA Cup Lamar Taylor of The Bahamas

Since last summer the Freeport Aquatics swimmer has blazed a trail to become the fastest regional swimmer this season in the 13-14 age category. At the inaugural  UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida he was the top CARIFTA swimmer as he won Silver in a time of 24.57, the Gold went to Mexican Victor Salcedo Carrillo who out touched him with a 24.56.

At the CARIFTA Championships in Kingston Jamaica he took the Gold medal in a then personal best of 24.27 . He took the title convincingly as he was more than half a second ahead of the field . In that race he was just short of the national and CARIFTA record of  24.25 set by countryman Izaak Bastian.

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

At the 2018 Rev national he would make no mistake as he clocked a new PB, Championship record and age group national record of 24.06. In the final he was in scintillating form as he took the title in a time of 23.79. Lowered in the process was the Bastian’s 2016 meet record of 24.56.

Joshua Romany
Joshua Romany

The next milestone is getting past the 23.77 of Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany which stands as the fastest performance by a 13-14 swimmer from the English speaking CARIFTA region.

Crox Acuna rtve.es
Crox Acuña Photo courtesy of rtve.es

 

Already the top seed in the race for the upcoming CCCAN Championships in Aruba he is now faster the meet record of 24.10 held by Venezuela’s  Olympian Crox Acuña (Beijing 2008 and London 2012).

Event CCCAN 2017 UANA CARIFTA Nationals
50 metre freestyle DQ 25.18 heats 24.57 Silver * 24.27 Gold 24.06,23.79 Gold

The national age group record in the 100 metre freestyle would not be spared as it went down as well. In the heats of the event he had splits of 26.24 and 27.72 for a total time  of  53.96 to go under 54 seconds for the first time. The old national and Championship record of 54.25 had belonged to Kevon Lockhart. In the final he even split the race 27.60 and 27.51 to win in a time of 55.11.

_John Bradley Bahamasswimmingfederation
John Bradley Photo courtesy of bahamasswimmingfederation

The 200 metre freestyle saw another easy win for Taylor as he took Gold in 2:03.33 (split time 1:00.47) to be just outside the Championship record of 2:03.28 by John Bradley .

Swimming for  exhibition he broke the 50 metre butterfly meet record and age group record of 26.16 and 26.18 respectively by Bastian with a blast of 26.09. His club mate Rommel Ferguson would lower that in the final with time of 25.98.

The 100 metre butterfly final would be a battle between the clubmates. Ferguson struck the first blow when he went out to a lead of 28.52 to Taylor’s 29.97. But in great display of negative splitting Lamar had the only sub 30 seconds split of 29.75 to lead his teammate to the wall 59.75 to 59.95. That would be the first time under the 1 minute mark for both swimmers.

Event UANA CARIFTA Nationals
100 metre butterfly 1:01.87 7th 1:00.01 Gold 59.72 Gold
13-14 100 back podium
CARIFTA 13-14 100 metre backstroke medal podium from left to right Tristan Pragnell Barbaos Silver medallist, Taylor Gold and Youris Geran Guadeloupe Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

The sprint back stroke events the 50 and 100 metres saw him winning Gold in 28.05 and 1:01.57 respectively.

Event UANA CARIFTA Nationals
50 metre backstroke 28.62 Gold 28.38 Gold 28.05 Gold

The 100 metre backstroke effort lowered the Championship record of 1:01.82 held by DaVante Carey.  A sub minute performance in the event could be on the cards for Lamar as his splits at CARIFTA and REV nationals suggest that he could  be much faster

reacting after a close win
Taylor reacts to coming from behind to win the 100 metre backstroke Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

CARIFTA 30.94 and 30.47 Gold 1:01.41

Rev Nationals  30.11 and 31.46 Gold 1:01.57.

Chris-Vythoulkas Bahamas Olympic Committee
Chris Vythoulkas Photo courtesy of Bahamas Olympic Commitee

The 1999 national record of 1:00.82 is held by Olympian Chris Vythoulkas (Athens 2004)  .

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Lamar he gave us his impression of nationals

“I feel really good about breaking the national records. I came to Nationals with the goals of setting the national marks in the 50 and the 100 freestyle and if I was lucky even more. It felt amazing to go 53 in the heats of the 100 metre freestyle. After my DQ in the 200 individual medley I felt I had to play it safe and that caused me to slow down a lot.So I just came up early (before the 15 metre mark and played it safe). In the 50 metre freestyle I knew that people were watching me on the 15 metre mark so in the heats I popped up early and went as fast as I could. In the final I stayed down a little longer and came up right before the 15 metre. I felt really good about the time and how I broke the record. In my mind during training for Nationals my goals were to better all my times and go under 24 and 54 for my 50 and 100 freestyle. I do have to say I was a little disappointed with my 50 freestyle time as I wanted to get the Youth Olympics Games A cut of 23.56″.

 

2018 REV National Swimming Championships Seventh Heaven for Nigel Forbes Young star wins Seven Gold medals , Breaks Four National records and sets New Five Championship Records

Nigel Forbes headshot
Nigel Forbes Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

The future of swimming in The Bahamas continues to look bright as seen in the performances of the competitors at the 2018 REV National Swimming Championships which ran June 16-19. One of the top swimmers at the Championships was Nigel Forbes of the Tritons . He won Seven Gold medals in the 11-12 age group while setting new national marks in four events and lowering the Championship record in five races.

Tynes 2016 Nationals
Dustin Tynes

In his first race he lowered the meet record in the 200 metre breaststroke with a swim of 2:39.42 . That bettered the old mark of 2:41.45 set by Olympian Dustin Tynes (Rio 2016).He is now within reach of the 2014  national record  of 2:38.61 set by local and regional star Izaak Bastian

Event CARIFTA Rev Nationals CCCAN record National Record
200 metre breaststroke 2:43.39 Gold 2:39.42 Gold 2:35.89 2:38.61
evante-gibson--
Evante Gibson Photo courtesy of the bahamasswimmingfederation

In the 100 metre butterfly he dismissed the competition by more than seven  seconds to land Gold in a new Personal best of 1:03.27. That broke the 2007 championship record of 1:03.79 set by Evante Gibson in 2007. It also brings him closer to the national record of 1:02.83 set by Samuel Gibson in 2014 . His newly minted PB would also move him from the second seed to the number one swimmer at the upcoming CCCAN Championships in Aruba . The CCCAN Championship record stands at 1:01.83.

Event CARIFTA Rev Nationals CCCAN record National Record
100 metre butterfly 1:04.09 Gold 1:03.27 1:01.83 1:02.83

 

His next event , the 400 metre IM he was equally as dismissive as he was more than 20 seconds ahead of the competition as he took Gold in a new Championship and national record time of 5:18.05.He owned the old national record of 5:20.46 which he set in April of this year and the meet record of 5:26.52 was set by Kevon Lockhart in 2015.

Nigel Forbes fly pic
11-12 50 metre butterfly medallists from left to right Marvin Johnson Freeport Aquatics Silver medallist, Forbes Gold medallist and Msanaa Bosland of Barracudas Bronze medallist

The 50 metre butterfly saw him putting on an excellent display of sprinting in both the heats and the finals. The morning preliminaries saw him lowering his personal best and the  Championship record of 28.28 held by DaVante Carey and Ian Pinder when they tied for Gold in 2015. The final saw him getting past the  another 2007 Gibson national record of 27.77  with a blistering 27.67. That reaffirmed his favourite’s tag and number one seeding for CCCAN. It also brings him within touching distance of being the fastest 11-12  English speaking CARIFTA region swimmer in the event. That accolade belongs to Trinidad and Tobago’s  Olympian Dylan Carter (Rio 2016) with his 27.34 blast from 2009.The CCCAN record is 27.30.

forbes on his way to 50 metre butterfly Bronze
Nigel Forbes of The Bahamas on his way to 50 metre butterfly Bronze at the UANA Cup Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn
Event UANA CARIFTA Rev Nationals CCCAN record
50 metre butterfly 28.68 Bronze * 28.61 Silver 27.67 Gold 27.30

*Top CARIFTA region swimmer

The 200 metre butterfly was the only event he did not set a record in it.He took the title by over 10 seconds stopping the clock in 2:28.42.

Forbes 11-12 Gold
Nigel Forbes of The Bahamashistoric First Gold Medallist for The Bahamas and the CARIFTA region at the UANA Cup in the  11-12 50 metre breaststroke

Regular service however resumed in the 50 metre breaststroke as he lowered his personal best from 33.74 to 33.34 in the heats. Clearly he had a lot more in the tank  as  he was in scorching form in the final .He broke the meet and national record of 32.94 regional standout Izaak Bastian with a 32.54 clocking besting the field by over four seconds. He again is the number one seed for CCCAN where the meet record stands at 32.42.

Event UANA CARIFTA Rev Nationals CCCAN record
50 metre breaststroke 34.20 Gold 34.05 Gold 32.54 Gold 32.42
Forbes breaststroke CARIFTA Bahamas Aquatics
Nigel Forbes during the morning heats of the 100 metre breaststroke at CARIFTA 2018 Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

When draftingthecaribbean contacted him on June 18 he spoke his national record breaking swims in the 50 metre butterfly and 50 metre breaststroke

“It feels good .I know I have been training hard to get these records and now I have finally broken them”.

For his final record breaking act Forbes again lowered his personal best of 1:14.90 to 1:14.40 in the morning heats of the 100 metre breaststroke.The final saw him blasting away the Championship record 1:13.67 (Bastian 2014) and national record 1:12.26 (Tynes 2009) with a time of 1:12.24 split time 33.58. As the clear favourite and top seed in the event he is in reach of the CCCAN record of 1:12.18

Bastian split
Izaak Bastian opening up a lead in the 200 metre breaststroke at CARIFTA 2018 Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn
Event UANA CARIFTA Rev Nationals CCCAN record
100 metre breaststroke 1:15.07 Gold 1:15.81 Gold 1:12.24 1:12.18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IZAAK BASTIAN BECOMES CARIFTA’S FASTEST EVER SWIMMER IN THE LAND OF THE SPRINTERS

At the 2018 CARIFTA in Kingston Jamaica  it seemed fitting if not almost poetic that Izaak Bastian of the Bahamas would win the  50 metre freestyle in a Championship record and crown himself the fastest of all time in a country known for its sprinting abilities. Added to that the previous Championship record was also set in Jamaica five years earlier .

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

In 2017 Bastian had made the medal podium with a Silver medal winning effort in front of his home crowd with a time of 23.76 in the 15-17 age group. That was his PB and his only entry under the 24 seconds barrier. He posted 24.35 to be the fourth fastest heading into the Championship final.That morning swim on April 3 pointed towards another sub 24 clocking as he was 24.33 in the heats in 2017. He would be well under 24  seconds and would be the only swimmer under 23.50 as he took the title and wrote another page in the history books as set a new PB , Championship record and earned himself the moniker of the fastest swimmer at the CARIFTA Championships when he stopped the clock in 23.25. Silver went to Kai Legband of Bermuda in 23.93 and the Bronze to Jack Kirby of Barbados in 24.03.

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

In 2013   future Olympian Renzo Tjon A Joe (Rio 2016) set the 50 metre freestyle record with a heat swim of 23.37 on April 2.He would take the Gold just off that time as he touched in 23.44 turning back the challenges of the Trinidad and Tobago duo of another future Olympian Dylan Carter (Rio 2016) 23.46 and Joshua Romany 24.27. A year later he would take the Silver in the same event at the CAC Games in Veracruz Mexico with a time of 22.62.

Speaking to Draftingthecaribbean today Bastian recounted that historic swim in Jamaica

final preparations for free final Izaak
Bastian makes last minute preparations for the 50 metre freestyle Photo courtesy of Rochelle Bastian

“The 50 free was pretty good for me.I knew that I had to get out in front of everyone from the start to get out of the waves and get clear water.I wanted to see what I could do at the start and build on that momentum throughout the race.I did not have a goal time  I just wanted to give the race my all and focus on the things we have been working on in practice coming off the block fast , fast breakout. I did not really look at the record before I did not really think I would get the record.It was a big surprise to look up  see that I went 23.2”

IZAAK BASTIAN CRUSHES CARIFTA BREASTSTROKE CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD WITH A NEW PB, AGE GROUP AND SENIOR NATIONAL RECORD

200 breast podium boys
Boys’ 15-17 breaststroke podium from left to right Weekes,Bastian and Russell Photo courtesy of The Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd

Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas proved he is ready to navigate senior international waters  when he recorded an eye opening 2:17.78 to win Gold yesterday in the Boy’s 15-17 200 metre breaststroke.

Bastian looked like he was in cruise control in the morning when he posted the second fastest time of the heats with a time of 2:27.85. The  morning’s top time was secured by Luis Sebastian Weekes of 2:26.55.

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

In the final Izaak signalled his intentions from the starter’s gun and took the lead immediately. He blazed the first 100 metres in 1:05.33. At that point he was already some two body lengths ahead of the field. His split was so fast that it  bettered the 100 metre breaststroke Youth Olympics B time  of 1:05.93.

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

He kept turning on the pressure and pulled even further away from the chasing pack to record a new PB, Bahamian Age Group Record , Bahamian Senior National record , CARIFTA Championship record and Youth Olympics A qualifying time of 2:17.78. His old personal best stood at 2:20.52.

Jordy Groters flanetwork
Jordy Groters Photo courtesy of flaswimnetwork.com

The CARIFTA record was set by Aruban age group standout Jordy Groters in 2014 in a time of 2:20.14.

Tynes 2016 Nationals
Dustin Tynes

The senior national record was held by Olympian Dustin Tynes (Rio 2016) at 2:18.13 at the 2015 PAN AM Games. The Youth Olympic Games A standard is 2:18.10.

In 2017 Izaak became the first Bahamian man to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games when he took Silver and Bronze in the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke at the Youth Games at home. The Florida State University commit will be heading to the Gold Coast in Australia after CARIFTA  to make his senior international debut at the Senior Commonwealth Games.

Weekes breaststroke
Weekes en route to a Silver medal in the 200 metre breaststroke Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

Silver went to Weekes in a time of 2:23.63 just off his personal best and the Bronze to Bastian’s teammate Tyler Russell  in 2:27.00.