Jamaica’s Gabrianna Banks continued her upward trajectory in swimming with a strong performance at the Florida High School Athletic Association 4A swimming Championships on Saturday Nov 10 at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatics Athletic Center in Stuart Florida. Competing for the Cypress Bay School from Weston Florida.
Competing in her lone individual event the 50 yard freestyle Banks lowered her personal best of 23.88 set in 2017 to 23.67 to make her first ever high school Championship final. She would display even more speed leading off the 200 yard freestyle relay team. Banks stroked her way to a time of 23.53 and helped the team to a time 1:39.04 to make the consolation final.
In the Championship final of the 50 yard freestyle she was again faster than her old PB of 23.88 when she stopped the clock in 23.79 to place 8th. This is the first time a female swimmer from Cypress Bay has made the Championship final of the 50 yard freestyle since Tiffany Oliver accomplished the feat in the 2007-2008 season.
In the B final of the 200 yard freestyle relay Banks rocketed to the fastest opening lead leg of the race of 23.75. That gave her team an advantage of more than a second . That allowed teammates Paige Lane 24.40,Emily Lopez-Diaz 24.84 and Ellie Koch 24.52 to record a total team time of 1:37.51 of more than a second ahead of second placed Countryside. That is also the fastest time recorded by Cypress Bay since the 2006 -2007 team recorded a time of 1:37.79.
Comparison of teams
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Banks she gave her thoughts on her States performance
“I had a really good time at States.Cheering for my teammates and racing my competitors always gives me a sense of motivation. I went a personal best of 23.53.I always love racing with my teammates and relays are always to capture that moment so I was not suprised I was able to go that time. I am very thankful and fortunate to have such a supportive team that will stand together and uphold one another through everything”.
Banks has built quite an impressive resume with relays teams for Jamaica this year. At the UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida this year she along with teammates Shaun Johnson, Jesse Marsh and Nicholas Vale would set a new mixed 200 metre freestyle senior national and 15-17 record of 1:43.70 in a fourth place effort . At the CCCAN Championships in Aruba this past summer with Bryanna Renuart stepping in for Johnson the team would lower that to 1:42.81 for the Bronze medal.
There would also be a record setting performance at CARIFTA in Kingston in the girls 200 metre freestyle relay as Johnson and Banks teamed with Naomi Eaton and Brianna Anderson to win Gold in a new 15-17 age group record of 1:48.42.
Also in Aruba Banks would win the Silver medal in the girls 50 metre freestyle under the PAN AM Games B standard of 27.44. Banks is a member of a strong age group cohort that Jamaica will depend on for leadership and quick times at CARIFTA and CCCAN for 2019 and possibly a PAN AM Games relay berth.
The final day of competition at the CCCAN swimming Championships in Aruba on July 2 saw Team Jamaica adding Two Gold, Three Silver and Three Bronze medals.
The highlight of the day was Emily MacDonald who completed the freestyle sprint double .A day after she completed the record regional Golden Double (CARIFTA and CCCAN titles) in the 100 metre freestyle she did the same in the 50 metre freestyle. She took the race in a time of 26.48 a new PB, CCCAN and CARIFTA all time best.It was a mere .03 of a second outside of the automatic Youth Olympic qualifying mark of 26.45.
This makes her unbeaten for the 13-14 age group at CCCAN as she took the title in Trinidad and Tobago as well last year in 27.20. In April of this year in her hometown of Kingston she won the splash and dash in a time of 26.76 lowering the record of 26.81 held by Bermudan Madelyn Moore. In Aruba she would take down another Moore standard of 26.65 , the unofficial all time regional record. Emily has been Golden in all but one meet at the regional level since 2016.
26.48 record 26.65
MacDonald had the second fastest time of the competition. That accolade went to none other than Madelyn Moore who lowered the 15-17 meet of 26.13 by Suriname’s Olympian Chinyere Pigot (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) when she stopped the clock in 25.97.
Silver went to Bermuda’s Logan Watson -Brown in 27.24 and the Bronze to Aruba Chloe Farro 27.67.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Emily she gave her thoughts on her performances
“I’m very happy about winning events in the meet for my age group and breaking Championship record for both events .It gives me the assurance that I have the potential to be a great sprinter”.
There would almost be another regional record Golden Double in the 400 metre medley relay as the team of Simone Vale, Sabrina Lyn, MacDonald and Amore Hunter just missed the CCCAN record of 4:34.23 held by the 2005 Mexico team and their own national age group record of 4:33.81 when they won Gold in 4:34.48.Silver went to Colombia in 4:38.89 and Bronze to Aruba in 4:52.40.
butterfly Zaneta Alvaranga
There would be another national record for Morgan Cogle in the 11-12 200 metre backstroke.She lowered the 2007 Kendese Nangle record of 2:36.00 set at CCCAN 2007 in El Salvador in the morning heats with a time of 2:35.21. She would go on to win Bronze in the final in 2:35.29. Jillian Crooks of the Cayman Islands took the Silver in 2:33.98 with Gold going to Elizabeth Jimenez Garrido of the Dominican Republic in 2:33.23.
In the 400 medley relay Cogle backstroke ,Brooke Hopkins breaststroke ,Ireland Hunter butterfly and Safiya Officer won the Silver in a new national age group record of 4:56.06. That bettered the old 2007 record of 4:58.67 set in by the 2007 CARIFTA team Brittany Kenney, Kendese Nangle, Raynae Hall and Alexia Royal-Eatmon.
COMPARISON OF TIMES
Gold went to Trinidad and Tobago in 4:51.10 and the Bronze to Barbados in 5:06.93.
In the 15-17 Girls 50 metre freestyle it was Gabrianna Banks getting the medal for Team Jamaica . She stopped the clock in a new PB of 26.69 for the Silver. The performance marks consecutive Silver medals for Banks who won Silver in her last year of 13-14 in the twin island republic last year in 27.28. The Bronze went to Victoria Russell of The Bahamas in a new PB of 26.93. This is the first medal for Jamaica in 2017 since Breanna Roman won Bronze in 27.59 at CCCAN 2011 in Puerto Rico.
There would be a Bronze for Nathaniel Thomas in the 13-14 age group in the 50 metre freestyle as his effort was timed in a PB of 25.33. This is a step up from his performance at CARIFTA where he placed ninth in 26.19. Silver went to Malik Nelson of Trinidad and Tobago in 24.50. Gold went to the fastest 13-14 swimmer of the season Lamar Taylor of The Bahamas who won in a new CCCAN record of 23.94 to add to his CARIFTA title which he won in 24.27 and as well as National title in 23.79.
There would be Bronze for Safiya Officer in the girls 11-12 race she touched in 27.71.Silver went to St Lucia’s Naima Hazell in 27.61 .
The Gold went to the Cayman Islands Jillian Crooks who lowered the 1995 meet standard of 27.55 set by Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympian Cerian Gibbes who went to the Atlanta 1996 Games as a 13 year old.
The 11-12 boys 400 metre medley relay team won Silver . The team of Daniel Mair (backstroke) 1:16.61,brother Joshua (breaststroke)1:20.15 ,Jaedon Lynch( butterfly) ( 1:10.15) and Adrian Balfour (freestyle) 1:01.55 touched in 4:48.55 to finish behind the Trinidad and Tobago team that won in 4:41.05.the Bronze was won by Aruba in 4:53.76.
The 15-17 boys won the Bronze in their medley relay. The team of Nicholas Vale (backstroke) 1:01.47 ,Sean-Douglas Gooden (breaststroke) 1:09.48 ,Jesse Marsh (butterfly) 56.91 and Cameron Brown (freestyle) 55.86 touched in 4:03.72. Gold was won by The Bahamas in 3:59.57 and the Silver to Trinidad and Tobago in 4:01.63.
The 2018 CCCAN swimming championships in Aruba got off to a great start for Team Jamaica on Friday June 29 with national record swims in the mixed 200 metre freestyle relay team in the 15-17 and 13-14 age groups.
The 15-17 relay team of Nicholas Vale, Jesse Marsh,Bryanna Renuart and Gabrianna Banks took the Bronze in 1:42.81 in a very close affair where the top four finishers were within a second of each other.
Gold was won by Colombia in 1:42.20 and Silver went to Bermuda in 1:42.52. The old 15-17 record and senior national record stood to the 2018 UANA team of Shaun Johnson,Marsh, Banks and Vale that clocked 1:43.70 in Coral Springs Florida on Jan 21.
There would be a new 13-14 mixed 200 freestyle relay record established as the team of Nathaniel Thomas (25.52 ), Rin Gyles 26.35, Sabrina Lyn (28.16) and Emily MacDonald (26.75) had a total time of 1:46.78 to win the Bronze medal. Gold went to Bermuda in 1:45.04 and Silver The Bahamas in 1:45.70.
It would be fourth place for the 11-12 mixed 200 metre freestyle relay team of Safiya Officer,Adrian Balfour, Jaedon Lynch and Aliyah Heaven. They stopped the clock in a time of 1:53.95,Splits 28.87,27.61,28.48 and 28.89.
Jordane Payne placed 10th in the 15-17 1500 metre freestyle in a time of 18:42.29.Naomi Eaton placed 8th in the 15-17 800 metre freestyle in a personal best of 10:05.82
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