IZAAK BASTIAN CONTINUES TRAILBLAZING PERFORMANCE AT COMMONWEALTH YOUTH GAMES BY WINNING BRONZE IN THE 100 METRE BREASTSTROKE

 

When the Commonwealth Youth Games swimming competition started at the Betty Kelly-Kenning Aquatic Centre on Wednesday July 19 no Bahamian man had won a medal at either the Youth or senior level. Izaak changed that with a Silver medal winning performance in the 50 metre breaststroke on Thursday July 20.

Bastian family happy with win
Bastian family celebrating Izaak’s Silver medal winning performance from left to right mother Shelly, Izaak, father Darren and older brother Drew Photo courtesy of Shelly Bastian

He would double that medal count for his nation on Friday July 21 when he won the Bronze medal in the 100 metre breaststroke in a new personal best time of 1:03.71.

Izaak Bastian
Izaak Bastian

On April 18 in his first year in the 15-17 age group he won the 100 metre breaststroke CARIFTA crown at the same venue in a time of 1:04.68. On the third day of competition in the morning heats he secured a spot in the Championship final with a time of 1:04.90 for 7th overall. In the final the CARIFTA Champion would improve upon that placing to win a historic Bronze medal in 1:03.71 to cement his place in Bahamian sports history as the only male medallist in swimming at the Commonwealth Games with two medals, Silver and now Bronze. The breaststroke sprint double was completed by South African Michael Houlie who won in a time of 1:01.86. The Silver was won by Singapore’s ZongXian Khoo with a clocking of 1:03.41.

Izaak Bahamas Nationals
Izaak Bastian  Photo courtesy of Bahamas Swimming

Draftingthecaribbean  asked Izaak about his thoughts on his Bronze medal winning performance

“It was a pretty good race. I felt a few things were off . Small details like my finish and stroke count were off also my start was a little too deep. I went out pretty slow compared to what I expected to go out in. So when I turned and saw everybody already doing their pullouts I knew that I had to bring it home fast as I could to try and come home and not be last and I guess it worked out for the best”.

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LILLY HIGGS AND IZAAK BASTIAN WIN HISTORIC SILVER MEDALS ON DAY TWO OF COMMMONWEALTH YOUTH GAMES

historic silver medallists Lilly and Izaak
Commonwealth Youth Games Silver medallists and Head Coach from left to right Lilly Higgs Silver medallist women 50 metre breaststroke, Head Coach Olympian Andy Knowles, Izaak Bastian Silver medallist men 50 metre breaststroke Photo courtesy of Lynne Fraino

The second day of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games (Thursday July 20) being held at the Betty Kelly Kenning Aquatic Centre in The Bahamas saw history created by the Bahamian breaststroke duo of Lilly Higgs and Izaak Bastian.

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Lilly Higgs on the podium with historic Silver medal Photo courtesy of Shelly Bastian

The Games which are in its fifth installment saw Lilly Higgs winning Silver in the 50 metre breaststroke for girls. After posting a time of 33.10 in the heats to be seeded third Higgs went all out in the final stopping the clock in a time of 32.52 to win the Silver medal .She finished just behind  Christie Chue of Singapore who Gold in a time of 32.38. The Bronze went to Ciara Smith of New Zealand in 32.56. Lilly‘s time is a new personal best, 15-17 age group record and senior national record. That bettered her old personal best and national record time of 32.70 when she won Gold at the CARIFTA Games earlier this year at the same venue. It was also the FIRST the CARIFTA region had won a medal of any colour at the Commonwealth Youth Games. Additionally she became the FIRST Bahamian man or woman to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games in this event at either the Youth or Senior level. Lilly is also only the SECOND woman from the CARIFTA region to medal in this event. The first was Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson who won the Silver medal in Glasgow in 2014.Higgs is also only the SECOND person to win a medal for The Bahamas  at the Commonwealth Games both senior and junior. The first medal was won by Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace when she won Silver at the 2014 Glasgow Games in the 50 metre butterfly.Draftingthecaribbean got a few words from Higgs after her groundbreaking achievement.

“It’s always an honor to represent the Bahamas on a national level, and to be able to be the first medalist for swimming at Youth Commonwealth Games makes it an even greater honor. Going into the event and going into finals I was seated third, and I knew I had to have a good start and breakout stroke to be in the medal contention. The race felt really smooth and I was able to perform really well. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the meet holds. Go Bahamas!”

The hometown fans would have more to cheer as history would be continued to be made in the very next event through the efforts of Izaak Bastian. Also competing in the 50 metre breaststroke Izaak crushed his heats time of 29.55 and his personal best of 29.39 to win Silver in a new personal standard of 28.77.

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2017 Commonwealth Youth Games medallists in the 50 metre breaststroke from left to right Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas Silver medallist,Michael Houlie of South Africa Gold medallist,ZongXian Khoo of Singapore Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of Shelly Bastian

He finished behind South African Michael Houlie who posted 27.68 for the Gold. Zongxian Khoo of Singapore won the Bronze in a time of 29.19. With that medal winning performance Izaak became the FIRST male medallist at the Commonwealth Youth Games for the Bahamas and the region .He also becomes the FIRST Bahamian male medallist at the Commonwealth either junior or senior. And only the Third medallist of either gender at any level of the Commonwealth Games behind Vanderpool-Wallace and his teammate Higgs just moments earlier. He gave draftingthecaribbean the following thoughts about his performance.

Lilly and Izaak
Historic Commonwealth Youth Games Silver medallists Lilly Higgs anb Izaak Bastian Photo courtesy of Lynne Fraino

“The race felt really great especially watching Lilly go in the heat before me and come second. It really inspired me. I wanted to try my best and do what I could to and represent the best I could. I didn’t know if it was going to be a medal or not but I just wanted to get out and have a good race. To touch the wall and see second was really surprising .It was a new experience and I felt very excited to race against persons from all across the world and just regionally. It was a new experience and something I had to get over .Instead of being able to swim easy in the morning and then faster in the night. Swimming fast twice in the day was definitely a change for me. To come back in the night and swim almost half a second faster than my best time was amazing”.

Jesse Washington, Jack Kirby and Lilly Higgs represent for CARIFTA region by making Championship finals at 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games

The first day of competition of the Commonwealth Youth Games at the Betty Kelly Kenning Aquatic Centre in the The Bahamas saw three swimmers from the CARIFTA region making it to the prestigious Championship final, Jesse Washington of Bermuda, Jack Kirby of Barbados and Lilly King of The Bahamas. The competition will see young swimmers aged 15 to 18 for the boys and girls 14-17 for the girls in action from Wednesday July 19 to Saturday July 22.

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Jesse Washington Photo courtesy of the Bermuda Sun

Bermuda’s Jesse Washington made the first Championship final for the region when he placed 6th in the 50 metre butterfly .He recorded a personal best and new 17-18 national record time of 25.17. The race was won by Scott McLay of Scotland in 24.53. Silver went to Dylan Koo of Singapore in 24.55 and the Bronze was won by Welsh swimmer Lewis Fraser in 24.66.

Washington has gotten progressively faster throughout the season and is now in sight of the senior national record of 24.77 by Olympian Roy-Allan Burch(2008,2012)

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Bermudian Olympian Roy-Allan Burch and national record holder in the 50 metre butterfly Photo courtesy of swimbrain.com

Analysis of Washington’s 100 metre butterfly races for the region

Competition Date Venue Time Medal/Position
CARIFTA 2017 April 16 The Bahamas 25.38 6th
CCCAN 2017 June 30 Trinidad and Tobago 25.23 Silver
Commonwealth Youth Games July 19 The Bahamas 25.17 6th
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Jacky Kirby in action in the backstroke Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

In the 100 metre backstroke it was Jack Kirby from Barbados who made the first Championship final . In the heats of the event Kirby set a new 15-17 national record and personal best when he clocked 57.01. That bettered the old mark of 57.91 set by Olympian Nicky Neckles (1996, 2000,2004,) at the 1996 Atlanta Games. In the final he posted 57.26 to place 6th overall.

Nicky Neckles
Nicky Neckles Photo courtesy of barbadostoday.com

The race was won by Francis Fong of Singapore in 56.42.The Silver went to  Mclay of Scotland 56.53 and the Bronze to Kennard Campbell of Australia in 56.85.

Kirby has being having a great season so far winning Silver at CARIFTA, winning Gold at CCCAN and now making a final at major international competition.

Kirby’s 100 metre backstroke results for the region

Competition Date Venue Time Medal/Position
CARIFTA 2017 April 16 The Bahamas 58.20 Silver
CCCAN 2017 June 30 Trinidad and Tobago 58.12 Gold
Commonwealth Youth Games July 19 The Bahamas 57.01 heats
Commonwealth Youth Games July 19 The Bahamas 57.26 6th
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Lilly Higgs Photo courtesy of Rochelle Bastian and Bahamas Swimming

Also making a major international final was hometown girl Lilly Higgs who completed the CARIFTA Region Championship final trifecta on Day one .Lilly stopped the clock in a new personal best of 2:36.43 to place 6th as well. The winner of the event was England’s Layla Black in a time of 2:31.00. Silver went to Mya Rasmussen of New Zealand in 2:31.49. Bronze was won by South Africa’s Hanim Abrahams with a clocking of 2:32.32.

Higgs has also enjoyed success in the event this season as she won the Silver medal in the event at CARIFTA when her country hosted the event earlier this year.

Competition Date Venue Time Medal/Position
CARIFTA 2017 April 16 The Bahamas 25.38 6th
CCCAN 2017 June 30 Trinidad and Tobago 25.23 Silver
Commonwealth Youth Games July 19 The Bahamas 25.17 6th

Other regional swimmers who finished just outside of the top eight to make a Championship final included

Name Country Event Time Place
Madelyn Moore Bermuda 50 metre butterfly 28.91 9th
Victoria Russell The Bahamas 50 metre butterfly 28.93 10th
Jeron Thompson Trinidad and Tobago 50 metre butterfly 25.69 10th
Danielle Titus Barbados 100 metre backstroke 1:05.70 9th
Peter Morley The Bahamas 100 metre backstroke 1:00.40 10th
Izaak Bastian The Bahamas 200 metre breaststroke 2:22.91 9th

REGIONAL RECORDS FALL IN PLANTATION VAN LEEUWAARDE, HEW, BROWN AND NERCISIO BETTER NATIONAL STANDARDS

 

Rafael
Rafael Van Leeuwaarde Photo courtesy of http://dwtonline.com

The 2017 Southern Zone SPEEDO Sectionals in Plantation Florida saw the standard of regional swimming being lifted once again as national records were lowered. Those countries that saw improvement through the efforts of their swimmers included Rafael Van Leeuwaarde for Suriname, Lauren Hew for the Cayman Islands, Cameron Brown for Jamaica and Chadé Nercisio for Curaçao. The meet which was contested in long course metres at the Plantation Aquatic Complex was held from March 9 to 12.

Rafael, who is a junior at Florida State set national records in the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke. In the 50 metre breaststroke he lowered his own record from 29.07 to 28.84 in the heats of the event. He would go on to win Gold in the Final in a time of 29.16. The 100 metre breaststroke saw him lowering his 2016 record 1:04.84 to 1:04.36.It was a CARIFTA region exacta as Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas finished with the Silver medals in both races. Rafael who was a guest recently on Jamaica’s SportsNation Live on Nationwide 90 radio with host Leighton Levy spoke about his 50 metre record

Seeing myself go under 29 seconds for the first time was quite an accomplishment because I just did not see it happening .Everything just clicked and I got the best out of that race

Rafael Van Leeuwaarde interview

https://soundcloud.com/greatalrick/suriname-swimmer-rafael-van-leewaarde?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=facebook

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Lauren Hew Photo courtesy of caymanreporter.com

CARIFTA bound Lauren Hew would also be a part of the record breaking spree.  In the 100 metre freestyle Lauren became the first Cayman Islands woman to swim under 59 seconds. She swam 58.78 in the heats of the event. That broke the 2016 record of Lara Butler set at the British University Long Course Championships. That performance qualified Lauren for the Championship final where she placed 8th in 59.13. She would lower her own 2016 national mark of 2:07.81 in the 200 metre freestyle in the morning preliminaries. Lauren sped to a time of 2:07.79. The Championship final saw her placing 8th in a time of 2:08.45. Lauren who had placed 8th at the 2016 Martinique CARIFTA championships in the 15-17 girls’ 100 metre freestyle in 1:00.89 spoke to draftingthecaribbean about her performances after the meet

I was happy to lower my 200 free record even if it was by hundredths of a seconds Any improvement is a good sign and I was especially happy to drop time in 200 back because it is one of my main events. Sectionals was a good meet to have swam as a set up for CARIFTA so that I know what I need to work on for April.”

The 2016 CARIFTA Gold medals in the 15-17 girls category in the 100 and 200 metre freestyle events were won in times of 58.57 and 2:06.96.

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Cameron Brown focusing before his race Photo courtesy of Ofelia Hamilton

Jamaican Cameron Brown is another swimmer set to compete at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships to be held in Nassau Bahamas from April 14-19.Brown who placed 8th in the 13-14 boys’ 100 metre breaststroke at CARIFTA in Martinique in 1:12.66 lowered his breaststroke mark again. After lowering the record to 1:09.93 in January he lowered the 13-14 age group mark again to 1:09.66. He has now set the national mark 3 times. He was the youngest qualifier for the B final at age 14 years old. In that race he touched in 7th place in a time of 1:10.46.In 2016 to medal in the 13-14 boys race it took 1:11.17 or faster.

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Chadé Nercisio  Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Ace Sprinter from Curaçao Chadé Nercisioaçao who is now competing in the 15-17 age group set national records in 50 metre butterfly and 100 metre freestyle. In Martinique she was 5th in the 50 metre butterfly in 29.66 and a Bronze medallist in the 100 freestyle in 1:00.89 13-14 age. At the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships in Bahamas later in the summer she was significantly faster posting times of 28.65 for Silver in the 50 metre butterfly and 58.45 for Gold in a Championship record. Both swims were national records. In Florida she would lower the butterfly record twice .In the morning she posted a time of 28.45. She got faster in the evening to win Gold in the Championship final in 28.22. In the B final of the 100 metre freestyle she won the event in a time of 58.21. The winning time in the 15 17 age group last year was 29.00.

 

 

 

 

 

MARSH AND VALE EARN PODIUM PLACES AT FLORIDA 1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

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Saint Andrews record breaking 200 yard medley relay team From left to right Izaak Bastian, Jesse Marsh, Nicholas Sharp and Andrej Sokolovski Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn
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Pine Crest Bronze medal winning team in the 400 yard freestyle relay From left to right Nicholas Vale,Elvis Kotikovski,Nicolas Ferrara and Christian Soderberg Photo courtesy of Rob Vale

 

Jamaicans Jesse Marsh (Saint Andrews) and Nicholas Vale (Pine Crest) were among the medal winners at the Florida 1 A Championships on Friday Nov 11. The meet which took place at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Florida saw the Jamaican contingent earning Silver and Bronze.

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Jessie Marsh Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Marsh would be the first to win a medal. The Saint Andrews team of Nicholas Sharp backstroke (23.67), Bahamian Izaak Bastian breaststroke (25.40), Marsh butterfly (22.41) and Andrej Sokolovski freestyle (21.73) won Silver in the 200 yard medley relay in a time of 1:33.21. This bettered the school record of 1:34.21 that the team set in 2015. Marsh’s butterfly leg improved from 2015 when he had split 23.66. Of all the Florida Championships that were contested the Scots had 3rd fastest time.  In the 400 yard freestyle relay his Scots team finished 6th with a time of 3:12.38. Jesse led off the team in a time of 48.40. In the 100 yard butterfly he finished 2nd in the B final in a time of 50.95 (split time 24.20) .That was an improvement from 2015 when he was 6th in the B final in a time of 52.38.In the 100 yard backstroke Marsh was 17th in a time of 54.45 (split time 26.23) bettering his 2015 time and position 24th in 56.41.

When asked about his performance Marsh had the following thoughts

“ I think it was a very good state championships for me, I was really happy with our relay team breaking the school record we got last year and getting all American. In the 100 fly I had a pretty good race breaking 51 for the first time but was unlucky in missing the school record of 50.8. Also leading off my relay with a 47.7 in the morning was really a great swim and I think this state championships have been a great stepping stone for the rest of my season.”

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Pine Crest Bonze medal winning 400 yard freestyle relay team on the podium Nicolas Ferrara, Nicholas Vale, Elvis Kotikovski and Christian Soderberg Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Teammate and countryman Nicholas Vale would earn his medal in the 400 yard freestyle relay. Vale split 46.74 on his third leg to move the Pine Crest team from 4th to 2nd . The team would fight on to win the Bronze. His teammates Christian Soderberg 47.70, Elvis Kotikovski 47.81 and Nicolas Ferrara 45.79 for a total time of 3:08.04 .It ranks the team as the 8th fastest in Florida.

In the 200 yard freestyle relay his Pine Crest team finished 5th in a time of 1:26.04. Vale’s contribution was a 3rd leg split of 21.16. In the 200 yard individual medley he was 6th in the B final in a time of 1:56.54 (split time 54.31). Nicholas had the following thoughts about his swims

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Nicholas Vale Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

“It was a great state meet overall for me. I made finals for the first time ever at a state championship in the 200 IM. I had a couple great relay swims as well in finals including a 22.6 fly split on the medley relay, 21.1 on the 200 free relay, and 46.74 on the 400 free relay. Going into the 4×100 our goal was to place in the top 3 and we were fortunately able to achieve that. We were very happy with the outcome of the relay and I was very pleased with my 46.74 split as it was a terrific swim for me. All these great swims have given me the confidence I need going into Carifta next year”.

Pine Crest finished 3rd in the boys standings with 202 points. Saint Andrews was 4th with 177 points.

BASTIAN SETS 3 SCHOOL RECORDS AT FLORIDA 1 STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

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Izaak Bastian starts race Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Bahamian Izaak Bastian hit top form for Saint Andrews at the FHSAA (Florida High School State championships) at the recently concluded 1A state championships held in Stuart Florida. Izaak lowered 3 school records at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center on Friday Nov 11.

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Saint Andrews record breaking 200 yard medley relay team From left to right Izaak Bastian, Jesse Marsh, Nicholas Sharp and Andrej Sokolovski Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

In the first final of the night, the 200 yard medley relay, he combined with Nicholas Sharp backstroke (23.67), Jamaican Jesse Marsh butterfly (22.41) and Andrej Sokolovski freestyle (21.73) to take the Silver in a new school record of 1:33.21. Izaak’s contribution to the relay was a breaststroke leg of 25.40. That bettered the 25.75 he did when the 2015 team clocked a then school record of 1:34.33. With all 4 divisions having completed their championships the Saint Andrew medley performance places them 3rd among all Florida high school teams.

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50 yard freestyle podium From left to right Bastian Silver medallist ,Robert Cecil (Berkley) Gold medallist, Nicholas Ferrara Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

The record breaking would continue in the 50 yard freestyle .He dipped under the 21 second barrier for the first time to earn Silver in the event in a time of 20.75. That also bettered the school record of 20.89. It places Izaak as the 4th fastest in Florida.

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Bastian Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

In the 100 yard breaststroke he replicated his performance in 2015 to earn the Bronze yet again. He however did it in a much faster time. Last year he had set a school record of 57.19 (split time 27.06). This year he lowered the standard to 55.68 (split time 26.46).He ranks 4th in Florida with that time.

The Florida state record of 54.64 set by Suriname’s Raiz Tjon A Joe was broken by 2016 1 A champion James Daugherty of The Bolles who clocked 54.33.

In the 200 yard freestyle relay the team moved up from 6th in 2015 to 4th in a time of 1:25.97. Bastian started the relay with a split of 21.08.

Izaak had the following thoughts “I had a pretty good meet. It was really fun racing against guys that I had seen before and some new faces too especially Paul Degrado (Bolles) and James Daugherty (Bolles) two of the fastest breaststrokers in the nation. I felt I had a pretty good meet so I was happy with my results and my training for the year so far and hopefully it is just up from here”.

Samuel Gibson 100 freestyle record holder
Bahamian 13-14 100 metre freestyle record holder Samuel Gibson

The Bahamas was also represented by his teammate Samuel Gibson in the 400 yard freestyle relay. Samuel had a 3rd leg split of 48.58 to push Saint Andrews to 6th in the Championship final in a total time of 3:12.38. That performance places them 17th in Florida. He was 19th in the 100 yard butterfly in a time of 53.45 (split time 24.77).

Saint Andrews finished 3rd in the boys category with 87 points.

GERSHWIN GREENE AND JARED FITZGERALD MAKE B FINAL OF THE 50 METRE FREESTYLE

 

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The Bahamas Junior Pan Pacific male squad from left to right Jared Fitzgerald, N’Nhyn Fernander,Gershwin Greene and Izaak Bastian Photo courtesy of Rochelle Bastian and Bahamas Swimming

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.

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Gershwin Greene Photo courtesy of Rochelle Bastian and Bahamas Swimming

 

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.”

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Jared Fitzgerald 100 metre freestyle finish Photo courtesy of Rochelle Bastian and Bahamas Swimming

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.