KENZO SIMONS BECOMES FASTEST 15-17 SWIMMER EVER FROM THE CARIFTA REGION WITH EURO SILVER MEDAL

Kenzo Simons with his 50 metre freestyle Silver medal at the 2019 European Junior Championships today announced his arrival on the world stage with a major medal as well as a new Netherlands age group record in the event. Simons clocked a swift 22.10 to win Silver .

Kenzo Simons and father

In a race that show how fast the world of swimming has become saw German Artem Selim winning in 21.83 and the Bronze going to Vladyslav Bukhov of the Ukraine in 22.37. Simons had the advantage for most of the race before Selim pulled away for victory in a new European Junior record.

50 metre freestyle Championship race

Kenzo’s time would have won the Silver medal at the World Juniors at 2017 edition and Gold in 2015,2013 and 2011. No other swimmer from the region has ever gone faster than 22.50 in that age group.

In the history of CARIFTA region swimmers the top three rankings now includes Renzo Tjon A Joe of Suriname who blasted to 22.75 at the 2013 World Junior Championships en route to a Championship final. Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter would speed to 22.49 of the Youth Olympics the following year before winning Bronze in the Championship final with a time of 22.53

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

CARIFTA AGE GROUP ALL STARS OF SPEED

Name50 free
Kenzo Simons22.10 (2019)
Dylan Carter22.49 (2014)
Renzo Tjon A Joe22.75 (2013)

This shows the vast improvement Simons has made since regional fans would have seen him last at the now defunct Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships in 2016 when he won the Gold in the 13-14 age group in a time of 24.08 in a Championship record.Another top junior swimmer coming into his own now Jan Collazo of Puerto Rico won the Silver in 24.80 and Curacao’s Christopher Marlin the Bronze in 25.04.

Earlier at the 2016 CARIFTA championships earlier in Martinique Simons had set the 13-14 record of 24.49 before it was lowered by Izaak Bastian of the Bahamas in the Championship final.

CARIFTA 2016 Simons Silver 24.49,Bastian Gold 24.25, Berol Bronze 24.69.Photo courtesy of Carifta 2016 MARTINIQUE C

Simon’s Recent Regional Results

YearMeetEventTimeAgeMedal
2016CISC50 free24.0814Gold
2016CISC50 back28.1614Silver
2016CARIFTA50 free24.4914Silver
2016CISC50 back28.7314Bronze
2014CARIFTA50 back32.4112Bronze
2014CARIFTA50 free27.58124th
2014CISC50 free28.19127th
2014CISC50 back31.4912Silver

Simons time has bypassed the ranks of junior swimmers to make him the second fastest of all time from the CARIFTA region

Goerge Bovell III Photo courtesy of sportsmax.tv
NationTimeYearName
TTO21.202009George Bovell II
Neth/SUR22.102019Kenzo Simons
SUR22.182018Renzo Tjon A Joe
TTO22.392018Dylan Carter
BAH22.392009Elvis Burrow
CAY22.412011Brett Fraser
BER22.472012Roy Allan Burch
BAH22.751996Allan Murray
JAM22.772016 Justin Plaschka
TTO22.792017Joshua Romany
JAM22.832008Jevon Atkinson
FRA/Fren GUY22.862015Mehdy Metella

This fantastic effort makes Simons the second fastest 18 and under swimmer in the world behind Selim and the 15th fastest in the World .

He would also create more history by extending the distance between himself and the rest of the region’s age group swimmers in the 50 metre backstroke. Before 2018 the fastest time in the event was 25.99 by Carter. Simons had bettered that last year with a swim of 25.65 in the semi finals of this competition. This year he moved up from seventh to fourth with a new PB of 25.63

Start of the 2018 15-17 50 metre backstroke final from left to right Carey Silver medallist and Jack Kirby of Barbados Gold medallist Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn
NationTimeYearName
Neth/SUR25.632019Kenzo Simons
TTO25.992013Dylan Carter
BAR26.072018Jack Kirby

In the 50 metre butterfly only Dylan Carter with his sub seconds blast of 23.81 to win the 2014 Youth Olympics Silver medal is faster than Kenzo from the region at the youth level.

Dylan Carter at the 2013 CARIFTA swimming championships Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn
NationTimeYearName
TTO23.812014Dylan Carter
Neth/SUR24.282019Kenzo Simons
FRA/Fren Guy24.562010Mehdy Metella

In the 100 metre freestyle Simons is in the same company .He posted a huge PB of 49.71 in the heats of the mixed 400 metre freestyle relay .That was a massive time drop from his previous standard of 50.74. He would also be under the 50 seconds barrier in the Championship final with a swim of 49.92 as the Dutch team placed fifth in a time of 3:31.13.

Mehdy Metella Photo courtesy of Arena Water Instinct France and Stéphane Kempinaire
NationTimeSplitYearName
FRA/Fren Guy49.2523.552010Mehdy Metella
TTO49.5023.982014Dylan Carter
Neth/SUR49.7123.392019Kenzo Simons

Simons exploits should serve as motivation to the region’s youngsters about what can be achieved through hard work and dedication. Also that certain times are not above their abilities at the youth level

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LIGHTNING JACK KIRBY STRIKES AGAIN,SETS ANOTHER NATIONAL BACKSTROKE RECORD

The fans at the Aquatic Centre in Wildey, St Michael Barbados were on hand to witness a lightning quick national record performance in the 15 and over 100 metre backstroke by Jack Kirby. The occasion was the 28th Aquatic Centre International Invitational Swim Meet.

Jack Kirby Photo courtesy of Pirates Swim Club Barbados

Before second day of the competition on May 25 the fastest a Barbadian swimmer had ever navigated the two back stroke race was 56.19 . That mark was set by Kirby in a fifth place finish in the Championship final at the 2018 CAC (Central American and Caribbean Games)in Barranquilla Colombia. But this is new year with new standards to be achieved and Jack certainly did that .

When the starter’s gun sounded two swimmers separated themselves from the field with their excellent underwater work Kirby of the Pirates Swim club and Nicky Neckles Olympian (1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney and Athens and CAC 100 metre backstroke medallist (Bronze 2002,Gold 2006,Silver 2010).

Barbados Backstroke Stars Jack Kirby and Olympian Nicky Neckles Photo courtesy of Pirates Swim Club

Jack gained the ascendancy and pushed his way to the lead with a split of 27.77. Kirby’s underwater work was almost as good if not better than the start . He used that to gain a sizeable lead and all eyes were now on the clock. He did not disappoint with a final 50 metres timed at 28.03 which helped to a total time of 55.80.

There was a change of tactics for this record swim as he went out more conservatively to bring it home faster. As evidenced by his splits in 2018 which were 26.77 and 29.42

The first swimmer under 56 seconds in the event in Barbados lowering the meet and open record of 56.76 set by Venezuela’s Luis Rojas in 2012. Second went to Neckles of Flying Fish Masters in 1:01.29 and Bronze to Nkosi Dunwoody of Alpha Swim club in 1:07.37.

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Kirby about his achievements and he gave us the following thoughts.He first spoke about why the race was special

” The race was special because I was able to achieve my goal at home in front of my friends and family”.

He also spoke about the training behind his great underwater work

” For the underwaters, I practice them everyday in warm up. We always have these 8 50s and as I go through them, I do 4 kicks off the turn for 3 50s, 6 kicks off the turn for 3 50s, and 8 kicks off the turn for the last two. The goal is to work on going far with those kicks. So by time I get to the 8 kicks, I break out at 15 metre mark. In the race, I do 8 kicks off the turn, hoping to get to the 15 metre mark”.

He also told draftingthecaribbean about his mindset before the race

” I kept my thoughts pretty relaxed before the 100 back. I planned to go after it the same way I always do. Back half it because I’m pretty good with easy speed, so I had to trust my wall and back end speed”.

His new personal best and national record also moves him past Jamaican record holder Olympian Timothy Wynter, a recent USC (University of Southern California) graduate on the best all time English speaking CARIFTA region list. That list is headed by another USC graduate Trinidad and Tobago Olympian Dylan Carter.Jack now holds two of the three senior national backstroke records to include the 50 metre backstroke at 26.07. The last remaining record he does not own is the 200 . That mark was set by Neckles in 2006 in a time of 2:00.85.

CARIFTA backstrokers at USC from left to right Carter,Kirby and Wynter Photo courtesy of swimmingworld
NameFirst 50 Second 50100Year
Dylan Carter TTO26.4127.6854.092019
Rex Tullius USVI26.6128.4655.072016
George Bovell III TTO26.1829.0455.222012
Jack Kirby Bar27.7728.0355.802019
Bradley Ally Bar27.3828.5055.882011
Timothy Wynter Jam26.9329.2256.152016
Shaune Fraser Cay28.0628.9356.992011
Jack Kirby Bar26.7729.4256.192018


2018 SWIMMING ACHIEVEMENTS JACK KIRBY NAMED JUNIOR SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR

Jack Kirby being honoured as the 2018 Junior Sportman of the year Photo courtesy of the Barbados Olympic Association

Jack Kirby of Barbados was recognized for his outstanding performances for the year 2018 by his nation’s Olympic Association on December 20 at  BOA and Flow awards ceremony at the Barbados Hilton when he was named Junior Sportsman of the Year. This is the second consecutive year he is being bestowed with this honour after being given the accolade in 2017 as well. This is the third year that a swimmer is being recognized as the top junior sportsman as Olympian Alex Sobers won the award in 2016

2016 Junior Sportsman of the year Olympian Alex Sobers .Photo courtesy of the Barbados Olympic Association

Kirby who is one of the top regional junior swimmers in the sprint freestyle events and sprint individual medley but is known primarily in regional circles as being the top swimmer in the backstroke record shows

Meet50 backPlace 100 back Place 200 backPlace
UANA26.63 CRGold56.34 CRGoldN/A
CARIFTA26.27 CRGold56.59 59 CRGold2:11.64, 205.22 NAGRGold
CAC 26.07 NR ,NAGR6th56.19 NAGR5th2:07.80heats only
Junior NationalsN/A56.756th
Start of the 15-17 50 metre backstroke final from left to right Carey Silver medallist and Jack Kirby of Barbados Gold medallist Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

In 2018 Kirby established himself as the fastest ever swimmer at UANA and CARIFTA swimming Championships in the sprint backstroke events. And in his senior international debut at the CAC Games he was the youngest swimmer in the 50 and the 100 metre backstroke Championship final. He is the best backstroker of all time in the 15-17 age group and the fastest backstroker of all time for Barbados with his 26.07 clocking in the 50 metre backstroke.

National records in 2018

National recordTime
50 metre backstroke26.07
15-17 National recordTime
50 metre backstroke26.07
100 metre backstroke56.19
200 metre backstroke2:05.22
50 metre freestyle23.46
100 metre backstroke50.97
CARIFTA recordsTime
50 metre backstroke26.27
100 metre backstroke56.59
200 metre backstroke2:05.22

At the 2018 SPEEDO Winter Junior Championships in North Carolina held in a 25 yard pool Kirby recorded a big personal best in the 100 yard backstroke heats. This as he dipped below the 48 seconds barrier for the first time in his career to record a time of 47.88. It also puts as him only the third swimmer from Baylor to break 48 seconds .

Jacky Kirby in action in the backstroke Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

Kirby represents Baylor both at school and club level in the United States. In February of last year he also captured Gold in the 100 yard backstroke by over a second in a then personal best at the Tennessee State Championships.

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Kirby and asked him for this thoughts on receiving this award and what was the high point for him in 2018

Jack Kirby UANA Gold medallist and Barbadian age group in the 100 metre backstroke

“I’m extremely very grateful to be chosen for the award because I know I was chosen amongst many Bajan athletes on the same level as me. The highlight for this year has to be (Central American and Caribbean) CAC Games in Barranquilla. I say CAC Games because my competitors were older than me and I was still able to compete with them in finals”.

University of Southern California (USC commit) Jack Kirby .Photo courtesy of swimswam

Not one to rest on his laurels the University of Southern California bound Kirby representing Baylor today Jan 10,2019 made the Championship final of the 50 metre backstroke at the 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series #1 – Knoxville

SPEEDO WINTER JUNIOR CHAMPS -EAST DAY 3 REPORT JACK KIRBY MAKES CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL IN 100 BACKSTROKE

The third day of competition on Friday Dec 7 at the 2018 SPEEDO Winter Junior Championships in North Carolina saw Jack Kirby of Barbados and the Baylor Swim Club as the highest ranked swimmer from the CCCAN region.

Jack UANA
Jack Kirby UANA Gold medallist and Barbadian age group in the 100 metre backstroke

Kirby recorded a big personal best in the 100 yard backstroke heats. This as he dipped below the 48 seconds barrier for the first time in his career to record a time of 47.88. It also puts as him only the third swimmer from Baylor to break 48 seconds.

Baylor 100 backstroke Top Three All Time

Luke Kaliszak  March 2014 46.47
Sam McHugh March 2014 47.74
Jack Kirby Dec 2018 47.88

That time would propel him to the Championship final as he had the second fastest time from the morning swim. In that final he would challenge the 48 second barrier to place 48.13. That bettered his 2017 performance where he had placed sixth in a time of 48.67.His heats time was the 10th fastest time produced at both the East and West competitions.

Analysis of 100 back personal bests

100 back Dec 2018 Feb 2018
First 50 23.13 23.46
Second 50 24.75 24.59
Final Time 47.88 48.05

There would be another big time drop for Kirby in the 100 yard butterfly. He dropped more than a second in the event to set his first sub 50 seconds swim of 49.30.  That bettered the 50.68 he did in a time trial at last year’s Championships. It also moved him from 16th to third  overall in Baylor history.It also places him as the fastest ever Caribbean swimmer from Baylor beating Jamaican Brad Hamilton’s time of 50.36 in 2008.

Bayor 100 butterfly Top Three All Time

Sam McHugh March 2014 48.24
Greg Roop Feb 2009 48.92
Jack Kirby Dec 2018 49.30

That earned him a spot in the C final . He recorded the second fastest time of his career when he placed 8th in a time of 49.66.

100 butterfly Dec 2018 Dec 2017
First 50 22.93 23.88
Second 50 26.37 26.88
Final Time 49.30 50.68

Vale on way to record swim
Nicholas  Vale Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Jamaica’s Nicholas Vale representing Pine Crest Swim club continued to close in on a sub 49 seconds swim when he recorded a personal best and club record of 49.37. That beat his previous team record set in the the heats of Florida 1A State Championships in November and placed him 28th overall. The 100 yard backstroke saw him stopping the clock in 52.14.

Jan Collazo Torres Trinity Prep aquatics
Jan Collazo Torres Photo courtesy of Trinity Prep Aquatics

Puerto Rico’s Jan Collazo Torres representing Trinity Prep Aquatics recorded a personal best in the 200 yard freestyle of 1:41.26 (split time 48.26) to place 53rd overall. That bettered his PB of 1:42.50 set in Dec 2017. It is also a major improvement on his performance at the 2017 Championships where he placed 100th in 1:44.59.

Also recording a big time drop was Curaçao’s Chadé Nersicio who represents East Coast Aquatics. She moved from a best time of 57.46 in the 100 yard butterfly done at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships in March to a time of 55.82 (split time 25.96) to finish 67th overall. In the 100 yard breaststroke she improved upon her 2017 performance where she touched 1:05.72 to stop the clock in 1:05.57 this year.

Jamaica’s Emily MacDonald of Bolles recorded a personal best of 58.08 (split time 27.07) in the 100 yard butterfly.

In the 200 yard freestyle relay the region was represented by three swimmers Gabrianna Banks of South Florida Aquatics, MacDonald and Nercisio.

Banks anchored her team with a split of 23.55 to help them to 15th overall in 1:34.13. MacDonald also had anchor leg duties for Bolles A team. She finished the relay with a leg of 23.86 to help them to a total time of 1:34.41 and 18th place. Nersicio broke the anchor leg trend by starting the relays. She posted the eighth fastest opening time of 23.01 of 43 competing teams to help the East Coast Aquatics to a total time of 1:35.04.

 

 

 

 

SPEEDO WINTER JUNIOR CHAMPS -EAST DAY 2 REPORT NERSICIO MAKES C FINAL IN 50 FREE

The second day of the SPEEDO Winter Junior Championships in North Carolina on Thursday Dec 6 saw Curaçao’s Chadé Nersicio earning a finals berth in the 50 yard freestyle for the second consecutive year.

chade-50-free-m-lyn
Chadé Nercisio starts her race Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Nersicio placed third in the C final of the event in a time of 23.05 to be the the only CARIFTA region swimmer earning a second swim in an individual event.The Florida 1A state champion in the 50 free anchored the East Coast Aquatics team  400 yard medley relay team to 32nd with a split time of 50.35, the 13th fastest freestyle split of the 41 competing teams.The team’s total time was 3:49.43.

Jamaicans Emily MacDonald of the Bolles School and Gabrianna Banks of South Florida Aquatics had times of 24.00 and 24.25 in the 50 yard freestyle.

Puerto Rico’s Jan Collazo Torres of Trinity Prep Aquatics was the top swimmer from the CCCAN region in the 50 yard freestyle for the boys as he clocked 20.74 to place 25th. It was his third best  ever performance . This as he  had won the Florida 1A State Championships with personal best times in the heats and final of 20.47 and 20.38.

Jack Kirby of the Baylor School and Barbados recorded a new personal best in the event of 20.89. That bettered his previous best of 20.92 registered earlier this year in February and it also placed him 43rd overall.

 

ANOTHER CARIFTA CHAMPION AND RECORD HOLDER RISES TO THE CHALLENGE AT CAC GAMES JACK KIRBY LOWERS BACKSTROKE AGE GROUP RECORD IN CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL

Another of the region’s top junior swimmers showed the class of swimmer the CARIFTA region is producing by making a major senior international final. It was the turn of Jack Kirby of Barbados who qualified for the 100 metre backstroke final.

Jack morning heats
Kirby preparing to swim in the morning heats

Coming to the championships Kirby was a known quantity regionally  in the junior ranks .This was evidenced by his season where he set the Championship record at the UANA Cup with a national record of 56.34 and a Championship record and the fastest time ever at CARIFTA of 56.59.

Jack and DaVante on podium
Jack Kirby and DaVante Carey push off the blocks in the Championship final of the 15-17 50 metre backstroke at CARIFTA 2018. Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

He would break his 15-17 age group national record with a time of 56.22 to place second in heat 1 . His speed endurance was seen with the fastest second 50 metres of all the swimmers as he moved from fourth to second with a 28.64 clocking. The swim also moved him to the top of the list in terms of Barbadian 100 metre backstroke performances as he bettered the previous best time of CAC legend Nicky Neckles in his Silver medal winning performance at the 2010 Games.

Nicky neckles 2010
Nicky Neckles with Silver in the 100 metre backstroke at the 2010 Games Photo courtesy of swimbarbados.com

Neckles won a complete set of medals in the event Bronze in 2002, Gold in 2006 when he swept the 50, 100 and 200 events and Silver in 2010.

In the final he changed tactics and went out hard and was second at the turn in 26.77. He could not withstand the charge from the field and placed a creditable fifth in yet another national age record time 56.19.

NATIONAL AGE GROUP RECORD PROGRESSION

UANA 2018 CAC 2018 heats CAC 2018 Final
First 50 metres 27.40 27.58 26.77
Second 50 metres 28.94 28.64 29.42
Final Time 56.34 56.34 56.19

Draftingthecaribbean contacted Kirby and got his reaction about his swim

” I was hoping for 55 but my finals event wasn’t executed properly. The race was exciting though as everyone was close”. His record swims were all under the automatic A standard for the Youth Olympics of 56.96 ,and the 2019 PAN AM a standard of 56.49. It also brings him closer to the 2018  Hangzhou World Short Course Championships and 2019 Gwangju World Championships  (LCM)  B standard of 55.95 and the  2011 national senior record of 55.88 held by Olympian Bradley Ally.

 

ALEX SOBERS AND JACK KIRBY RECORD SUB 51’S SWIMS IN THE 100 METRE FREESTYLE AT CAC GAMES , JACK MAKES AUTOMATIC YOUTH OLYMPIC STANDARD

The morning heats of the 100 metre freestyle saw big time drops for the Team Barbados duo of Alex Sobers and Jack Kirby

Sobers preparing to win another Gold medal
Alex Sobers Photo courtesy of goeclions.com

 

Sobers lowered his personal best of 51.82  (split time 25.25) from the TYR Pro Swim Series in Atlanta on March 1 to 50.74 (split time 24.13) to rank 9th overall and qualify for the B final. He will contest the Championship final at 8.22 pm local time. Sobers gave his thoughts to draftingthecaribbean about his PB

“I am happy with the new best time (50.74).Renzo Tjon A Joe (Suriname) was in the lane next  to me, so I used that to push me.That swim gave me a positive attitude towards the meet , I am  looking forward to the rest of my swims”.

Jack UANA
Jack Kirby at the UANA Cup

Teammate Kirby was also in record breaking form as he crushed his personal best and national 15-17 age group record of 52.04  (split time 25.70)  that he recorded in January at the UANA Cup in Florida to place 10th in a time of 50.97 (split time 25.10). That swim also propelled him past the Youth Olympics A standard time of 51.40.Draftingthecaribbean contacted Kirby and got his thoughts on record swim

“50.97 was a surprise to me because my goal for the race was 51. It felt like a normal 100 free race to me and I believe having older competitors helped my outcome a lot.”

Both swimmers will be chasing top honours in the B final slated for 8:16pm local time as well as the 2019  Gwangju  Korea World Championships and 2018 Hangzhou, China World Short Course B time of 50.51. Also in their sights will be the senior national record of Shawn Clarke of 50.40.Clarke set that record leading off the 2009 Rome World championships 400 metre freestyle relay and had an opening split of 24.48