At the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart, Florida on Nov 11 Jamaica was represented by 2019 World Junior Championships representatives  Emily MacDonald of the Bolles School and Cameron Brown of the University School.

Emily’s Bolles School won the State Championship for the girls for the 29th consecutive year. In the 400 yard freestyle relay the Grade 11 student along with her teammates created history to lower the school standard en route to Gold in the relay.

Emily MacDonald preparing to race Photo courtesy of Art Kozel

Emily, who was drafted into the final for her first ever swim on this relay at States made the best use of it with a big personal best. She led off the relay in a time of 50.81, beating her lifetime best by almost a second. That gave the Bulldogs a lead that they would not relinquish to hold off the Saint Andrews team in a new school record of 3:23.18 to  the Scots 3:24.00. The last time a Jamaican was on the podium was through Annabella Lyn and her Pine Crest team in 2017 when they won Silver in 3:27.02.

The old 1A Champs best was set in 2014. The 2019 winning time now stands as the fastest time ever done at the 1A championships.

MacDonald is just outside the top five fastest Jamaican women of all time in the 100 yard freestyle.

Janelle Atkinson Photo courtesy of panamericanworld.com

The time also has Bolles as the fastest team in Florida when compared to the other teams in 2A, 3A and 4A.

In the 200 yard medley relay the 2018 team repeated the Gold medal performance with a change in legs to produce a faster time in 2019.This time Emily and Sasha Ramey switched freestyle and butterfly legs. The result saw Emily producing the first butterfly sub 25 second split since 2017 at States. Their winning time of 1:43.43 is the fastest Gold medal performance since 2015.

In the 200 yard freestyle relay MacDonald now has a complete set of medals. In 2017 she won the Bronze with her team touching in 1:35.67. In 2018 they were in the runner up spot stopping the clock in 1:34.39. This time they had no equal at the meet or in Florida as they record a time of 1:33.61 to take the Gold . The time is the second fastest time ever recorded at the 1A state Championships . Only the 2013 Bolles team with their school record of 1:32.74 has been faster.

In the morning heats Emily recorded her first sub 23 seconds relay split of 22.94 to push the team to the number one seed for the final with a time of 1:35.37.

In the 50 yard freestyle the Pan Am Games B finalist recorded a personal best in the heats of 23.43. In the final she recorded the second fastest time of her career to place fourth in 23.53. She has steadily improved at the State championships with an 8th place finish in 2017 with a time of 23.97, then finishing 5th in 2017 with a swim of 23.68. MacDonald is now tied with Shaun Johnson on the list of the fastest Jamaican woman of all time. The list is again headed by Natasha Moodie with her blast from the 2011 NCAA Division I champs.

Natasha Moodie Photo courtesy of mgoblue.com
Cameron Brown .Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Her teammate Cameron Brown, who has been Jamaica’s best age group breaststroker for a number of years, recorded his best time in the 100 yard event at the State Champs in the heats with a swim of 59.45. In the final Brown recorded his highest ever placing punching in a time of 59.64. That bettered his best showing of 7th in 2017 in 1:00.08.

In the 200 medley and freestyle relay Brown recorded his best splits at the State championships for his best ever relay showing.

In the 200 yard medley relay he was timed at 27.49 that helped University School hold off Saint Andrews 1:40.11 to 1:40.32 to top the B final. Last year the team was 5th in 1:42.80. His breaststroke leg was the fastest of the B finalists.

In the 200 yard freestyle relay Brown’s team were the victors in the B final with a time of 1:29.45. Cameron’s second leg was 22.01. This is major improvement from 2018 when the team placed 8th in the B final with a total effort of 1:31.91.

The Bolles topped the girls field amassing 489 points, Saint Andrews was second with 280 and PK Yonge third with a total of 152.5.

On the boys side University School was 13th with 63 points. The winners were Bolles with 337 points, Second Episcopal(Jacksonville) 209.5 and Berkeley Prep with 169.


In the CARIFTA region there have been a number of sibling acts that have raised the standard of swimming in their countries with top swims, records and medal performances.

Allan Murray Photo courtesy of The Bahamas Olympic committe

At the 1999 Winnipeg Games we hadBahamian brothers Allan and Christopher Murray who were Championship finalists in the 50 metre freestyle .Chris placed 6th in 23.22 and Allan 7th in 23.30. They also set set then national relay records of 3:58.37 in the medley relay and 3:31.46 in the 400 metre freestyle relay that was broken recently by the AWESOME FOUR of Fitzgerald, Greene ,Fernander and Carey.

Janelle Atkinson Photo courtesy of panamericanworld.com

Also at those Games was the Jamaican sister act of Janelle and Jilandre Atkinson .Janelle would have the best single Games performance for Jamaica when she won three Silver medals in the 200 2:01.11, 400 metre freestyle 4:10.83 and 800 metre freestyle 8:39.51.Janelle,Jilandre , Tamara Swaby and Dawn Kane then Chuck who is a coach at Brown University set a then national record in the 400 metre freestyle relay of 4:04.76.

Shaune and Brett Fraser displaying ther 200 metre freestyle medals at the 2011 Games

In 2011 we had the Cayman Islands duo of Shaune and Brett Fraser who has made a return to competitive elite swimming at the 2019 Games winning Gold and Silver in the 200 metre freestyle.Brett took Gold in 1:47.18 and Shaune the Silver in 1:48.29.

Jada Chatoor before her historic 10K swim Photo courtesy of Camille Chatoor

Also from Team Trinidad and Tobago we have the brother and sister pair of Graham and Jada Chatoor. Jada became the first female swimmer to compete in swimming marathon the 10k in open water.Older Brother Graham became the fastest ever swimmer from the twin island republic in the 400 metre freestyle race at PAN AMs when he set a personal best of 4:02.77 to place fifth in the B final.

The above mentioned names are just a few of such CARIFTA region families who have competed in recent years.

Jordy Groters Photo courtesy of flaswimnetwork.com

In 2019 we have the Groters brother Jordy and Patrick. Jordy had retired from elite level competition having made his mark at the 2011 and 2015 Games. He played an integral in younger brother Patrick’s training this summer. It has worked tremendously with Patrick lowering his own national record in the 200 metre backstroke of 2:03.47 to set a standard of 2:02.32.He also became the first Aruban to make a Championship final in this event. He was just outside the top 8 with his 100 metre backstroke heats and national record swim of 56.20. In the B final he became the highest placed Aruban in the event with a second place and national record swim of 55.82.

Draftingthecaribbean contacted Jordy on Friday August 9 and he spoke about the path he charted for his brother for the summer of 2019

“Patrick swam the 200 on the 7th and swam a new PB and National record during prelims dropping 1.1s from 2:03.47 to 2:02.32. To the casual audience, that may not seem like a lot, but I am sure that I don’t have to tell you that dropping a full second from your PB doesn’t happen often, especially not at the elite level.

Patrick behind the blocks before his first major international final in the 200 metre backstroke Photo courtesy of the Aruban Olympic Committee

Though his swim in finals did not go as we would have hoped (let’s call it nerves from being in his first Pan Am Finals), we did see one positive takeaway: he had amazing front-end speed. He was out 1st at the 50m, which again, wasn’t what he was supposed to do.

Patrick starts in the final of the 200 metre backstroke Photo courtesy of the Aruban Olympic Committee

He jumped the gun, which led to him fading hard and fast in the second 100. Of course he was disappointed not being able to replicate his morning swim, but we quickly shook it off and recognized the potential for the 100. We knew he had the endurance for the 200, and with a slight increase of stroke frequency, he could throw down a huge PB in the 100 as well.

Patrick completing the first 100 of the 200 metre race.Photo courtesy of the Aruban Olympic Committee

We switched his regular meet warm up a bit to better suit the 100. During the warm up I also tried to point out where his 200 went wrong on the technical side (like his turns) and how he can correct it for the 100. I was very pleased to see that he was able to drop 0.7s from his PB and National Record in the morning from 56.92 to 56.20. We were already ecstatic with that swim but I recognized a few errors that could lead to a sub-56 swim. We tackled those in his meet warm up in the afternoon and were once again treated to a PB and National Record, dropping 0.4 from his morning swim (and, like his 200, 1.1 from his previous PB) to a 55.82.

Yeziel Morales Puerto Rico Lane 3,Patrick Lane 4 and Augustin Hernandez Lane 5 get off to a quick start in the B final Photo courtesy of the Aruban Olympic committee

As his coach, I’m constantly looking for areas to improve even when he drops big like that. His turn can still be so much better. Another positive, however, is that Patrick’s PB in the 50m is 26.32 and he split a 26.41 in the 100 at finals. No doubt in my mind that he could have been sub-26 had it been a 50. 

Patrick and Jordy in Lima

These huge time drops, however, didn’t come out of nowhere. Due to unfortunate circumstances surrounding the coaching staff at his University (of Denver), Patrick decided that he would get better preparation for Pan Am while training at home for the summer. Thus, Patrick arrived on Aruba in June for our national meet and stayed afterwards to train under me. We knew that his summer meet schedule would be loaded as he was scheduled to go to Worlds and Pan AMs (which were basically back-to-back, on opposite ends of the globe). We quickly identified that the priority was Pan AMs as he could very well make finals there while he would just be attending worlds for the participation medal. Thus, I created a training routine around this idea and we also changed his flights so that he would spend as little time as possible in Korea. Patrick flew to Korea the day before his 200 IM (2:11.38 at Worlds, 7 seconds above his PB) and did the 200 back the following day (2:10.25 at Worlds, also 7 seconds above his old PB at the time). Patrick then immediately flew to Lima the day after the 200 Back (spending a total of 3 and a half days in Korea) and spent 11 days in Lima with me adjusting to the time zone, recovering from his trip, and making final preparations for Pan AMs. Even though his swims in Korea were abysmal in time, we were still able to look beyond that and see the positives (though few, there were still some positives). As I mentioned, we had created the program around his trip to Korea and fully expected the times there to not represent what he is capable of, so mentally moving past that was not difficult for us.
With all that said, we are very pleased with the 2-for-2 on best times and national records for Patrick. However, the work isn’t done yet. He still has the 200 IM tomorrow, and if his Worlds to Lima conversion in the 200 back is any indication, it should be a really good effort as well. The last two months haven’t been easy. Breaking the “You’re my brother” barrier took a while for both of us but in the end we have a really good dynamic going on. I really put Patrick to work and he has accepted the challenge phenomenally and is currently reaping the rewards “.

Patrick continues to close in on the Olympic B standards in the 100 and 200 events of 55.47 and 2:01.03.

2019 World Swimming Championships 200 metre freestyle women Cuba’s Elisbet Gamez Matos is the top ranked CCCAN swimmer

Elisbet Gamez Matos Photo courtesy of FINA

The 200 metre freestyle saw Cuban Elisbet Gamez Matos earning the right to be seen as the best from the CCCAN region at the global championships. She split 59.26 en route to a total time just over 2 minutes as she touched in 2:00.33.She placed 20th overall. This is an upward movement for the region since the 2017 Budapest Championships when Helen Moreno of Costa Rica was the top regional athlete in 32nd spot. This is also the best world Champs performance for Elisbet.The 2018 CAC Central American and Caribbean Silver medallist  had finished in 36th in Barcelona in 2013 with a time of 2:05.54.

Joanna Evans 800 metre freestyle Champion Olympic qualifier Fastest woman ever from the English speaking CARIFTA region

Finishing second on the regional rankings was Joanna Evans of The Bahamas. The fastest woman ever from the English speaking Caribbean and reigning CAC Games Champion  posted the fastest time ever by an English speaking woman at these Championships with a swim of 2:02.76 (split time 58.05) for 31st . That bettered the old record of 2:07.75 set by Lani Cabrera of Barbados at the 2015 Kazan edition of the Championships. She also equaled the best performance by a swimmer from the English speaking Caribbean.Shelly Cramer has also placed 31st at the 1982 Guayaquil Championships .Cramer had swum 2:12.66.

Gabriela Santis of Guatemala just missed PB of 2:05.08 when she stopped the clock in a time of 2:05.36 (split time 1:02.14) for 36th overall.This is an improvement from 2017 when she had recorded 2:06.94 for 37th .

Elan Daley gives a thumbs up after setting the 11-12 CARIFTA record

Reigning CARIFTA Champion and record holder in the 13-14 age Elan Daley of Bermuda was next on  the CCCAN regional list .Already the her nation’s senior national record holder with swim at CARIFTA in Barbados of 2:06.13 she went even faster in South Korea. Swimming in heat 3 the 2019 CCCAN champion was fearless in taking the race to her older competitors and almost won but was touched out by Santis .Elan stopped the clock in a 13-14 and national record of 2:05.47 (split time 1:00.87) for 38th .Only legendary Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson has swum faster from the English speaking Caribbean with her national 13-14 standard of 2:05.07 from 1997.

Costa Rican Amanda Alfaro had a near miss with her personal best of 2:06.29.She hit the pads in 2:06.60 for 39th.

Sara Pastrana of Honduras was 40th in 2:06.76.

Danielle Treasure of Barbados was 46th in a time of 2:11.51.

The US Virgin Islands Natalia Kuipers was 52nd in a time of 2:15.45

Maya de Freitas of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lowered her own PB and national record of 2:19.10 when recorded a time of 2:15.48.That placed her 54th overall.

Olivia Fuller of Antigua and Barbuda was 57th in a time of 2:19.71.

The best performances by the region are dominated by the Poll sisters Sylvia and Claudia of Costa Rica. Sylvia still holds the 13-14 CCCAN record with a super fast 2:00.49 from 1985.Claudia holds the 15-17 record at 2:02.12 set in 1989.

Claudia Poll Photo courtesy of panamericanworld
1998Claudia Poll1:58.90GoldCosta Rica
1994Claudia Poll1:57.61BronzeCosta Rica
2001Claudia Poll1:58.924thCosta Rica
1986Sylvia Poll2:02.176thCosta Rica
2009Coralie Balmy1:56.7910thFra/Martinique


2018 Carifta 15-17 Gold and Bronze medallists Williams and Lyn Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

Lynval Lowe , coach of Jamaican Britney Williams is confident of her successfully defending her 15-17 200 metre freestyle title in Barbados in April.

Britney Williams Photo courtesy of Lynval Lowe

Lowe,the head coach of Swimaz Aquatics expressed this sentiment after his charge swimming for Wolmer’s Girls set the meet record twice in that event at the 2019 ASAJ High school & Tertiary Championships held Feb 8 -9. Williams recorded times of 2:14.95 in the heats then a season best of 2:13.10.Currently seeded second in the rankings Williams is a big meet performer and will use the Walter Rogers Age Group championships which the last local qualifier to gain pole position.

Britney Williams celebrating CARIFTA Gold with the hometown crowd in 2018 Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Coach Lowe he said ” Britney is really working hard. At the last meet she trained in the morning then she represented her school in the afternoon and did a season best of 2:13.10. We are looking to lower that time to 2:08 or 2:09 by Age Group championships.Her winning time at CARIFTA last year was 2:10.We are looking at 2:08 or 2:07 which will make her very competitive and would enable her to defend her 200 metre freestyle title.Right now she is in good shape and so far so good and we will continue the work and we expect to do very well at the age group championships coming up at the end of the month”.

Joanna Evans about to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics Photo courtesy of swimming world

Britney will be looking to be the first 15-17 female swimmer to defend the title since CARIFTA great and record holder in the event Joanna Evans of The Bahamas did so in 2015 in Barbados with the existing record 2:03.00. She took the title in 2014 in 2:05.52 outside of the then record of 2:03.72 of the legendary Janelle Atkinson of Jamaica.

Janelle Atkinson at the 2001 CCCAN Championships Photo courtesy of swimjamaica.com

The pool swimming segment of the CARIFTA Championships will be held from April 19 to 23.Championships is an approved qualifying meet for the 18th FINA World Championships 2019 – Gwangju, Korea, the Pan American Games 2019 – Lima, Peru and the XXXII Olympiad 2020 – Tokyo, Japan


Alex Sobers of Barbados continues to add to his swimming legacy with another five star performance for the Emmanuel College Lions at the 2019 Conference Carolinas Men’s Swimming Championship  at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in Charlotte,North Carolina. Sobers laid waste to all his personal bests and conference records in every single event that he contested.

The opening battle in the 200 yard medley relay saw the Lions disqualified. With a moniker such as Lions the team from Franklin Springs would not be deterred or bowed and swam a time trial in the event . And what time trial it was as the Lions shattered the school record , the Carolinas record and recorded the eighth fastest time in the NCAA Division II so far.

Lions record setting 200 medley relay team Rosa, Santos,Coach Gilchrest,Sobers and Mendes.Photo courtesy of goeclions.com
BackstrokeThiago Rosa22.60
BreaststrokeJoao Santos24.46
ButterflyRafael Mendes22.05
frreestyleAlex Sobers19.69
Total Time1:28.80

The previous school and conference records previously stood at 1:30.43 in 2017 and 1:30.08 by the 2018 Limstone College team.

Sobers denied a Gold medal with the disqualification would certainly make up for it with his performances in his remaining events.

Sobers competing in the heats of the 500 yard freestyle .Photo courtesy of goeclions.com

Coming to the Conference Championships Alex was the holder of the 500 yard freestyle mark with a time of 4:27.56 set in 2017. The 2018 conference record belonged to Robert Zamarano of Barton who had stopped the clock in 4:42.09. Both marks were swept away with disdain in Sobers’ preliminary swim as he touched in 4:22.74. Now already the best his school and the conference had ever seen in the event the final served to be a coronation ceremony as he lowered that time to win by over 20 seconds and record a time of 4:19.41 , the fastest time currently in Division II . The Division II record of 4:17.09 held by Dutch Olympian Dion Dreesens while competing for Queens University of Charlotte can officially be put on notice.

Sobers celebrating with Gold medal in the 500 yard freestyle

Comparison of Personal best splits


Sobers is now the fastest ever English speaking Caribbean and CARIFTA region swimmer in the event bettering the 4:25.03 set by countryman and Olympian Damian Alleyne in Nov 1999. Alleyne set that time as 16 year old swimming for the world renowned Bolles school in Jacksonville Florida . He still holds the Bolles record for the 15-16 age group .He set that time at the 1999 4A state when it was a then record performance.The girls record is held by Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson . The record board also includes names such as US Olympic gold medallist Caleb Dressel.

Top times from the Region

CountryName Time
ArubaMikel Schreuders4:25.31
ArubaDaniel Jacobs4:25.82
The BahamasJeremy Knowles4:26.00
Cayman IslandsShaune Fraser4:27.56

The Lions would roar to an emphatic win of more than five seconds in the 400 yard medley relay. Falling by the wayside was the school record of 3:18.77 and the Carolinas conference record of 3:17.84

Lions Gold medal relay medallists 3:17.21
LegName Split
backstrokeThiago Rosa49.05
BreaststrokeJoao Santos54.49
ButterflyRafael Mendes50.37
freestyleAlex Sobers43.30
Total time3:17.21

Sobers had the fastest time of the relay that bettered his 43.68 when he was the anchor on the team that set the school record in 2017. It also puts the Lions as the 16th fastest team in Division II.

In the 200 yard freestyle relay the same quartet put up a gold medal winning time of 1:21.53 . That places them 16th in Divison II and broke the Conference record.

The 200 yard freestyle saw the 2018 Carolinas record of 1:40.43 set by Saint Leo ‘s Fridtojov Mork taken down in the heats when Sobers touched in a time of 1:37.94. He crowned himself King and the best the conference has ever since when he set a new PB, School record and conference record of 1:35.32 (split time 46.41). That ranks him as the second fastest in Division II.He crushed the field by more than five seconds.

In the 100 yard freestyle he again took down the Conference record in the heats with a swim of 44.25. The old record belonged to Mork of Saint Leo with a time of 45.06.The final saw the Lions going 1-2 as Sobers recorded his first sub 44 seconds clocking of 43.65 (split time 20.86).Silver went to teammate Rose in 44.01. Sobers bettered his PBof 44.20 and Rosa’s school record of 44.00.The swim places Sobers ninth overall in the Division.

Sobers and his teammates capped the meet with yet another school and conference record in the 400 yard freestyle relay and a winning margin of almost ten seconds.They stopped the clock in a time of 2:57.90

FirstJoao Santos44.49
SecondThiago Rosa43.59
ThirdRafael Mendes46.13
FourthAlex Sobers43.69
Total time2:57.90

The old school and conference records stood at 2:58.24 and 3:00.34.

For his tremendous efforts Sobers was named Carolinas Co -swimmer of the Year along with his teammate Joao Santos. The Lions finished second to Barton College amassing 732 points.

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

Sobers continues to raise the bar for his country with record breaking exploits. In December draftingthecaribbean spoke with Damian Alleyne, a leader in the freestyle events in his time from the late 90’s to early 2000’s, after Sobers lowered his national record in the 200 metre freestyle at the World Short Course Swimming Championships in in China from 1:48.98 to 1:47.55. Alleyne belonged to a Golden era of male swimming in Barbados that included such names asNicky Neckles, Bradley Ally, Cliff Gittens, Martyn Forde, Shawn Clarke,Andrei Cross among others. We spoke to Alleyne about his record breaking swim in 2001 and what
what Alex’s swim in China meant in the context of swimming in Barbados moving forward

Damian Alleyne Barbados Olympian (2000,2004) Photo courtesy of Khalil Goodman for Better Health Magazine June 2011

” To be honest, I don’t remember the exact details of my swim, I believe I was home for SC Nationals at Christmas and managed to squeeze that time out. As far as what Alex has accomplished, I believe it shows a positive progression for the sport of swimming in Barbados and the Caribbean. I am very proud of Alex and what he has been able to accomplish in his swimming career and I can’t wait to see what more he can achieve! I always had the mindset that I wanted to set the bar for swimming in Barbados. I wanted to make sure that bar was so high that the next swimmer to come along and challenge it would be a legitimate, world class, athlete and Alex has displayed this. I wish him all the best in any future endeavors and can’t wait to see how much further he takes the sport for the next generation to aspire to”.


Friday July 21 at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean saw three of the CARIFTA region’s biggest stars Olympians Joanna Evans of The Bahamas , Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago and Alia Atkinson of Jamaica win Gold in Games Record times.

Joanna Evans posing 400
Joanna posing for pictures after her victory Photo courtesy of Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe Barranquilla

The historic Gold Rush was started by Evans in the 400 metre freestyle.She easily qualified for the Championship final with a time of 4:16.63  . Her medal final saw  her putting on masterclass on how to swim the event.The race was effectively over as a contest when Joanna took out the first 50 metres in 28.80. At the 100 metre mark when she split 59.59  the question on everyone’s mind was how much she would lower the 2010 Games record of 4:11.36 Venezuelan Olympian Adreina Pinto. With a final 50 metres of 31.61 she would just get by the record with a time of 4:11.15. With her win she becomes only the Second woman from the CARIFTA region to win Gold in the event following Suriname’s Carolyn Adel victory in 1998. Evans also upgrades her Silver medal from 2014 to Gold and moves from a tie with Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson as the best placed English speaking swimmer in the event. She also joins  Mexican Maria Souza as the only women to have won Silver and Gold in the event. Souza took Silver in 1959 before going on to win Gold in 1962 in Kingston Jamaica.

400 metre freestyle podium
400 metre freestyle medallists Photo courtesy of Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe Barranquilla

Silver went to Mexico’s Allyson Macias Alba in 4:14.74 and the Bronze to Costa Rica’s Helena Moreno Hernandez in 4:15.51

Dylan Carter trinidad express

Carter ensured the CARIFTA Golden streak with his own historic swim .After making the final as the second seed with a time of 49.24 . It would be time to bring SHOWTIME to Barranquilla Colombia Team TTO style. When the gun started it be another CARIFTA region star that would take out the first 50 metres as Suriname’s Olympian Renzo Tjon A Joe split 23.03. However Carter split 23.29 worked his underwaters and when he popped up it was SHOWTIME . He came home in the second fastest 50 metres of 25.66 to take the Gold in a new Games Record of 48.95 , the first CAC Games swimmer under 49 seconds. That bettered the 2014 Games record of 49.00 held by Cuban Olympian Hanser Garcia. With his record swim he became the first Man to win the 100 metre freestyle crown from the CARIFTA region as the previous best placing had been Silver medals won by countryman Olympian Mark Andrews in 1986 and Cayman Islands Olympian Shaune Fraser in 2006. Team TTO now has a complete set of medal in the events rounded out by Olympic medal winner George Bovell III’s Bronze in 2006. Silver went Aruban Olympian Mikel Schreuders in yet another national record time of 49.17 , the first medal ever for Aruba in the event. Bronze went to Jorge Andres Iga Cesar in 49.28. Tjon A Joe placed fifth in a time of 49.38 and Barbados Olympian Alex Sobers eighth in a personal best time of 50.51. Both swimmers were just off their respective national records of 49.29 and 50.40. Carter spoke about this journey to 100 metre freestyle Gold to TEAM TTO




Anchoring this Golden run on the opening day of the CAC Games was Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson . After bettering her old Games record of 1:10.24 in the morning heats  she was the second seed with a 1:08.00. Also under the record was Byanca Rodriquez Villanuev who just edged Alia with a time of 1:07.99.The two ladies swam in the last of the morning heats side by side.Rodriquez Villanuev had gained the early advantage then with a split of 31.28 to Atkinson’s 31.32. So the setting was clear for the final as it would be between Byanca and Alia. In the Championship final there would be no synchronized swimming as Alia got her customary bullet start and gave the field too much to handle with a split of 30.85. After an excellent pullout she also turned in the best last 50 metre of 35.98 to ensure that the CAC Games record remained in Jamaica with a final time of 1:06.83.

Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of heppdesigns.com

With the that win she breaks the tie with Mexico’s Silvia Rivero who won the titles in 1982 and 1986 as she now has crowned herself Queen on three occasions 2006, 2010 and now 2018. Atkinson is also the 11th fastest woman in the world with that swim.She is still the only woman from the CARIFTA region to medal in the event. Silver went to Rodriquez Villanuev in 1:07.80 and her countrywoman Esther Gonzalez Medina  in 1:10.60. The deep talent pool spread across the region was evident at The Bahamas duo of Lilly Higgs  1:11.32 and Laura Morley 1:12.34 placed fifth and sixth respectively in the Championship final




Day Four of the CCCAN Swimming championships saw Team Jamaica adding Four more medals to their tally One Gold , One Silver and Two Silver to have Eighteen medals Six Gold ,Four Silver and Eight Bronze medals.

Getting the Gold for the land of wood and water was Emily MacDonald in the girls 13-14 100 metre freestyle. She bounced back from illness on Day Three to win the freestyle title.

Emily Mac 13-14 100 free podium
13-14 100 metre freestyle medal podium from left to right Watson-Brown Bermuda, MacDonald and Libreros Bolivar Colombia Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

In the Championship final she recorded the only sub 28 seconds split at the halfway mark and then pulled away from the field to record a new personal best and CCCAN meet record of 57.95. It was also the fastest 100 metre freestyle time recorded by a girl at the Championship.

Claudia Poll panamerican world
Claudia Poll Photo courtesy of panamericanworld

That lowered the the more than three decades old standard of 58.34 byCosta Rican Olympic Gold medallist Claudia Poll (1996,2000 and 2004). MacDonald also is closing in on the national age group record of 57.54 held by Olympian Janelle Atkinson (2000,2004). It was Poll who held off Atkinson to win the Bronze in the 400 metre freestyle at the 2000 Sydney Games . That fourth place position at the Olympics is the joint highest placing at the Games along with Alia Atkinson’s fourth place at the 2012 London Games.


Winning the Silver was Bermuda’s Logan Watson-Brown in 58.82 and the Bronze to Colombia’s  Manuela Libreros Bolivar 1:01.38.

100 free CARIFTA 13-14
13-14 100 metre freestyle medallists at CARIFTA 2018 in Kingston from left to right Watson-Brown Bermuda Silver ,MacDonald Gold, Alvaranga Bronze Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn


It also  marked the regional Golden Double as she captured the same title at the CARIFTA Games in her hometown of Kingston in April . It marked the second time she is completing the double after doing so in the 11-12 age group in 2016

Regional record for the 100 metre freestyle

Date Meet Medal Time
March 2016 CARIFTA Gold 1:02.02 split 29.40
July 2016 CISC Gold 1:00.26 split 29.18
April 2017 CARIFTA Silver 59.28 split 28.33
July 2017 CCCAN Gold 58.83 split 27.89
April 2018 CARIFTA Gold 57.99 split 28.17
July 2018


CCCAN Gold 57.95 split 27.79

Emily spoke to draftingthecaribbean about her performance after the race

“Going the 100 I was a bit nervous at first. The meet has  not been great so far .In my 200 metre freestyle I got a cramp in my leg and ended up doing a bad time as I added 5 seconds to my personal best and I did not swim the Championship final of the 50 metre butterfly because of that injury and the 100 metre butterfly was not a good race overall.so going into this race I was very nervous as I did not know how I was going to perform because I had not done well so far but I was just going to try my best. That was my mindset heading into the final.I told myself I prepared for this meet and I have trained so hard for this and it does not make sense not swim my heart out. Going into the heats  said I am going to just try and hopefully come in the top 8 fand hopefully seed first for the final. That is what I did and ended up doing a 58.70 .Going into the final I was going up again Logan Watson-Brown from Bermuda who I know is a great swimmer and I was even more nervous.I knew I wanted to get a Gold medal but was still not sure because of how I was performing. Before I stepped on the blocks I knew I had done all that I can to get this far and I know that I have done all I could possibly do to achieve a best time in this race so I was going to do what my coach told me to do which was best time.As I swam the race I remembered doing the splits in training  and swimming the first 50 in a particular time and pushing hard on the last 25 metres into the wall which I did and recorded a personal best which I am very happy about and I got the Gold medal that I wanted”.

Cameron Brown 15-17 50 breaststroke medal ceremony
15-17 50 metre breaststroke medal podium from left to right Brown,Cheong and Russell Photo courtesy of CCCAN

In the Boys 15-17 50 metre breaststroke Cameron Brown ended a decade old medal drought for Team Jamaica when he secured the Silver in a new personal best of 30.23. He tied Brandon Cheong for the medal while the Gold was won by The Bahamas Tyler Russell in 30.16. The last time Jamaica got a medal in the 15-17 age group in this event was in 2007 in El Salvador when age group star Brad Hamilton won Silver in 30.59.

Cameron gave his thoughts to draftingthecaribbean about the swim

“I knew it was going to be straight line line heading to the wall.I pushed to the very last second.I was suprised to see a new PB of 30.23 when I looked at the scoreboard”.

Morgan 100 free Harold Wilson
11-12 100 metre freestyle medallists from left to right Vickles Silver medallist,Crooks Gold medallist and Cogle Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

11-12 dynamo Morgan Cogle secured  more precious metal at the Championship .She lowered her 100 metre freestyle from 1:03.11 to 1:02.59 to secure Bronze.The title went to Jillian Crooks of the Cayman Islands in a time of 1:01.72 and the Silver to Gabrielle Vickles of Trinidad and Tobago in 1:02.33.

Cogle 200 IM Bronze pict
11-12 200 IM medallists from left to right Crooks, Anthony and Cogle Photo courtesy of CCCAN

In the 200 metre individual medley she ended a more than decade old drought when she won Bronze in 2:37.44.That medal winning swim puts her within sight of the age group record of 2:36.26 set by Annabella Lyn in 2012. Gold was won by the another 11-12 standout Zoe Anthony of Trinidad and Tobago in 2:32.91 and Silver to Crooks in 2:36.70.


Bronze was won by the 15-17 800 metre freestyle relay team of Annabella Lyn ,Gabrianna Banks, Bryanna Renuart and Naomi Eaton who stopped the clock in 9:07.22. Gold went to Aruba in 8:48.55 and the Silver to Honduras in 8:59.65.

The personal best tally moved from 28 to 47 at the end of Day Four

Name Event Personal Best Previous Best
Morgan Cogle Girls 11-12 200 IM 2:39.42 2:41.26
Morgan Cogle Girls 11-12 200 IM 2:37.44 2:39.42
Joshua Mair Boys 11-12 200 IM 2:37.13 2:41.26
Jaedon Lynch Boys 11-12 200 IM 2:39.06 2:40.93
Sabrina Lyn Girls 13-14 200 IM 2:37.06 2:44.98
Sabrina Lyn Girls 13-14 200 IM 2:35.25 2:37.06
Nathaniel Thomas Boys 13-14 200 IM 2:29.56 2:29.83
Joshua Mair Boys 11-12 50 metre breaststroke 36.52 37.23
Joshua Mair Boys 11-12 50 metre breaststroke 36.14 36.52
Jaedon Lynch Boys 11-12 50 metre breaststroke 36.23 36.45
Sean-Douglas Gooden Boys 15-17 50 metre breaststroke 31.35 31.43
Cameron Brown Boys 15-17 50 metre breaststroke 30.23 30.64
Morgan Cogle Girls 11-12 100 metre freestyle 1:03.10 1:03.11
Morgan Cogle Girls 11-12 100 metre freestyle 1:02.59 1:03.10
Adrian Balfour Boys 11-12 100 metre freestyle 1:02.42 1:03.28
Emily MacDonald Girls 13-14 100 metre freestyle 57.95 57.99
Nathaniel Thomas Boys 13-14 100 metre freestyle 56.12 56.95
Daniel Mair Boys 11-12 100 metre freestyle 1:02.60 1:06.15
Jaedon Lynch Boys 11-12 200 metre butterfly 2:46.50 2:51.11
Jordane Payne Boys 15-17 200 metre butterfly 2:17.58 2:18.43