Kael Yorke completed one stage of a feat that no other male swimmer has done in the 15-17 category twice and that is sweep all three butterfly races.
He made a positive start to that historic mission on Day one of the Championships on March 31 at the National Aquatic Centre by securing lane for the Championship final with a morning heats time of 56.43. He was the only swimmer under 57 seconds. Four other swimmers went under the 58 seconds barrier.
The final saw the field tightly bunched at the 50 metre turn. What would be the difference would be a fantastic turn by Kael utilizing most of the 15 metre allowed underwater he pulled away from the pack.That would be the game changer as Yorke, who is the reigning champion in the 200 metre event would not tire. He held on to that advantage to take the crown in 55.57, a new personal best time.It also bettered the automatic qualifying time of 55.59 for the Youth Olympic Games.
Outside smoke Jamaican Nicholas Vale, swimming from Lane 1 recorded his first time under 57 seconds to clock 56.29 for the Silver, the fastest time by a Jamaican this year in the event. It is also the fastest time recorded by a Jamaican at CARIFTA.
Countryman Jesse Marsh joined the sub 57 seconds with a personal best of 56.52 , the third fastest time by a Jamaican so far.The previous best was 56.31 held by Luke Gunning. Both Jamaicans will now have the 2014 age group record of 55.56 Justin Plaschka in their sights.
Recording a personal best for fourth place was The Bahamas DaVante Carey in 57.17. The top four finishers were all under the Youth Olympics B qualifying time of 57.54.
The final day of competition at the UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida on Jan 21 saw Team Jamaica resetting the record books in the mixed 200 metre freestyle relay and Shaun Johnson recording a Youth Olympic B time in the 50 metre freestyle.
The 15-17 mixed 200 metre freestyle relay team of Shaun Johnson 27.37, Jesse Marsh 24.46 ,Gabrianna Banks 27.12 and Nicholas Vale 24.75 set a new senior and 15-17 age group record of 1:43.70 to place 4th overall. The team was the highest placed CARIFTA region quartet in their age group.
The previous record was set at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships when the team of Keanan Dols 24.62, Bryanna Renuart 28.13,Marsh 25.57 and Kelsie Campbell 26.93 touched in 1:45.25.
Shaun Johnson who was a member of the 2017 CARIFTA “Golden Girls” went under the Youth Olympics B qualifying mark of 27.39 with her opening leg. In 2017 Jamaica’s 15-17 girls dubbed the “Golden Girls” won all their relay events at the CARIFTA Championships winning the 200, 400 and 800 metre freestyle relays as well as the 400 metre medley relay.
When draftingthecaribbean caught up with Johnson she spoke about the race, the competition overall and being chosen as the flag bearer
“For the 4 x 50 freestyle relay, I was a little nervous because I had never done a mixed relay before and I rarely ever lead off. Coach Gillian (Millwood) decided to place me in the relay and said she was confident in seeing a great 50 time for me being the lead off especially considering I didn’t do the 50 free this weekend. Seeing 27.37 was surprising! My PB for last year was a 27.72 at CARIFTA and right now I’m in the middle of my high school season so things look exciting in that event. The rest of the team actually voted me to be the flag bearer and that was a fun part of the weekend as well! That was really cool”.
Britney Williams tied with Alison Jackson of The Cayman Islands as the top CARIFTA region performer in the 15-17 100 metre freestyle with identical 59.55’s for 5th place.
Team Jamaica finished the competition with 6 more best times on the final day to end with 20 new personal records overall, two age group records and one senior national record.
Emily MacDonald was the best placed Jamaican in the high point scoring for the age group placing 8th with 22 points.
As the Jamaican contingent warmed to the cold temperatures in Coral Springs on Day Two, the squad also increased their medal count from One to Three medals. Two Bronze medals were won by Emily MacDonald in a new national age group record and Nicholas Vale. Youth Olympic Olympics B standard times were also achieved by Jesse Marsh.
MacDonald won the Bronze medal in the 13-14 100 metre butterfly in a new national age group record of 1:05.86. She lowered her own national mark of 1:06.19 that she set last year on March 2 at the National Stadium. She was just off the Youth Olympics B qualifying mark of 1:05.71 and was the fastest CARIFTA region swimmer in the event. She expressed the following thoughts about her swim
“I was very happy when I found that I broke my own national record for the 100 metre butterfly. It was very surprising since I never tapered for this meet and I hope to break it again”.
The first medal won on the day was won by Nicholas Vale in the 15-17 400 individual medley. He became the first ever Jamaican boy to win a medal at the competition capturing Bronze in time of 4:56.85.
“It feels very good to win a Bronze medal as the first Jamaican boy at this meet. The race itself was pretty good. The best part of it was the first 100 metres. I went out 1:00 for the butterfly leg. I was really happy with how fast I went out. It was a little rough coming back but I am very happy I was able to secure Bronze for Jamaica”.
Jesse Marsh competing in the 100 metre butterfly recorded a new personal best of 57.22 (split time 26.78) to place fifth overall. It also brought Marsh under the Youth Olympics Games B standard time of 57.54. That would not be the only Youth Olympics Standard achieved by Jesse as he would compete in a time trial in the 200 metre butterfly and stopped the clock in 2:09.39, yet another personal best. That performance bettered the B time of 2:10.13.
Marsh’s new personal standards carried the total to 10 new personal records for the day and 14 overall.
Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas captured the 100 yard breaststroke title at the Florida at his final high school meet on November 4 at the 1A State championships in Stuart Florida.
The road to Gold had been a four year road under the tutelage of his coaches at Saint Andrew’s in Boca Raton.
In his first individual Championship final in 2014 competing in the 100 yard breaststroke ,which would be the source of his greatest individual high school triumph he placed 8th in the B final in a time of 1:00.83 (split time 28.94).The next year would see a turnaround in fortunes as he would earn a place on the medal podium taking the Bronze in 57.19 (split time 27.06).
Bastian, a Florida State commit would drop two seconds but he maintained his medal position taking the Bronze again in 55.68 (split time 26.46)
Then came 2017 at the CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas he extended his Gold medal winning streak in the 100 metre breaststroke with a near record performance .
Later in the year he would create history he would become the only Bahamian male medallist in the 100 metre breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games when he won the Bronze at the Youth Games in his home country. In his final long course meet for the year he recorded the best time and placing for a Bahamian at the World Junior championships.
It was that form that he brought to his last high school season. It would be an unbeaten run leading up the to the state Championships. He would take the Palm Beach County title in 56.27. At that competition he would also be named outstanding male performer. He added the District title in a time of 57.73 breaking his year old record of 58.25. A week later at the Regional meet on October 27 he would win in 56.43.
On the day of reckoning he eased into the final with 55.67 (split time 26.18) performance. That just lowered his 2016 school record of 55.68 when he won the Bronze medal. In the final it was 2016 Silver Medallist Paul DeGrado of the Bolles school and Izaak that separated themselves from the field with 50 splits of 25.99 and 25.80 respectively. There would be no denying Bastian as he split 28.71 on to take the Gold in 54.54 in a personal best, school record and the second fastest time in Florida high school history . The state record stands at 54.33 set by James Daugherty of the Bolles School.DeGrado repeated as the Silver medallist with a time of 54.90.
8th B final
Bastian’s name will join the names such Olympian Bradly Ally of Barbados and Ansel Tjin-A-Tam who be crowned state Champions in the 100 yard breaststroke.
There would be more records and medals earned on the day for Izaak. In the 200 yard medley relay Izaak along with Jamaican Jesse Marsh continued the Scots CARIFTA region medal winning streak for the consecutive year. The Boca Raton based school won their third Silver medal in the event in a school record time of 1:31.86.
All three teams that won medals had Bastian on breaststroke duties and Marsh handling the butterfly leg. This year’s team lowered the 2016 Silver medal winning record time of 1:33.21.
Bastian created history when he recorded the fastest breaststroke split in the history of the Championships of 24.48. That bettered the time of 24.49 done by Daugherty in 2016.
The third school record in the 50 yard freestyle of 20.86 would fall in the Championship final of the event. Izaak would clock 20.53 to win the Silver . The Gold went to Cole Crane of Episcopal in 20.40.
The fourth Scots record would fall in the 200 yard freestyle relay . The team which included Bahamian countryman Samuel Gibson set a new mark of 1:24.73 to win the Silver .Trinity Prep won the Gold in a time of 1:23.64.
For his efforts he would earn the CBS 12 Athlete of the week honours
On November 4 Jamaica’s Jesse Marsh overcame illness to end his high school career with his best medal showing at the 1A State championships. He would win Silver and a Bronze medal in the relays for the Saint Andrews school.
Heading to the State Final at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Florida the Scots school record in the 200 yard medley relay had stood at 1:33.21 from their Silver medal winning performance in 2016.
That time would not make it past the morning heats as the team of Joshua Balbi backstroke 24.16 Izaak Bastian breaststroke 25.26, Marsh butterfly 22.64 and Tiago Pereira 21.11 set a new school mark of 1:33.17.
In the final of the event that mark would be destroyed as the boys from the Boca Raton based institution pushed the Bolles School all the way to the final wall to earn the Silver. The same quartet has the following splits in the final Balbi 23.78, Bastian 24.48, Marsh 22.46 and Pereira 21.14 for a total time of 1:31.86. The Bolles School took the title in 1:31.58. That Silver medal relay performance marked a Silver medal hat trick for the Scots
The common thread for those three Silver medal wins have been the Caribbean connection from the breaststroke and butterfly combination of Bahamian Izaak Bastian and Jamaican Jesse Marsh.
Marsh would earn his next medal in the 400 yard freestyle relay. He would be drafted in the final of the event to handle the second leg duties. The team of Bahamian Sam Gibson 47.32, Marsh 47.28, Balbi 48.78 and Tomas Piza clocked 3:10.33 to win the Bronze . Gold went to Trinity Prep in 3:03.03 and the Silver to the Bolles School in 3:04.10. That ended a four year medal drought in the event.
The last time the Scots were on the podium was when Coach Quinn Cassidy headed a squad that won the Silver behind the Bolles School team that included future Olympic Gold medallists American Ryan Murphy and Singaporean Joseph Schooling that set the State and National record of 2:54.43.
In the qualification process for the 100 yard butterfly for the State finals Jesse had lowered the school record at the 2017 Palm Beach County Championships to win that event in 50.56 (split time 23.95). The old record of 50.88 was set by Will Lane in 1988.
In Stuart he would qualify for his first individual championship final when he hit the pads in a time of 50.63. Still battling illness he would place 8th in a time of 50.65 (split time 23.88).
2nd B final
6th B final
Competing in the 200 yard freestyle heats Marsh would record a personal best of 1:43.99 (split time 51.00) to earn a second swim in the B final. In that night he would be slightly off his personal record and touched in 1:44.91 (split time 52.09).
The boys from Saint Andrews would place 2nd overall will 202 points.
The recently concluded Commonwealth Youth Games in The Bahamas saw swimmers Jesse Marsh and Emily MacDonald recording the best times ever swum by Jamaicans at the competition in their respective events.
Competing in the 200 metre butterfly Marsh lowered his personal best from 2:11.47 to 2:10.31 to place 13th overall. That bettered the previous Jamaican best time of 2:22.06 at the competition set by Dominic Walter at the 2008 Pune India Games. It is also the second fastest time recorded by a Jamaican at the Commonwealth Games at either the senior or junior level. The top time by a Jamaican is held by Jesse’s father Allan-Roy at the senior level . Allan-Roy recorded 2:06.89 at the 1982 Brisbane Australia Games.
When asked about his experience Jesse, who holds the 13-14 200 metre butterfly national record had the following thoughts
“Well the experience wasn’t really what I expected because of all the challenges we faced getting to the games and not being able to stay at the hotel with the rest of the team among other things. As for my performances I was disappointed not being able to swim the 50 and 100fly as I thought I had a pb in me in the 50 and in the 100 I had a good chance of being in the top 8. The 200fly I was satisfied but not entirely pleased with my performance as I knew if I was more mentally there I could’ve been a lot faster but I got a pb and now I’m looking forward to racing the events that I missed and the 200fly again in a few days.I will be racing at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Champs in Coral Springs this weekend July 28-30 and then at the Futures championships in Nashville, TN on the following weekend August 3-6”.
Emily who competed in the 50 metre freestyle recorded a time of 27.60 to place 15th overall. That is the best time and placing for Jamaica at this level for the Commonwealth Games. The previous best was 29.02 and 25th place by Annabella Lyn at the 2015 Samoa Games. Her performance also doubles at the best placing for a Jamaican woman at both junior and senior level in the event as the previous best was 22nd by Angela (Dawn) Kane at the 2002 Manchester Games. Her 27.60 is also the third fastest by a Jamaican woman at either the senior or junior. The list is headed by times recorded at the senior level at the 2002 Manchester Games .Olympian Angela (Dawn) Kane (2000,2004) tops the list with a time of 27.09 .Kane is followed on the chart by Tamara Swaby with her effort of 27.25 at the same Games.
MacDonald who is the reigning CCCAN Champion in the 13-14 girl’s 50 metre freestyle gave her impression of the experience to draftingthecaribbean recently
“It was definitely a thrill to compete against athletes from countries that have such big reputations in swimming. It is a joy for me to compete against people who are always going to push me. I felt I could have done better but some accreditation issues had me quite anxious until the night before my race. Overall though I’m pleased because my time was still within my normal range”
This is the fourth contingent of swimmers Jamaica has sent to the Games
The second night of finals at the 2017 CCCAN Championships saw Team Jamaica winning Four Gold One Silver and a Bronze. The team also set five national records in the afternoon. That bettered the record count of three in the morning preliminaries.
The first medal won the night was Gold by Nathaniel Thomas in the boys 11-12 50 metre backstroke race. After establishing himself as the favourite from the morning with his national record swim of 29.99 he won Gold in a time of 30.36 .That win was almost a second faster than the Silver medallist. It also gave him the Golden Double as he also won this event at the CARIFTA Games in The Bahamas earlier this year in 31.64. It is also the first medal Jamaica has won in the event for over a decade.
As expected in the girls 11-12 100 metre butterfly the national record of 1:07.22 set by Sabrina Lyn was not expected to survive beyond today. And it did not. In a very good race new ground was again broken for Jamaican swimmers as 11-12 girls swam faster than 1:07 seconds. The Gold would go to Lyn in yet another national record time of 1:05.69 and nearly the fastest time ever done by an English speaking girl in that age group. The Silver went to Bermudan star Elan Daley in 1:06.12 and teammate Zaneta Alvaranga won the Bronze in a personal best of 1:06.29. Daley set the Championship record in the morning of 1:05.55 which equaled her national record and the fastest time ever done by an English speaking girl in that age group. Lyn came very close to taking that accolade for herself. In copping Gold she landed the regional Golden Double as she had won the event at CARIFTA . The last time Jamaica won a medal in this event was 2007 when Kendese Nangle won the Bronze.
Heading into this meet Thomas had a number of close misses with the national record the boys 11-12 record of 1:04.27 held by Ramon James. He would have no such close call in the final of the event. He would win the Silver in a new national record of 1:03.65 just behind Panamanian winner Sebastian Lares 1:03.47. He again broke another decade old medal drought in the event.
In the 18 and over event Kelsie Campbell resisted a strong Challenge from Puerto Rico’s Patricia Casellas to win Gold in a new personal best of 1:03.23 to 1:03.65. That was just off the Championship record of 1:03.18 by Puerto Rico’s Debra Rodriquez. That is the first medal won by Jamaica since 2005 when Tamara Swaby won the Silver medal.
The mixed quartet of Zaneta Alavaranga, P’aige Lewis, Joshua –Daniel Alleyne and Nathaniel Thomas proved yet again they are the best sprint freestyle combination in their age group regionally. They took the 200 metre freestyle relay in a record time of 1:49.70.that bettered their morning mark of 1:51.59. This adds to the CARIFTA 400 mixed freestyle relay crown they won in April.
In a very tight final in the girls 50 metre backstroke Angara Sinclair just missed with a 4th place finish and new national record of 30.55.
Other finalists on the day included
200 metre breatstroke
50 metre backstroke
50 metre backstroke
50 metre backstroke
100 metre butterfly
100 metre butterfly
Jamaica was in seventh position at the end of Day two with 86 points