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
YearNameTimePlaceCountry
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

2019 World Championships 400 metre freestyle women Joanna Evans of The Bahamas leads CCCAN region

Joanna Evans Fastest woman ever from the English speaking CARIFTA region

Joanna Evans of The Bahamas made her debut in the 400 metre freestyle on the opening day of the World championships. In her maiden performance where she placed 16th overall she became the fastest ever English speaking woman at the global champs. With a midway split of 2:02.37 she finished with a season best of 4:11.06. The previous English speaking Caribbean best was held by Lani Cabrera of Barbados who swam 4:28.31 for 41st at the 2015 Kazan World Champs.  In addition to Evans is also the highest placing English speaking woman ever in the event with her top 20 finish. Joanna also had the highest placing among CCCAN swimmers in the event.

Elisbet Matos Photo courtesy of desdeesteladodelaisla

Second for the region was Elisbet Gamez Matos of Cuba who recorded her country ‘s best ever finish and time at these World Championships with a 4:18.19 clocking for 29th overall. The previous best t placing was held by Daniela Benavides when she was 33rdth  with a time of 4:21.36.

Honduran national record holder Sara Pastrana was 34th in a time of 4:27.65.Costa Rican Amanda Alfaro was next in the ranking with a time of 4:29.91 just off her personal and season best time of 4:28.80.

Guatemala’s Daila Ismatul touched in 4:34.75 for 37th overall.

Danielle Treasure of Barbados was 40th in 4:37.22.

The first female swimmer from the Cayman Islands to contest this event and reigning CARIFTA 13-14 Champion Raya Embury-Brown was 41st in 4:38.17.

Natalia Kuipers of the US Virgin Islands was 42nd with a time of 4:41.69.

ZAYLIE ELIZABETH THOMPSON SETS NEW BAHAMIAN, NATIONAL CHAMPS RECORD IN 200 FREE ON DAY 2 OF REV CHAMPS

The second day of the 2019 REV National Championships in Nassau saw yet another national standard falling by the wayside. Setting the new national mark was Zaylie Elizabeth Thompson of Alpha Aquatics in the 13-14 200 metre for girls.

New Bahamian Reocrd holder in the 200 metre freestyle for 13-14 girls Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson

Thompson, the reigning CARIFTA Silver medallist made her intentions very clear from the sounding of the starter’s gun. She had the field beaten by the first 50 metres. With the Gold decided the question now to be answered is what time would she record. When she touched the pads it would be the fastest time ever recorded by a Bahamian girl in the age group. Standards passed on the way were the Championship record of 2:12.59 set by Taryn Smith in 2011 and the overall national record of 2:09.74 set by countrywoman McKayla Lightbourn.

McKayla Lightbourn Photo courtesy of seminoles.com

McKayla had set that national record at the 2007 edition of the CARIFTA Championships when she dominated the age group in what can only be described as an awe inspiring performance where she won 16 medals , 13 of which were Gold and 11 were won in individual events.

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to the new national standard bearer Thompson about her record breaking efforts

“Breaking the Bahamas record in the 200 metre freestyle was a great experience.I was happy that I was able to lower my time and set a new standard for out future Bahamian swimmers to strive for”.

TOP REGIONAL 200 METRE FREESTYLE PERFORMANCES

BermudaElan Daley2:06.132019
JamaicaEmily MacDonald2:08.702018
The BahamasZaylie Elizabeth Thompson2:09.332019
Trinidad and TobagoKimberlee John-Williams2:09.512009
BarbadosHanna Gill2:09.992014
CaymanR Embury-Brown2:11.382019
15 and over 200 freestyle podium from left to right Katelyn Cabral,Evans and Anya MacPhail.Photo courtesy of Al Bominy

Dominating the event in the 15 and over event was Joanna Evans swimming unattached dominated the four lap freestyle race. She won in 2:01.55.That bettered her old Championship record of 2:01.73.Evans , who finished her career as at the University of Texas is the fastest English speaking woman from the CARIFTA region with her national record of 1:58.03.She has won this event for the last seven times she has contested it. The last time she was not atop the medal podium was in the 13-14 group when Taryn Smith had set the Championship record.

20182:01.73
2017DID NOT SWIM
20162:01.62
20152:06.20
20142:10.85
20132:11.60
20122:13.22

In the men’s equivalent Kohen Kerr defended his title to win in a new personal best of 1:57.99.The Mako Aquatics who finished his collegiate career with Delta State this year lowered bettered his old time of 1:58.20 from the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games in Colombia.He was the only swimmer under the 2 minute mark.

15 and over medal podium from left to right Carey, Burrows,young lady and Bastian.Photo courtesy of Al Bominy

If Joanna Evans is the Queen of the 200 metre freestyle at the National Championships Elvis Burrows is the Emperor of the king of 50 metre butterfly.The Freeport Aquatics swimmer defended his title to bring his total to ten consecutive wins.

201924.73
201824.30
201725.08
201624.38
201523.74
201425.41
2013DID NOT SWIM
2012DID NOT SWIM
201124.90
201025.47
200924.47
200825.22

He was the only sub 25 seconds swimmer in the Championship final.Silver went 2019 CARIFTA Silver medallist DaVante Carey of Mako who touched in a new PB of 25.03. Incidentally the CARIFTA record is held by Joshua Romany in 25.06 and the 15-17 CCCAN record is held by Burrows from 2007 in 24.97. Two time defending CARIFTA Champion Izaak Bastian won Bronze in a time of 25.35. Bastian’s teammate from Florida State University Will Pisani won the B final with the fastest time of the night of 24.55.

Ariel Weech of Alpha Aquatics won the 15 and over event in a time of 29.22. That was not far off her 29.10 she did to win Bronze in Aruba at CCCAN in the 18 and over event.

Albury Higgs took the 15 and over title in the 100 metre backstroke stopping the clock in 1:07.57. As it was at CARIFTA so it was at these National championships with DaVante Carey winning Gold in 59.29 defending his title and Lamar Taylor of Freeport winning Silver. Taylor dipped under the minute barrier for the first time with a swim of 59.72.Peter Morley of Mako won Bronze in 1:02.69.

The 15 and over medley relay title went to the Alpha Aquatics team of Celia Campbell,Ariel Weech,Virginia Stamp and Jazmine Trotman in 4:50.40.The men’s title went to Mako with the team of Carey,Tyler Russell, Ina Pinder and Kohen Kerr in 3:58.82. They were chased by the Barracudas team than won Silver in 3:59.11.The meet record of 3:58.27 just made it to 2020.

13-14 50 butterfly podium from left to right Jared Reckly,Forbes and Brayden Dam.Photo courtesy of Al Bominy

Nigel Forbes continues to show why has been the best 50 metre butterflier amongst his peers in the region when he lowered the 2018 Championship record of 25.98 set by Rommel Ferguson to 25.96.

He is only in his first year of the 13-14 age group and the 2019 CARIFTA Champion has shown tremendous improvement since his Gold medal winning performance of 26.47.

RECORDS IN DANGER

MeetTimeRecord holderYear
CARIFTA25.66Cadell Lyons2007
Bahamas25.60Lamar Taylor2018
CCCAN25.35Dylan Carter2011
11-12 50 butterfly podium from left to right,Asher Johnson,Marvin Johnson and Amauri Bominy.Photo courtesy of Al Bominy

Nigel’s Waverunners teammate Marvin Johnson is making his final year of the 11-12 age group memorable.The CARIFTA champion set a new personal best of 27.70 just outside Forbes record of 27.67.He will be looking to keep the CCCAN title in the Bahamas as Nigel won Gold in 2018 in 27.73.

Other winners

EventNameAgeTime
200 freestyleSeleste Gibson8&U2:50.40 CR
200 freestyleKaylan Williams8&U2:47.77
200 freestyleZoe Williamson9-102:32.79
200 freestyleAyden Bain9-102:33.79
200 freestyleLeylah Knowles11-122:22.26
200 freestyleTristin Ferguson11-122:12.22
200 freestyleErald Thompson III13-142:06.96
50 butterflySkylar Smith8&U40.02 CR
50 butterflyKaylan Williams8&U38.51
50 butterflyZoe Williamson9-1032.91
50 butterflyTristen Hepburn9-1032.72
50 butterflySeann Norville-Smith11-1231.75
50 butterflyRachel Lundy13-1430.27
100 backstrokePassion Daniel9-101:26.03
100 backstrokeTristen Hepburn9-101:17.27
100 backstrokeKeianna Moss13-141:09.50
100 backstrokeIshan Roy13-141:05.83

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.

https://draftingthecaribbean.wordpress.com/2019/02/28/team-ttos-graham-chatoor-crushes-numerous-records-to-earn-rookie-of-the-year-award-at-conference-champs/

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

https://draftingthecaribbean.wordpress.com/tag/karen-dieffenthaller-donahue/

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.

LEGEND!!! JOANNA EVANS ENDS BIG 12 CONFERENCE CAREER UNDEFEATED IN THE 1650 AND 500

With the conclusion of her BIG 12 career on March 2 at the Lee and Jamail Center in Texas Bahamian Joanna Evans can be conclusively described as a legend in the Conference. The Texas Longhorn has been undefeated in the conference in the 1650 and 500 yard freestyle events. Except for 2018 when she did not compete Evans has turned back all challenges and 2019 was no different.

Joanna Evans en route to a win in the 500 yard freestyle Photo courtesy of Andy Ringgold/Aringo

In the 1650 yard freestyle she maintained her winning margin of at least ten seconds .She took the Gold in a time of 15:57.28 breaking the 2012 meet record of Maureen McLaine of 16:00.70. Joanna already owns the Conference mark with her personal best and school record of 15:51.74 from 2017

Year201920172016
1650 yard freestyle15:57.28 CR16:05.11 PB16:13.39 PB

In the 500 yard freestyle no swimmer has come within 2 seconds of her.She capped her 500 yard freestyle with second record setting win in a time of 4:36.87. The overall conference record is also the property of Evans and the Texas Longhorns with her personal standard of 4:35.05.

Year201920172016
500 yard freestyle4:36.87 CR4:36.97 CR ,PB4:39.97 PB

For good measure she also added crowns in the 200 yard freestyle 1:44.82 and the 800 yard freestyle relay .

Victorious 800 yard freestyle relay team from left to right Adams, Pfeifer, Rule and Evans Photo courtesy oftexassports.com
Claire Adams1:44.48
Evie Pfeifer1:44.26
Remedy Rule1:45.17
Joanna Evans1:44.61
Total time6:58.52
Joanna Evans .Photo courtesy of swimswam.com

When she first came to the Conference in 2016 she was awarded Women’s newcomer of the meet and she left it on March 2 as the Swimmer of the Meet to help Texas win easily with 1073.5 points.

Joanna Evans 2019 Photo courtesy of texassports.com

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Evans about her expectations heading into Conference and how it played out from Feb 27 to March 2

“So going into conference we did not rest too much because our conference is not that competitive we got a day or two off from lifting weights and we had one morning practice off but nothing too serious as we are looking forward to Nationals.I think all of my races the morning swims were not fabulous simply because there was not too much work to do and then in the evening obviously the swims were a little better”.

Joanna Evans at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Evans will enter the NCAA Division I Championships at her home pool ranked fourth in the 500 yard freestyle , 11th in the 1650 yard freestyle and 14th in the 200 yard freestyle.

LYNVAL LOWE , COACH OF 2018 CARIFTA 200 METRE FREESTYLE CHAMPION BRITNEY WILLIAMS CONFIDENT OF SUCCESSFUL 2019 DEFENCE

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

HISTORIC FIRSTS FOR THE BAHAMAS AND JAMAICA AS ALBURY HIGGS, JOANNA EVANS AND ALIA ATKINSON WIN MEDALS ON DAY 4 OF THE CAC GAMES

The fourth night of action the at the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia on Saturday night at the Eduardo Movilla Aquatic Complex saw three CARIFTA region ladies as they won the first ever medals for their nations in their respective events.

Higgs breaststroke bronze
200 metre breaststroke Bronze medallist Albury Higgs

Starting the medal run Was Albury Higgs of The Bahamas. Albury has been having quite the summer lowering the national records in the 100 and 200 metre breaststroke right before the Games . She was expected to be in form at the meet and she was. She qualified for the 200 metre breaststroke Championship final with a time of 2:32.90 just her national standard of 2:32.30 set at the Bahamian REV national championships in June. Joining in her in the final was countrywoman  2:33.90 Laura Morley who made the Championship finals in all the breaststroke events, the 50,100 and 200 .

With increased  speed evidenced by her national record of 1:10.77 in the 100 metre event in  the United States Albury pushed the pace in the final turning at the 100 metre mark in a time of 1:12.59 in the Silver medal position.She held that placing until the last couple of metres when Mexico’s Esther Gonzalez Medina passed her. That early front end speed would pay off as she just just held off Morley to take the Bronze in 2:30.83 to 2:31.02 .Both ladies went well under the old national mark and were well under the 2019 Lima PAN AM Games automatic qualifying standard of 2:34.43. Both swimmers achieved the 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course Swimming Championships and 2019 Gwangju World  Championships B standard of 2:31.02. With her Bronze medal she becomes the first Bahamian man or woman to win a medal in the event.She also becomes the fastest ever CARIFTA region swimmer at the Games as she bettered Alia Atkinson’s 2006 effort of 2:30.99.  Only Atkinson and now Higgs have ever medalled in the event for the ladies. It also marks the first medal for Albury in the senior ranks

Higgs offered this reaction to her historic swim

“It was an exciting swim and I was very happy with the best time and record, as well as a bronze for team Bahamas!”

Gold went to the Mexican duo of Byanca Melissa Rodriguez Villanuez in a Games record of 2:25.60 and the Silver to Gonzalez Medina in 2:29.72.

Puerto rico 400 im
400 IM medallists Photo courtesy of the Puerto Swimming federation

Known primarily for her distance exploits Joanna Evans has taken the opportunity to add a few other events to her schedule and it has resulted in medal winning performances.In the 100 metre freestyle she set a new personal best to win the Silver medal. She had set the national record of 4:59.25  in the 400 metre individual medley as a junior swimmer at the 2015 CARIFTA Games in Barbados which still stands today. in qualification she  cleared that mark  with a time of 4:57.56. In the final she blew that mark away with a swim of  4:50.38 to land the Silver. Joanna becomes the first Bahamian woman to medal in the event. Both record breaking swims were under the  2019 LIMA PAN AM Games mark of 4:57.99. The only other swimmers  from the CARIFTA  region to medal at the Games are Gold was won by Puerto Rico’s Kristen Romano in 4:46.31 and the Bronze by Monika Gonzalez Hermosillo in 4:52.13. She gave an assessment of the race and the  humid conditions to draftingthecaribbean

“Honestly there was not much of a strategy except to go out and race and see what I can do.It is really hot .We are just hydrating and trying to stay out of the sun”.

CARIFTA REGION MEDALLISTS THROUGH THE YEARS

Year Name Time Country Medal
1986 Rhett Chee Ping 4:39.14 Trinidad and Tobago Bronze
1998 Carolyn Adel 4:52.42 Suriname Gold
2006 Jeremy Knowles 4:23.83 The Bahamas Silver
2006 Bradley Ally 4:22.86 GR Barbados Gold
2010 Bradley Ally 4:21.49 GR Barbados Gold

100 metre butterfly
100 metre butterfly medallists Photo courtesy ofadiimages

Competing in her third CAC Games Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson created another first by medalling in the 100 metre butterfly. No Jamaican man or woman has ever made it to the podium in the event . Last night she took the Bronze medal in the event in a time of 1:00.13 (split time 27.34). Silver went to Venezuela’s Isabella  Paez 1:00.04 and Gold to Miriam Guevara Hernandez in 59.13. Alia’s medal winning time was the second best effort of her career as her national record stands at 59.94 (split time 28.44) when she beat Paez (1:00.47) for the Gold at the 2017 Southern Zone Sectional Championship.

FEMALE CARIFTA REGION MEDALLISTS THROUGH THE YEARS

Year Name Time Country Medal
1978 Shelly Cramer 1:05.64 ISV Silver
1982 Shelly Cramer 1:04.20 ISV Silver
1982 Judy Lawaetz 1:05.10 ISV Bronze
1993 Siobhan Cropper 1:03.01 Trinidad and Tobago Gold
2010 Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 59.74 GR The Bahamas Gold
2014 Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 1:00.17 The Bahamas Gold

MEDALS GALORE,ATKINSON CONTINUES ROLE AS CAC BREASTSTROKE INVINCIBLE,CARTER AND ROMANY TAKE HISTORIC FLY GOLD AND BRONZE,EVANS EXPANDS FREESTYLE KINGDOM WITH 100 SILVER

Oh what a night for the CARIFTA region swimmers at  23rd  (CAC) Central American and Caribbean  Games at the Eduardo Movilla Aquatic Complex in Colombia, on Sunday night as  four medals were won in three events. Alia Atkinson continued her invincible run in the 50 metre breaststroke, Team TTO’s Dylan Carter and Joshua Romany win a historic Gold and Bronze in the 50 metre butterfly and Bahamian Joanna Evans expands freestyle repertoire with 100 metre freestyle Silver

ALIA ATKINSON CAC 50 METRE BREASTSTROKE INVINCIBLE

If Alia Atkinson had not already confirmed her place in the pantheon of CAC swimming legends  the 50 metre breaststroke would certainly have cemented her place. No one expected any less than Gold from the Olympian and she ensured from the heats there would be no threats to her sprint breaststroke throne when she blazed to 31.14 .she was easily the class of the field and clearly there was more in the tank. From the starter’s gun and a fantastic start it was clear there would be no stopping Atkinson as she crushed the field by more than a second to win 30.19.  That was a mere .08 of a second off her Silver medal winning national mark of 30.11 set the 2015 Kazan World Championships. It is also the FOURTH fastest time in the world this year.At the CAC Games Atkinson has had no equal never being second best in either the heats or finals  in the editions she has attended and she only missed the 2014 Veracruz Games. Each time she has lined up behind the block it has resulted in a Games Record. Her record swim confirmed her obvious inclusion at the 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course Swimming Championships and 2019 Gwangju World Championships (LCM).

 

2006 2010 2018
Heats 33.51 GR 32.38GR 31.14 GR
Final 32.64 GR 31.91GR 30.19 GR

Silver went to Mexico Byanca Melissa Rodriguez Villanuev in 31.20 and the Bronze to Venezuela’s Mercedes Toledo in 31.99.The duo were the 2014 Gold and Silver medallists in Alia’s absence. There was  a heavy CARIFTA region presence as Bahamian Lilly Higgs placed fourth in 32.59,  Aruban Anahi Schrueders placed sixth in 33.33 and Laura Morley of The Bahamas seventh in 33.50.

FLY GUYS CARTER AND ROMANY MAKE HISTORY FOR TEAM TTO IN 50

50 metre butterfly medallists
CAC 50 metre butterfly medallists Photo courtesy of Federación Nacional de Natación Guatemala

Before this competition Team TTO had never won a medal in the 50 metre butterfly .Also the CARIFTA region had won a single medal through the efforts of Bahamian Vereance Burrows in 2010 with his Bronze medal blast of 24.30. History was going to be created in the night however. Joshua Romany fired the opening salvo with a  personal best of 23.73 rattling the 2010 record of 23.70 by Venezuela’s Octavio Alesi. Carter would ensure that the record said read Property of Trinidad and Tobago with his 23.50.

Team TTO
Team TTO celebrates Trinidad and Tobago’s Chef de mission Lovie Santana and Secretary General Ms. Annette Knott capture a moment with Romany and Carter Photo courtesy of Team TTO

 

In the evening’s final there would be the double the joy for Team TTO as Carter took the Gold in yet another Games record of 23.11, which is also a new personal best and national . Teammate Romany in just his second senior level assignment won the Bronze in a time of 24.05. The pair was split by Guatemala Luis Carlos Martinez Mendez with his 23.26. Carter now ranks fourth in the World with his new record and qualifies automatically for the 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course Swimming Championships and 2019 Gwangju World Championships (LCM)  . Romany continues to get faster and has been on major upward trajectory since 2017 is near the automatic standard of 23.66 for both Championships.

Video by Team TTO

JOANNA EVANS EXPANDS FROM DISTANCE FREESTYLE WITH SPRINT SILVER

Joanna Evans 100 metre freestyle
Joanna Evans Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

When draftingthecaribbean saw the lineup for the 100 metre Championship final with Joanna Evans lining up to contest the medals we noted that if she was anywhere near the leaders after the first 50 metre it would be hard to deny her not just a medal but the Gold.  Evans qualified with a personal best of 56.51, the sixth best time of the field.

When the race started the known sprinters surged to the lead and Joanna was close by at the turn with a split of 26.82 to be fourth. Then came the expected Joanna started to close and was passing by the leaders. It would not be enough and she ran out of water as Venezuela’s Isabella Arcila Hurtado just held on to take the Gold in 55.21. Evans crushed her personal best to win the Silver in 55.29.The Bronze went to Mexican Liliana Ibanez Lopez in 55.39. Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson finished just off the podium and her national record of 55.35 with a time of 55.41. This the third consecutive medal for the Bahamas in the event following Silver and Gold efforts by Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace in 2010 and 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

CARIFTA LADIES NIGHT IN COLOMBIA ATKINSON AND EVANS SET NEW NATIONAL MARKS ON THEIR TO BARRANQUILLA GOLD

It was CARIFTA region ladies on Day Two of the swimming competition at the CAC (Central American and Caribbean ) Games in Barranquilla Colombia asOlympians Joanna Evans of The Bahamas and Jamaican doubled their Gold medal count . Both ladies set national records on their way to winning the 200 metre freestyle and 50 metre butterfly events respectively.

Coming to the competition Joanna was already the best the CARIFTA region had ever produced in the 200 metre freestyle with a national record of 1:59.19. What would now be asked is how could the competition push to her to new levels of excellence. Last night’s final would not disappoint.When the race got underway Joanna took the lead at the first turn with a time of 28.13. She was however closely followed by 2014 Bronze medallist Elisbet Gamez Matos of Cuba with 28.45 and Mexican Lilianna Ibanez Lopez 28.65. Lilianna could not hold the pace leaving Joanna and Elisbet to record the only sub 59 seconds 100 metre splits of 58.18 and 58.69. It would be the third 50 metres where Evans had a split of 30.01 that broke the Cuban resistance. Although Elisbet made a push on the final 50 metres it would not be enough as Joanna won in a new PB, national record and Games record of 1:58.03. The old record of 2:00.19 belong to Olympic Gold medallist Claudia Poll . Poll was a dominant force in her time in the event as she won virtually every Gold medal that was on offer.

Claudia Poll panamerican world
Claudia Poll celebrates after winning Olympic Gold at Atlanta 1996 Photo courtesy of Panamerican world

Date and Venue Medal
1993 Pan Pacific  Champs Gold
1995 World Short Course Champs Gold
1996 Olympics Gold
1998 World Champs (LCM) Gold
2006 CAC Games Gold

This is a major jump up the standings for Evans as in 2014 she placed sixth in 2:04.07.With her win Evans becomes the FIRST Bahamian man or woman to win the 200 metre freestyle as well as first English speaking woman to win the event .Joanna is the FIRST Bahamian man or woman complete the 200 and 400 metre free Gold Double. She is also the first CARIFTA region swimmer man or woman to complete the double in record time. Olympian Carolyn Adel did the double in 1998 but only the 400 metre freestyle was a Games Record. Her record swim automatically qualifies her for the 2019 Lima PAN AM Games, 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course Swimming championships and 2019 Gwangju (LCM) World Championships.  Silver went Gamez Matos in 1:58.55 and Lilianna the Bronze in 2:01.36.

When draftingthecaribbean contacted new Games record holder she spoke about the race and her expectations

“Going in, I knew it would be a close race. It’s always exciting to be able to race. It’s hard to tell how fast your going because it’s a little on the warm side, but I felt good. It’s great to get Team Bahamas fired up”.

 

Evans 200 free Gold
Joanna Evans poses with 200 metre freestyle Gold medal Photo courtesy of Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe Barranquilla 2018

National record progression

Date and Venue First 100 Second 100 Final Time
Aug 24,2017 WUG 58.23 1:00.83 1:59.19
July 21,2018 58.18 59.85 1:58.03

Alia 50 metre butterfly
Alia Atkinson posing with 50 metre butterfly Gold Photo courtesy of Gillian Millwood

Colombia will hold special memories for Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson as it was in 2006 when the 50 metre butterfly was introduced to swimming schedule she was the first winner of the event in Cartagena in a time of 28.59. Fast forward to 2018 in Barranquilla and Atkinson has not lost her appetite for Colombian Gold. In the heats we saw  signs that the Gold would be heading to Kingston when she broke her three year old 50 national record of 26.65 with a time of 26.54.  She would not be top seed as that went to 2010  and 2014 Bronze medallist Jeserik Pinto of Venezuela who got Lane 4 with a time of 26.52. In the final however Alia would prevail with a time of 26.60. Pinto upgraded her Bronze to Silver with a time of 26.76. Mexican Lilianna Ibanez Lopez  returned to win another Bronze in 27.08. With that swim Atkinson closes in on the A standard for the 2019 Gwangju World Champs of 26.34.

The event has been dominated by the CARIFTA region ladies as no swimmers other than Atkinson and recently retired Olympian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace have won this race.Additionally Vanderpool-Wallace holds the Games record at 26.46

Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace Photo courtesy of fitterandfaster.com

Year Winner Time
2006 Alia Atkinson 28.59
2010 Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 26.92
2014 Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 26.46
2018 Alia Atkinson 26.60