Jamaica’s Justin Plaschka continued to blaze a path for his countrymen to follow at his final NCAA Division I Championships in Minnesota on Friday May 23.
Already the only Jamaican man to qualify for the prestigious elite Championships in the 100 yard butterfly back in March 2016 he has now done it three times.Each time he has gone faster and placed higher. In the morning heats he produced his a time of 46.02 to place 23rd overall. Justin holds the school and Jamaican best time in yards at 45.41. He also owns the 100 metre butterfly standards in the 25 metre and Olympic sized pools at 52.31 and 54.71 respectively.
In the 200 yard medley relay he had been flirting with the 20 seconds barrier for the butterfly leg since the 2017 NCAA Championships. Last year he recorded a split of 20.39. In the heats of the event he came close again with a split of 20.09 to help the Fighting Irish earn a B final berth with a total time of 1:25.17 .
In that race he would break through with the fastest split of the B final in a time of 19.94. It was the third fastest time overall as only two swimmers in the Championship final produced faster times. The team finished 7th in a time of 1:25.21. It is the best relay position for the Jamaican as his teams in 2015 and 2017 placed 24th overall.
The 2018 Atlantic Coast Championships came to a close on Feb 24 at the Greensboro Aquatics Centre, Greensboro North Carolina which saw Notre Dame’s star sprinter Justin Plaschka blazing to new all-time Jamaican standards in his final conference meet.
Plaschka, who was already Jamaica’s fastest swimmer of all time in the 25 yard pool, added a bit more shine to his crown. On the first day of competition Wed he gave a glimpse of his speed when he rocketed to the fastest butterfly in the 200 medley relay of 20.21.That propelled the Fighting Irish team to a news season best of 1:25.37 and an NCAA B time standard.
In the 50 yard freestyle the senior bettered his season best time of 19.60 and made his third consecutive Championship final in the event. In the final he would blaze to new school record and Jamaica best time of 19.30. It also bettered the time standard of 19.43 to be invited to the NCAA Division I final.
Plaschka’s evolution of speed
His performance ranks as the second fastest collegiate performance of all time by a CARIFTA region swimmer
He would gain another automatic invitation to the Championships when the Notre Dame team placed fourth in the 200 yard freestyle relay in a season best of 1:17.61. That just under cut the A standard of 1:17.62.
In the 100 yard butterfly Justin was just off his season best of 46.84 when he stopped the clock in 46.92. It earned him a second swim in the C final. Knowing he was in a different class than the field he was to race he demonstrated that from the firing of the starter’s gun.He blitzed the field with an opening leg of 20.97, an advantage of more than a half a second. With the field defeated it would be a question of what time he would post. He did not disappoint as he registered his first sub 46 seconds swim touching in 45.41.A swim that would have earned the Bronze medal. It blew away his school record and Jamaica best of 46.05 and also went under the 2017 NCAA invitation time of 46.10.
It also pushes him past 45.82 Cayman Olympian Shaune Fraser (Beijing 2008, London 2012) as the second fastest CARIFTA collegiate swimmer of all time.
He would help the 400 yard medley team to fourth and a season best and NCAA B time of 3:08.32 with a butterfly split of 45.34 .
In the 100 yard freestyle he would lower his season best twice .In the morning he recorded 43.48. Competing in the C final he easily topped the competition with a swim of 43.02. He had taken the wind out of the sails of the competition with a split of 20.01.In his final event the Notre Dame team recorded a season best and A qualifying time of 2:51.62.
When draftingthecaribbean caught up with Plaschka he gave his thoughts about his swims
“I was relatively happy with my swims in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. I was glad I was able to take off in both and hit times that would send me to NCAA’s. Only thing I was disappointed in and know that I have to work on in the future is racing better in the mornings. It’s something I know I will be working on the next few weeks in preparation for NCAA’s”.
Notre Dame finished fourth overall with 941 points.North Carolina State topped the
Jamaica’s Justin Plaschka continued his good form in his senior season with the University of Notre Dame as he recorded his 5th victory in the 50 yard freestyle this season at the Shamrock Invitational which ran from Jan 26 to 27.
He won the event in 20.22 just holding off teammate Daniel Speers who touched in 20.28. Justin would also be a member of three Fighting Irish relay victories. In the 400 medley relay he contributed a 46.74 butterfly as the team touched in a winning time of 3:13.94.In the 400 yard freestyle relay the clock was stopped at 2:54.59. Plaschka handled 2nd leg duties with a 43.55 split. He actually started the competition at Notre Dame’s Rolfs Aquatic Center with a victory in the 200 yard freestyle relay. He got the relay off to a lead and the fastest time at the meet with a time of 20.10 as the team went on to win in 1:19.40. That opening leg is under the NCAA B time of 20.16, a standard he has bettered 5 times this season.
He would take a victory in 200 yard butterfly in what could be considered an off event for the sprinter. He won the race in 1:48.33 (split time 50.68) and from the firing of the starter’s gun he was always ahead. It is also not far off from the NCAA B time of 1:47.99.
The 100 yard butterfly saw him just out touched by Ohio State’s Noah Lense 47.52 to 47.73 despite charging hard to record the fastest last 50 yards of 24.80. Notre Dame topped men’s competition with 998.50 followed by Ohio State with 933.50 points. When draftingthecaribbean caught up with Plaschka on January 28 he had the following thoughts
“We are at the end of our latest training session and are about to start taper for conference so I’m pretty tired and worn out so those times are very good for me for this time of year. I’m looking forward to what can be done in four weeks at ACCs and then NCAAs”
The ACC competition will be held in Greensboro North Carolina from Feb 21 to 24.
Members of Jamaica’s team to the 2016 and 2014 World Short Course Swim Championships got 2018 off to solid starts for 2018
Justin Plaschka, who competed in Windsor in 2016, represents Notre Dame in the NCAA Division I, travelled to Iowa for a meet against Iowa on Jan 12 and 13. Justin recorded individual wins in the 50 yard freestyle in 20.16 under the NCAA B time of 20.19, 100 yard butterfly 48.90 .In the 200 yard medley relay the Fighting Irish finished second in a time of 1:29.01 Justin contributed a 20.82 butterfly leg. He had second place finishes in the 400 yard medley relay 3:18.09 and his butterfly split was 49.09,400 2:59.07 and 200 1:20.87 yard freestyle relays. On the freestyle relay teams he led off the team with splits of 20.47 and 44.54. Notre Dame beat Iowa 187-113.
His teammate in 2016 Kelsie Campbell who represents Florida International University also in Division I was in action on Jan 5 at her home pool at the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Center . She had her top performance in the 50 yard butterfly where she touched in 27.32. Kelsie would record other top ten performances in the 100 yard butterfly 59.17 fourth place and the 50 yard backstroke 27.60 sixth. She would place 14th in the 100 yard individual medley in 1:04.09. FIU would top the 11 strong women’s field with 756 points.
Nico Campbell who represented the country at the 2014 Doha World Championships had back to back dual meets against Emory and Nova Southeastern on Jan 12 and 13 respectively for his Division II Florida Southern College. Against Emory Nico won the 100 yard freestyle in 46.29.He was runner up in the 50 yard freestyle in 21.36. He was also a member of the 200 yard freestyle relay team that place 2nd in 1:25.56. On the following day his 200 yard medley relay won in 1:33.56 against Nova. Nico anchored the team with 20.99 freestyle leg. On the 200 yard freestyle relay he led off with a 21.76 as his A team placed second in 1:25.80. He would also finished second in the 100 freestyle in 46.53.The 50 yard freestyle saw him finishing third in 21.57. Florida Southern won both contests turning back 131 to 74 Nova 134 to 128.
Jamaica’s Michael Gunning continued to show that he is one of the next wave of Jamaican stars looking to impress in senior international waters at the Commonwealth Games, CAC Games and World Short Course Championships in 2018 with another series of record breaking performances over the weekend.
Competing at the Stockport Metro November Open Meet this past weekend contested over short course metres (25 metre pool) he took down the 400 metre freestyle record and crushed his 200 metre butterfly set a little over week ago . He has set those records in the midst of heavy training schedule which means when he is fully shaved, rested and tapered one can expect him to go much faster in both the 25 metre pool and 50 metre pool when called upon to represent the island in international competitions.
Gunning, who has represented Jamaica in at the 2017 World Championships and the 2017 World University Games placed 3rd in the 400 metre freestyle in a time of 3:53.08
Analysis of swim
That lowered the 3:54.26 by distance King Dominic Walter when he represented the McMaster University in a Silver medal winning performance at the 2016 Ontario University Athletics Championships. Gunning completed yet another national record double as he now owns both the short course and national records in the event.
400 metre freestyle
Michael only participated in the Saturday session of the three day meet as he revealed to draftingthecaribbean “I only swam as I’m so broken from training I did not want to run myself into the ground” which speaks to the intensity of his workouts at this time of the season.
Despite that he managed to crush his 200 metre butterfly national record of 2:05.12 with a Silver medal winning performance of 2:00.07. Michael was just edged for the Gold by Jacob Jackson of Ellesmere who recorded a time of 1:59.75.
Comparison of national record swims
Draftingthecaribean spoke to Michael and got his thoughts about his performances
“I’m absolutely tired from racing every weekend but it’s great to see all my hard work is paying off and I’m managing to transfer all my skills from training and see the benefits coming together when I race. I was overjoyed to see how much I had broken those new Jamaican Records by as I didn’t expect to be swimming too fast right now in this block of work. It’s great to see that the Jamaican Swimming History is getting stronger and I’m so honoured that I get to be a part of it. It’s truly heart-warming to see how much encouragement and support I’ve received over the past year I can’t wait to see what’s to come leading into next year, as it’s a really exciting time for both me and Jamaican swimming”.
The Stockport swimmer owns the national records in the 50 metre pool in the 200 metre butterfly and 200 metre freestyle at 1:59.83 and 1:50.00. He boasts a personal best of 55.10 in the 100 metre butterfly since donning the Jamaican national colours. Those times would give him the following placings at the last three Commonwealth Games.
200 metre freestyle
400 metre freestyle
100 metre butterfly
200 metre butterfly
Michael is a part of a Jamaica’s next generation of swimmers that includes and is not limited to names such as Nico Campbell, Justin Plaschka, Keanan Dols, Kelsie Campbell, Breanna Roman and Bryanna Renuart. Queen of the pack remains Alia Atkinson and she will seek to lead the Jamaican delegation for the third time. The country continues to improve in the quality and depth of swimming at the senior level. In 2006 the island sent 3 swimmers to the Melbourne Games, in 2010 3 went to Delhi India and in 2014 6 went to Glasgow Scotland.
Notre Dame with Jamaican senior Justin Plaschka in their ranks recorded top ten relay times in the 400 medley and 200 yard freestyle relays against Texas A&M last weekend. The dual meet which was hosted by the Fighting Irish from Oct 13-14 saw them going down 159.5 to 193.5. Despite the loss the team still recorded strong performances.
In the 200 yard freestyle relay the team of Plaschka 20.46, Tabahn Afrik 19.98, Dan Fujan 20.66 and Daniel Speers 19.90 recorded 1:21.00 to win the event. That total time bettered the 1:21.31 they recorded at the Dennis Stark relays on October 6.It also places them as the 8th fastest team in the NCAA this season so far.
The 400 yard medley with Justin handling butterfly duties placed 2nd in the race with a time of 3:16.16. Plaschka, with a split time of 47.36 helped Notre Dame post their fastest time so far and the 5th best ranked time in the NCAA. Notre Dame’s previous best time was 3:23.56.
The 400 yard freestyle relay team of Afrik 44.68, Plaschka 44.48,Aaron Schultz 44.01 and Speers 45.12 had a winning time of 2:58.29. That was just off their 6th ranked and season best effort of 2:58.11.
Plaschka would get his hand first to the wall in the 50 yard freestyle when he stopped the clock in a time of 20.22. The longer sprint, the 100 yard freestyle saw him narrowly defeated by Texas A&M’s 44.20 to 44.28 (split time 21.09).
Justin, who is marketing major enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business, is the fastest active swimmer from the island in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle as well as the 50 and 100 metre butterfly. He holds the national records in three of the aforementioned events and will be one of the swimmers that should be on the teams representing Jamaica internationally for the 2017-2018 season.
Analysis of Plaschka’s best time and how he would have placed at the 2014 Commonwealth and CAC Games
Commonwealth Games 2014
50 metre freestyle
100 metre freestyle
50 metre butterfly
100 metre butterfly
The Fighting Irish will next be in action on Friday October 20 when they host Georgia Tech.
Notre Dame’s Jamaican senior Justin Plaschka officially opened his season with the Fighting Irish in the best possible way on Saturday October 7 at home. This as school opened the dual meet season with a win over number 7 ranked Louisville 153.5 to 146.5 and Justin recorded the fastest time in the NCAA in the 50 yard freestyle.
Justin outsprinted the field to get his hand first to the wall in the two lap race to record a time of 20.04.That is the top ranked time in college swimming tying with Paul Powers of the University of Michigan. Louisville’s Andrej Barna 20.17 was second and his teammate Daniel Speers was third in 20.39.
Plaschka, now a senior had his fastest ever season opening collegiate swim in the 50 yard freestyle
Analysis of 50 yard freestyle swims
He would notch his individual second win in the dual meet when he took the 100 yard butterfly overtaking Louisville’s Zach Harting over the last 50 yards to take the top honours 47.91 to 48.04.Third went to Matt Grauslys in 49.04.Justin’s time places 5th overall in the NCAA.
In his final event the 400 yard freestyle relay the Irish lost a close decision Louisville 2:57.92 to 2:58.24.Justin had the second fastest split of the relay with a time of 44.00 on the second leg.
In the 200 yard medley relay his team was DQ’d.
Justin holds the school records in three individual events.He was also a member of four record breaking relay teams .All the records were set last season
50 yard freestyle
100 yard freestyle
100 yard butterfly
200 yard medley relay
400 yard medley relay
200 yard freestyle relay
400 yard freestyle relay
Notre Dame will next be in action on October Friday the 13 at home at the Rolfs Aquatic Center against Texas A&M and Michigan State.