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.

100 breaststroke nationals 2018
2018 REV National Swimming Championships 15 and over medal podium from left to right Lilly Higgs, Albury Higgs and Laura Morley Photo courtesy of Pleasants Parott Higgs


100 metre breaststroke 2018 REV National 2018 Bulldog GrandSlam
First 50 metres 36.65 33.31
Second 50 metres 34.52 37.46
Final Time 1:11.17 1:10.77

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

Bahamas women
Bahamas women on 2018 CAC team from left to right Evans,Higgs and Morley
Bahamas men
Bahamas men on 2018 CAC team from left to righ Bastian, Fernander and Kerr





Joanna Evans at the Rio Olympic Games
Joanna Evans at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

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.

McKayla Lightbourn Photo courtesy of


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.

Evans celebrating breaking 1650 yard freestyle record
Joanna celebrating her win in the 1650 yard freestyle and new school record at the Texas Invite Photo courtesy of texassports

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.

Year Time Split Medal
2018 2:01.73 59.31 Gold
2016 2:01.62 59.68 Gold
2015 2:06.22 1:00.88 Gold
2014 2:10.85 1:03.07 Gold
2013 2:11.60 1:02.91 Gold
Claudia Poll Photo courtesy of

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.

Joanna Evans at the Rio Olympic Games
Joanna Evans at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Analysis of Best Results at Austin Meet

Jan 15,2016 Jan 13,2018
First 100 1:01.30 First 100 1:00.14
Second 100 1:04.83 Second 100 1:03.36
Third 100 1:05.90 Third 100 1:04.65
Fourth 100 1:05.23 Fourth 100 1:06.90
Final time 4:17.26 Final time 4:15.05

She still holds the CARIFTA record in the 15-17 age group at 4:16.50 from the 2015 Championship in Barbados.



The quality of the CARIFTA Region’s swimmers continues to be felt wherever they are. In December at the 2017 Texas Invite The Bahamian influence was seen through the performance of Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016).

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

She continued to build upon her legacy as her generation’s best female middle to long distance freestyle swimmer at the Nov 29- Dec 2 competition at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.

800 freestyle win
Joanna celebrates after anchoring the 800 yard freestyle relay team to victory Photo courtesy of texassports

Evans got the competition off on the best note possible, a win in the 800 yard freestyle relay . Evans who handled anchor leg duties with a split of 1:44.29 combined her talents with teammates Claire Adams 1:43.93,Rebecca Millard 1:44.56 and Remedy Rule 1:45.97 to win an NCAA Division I automatic qualifying mark of 6:58.75. Also on the podium was the University of Southern California in 7:00.40 and the University of Arizona in 7:02.92. That performance by the Longhorn women is the third fastest time in Division I and across all collegiate Divisions.

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

The 500 yard freestyle saw the junior who hails from Freeport crushing her school record of 4:36.97 to win an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4:35.05. Evans had set the previous record when she won at the BIG 12 Championships in February.

Comparison of times

Feb 2017 Dec 2017
split by 100 cumulative time split by 100 cumulative time
52.78 52.52
55.82 1:48.60 55.06 1:47.58
55.94 2:44.54 55.30 2:42.88
56.08 3:40.62 55.62 3:38.50
56.35 4:36.97 56.55 4:35.05

Link to Evans describing the swim

That standard setting performance places her third in Division I and across all collegiate Divisions.

In the 1650 yard freestyle Joanna, a graduate of Bishop Michael Eldon High School , would rewrite the history books for Texas once more. The previous school record of 15:53.85 was set more than three decades ago by American Olympian Tiffany Cohen at the on March 23 at the 1985 NCAA Championships.

Tiffany Cohen celebrating her win in the 400 metre freestyle at the 1984 Olympics
Tiffany Cohen celebrating her victory in the 400 metre freestyle at the 1984 LA Olympic Games Photo courtesy of pinterest


Cohen’s impressive resume includes being the 1983 Pan American Champion in the 400 and 800 metre freestyle in Caracas Venezuela and the 1984 Olympic Champion in the same events in Los Angeles.

Link to 1984 Olympic 400 metre freestyle final

Evans celebrating breaking 1650 yard freestyle record
Joanna celebrating her win in the 1650 yard freestyle and new school record at the Texas Invite Photo courtesy of texassports

Joanna took a little over 2 seconds off that time with her win in 15:51.74. That swim puts her behind only Olympic superstar Katie Ledecky in Division I and across all collegiate Divisions. She topped the field by more than ten seconds as the Arizona pair of Hannah Cox and Kirsten Jacobsen placed second and third in 16:04.28 and 16:07.28.

Quin carozza texassports
Quinn Carozza Photo courtesy of

The 200 yard freestyle saw her out touched by teammate Quinn Carrozza 1:44.15 to 1:44.75. Her second place performance places her 16th in Divison I and just off her personal best of 1:44.22 from the Division I Championships in March 2017.

She ended the meet providing second leg duties on the 400 yard freestyle B team . Joanna clocked 48.85 as the team placed fifth in 3:16.91.

For her tremendous record breaking performances at the competition she would be awarded BIG 12 swimmer of the week on Dec 6





Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016) continued to make history for herself, The Bahamas and the CARIFTA and CCCAN regions with historic medal winning performances at the Summer Universiade in Taipei Taiwan this past August.

Before this year’s competition the last medal won in swimming from the CCCAN region had come from countryman Jeremy Knowles with his historic 200 metre butterfly Bronze medal winning performance in 1:59.21 at the 2003 Daegu South Korea Games .Jeremy was the first and only swimmer from the CARIFTA region to win medal at the Championships.

Evans with 800 metre freestyle medallists Bahamas Aquatics
800 metre freestyle medallists From left to right German Sarah Koehler Silver medallist,Italian Gold medallist Simona Quadarella and Bahamian Bronze medallist Joanna Evans

That all changed on August 25, 2017 at the Taiwan Sports University Arena when Evans touched the wall in a new National record of 8:31.18 to win the Bronze medal. That time lowered her previous record of 8:32.18 set at 2016 The Bahamas Nationals before her debut performance at the Rio Olympics. That medal win broke a 14 year medal drought for the CARIFTA and CCCAN regions. She also put more distance between herself and the other swimmers as she was already the fastest ever swimmer from a CARIFTA or CCCAN nation.

Analysis of Joanna’s top 800 metre freestyle swims

Date and venue First 200 Second 200 Third 200 Fourth 200 Final time
Atlanta May 2017 2:06.13 2:09.49 2:10.81 2:09.67 8:36.10
Nassau 2016 2:06.65 2:08.89 2:08.22 2:08.43 8:32.19
WUGs Aug 25 2:04.04 2:08.95 2:08.86 2:09.33 8:31.18

Gold went to Simona Quadarella of Italy in 8:20.54 and the Silver was won by Sarah Koehler of Germany in 8:21.67

Evans had given a hint before of what was to come when she lowered her national record in the 200 metre freestyle to 1:59.19 to make the Championship final. That record swim solidified her position as the fastest CARIFTA swimmer in the event as she had passed the previous CARIFTA best of 2:01.11 by Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004) at the Atlanta Pro Swim Series  meet on May 6. At that meet she had performances of 2:00.37 and 1:59.91. In the final on August 25 she placed 8th in a time of 2:00.70 less than 30 minutes after winning Bronze in the gruelling 800 metre freestyle.


Analysis of Joanna’s top 200 metre freestyle swims

Date and venue First 100 Second 100 Final time
Olympics  Aug 2016 59.23 1:02.04 2:01.27
Atlanta May 2017 59.22 1:01.15 2:00.37
Austin July 2017 58.89 1:01.02 1:59.91
WUGS Aug 24 2017 58.23 1:00.83 1:59.19
WUGs Aug 25 58.05 1:02.65 2:00.70
Joanna Evans Bronze medal nassau Guardian
B medallists in the 400 metre freestyle from left to right American Sierra Schmidt Bronze medallist, German Sarah Koehler Gold medallist and Bahamian Joanna Evans Silver medallist Photo courtesy of nassauguardian

A day later of August 26 she would go one better on the medal podium when she won the Silver medal in the 400 metre freestyle with a time of 4:08.52.Gold went to Sarah Koehler in 4:03.96 and the Bronze to America’s Sierra Schmidt in 4:09.82.

With that performance Joanna became the FIRST and ONLY CARIFTA swimmer male or female to win TWO medals at the Championships, the ONLY CARIFTA swimmer male or female to win a SILVER medal. In the CCCAN region she became the FIRST and ONLY CCCAN woman to win TWO medals at the Championship, and the ONLY CCCAN woman to win a SILVER medal at the Championships.


Bent and Falcon 100 metre backstroke medallists
Atlanta 1996 100 metre backstroke medallists from left to right Rodolfo A. Falcón Cabrera Silver medallist,American Jeff Rouse Gold medallist and Neisser S. Bent Vázquez Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of gettyimages

She has also tied the Cuban Olympic duo of Rodolfo A. Falcón Cabrera  (Barcelona 1992 ,Atlanta 1996 , Sydney 2000) and Neisser S. Bent Vázquez ( Atlanta 1996 , Sydney 2000) for Most Medals won at Two.

Rodolfo had won Gold in the 100 and 200 metre backstroke events in times of 55.60 and 1:59.90 at the 1993 Buffalo Games. Neisser won Gold and Silver in the same events at the 1997 Sicily Italy Games with performances of 55.82 and 2:00.37. Both would win Silver and Bronze respectively in the 100 metre backstroke at the 1996 Olympics

When Draftingthecaribbean spoke the region’s best distance freestyler she gave the following thoughts about her performances

“I was pleased with them. The times weren’t excellent but given the circumstances and line-up I was very happy”

The best in the region over the middle to long distance freestyle events also placed 23rd in the 100 metre freestyle 56.99 split time 27.87 just off her best time of 56.74. In her sights will be the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne where the best CARIFTA region performance in her signature events are two Bronze medals.

Janelle Atkinson and 800 metre freestyle Silver medallists 2002 gettyimages uk
2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games 800 metre freestyle medallists from left to right Australian Amanda Pascoe Bronze medallist, England’s Rebecca Cooke Gold medallist and Jamaican Bronze medallist Janelle Atkinson Photo courtesy of gettyimages

Those medals were won by Jamaican Janelle Atkinson at the 2002 Manchester Games in the 400 (4:13.24) and 800 metre (8:36.18) freestyle races.

It would be hard not to see her medalling in those events with her form that consistently improves each season.


Joanna Evans Texas
Joanna Evans Courtesy of Brooke Lee Hansen

Joanna Evans, already the standard bearer for the English speaking Caribbean in the freestyle middle distance to distance events added to her legacy at the Southern Zones Sectionals (July 6-9) in Austin.

When Evans swam the 200 metre freestyle at the Rio 2016 Olympics she clocked a then national record of 2:01.27 (split time 59.23 and 1:02.04). That performance was just off the English speaking regional best 2:01.11 by Jamaica’s Olympian Janelle Atkinson (2000, 2004). At the Atlanta meet on May 6 she secured the number one for the spot with a new national record of 2:00.37 (59.22 and 1:01.15).

Joanna Evans 1 Nationals
Joanna Evans

A little more than a month later she won Gold in the event in the first sub 2 minute swim for the English speaking CARIFTA region. When the race got underway Texas Longhorns teammate Quinn Carrozza and Joanna broke away from the field with identical splits of 58.89 at the 100 metre mark. Evans would make a break on the 3rd 50 metre with a 30.80. That decisive move would help her to top the field with a new national record of 1:59.91. Carrozza would place second in a time of 2:00.99. Kathryn Portz of the Aggie Swim Club would finish third in 2:01.03.

Analysis of Joanna’s record swims

Meet First 100 Second 100 Final time
Olympics  Aug 2016 59.23 1:02.04 2:01.27
Atlanta May 2017 59.22 1:01.15 2:00.37
Austin July 2017 58.89 1:01.02 1:59.91

Evans would also win the 400 metre freestyle in a time of 4:10.86.

In speaking to draftingthecaribbean Evans spoke about her performances in the buildup up to her debut at the World University Games in Taipei from Aug 19 to 30.

“The fast swim (200 metre freestyle) was a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t decided if I was going to swim the meet or not until the night before. My coach and I thought it might be fun to race in the middle of hard training. I am glad I did it and it will provide some good momentum going into WUGs”


When asked about her race schedule she said “I’m entered in the 100 metre freestyle up to the 800 metre freestyle but I may not swim all”.



Joanna Evans 1 Nationals
Joanna Evans

Bahamian Olympian Joanna Evans was in sparkling form for the University of Texas at the recently concluded BIG 12 Championships winning 4 Gold medals. The meet which was contested from February 22 to February 25 at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center at the University of Texas saw the sophomore ascending to the top of the podium in the 800 yard freestyle relay and the 200, 500 and 1650 yard freestyle.

Joanna Evans and members of the victorious 800 yard freestyle relay
Evans and members of the 800 yard freestyle relay Photo courtesy of

In the 800 yard freestyle relay the Longhorns won in a time of 7:00.70.That relay performance was the 6th fastest in the Texas history. The relay team of Madisyn Cox 1:45.09, Evans 1:44.27, Claire Adams 1:44.95 and Karosas Tasija 1:46.39 crushed the competition as they won by over 10 seconds. In 2016 Joanna swam on the B team for exhibition purposes only and split 1:45.92. Her 2017 split of 1:44.27 was the fastest split at the BIG 12’s since 2012.

texassports J Evans 500 yard freestyle
Joanna en route to victory in the 500 yard freestyle in a new PB, school ,Championship and CARIFTA region best time of 4:36.97

That relay performance would be a precursor for her win in the 500 yard freestyle. She would repeat as the BIG 12 Champion in the event in a new Championship record adding to her crown won in her freshman year. That year she took the title in 4:39.97 and won by a margin just over 2 seconds. This year she won by almost 4 seconds in 4:36.97. Evans was faster over  each 100 yards as seen in the splits below

2017 splits 2016 splits
52.78 53.33
55.82 56.51
55.94 56.50
56.08 56.84
56.35 56.79

With her victory a number of milestones were achieved. She bettered her personal best of 4:39.51 set in December 2016. She bettered the 2011 championship record of Olympian Camille Adams (2012, 2016) of Texas A& M of 4:37.81. Also lowered was the  1992 school record of 4:37.73 by Olympian Erika Hansen (1988,1992).Bettered as well was the CARIFTA region’s best time in the event at the collegiate level set in 2001 by Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson (2000 and 2004) when competing for the University of Florida. The Freeport native is now the region’s best in the 500 yard freestyle as 400 metre freestyle (50 metre pool).

The 200 yard freestyle saw her stepping up from the Silver to take the Gold in a time of 1:44.41.That bettered her personal best of 1:45.07 set in January. Evans was again faster on both 100’s from last year as seen below

2017 splits 2016 splits
50.72 51.67
53.69 55.28

Her last event of the competition saw her putting clear water between herself and the field and winning in a new personal best of 16:05.11.The winning margin was more than 15 seconds. Joanna had won the 2016 title in a time of 16:13.39.

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Evans she spoke about her wins and the expectations heading into the Conference Championships

“So basically we hadn’t really tapered because NCAAs are right around the corner, so we had decided to take it one day at a time. I was most happy with my 500, that was a sweet time drop, but my other races were best times which you can never complain about”.

She also spoke about the mindset heading to the NCAA Division I Championships which will be held from March 15-18 at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana and the events she will be competing in

“I just want to lower my times from this meet and see how high it can take me. I’ll be in the 200, 500 and mile (1650 yard) freestyle events”.

With the publication of the psych sheet by the NCAA Joanna is ranked  8th in the 500 yard freestyle,18th in the 200 yard freestyle and 22nd in the 1650 yard freestyle.

She also elaborated on the team spirit heading into the Championships in Indiana

“Everyone is excited. This meet has definitely given everyone some momentum heading into the last couple weeks of the season”.

Big 12 champs by Anelise Diener
Victorious BIG 12 Women’s Champions The University of Texas Longhorns Photo courtesy of Anelise Diener


The Longhorns won the competition with 991 points.