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.
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.
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
Rhett Chee Ping
Trinidad and Tobago
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
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).
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Date and Venue
1993 Pan Pacific Champs
1995 World Short Course Champs
1998 World Champs (LCM)
2006 CAC Games
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”.
National record progression
Date and Venue
Aug 24,2017 WUG
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Albury Higgs continued her record breaking run from the 2018 REV National Swimming championships with another record breaststroke swim at the 2018 Bulldog Grand Slam in Athens Georgia.
Competing in the 100 metre breaststroke at the Garbielsen Natatorium on July 6 Albury qualified for the B final with a time of 1:12.12 (split time of 33.42). In the final later that afternoon she used a different approach to the one she employed in record breaking swim in Nassau. She attacked the race from the start with a split of 33.31. That gave her an early advantage of more than a half a second.She would not be caught and split 37.46 on the second 50 metres to win the race in 1:10.77.
COMPARISON OF RECORD SWIMS
100 metre breaststroke
2018 REV National
2018 Bulldog GrandSlam
First 50 metres
Second 50 metres
Albury who lowered the national standards in the 200 and 100 metre breaststroke last month has now bettered the automatic qualifying standards for the 2019 PAN AM Games of 1:11.11.She is also another step closer to going under the mythical 1:10 barrier . Also of note that time would have won the Gold medal at the 2014 CAC (Central American and Caribbean ) Games where she had placed fourth.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Albury she gave us her impression of the race and spoke about her tactics
“I was trying to take out the first 50 faster than I had previously this summer. It went well considering I didn’t rest for this meet, so I am hoping that rest will help me bring the last 50 home a little better. Excited for CAC and to represent the Bahamas one more time this summer!”
Team Bahamas will also be represented at the 2018 CAC Games from July 20 to 25 in Barranquilla, Colombia by Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016),Lilly Higgs,Laura Morley, Izaak Bastian, Kohen Kerr and N’Nhyn Fernander
Days 2 and 3 of the 2018 REV National Swimming Championships at the Betty Kelly-Kenning Aquatic Centre saw Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016) setting a new national record in the 200 individual medley and winning her fifth straight 200 metre freestyle senior title all in 2019 PAN AM Games automatic qualifying times.
The 200 metre individual medley contested on Monday saw Joanna Evans unattached taking out the race faster than her former teammates at the now defunct Swift Swimming Club sister Albury and Lilly Higgs unattached and Laura Morley Makos. Her former clubmates are national record holders in the breaststroke and would make the challenge on their favoured stroke in the medley. With a split of 1:05.98 at the half way mark and her country women splitting 1:09’s the expected push came . This as they out split her on that section of the race as their splits were Albury 38.69,Laura 39.33 and Lilly 39.78.Joanna was timed at 40.55. But they would not overcome her early advantage as she won the race in a new personal best and national record time of 2:18.10.
That bettered the 2011 Championship record of 2:20.11 by McKayla Lightbourn, a standout for Florida State University . It was also faster than Lightbourn’s national record of 2:19.72 set March 12,2011.Joanna’s Gold medal swim was also faster than the PAN AM A time of 2:19.99 and Evans’ old PB of 2:20.71 when she won the crown in 2017 .
Personal bests were recorded by the Silver and Bronze medallists Albury Higgs and Morley with times of 2:21.50 and 2:21.72 . Lilly Higgs finished fourth in a time of 2:24.15. That trio were well under the PAN AM B time of 2:28.92.
The 200 metre freestyle saw the University of Texas standout winning her fifth consecutive senior crown .She just missed her Championship meet record of 2:01.62 set at the 2016 edition of the national championships. She would however be well under the PAN Am A qualifying mark of 2:03.55.
At the CAC 2014 Games in Mexico Evans placed seventh in the 200 metre freestyle in 2:04.07. Her national record in the event currently stands at 1:59.19 which is faster than the current Games record of 2:00.19 by Costa Rican Olympian Claudia Poll (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004).
Silver went to Laura Morley who stopped the clock in 2:09.45 .The Bronze was won by Lilly in 2:09.49. Both swimmers were under the PAN AM B time of 2:10.96.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Evans yesterday she gave her thoughts about training heading into the Championships
“Basically I took a break after the Commonwealth Games and I have been trying to get back to where I want to be.I did not rest coming into the Championships so I am happy with swims. It is a nice prep for the CAC Games in a few weeks’ time”.
The CARIFTA region’s number one 400 metre freestyle swimmer Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016) of The Bahamas made the Championship final of the event on the penultimate day of 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series, Austin on Saturday Jan 13.
Joanna who holds the unofficial CARIFTA senior record and Bahamian senior national record of 4:07.60 set the 2016 Olympic Games qualified for the Championship final with a swim of 4:16.67.
In the final, Evans who was not rested for this meet was second for most of the race to World Leader in the event Bingjie Li of China. At the 300 metre mark the field started to come back on Joanna who is still feeling the load of Christmas training. She was passed by three swimmers and finished 5th in a time of 4:15.05 (split 2:03.50).The race was won Bingjie in 4:06.87,Second place went to Hannah Moore of North Carolina State in 4:11.48.Finishing Third was Sophie Cattermole of the University of Louisville in 4:12.04
For the Longhorns Junior it was her best time and performance at the meet . Her previous best showing at the meet was 21st in 2016.It is also her best time in the event at this time in the season. The fact that she recorded that time despite coming off intense winter training and recovering from the flu proves that she is a tough competitor and that she will be one to watch for the major competitions in 2018.
Analysis of Best Results at Austin Meet
She still holds the CARIFTA record in the 15-17 age group at 4:16.50 from the 2015 Championship in Barbados.