Jordy Groters Photo courtesy of

At  the 2015 Kazan World Championships Jordy Groters had clocked an Aruban national record time of 28.64 in the 50 metre breaststroke. The mark stood untroubled until the recently held CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago. At that competition he lowered it to 28.57 in a Silver medal winning performance.

In Budapest he continued his record breaking form. He lowered the national standard yet again hitting the pads in 28.40. The breaststroke record makes it two national records from two swims as he had broken his own 100 metre breaststroke record earlier at the meet. That performance places him as the fastest from the CARIFTA region at World championships. It also ranks him as fourth fastest from the CCCAN region.

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to him today he elaborated on his record breaking feat

I was extremely excited to swim. Maybe a bit too excited which probably came back to bite me in the end. I was fast off the blocks, not as fast as I was in the 100, but still respectably fast for a 50. My pull out was wonderful, probably as strong as it had ever been. I was about 5.8s to the 15m marker, according to my coach’s watch. In past practices, with and without racing suits, I’ve only been 6.2s to the 15m marker. Obviously I did not know this during the race. All I knew was that I felt good and I felt fast. What my coach and I have also been working on this past year was having a consistent stroke rate. For the 100, we wanted about 1.15s per stroke, which we hit dead on. For the 50, however, our goal was to be 0.90s to 1.00s per stroke. In practice, I would hit it most of the time. This morning, my first couple strokes were indeed 0.95s per stroke, again, according to my coach’s watch. But as I said, my overexcitement probably came back to bite me. I was clocking 0.85s per stroke rate for the last 30m of the race. Of course, if I were used to that kind of speed, it probably would have been an amazing thing. Unfortunately, it was a bit too fast and I was essentially just spinning my arms, not grabbing any water. We still did a best time, lowering my National Record set at CCCAN a couple of weeks back by 0.17. For a 50m, that’s a pretty respectable drop in time. Now, in the reflection phase of my meet, I am thinking it could have been better if I kept my 0.95s stroke rate.

Nonetheless, I was extremely pleased with my time because it was under the B-qualifying standard for this meet, which I had never been before in the past. Of course I understand I didn’t swim this time during the qualifying period, but it’s a step in the right direction.  It shows that I can definitely start making some qualifying standards before the period ends.

Jordy Groter Mizzou swim and dive
Jordy Groters Photo courtesy of

Fortunately, Aruba will be swimming in the Mixed 400 Medley relay tomorrow morning, whereof I will be doing the breaststroke leg. This will give me a really unique and awesome opportunity to get a quick time in my 100 with a relay swing and to also improve on my turn that I didn’t do so well in my individual 100. Relays being so crucial and exciting in NCAA swimming, tomorrow’s swim will certainly give my coaches at Mizzou (University of Missouri) a good idea of what I’m capable of doing in relays alongside my individual swims.”



The total tally of World Championship qualifying performances achieved at the CCCAN Championships stands at 16 as Day 5 came to an end at the National Aquatic Centre in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday July 2.The swimmers helped in running up the score on Sunday included Valerie Gruest of Guatemala, Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador, Luis Flores of Puerto Rico, Joshua Romany of Trinidad and Tobago and Edgar Crespo of Panama.

Valerie Gruest
Valerie Gruest Photo courtesy of

Olympian Gruest in the 15-17 400 metre freestyle won her race convincingly in a time of 4:16.42 well under the B standard of 4:19.34.That was her seventh Gold medal of the Championship and her second World Championship qualifying mark.

Marcelo Acosta swimming world
Marcelo Acosta Photo courtesy of

Marcelo Acosta won the 18 and over boys 400 metre freestyle in a Championship record time of 3:55.54. That bettered the Hungary World Championship B standard of 3:56.14. His swim was also faster than the 2011 meet record of 3:59.06 by Puerto Rico’s Raul Martinez. Silver went to Aruban Mikel Schreuders in a new national record of 3:58.38.The Bronze went to the English speaking fastest ever swimmer in the event Alex Sobers of Barbados in 4:00.17.

Luis Flores
Luis Flores Photo courtesy of Florida Southern College

In the battle to decide the fastest man at CCCAN the morning heats saw two men under the 50 metre freestyle B standard of 23.26.Luis Flores of Puerto Rico 22.85 to top the qualifiers heading into the final. Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany was the second seed with a time of 23.01.

Romany swimswam
Joshua Romany Photo courtesy of

In the final the positions remained the same with both men just off their morning swims. Flores took Gold in 22.85 and Romany the Silver in 23.06 with Schreuders winning Bronze in 23.49 in a new national record.

Crespo La prensa
Edgar Crespo Photo courtesy of La Prensa

Bettering the World Championship B cut was Panamanian Edgar Crespo. In the morning preliminaries of the 18 and over men’s 100 metre breaststroke he lowered his 2009 Championship record of 1:03.83 by clocking 1:02.79. That performance topped the qualifiers and just missed the B standard of 1:02.46. In the final he underlined his number one seeding with Gold medal winning time and new Championship record of 1:02.37. Silver was won by Aruba’s Jordy Groters in 1:04.07 and the Bronze went Coast Rica’s Arnoldo Herrera in 1:04.89.

Albury Higgs Photo courtesy of Rochelle Bastian and Bahamas Swimming

Also doing the Championship record double was Bahamian Albury Higgs. In the morning she lowered Jamaica Olympian Alia Atkinson’s (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016)  2005 15-17 girls 100 metre breaststroke record of 1:13.93 with a 1:12.93 effort. Higgs would lower that mark in the afternoon with a Gold medal winning time of 1:12.79.She was followed to the wall by Curaçao’s   Chadé   Nercisio who clocked 1:14.27. Marissa Lugo of Puerto Rico was timed in 1:15.58 and won the Bronze.

ELan Daley Royal Gazette
Elan Daley Photo courtesy of

Also in Championship record mode was one half of the Bermudan 11-12 super duo Elan Daley. In the final of the 11-12 50 metre freestyle she lowered the 1995 Championship record of 27.55 set by another 11-12 star of yester year, Trinidad and Tobago’s Cerian Gibbes. Daley won in a new national record and English speaking Caribbean best of 26.82.No other English speaking Caribbean girl has ever swum faster than 27 seconds. Jamaican speedster Zaneta Alvaranga placed second in 27.78.The other half of the super duo Payton Zelkin won the Bronze is 28.01.

13-14 50 backstroke champion and senior natior record holder Danielle Titus of Barbados
13-14 100 backstroke champion and new senior national record holder Danielle Titus of Barbados

In the 13-14 girls 200 metre backstroke Danielle Titus of Barbados set a new Championship, age group and senior national record with her swim of 2:22.39. Titus lowered the 1985 record of 2:22.50 of Costa Rican Olympian Sylvia Poll (1988, 1992). Second went to Vanegas Yanci of Guatemala in 2:24.41 and the Bronze Jahmia Harley to 2:27.05.

Swimmers who achieved the regional Golden Double on the final day included

Golden Double medallists 50 freestyle
Regional Golden Double medallists in the 50 metre freestyle from left to right Elan Daley of Bermuda 11-12 girls Nathaniel Thomas of Jamaica 11-12 boys Amara Pilgrim of Trinidad and Tobago 15-17 girls Photos courtesy of Royal Gazette Bermuda,Cheser Adams and
Age Group Event Name Country
11-12 girls 50 metre freestyle Elan Daley Bermuda
11-12 boys 50 metre freestyle Nathaniel Thomas Jamaica
15-17  girls 50 metre freestyle Amara Pilgrim Trinidad and Tobago


Sam Williamson bernews
Regional Double Golden Double medallist Sam Williamson of Bermuda 11-12 boys Photo courtesy of Bernews
Age Group Event Name Country
11-12  boys 100 metre breaststroke Sam  Williamson Bermuda
D Titus Barbados Nation
Regional Double Gold medallist in the 13-14 200 metre backstroke Danielle Titus of Barbados Photo courtesy of Barbados Nation
Age Group Event Name Country
13-14  girls 200 metre backstroke Danielle Titus Barbados


Saturday July 1 at the CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago saw two more swimmers Olympians Edgar Crespo of Panama (2012,2016) and Aruban Mikel Schreuders (2016) bettering the World Championships B standards.Those swims bought the overall World Championship qualifying performances to eight.

Crespo La prensa
Edgar Crespo Photo courtesy of La Prensa

Competing in the 18 and over category at the National Aquatic Centre in Couva Crespo was faster than the World Championship B standard of 28.47 when he recorded 28.08 to top the qualifiers for the final with a time of 28.08. He was also under the 2013 Championship record of 28.61 set by Trinidad and Tobago’s Abraham McLeod . Edgar would be even faster in the final when he became the first swimmer under the 28 seconds barrier when he won the Gold in 27.94. Following him to the wall for the Silver in a new Aruban national record of 28.57 and just outside the B time was Jordy Groters. His old national record was 28.60 .Winning the Bronze in 28.97 was his countryman Mikel Schreuders.

Mikel Schreuders Olympian wikipedia
Olympian Mikel Schreuders at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Photo courtesy of

Mikel would lower an Aruban national mark of his own and better the B time for the Hungary World Championships when he won Gold in the 100 metre freestyle in a time of 50.55. The B standard is 50.64. Winning the Silver was Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany in personal best of 50.75. Bronze went to Olympian Avila Kevin (2012) in 51.68.

There were a number of near misses with the World championship cuts as well. In the 18 and over category Suriname’s Olympian Evita Leter (2016) hit the pads in 32.72 for the win in the 50 metre breaststroke. The time to beat was 32.31. In the 15-17 200 metre butterfly Guatemalan Olympian Valerie Gruest stopped the clock in 2:14.59, a new Championship record but just shy of the B time of 2:14.31.

Other meet records to fall included the 15-17 200 metre butterfly for girls. That was the result of another Gruest effort as she bettered the 1987 standard of Olympian Silvia Poll of 2:23.23 with a 2:20.42 swim to take the Gold.

Another Olympian’s record would fall in the 13-14 equivalent as Daniela Alfaro of Costa Rica bettered Mexican Rita Medrano’s (2012) 2005 standard of 2:19.75 with a 2:18.65 clocking.

In the boys 15-17 age group Crespo lost his  2007 15-17 record of 29.33as local standout Jeron Thompson won Gold in 29.26. Winning the Silver and also under the record was Fausto David Heron of the Dominican Republic who swam 29.32.

Thompson was one six swimmers that completed the regional Golden Double winning at the CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas in April and again in Trinidad and Tobago.

Daley and Titus islandstats and Michael C Lyn 200 im regional double
Regional Golden Double medallists from left to right Elan Daley of Bermuda in the 11-12 200 individual medley and Danielle Titus of Barbados in the 13-14 age group Photos courtesy of and Michael C Lyn
Golden Double Day 4
Age Group Event Name Country
11-12 girls 200 metre IM Elan Daley Bermuda
13-14 girls 200 metre IM Danielle Titus Barbados


50 metre breaststroke golden double
50 metre breaststroke Regional Golden Double medallists from left to right Sam Williamson of Bermuda 11-12 boys,Gabriela Donahue of Trinidad and Tobago 13-14 girls,Nkosi Dunwoody of Barbados 13-14 boys,Jeron Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago 15-17 boys Photos courtesy of,Daily Nation and
Age Group Event Name Country
11-12 boys 50 metre breaststroke Sam Williamson Bermuda
13-14 girls 50 metre breatstroke Gabriela Donahue Trinidad and Tobago
13-14 boys 50 metre breaststroke Nkosi Dunwoody Barbados
15-17 boys 50 metre breaststroke Jeron Thompson Trinidad and Tobago
Elan Daley
Elan Daley Photo courtesy of
Age Group Event Name Country
11-12 girls 100 metre freestyle Elan Daley Bermuda


Mikel Schreuders Photo courtesy of

The University of Missouri’s duo of Olympian Mikel Schreuders and Jordy Groters continue to ensure the nation of Aruba was represented at the prestigious SEC Championships building on their country’s legacy at the NCAA Division 1 level.


The 2017 edition of the Championships was held at the University of Tennessee from Feb 14 to 18.The 200 yard freestyle saw Schreuders, a sophomore making his 2nd consecutive Championship final. In that final he bettered the NCAA B cut of 1:37.99,his personal best of 1:34.35  and his 2016 5th placing to finish 4th in a time of 1:34.06 (split time 46.03). That swim also moved him to 2nd all-time for the Tigers in the event.

The swimmer, who hails from Oranjestad, would see an improvement as well in the 100 yard freestyle. In 2016 he had finished 7th in the B final in a time of 44.03 .He had registered a time of 43.80 in the preliminaries. Heading to Tennessee he had lowered his personal best to 43.65. After completion of the morning heats he just missed lowering his own record with a swim of 43.69 (split time 21.02) but made it again to the B final. In that race he went out in the same time 21.02 but came back faster to record a new personal best of 43.62 and SEC best placing of 5th. He was also easily under the B cut of 44.29.

That time would not survive the Championships as he started the off the Tigers 400 yard freestyle relay team with a leg timed at 43.61 (split time 21.05). The other members of the team Michael Chadwick (41.48), Luke Mankus (43.66) and Sam Coffmann (42.99) secured 4th place up from 2016’s 5th place finish. It also bettered the school record of 2:52.05 set at last year’s Championships. The team’s performance was also under the automatic qualifying time of 2:52.45.

In the 200 yard freestyle relay there would be another 4th place finish for the Tigers. The team of Mankus (19.86), Chadwick (18.64), Andrew Sansoucie (19.52) and Schreuders (19.43) posted a total effort of 1:17.45. That bettered the 2016 time of 1:17.89 and the NCAA A time of 1:17.77.

In the 50 yard freestyle Mikel was 28th in a new personal best of 20.15 lowering significantly his previous best of 20.69.That swim is under the NCAA B time of 20.15 and bettered his 2016 finish of 39th.

Jordy Groters Photo courtesy of

Countryman Jordy Groters made his third consecutive 100 yard breaststroke final at the SEC’s when he clocked 53.81 to make the C final. He would win that race in a time of 53.52 (split time 25.15).  In the 200 yard breaststroke he was 28th in a time of 2:01.21 (split time 57.29). The 50 yard freestyle saw the Oranjestad native finishing 45th in 20.68.

The Tigers finished 5th in the men’s competition with 771 points.




Allyson Ponson

The records continued to tumble for Aruba on Day 2 of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada on Wednesday Dec 7.All members of the three member team set new standards.

The first person to etch their name in the record books was Allyson Ponson. She set a new mark of 56.34 (split time 26.99). Her thoughts after the race were

“My plan was to enjoy the race and focus on my turns. Unfortunately I don’t think that my turns were as good as they could have been. But I am happy with the time”.

Jordy Groters

Countryman Jordy Groters would set a new national standard in the 100 metre butterfly. His splits were 25.38 and 29.49 for a final time of 54.87 and 48th overall. Speaking after the race he said

“It was a different experience to race a fly event. This was my first time at such a high level meet swimming fly, and I enjoyed it. I didn’t have any pre-race expectations, just jumped in and went for it, and I was happy with the results”.

Daniella van den Berg

Daniella van den Berg in her first race of the Championships placed 26th in the 800 metre freestyle. The Aruban national record in the event is 8:58.72 (400 split 4:25.07). When asked about the race she said

“I was excited to get going after watching everyone swim yesterday. This was my first time ever doing 800 in scm, and I did not know what to expect. Now I know, it is a whole bunch of turns and a lot less swimming. I am satisfied with the actual time I did”.


Aruban 2016 World Short Course swimming championships team from left to right Daniella Van Den Berg, Jordy Groters and Allyson Ponson

The Aruban team campaign underway today Dec 6 at the 13th World Short Course Swimming championships in Windsor Canada. The team comprises of 3 swimmers Jordy Groters, Daniella Van Den Berg and Allyson Ponson .The official are   Team Manager Maureen Croes , Team Coach Andy Grevers. Officiating at the meet is Ronald Leito.

Allyson Ponson

Ponson would be the first from her nation as she contested the heats of the 200 metre freestyle. She swam to a new national record of 2:03.67 (split time 59.44). That swim placed her 44th overall. It bettered her 2012 World Championships performance of 2:06.07 where she finished 51st. When asked about her swim Allyson said

“It was a great way to start of the week. Looking forward to my favorite events later this week”.

Jordy Groters

Groters raced in the heats of the 100 metre breaststroke. He also set a new standard for Aruba when he touched the wall in a time of 1:00.06 (split time 28.07) to finish 43rd.  He bettered his 2012 placing and time of 56th and 1:02.98. After his record breaking swim the University of Missouri junior said

“I was excited to race my favorite event on Day one. I am pumped to be swimming on the world stage and finishing in the better 50% of my event adds to the excitement. It felt good, and I am looking forward to see what the rest of the week will bring me”.

Daniella van den Berg

Team mate Daniella van den Berg will begin her World Championships with the 800 metre freestyle tomorrow.


Raiz Tjon A Joe
Raiz Tjon A Joe Photo courtesy of Azura Florida Aquatics



Suriname’s Raiz Tjon- A -Joe made his collegiate debut with Texas A & M on Friday October 28 in College Station Texas. The occasion was a duel meet with the University of South Carolina.

His life as an Aggie began with the 200 yard medley relay C which swam for exhibition purposes. Swimming the breaststroke leg where he split 26.05. Raiz helped them to a total time of 1:32.64.

In his first individual event the 50 yard freestyle he led the field into the 25 yard turn with a split time of 9.99. He would not be able to hold off the field and finished 4th in a time of 20.67.

The longer sprint, the 100 yard freestyle, Raiz was 2nd to the wall with a split of 21.58. He would be one place lower at the finish to place 3rd in a time of 45.74.

The swimmer who hails from Paramaribo was given A team duties in the 400 yard freestyle. Though the team swam for exhibition purposes they still had the fastest time on the day. The line-up of Adam Koster (45.41), Turker Ayar (45.69) ,Raiz (46.20) and Jacob Gonzales (44.47) touched in a total time of 3:01.77.

The Aggies won the contest 176 to 118.

Raiz is known for his sprinting prowess. While representing Westlake Prep he won the 2015 Florida State 1A Championships in the 50 yard freestyle and was 2nd in the 100 yard breaststroke. He had set the Florida state record in the heats of the 100 yard breaststroke with a time of 54.64 .The all-time top 3 fastest times in Florida high school history are held by swimmers from the CARIFTA region. Raiz broke the record of 54.72 held by Olympian Bradley Ally of Barbados when he represented St Thomas Aquinas in 2004.Rounding out the trio is Aruban breaststroke national record holder Jordy Groters who clocked 54.76 representing University School in 2013.

At the 2015 SPEEDO Winter Junior Nationals East Raiz was 2nd in 100 yard freestyle and 4th in the 50 yard freestyle cracking the 20 second barrier with a time of 19.94. Notable alumni of Texas A &M include Jamaica’s World Record Holder Alia Atkinson and Barbadian national record holder Shawn Clarke.