KEANAN DOLS READY FOR 2019 WORLD CHAMPS CHALLENGE

Jamaica’s team to the the 2019 World Swimming Championships will consist of Olympian Alia Atkinson, Michael Gunning and making his debut at this Championship Keanan Dols. Keanan will be competing in the 100 metre butterfly and 200 metre individual medley events.††

Though Dols will be making his first splash at the Long Course World Championships he is no stranger to competing at the global level having swum at the 2015 World Junior Championships in Singapore and the 2016 World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada.

Keanan Dols at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming championships Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Keanan had been a standout swimmer for Jamaica at the in the junior ranks has been coming into his own in senior waters.

15-17 records
200 metre backstroke2:03.05
200 metre butterfly2:03.27
200 metre IM2:07.04
400 metre IM4:35.69

One indication of him making that transition was his performance at last year’s CAC (Central American and Caribbean Games) in Barranquilla Colombia. In the 100 metre butterfly he swam to new personal best to earn second place in the B final with a time of 54.74. That swim was not far off the 2015 national record held by Justin Plaschka.

Andrew Phillips Photo courtesy of andrewphillips.com

Earlier in the competition he lowered the 1984 national record of 2:05.63 Olympian Andrew Phillips when he placed fourth in the 200 individual medley ,his best senior level performance to date.

Draftingthecaribbean contacted Dols and asked him how competing at the 2015 World Junior Swimming championships and 2016 World Short Championships

” Those meets have prepared me for this summers world championships by providing experience in what it’s like at a major international meet racing against the best in the world. They provided experience with handling travel and ensuring that I’ve prepared myself well through recovery  “.

He also gave insight into big time drops at the CAC Games in 2018

” The time drops in my events last summer were a culmination of really the two years prior. The 2017 summer wasn’t my best and I didn’t see improvement in my times other than in the 200 IM. The improvements I saw in my fly events last summer were the result of an increased focus on training and racing butterfly after shifting slightly away from focusing on backstroke. The 200 IM improvements came from a massive improvement in my breaststroke split as well as a shift in race strategy. Breastroke is not my greatest stroke and in practice we’ve put a lot of emphasis on getting better at it to help out my IM races. My split this past summer was a 35.5 and in past years it’s been 37-38. For the race strategy I’ve learned I need to relax a bit more on the first 100 in order to finish the second 100 stronger. My first 100 last summer was a bit slower than it was even back in 2016 but the second hundred was almost 4 seconds faster. Putting up the times I did last summer was a great confidence boost. Getting my first worlds B time was one of my goals last summer and accomplishing that in the 200 IM was incredibly fulfilling. It shows me that I’m on the right track and that I’m doing the right things in and out of the pool in order to be successful”.

Keanan Dols

Keanan has made the decision to red shirt next season at the University of Pennsylvania in the NCAA Division I to focus on training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Dols spoke about his team and why it was a good move to achieve his goals

Keanan en route to Gold at the 2016 CISC

” I have been training in Gainesville, Florida with the University of Florida postgraduate group under Gregg Troy and Robert Pinter. Members of the group include American Olympic Gold medallists Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Lochte, Corey Main of New Zealand, Mitch D’Arrigo, Tom Peribonio of Ecuador, Alberto Mestre of Venezuela, Enzo Martinez Scarpe, True Sweetster and Colombian Santi Corredor. Everyone in the group has the goal of qualifying for the Olympics whether it be for the US, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, or Uruguay. I felt it was important to train in an environment with like minded individuals who are all high achieving and share similar goals. Swimming alongside such high achieving athletes allows me to compete against them every day at practice as well as learn from them and see what they do day in and day out that makes them great. Gregg Troy is one of the best in the world having worked with numerous Olympians throughout his career  including our very own Janelle Atkinson. The detail oriented environment that he creates combined with the effort you need to bring to practice every day is exactly what I need to be successful in the lead up to 2020″.

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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

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


PONSON READIES HERSELF FOR TOKYO WITH SPRINT FREE RECORD PERFORMANCES IN PUERTO RICO

Aruban Olympian Allyson Ponson announced her readiness for top performances at this summer’s World Championships in Korea and ultimately the Tokyo Olympics with national record performances in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle.

Allyson Ponson celebrating her 100 metre freestyle Gold medal Photo courtesy of Azura Florida Aquatics

The occasion was the Puerto Rico International Swimming Open held from April 25 to 28 at the San Juan Natatorium . In her first sprint event the 100 metre freestyle Allyson, representing Azura Florida Aquatics rattled her national mark of 56.84 in the morning heats.She swam 56.86 to claim the top seed heading into the Championship final. In that final in the afternoon she relegated the 56.84 to the history books when she swam the only sub 57 time of 56.78. Allyson had set the old national record during the heats of the 18 and over category at the now defunct Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships. Silver went to Daniela Gutierrez Zapata of Colombia in 57.66.The Bronze was won by Julimar Avila of Honduras in 58.26.

Ponson was just off the 2019 Lima A standard of 56.56.In her sights for the rest of the season will be the World Championships B time of 56.40 and Olympic B standard of 56.01.

Allyson Ponson at the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony Photo courtesy of wikipedia

The record breaking was not limited to the 100 metre freestyle as she turned her attention to the fastest event in swimming , the 50 metre freestyle. In that event she blasted through a number of standards as well as her national record in her morning swim. She exerted her dominance with a new Aruban mark of 25.61. That blew away her old national standard of 25.84 set in 2016. Also bettered was the Lima Peru PAN AM A standard of 25.89 and the World Championships B standard of 25.92.

Allyson with her teammate Mariel Mencia displaying Gold and Silver medals from the 50 metre freestyle Photo courtesy of Azura Florida Aquatics

In the night’s final her speed proved too much for her rivals as she stopped the clock in a time of 25.70.Second went to club mate Mariel Mencia in 26.56 and the Bronze to Olympian and 2007 PAN AM Games Silver medallist in the event Puerto Rico’s Vanessa García Vega in 26.50.

Allyson who is now training in Florida with Azura Florida Aquatics spoke to us earlier this month about that move

” So I left February 2 to train with Azura my goals where to do the Pan American A cut in the 50 (25.89) and swim a personal best in the 100 free. In regards with the training I was expecting to do a lot of sprint focused training which I did and I think that really helped me a lot”.

She also gave draftingthecaribbean some insight about her races in San Juan

”  Well during the heats of the 50 I really just tried to stay calm and not focus on the fact that I needed to still qualify with a Pan Am A cut. I felt confident because during warm up I felt really good and I really believed that the training I did during Azura would help me qualify with the A time. So during the race I was just focused on doing what I practiced and not thinking of the time. How ever I wasn’t expecting to go 25.61 yet. For the 100 finals I was already so happy to have done 56 in the morning that my mind set was basically just put on lets try to go a little faster than the morning .I can definitely improve my second 50 in the 100 going back.I also need to make sure I don’t breathe as much in the last few metres”.

Allyson along with twin sister Gabrielle provided the backbone of Aruba’s sprint force during their junior years at the CARIFTA swimming championships

Allyson’s CARIFTA record

Age Group50 freePlacing100 freePlacingAgeYear
11-1228.40Gold1:03.96Bronze122008
13-1427.72Bronze1:04.077th132009
13-1428.17Gold1:01.484th142010
15-1727.29Silver59.81Gold152011
15-1726.97Gold58.48Gold162012
15-1726.91Gold58.28Gold172013

Those swims are putting her in elite company among the top sprinters of all time from the region. In the 50 metre freestyle she is the second fastest active swimmer and fifth overall.

Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace Photo courtesy of theswimpictures.com
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace The Bahamas24.31
Malia Metella   French Guiana/France24.58
Alia Atkinson Jamaica25.47
Leah Martindale Barbados25.49
Malia Metella celebrating Olympic Silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics Photo courtesy of zimbio

In that group Vanderpool-Wallace,Martindale and Metella have all made the Olympic final in the event. Metella won the Silver in 2004 in Athens,Martindale was the first female swimmer from the CARIFTA region to make the sprint final in 1996 at the Atlanta Games. Arianna showed her dominance during her era to make the final in 2012 in London.

For the 100 metre freestyle the all time list is as follows

Coralie Balmy Photo courtesy of Coralie Balmy
Malia Metella   French Guiana/France53.49
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace The Bahamas53.73
Joanna Evans  The Bahamas55.29
Alia Atkinson   Jamaica55.35
Coralie Balmy   Martinique/France55.49
Leah Martindale  Barbados56.03
Allyson Ponson Photo courtesy of sportskidsaruba.com

With Allyson already faster than her 2016 Olympic debut swim in Rio of 26.00 she is one of the most exciting prospects to watch her heading to the 2020 Tokyo Games.

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.

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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.

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

SABRINA LYN LEADS 18 JAMAICAN INDIVIDUAL ENTRIES INTO DAY ONE FINALS WITH PB,AGR, CR AND PAN AM B MARK

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

The morning session of qualifying heats was highlighted by Sabrina Lyn’s new personal best, 13-14 national record and CARIFTA Championship record and PAN AM GAMES B time of 1:03.47 in the 100 metre butterfly. She bettered her old national record and personal best of 1:03.82 , the Championship record of 1:03.50 set in 2016 held by Bermuda’s Emma Harvey and the PAN AM Games B standard of 1:04.93. She is now the fastest ever female age group swimmer from Jamaica as the 15-17 record of 1:03.48 set by Kelsie Campbell in 2016.

Jamaica will occupy 18 lanes in individual finals tonight. There will be a national age record watch in the girls 50 metre backstroke event for all three age groups 11-12,13-14 and 15-17.Britney Williams topped the early morning heats in the 15-17  800 metre freestyle for girls  with a season best of 9:39.41.Countrywoman Naomi Eaton recorded a personal best of 10:02.80.Daniel Mair had a personal best of more than 10 seconds in the 13-14 boys 1500 metre freestyle of 18:34.56  There were 15 personal best times recorded this morning.

Britney williams
EventAge groupNameTimeRankings
200 metre breaststroke11-12Kokolo Foster3:00.691st  
200 metre breaststroke11-12Emma Marston3:16.118th
200 metre breaststroke15-17Naomi Eaton3:06.278th
50 metre backstroke11-12Giani Francis32.742nd
50 metre backstroke11-12Leanna Wainwright33.983rd
50 metre backstroke13-14Zaneta Alvaranga32.565th  
50 metre backstroke13-14Nathaniel Thomas28.261st
50 metre backstroke15-17Brianna Anderson30.661st
50 metre backstroke15-17Simone Vale32.468th
100 metre butterfly11-12Giani Francis1:12.295th
100 metre butterfly11-12Saidah Brown1:11.034th
100 metre butterfly11-12Brady Macpherson Lewison1:06.223rd
100 metre butterfly13-14Sabrina Lyn1:03.471st
100 metre butterfly13-14Zaneta Alvaranga1:05.772nd
100 metre butterfly13-14Nathaniel Thomas1:00.082nd
100 metre butterfly15-17Emily MacDonald1:05.121st
100 metre butterfly15-17Simone Vale1:09.028th
100 metre butterfly15-17Nicholas Vale57.952nd