The final day of competition at the UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida on Jan 21 saw Team Jamaica resetting the record books in the mixed 200 metre freestyle relay and Shaun Johnson recording a Youth Olympic B time in the 50 metre freestyle.

Gabriann Banks in relay action UANA Cup M Lyn
Gabrianna Banks in flight during a relay takeover at the UANA Cup Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

The 15-17 mixed 200 metre freestyle relay team of Shaun Johnson  27.37, Jesse Marsh 24.46 ,Gabrianna Banks 27.12 and Nicholas Vale 24.75 set a new senior and 15-17 age group record of 1:43.70 to place 4th overall. The team was the highest placed CARIFTA region quartet in their age group.

Keanan Dols CISC M Lyn
Keanan Dols at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming championships Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

The previous record was set at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships when the team of Keanan Dols 24.62, Bryanna Renuart 28.13,Marsh 25.57 and Kelsie Campbell 26.93 touched in 1:45.25.

Shaun Johnson leading off relay UANA Cup M Lyn
Shaun on her way to a new personal best and Youth Olympics B time Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Shaun Johnson who was a member of the 2017 CARIFTA  “Golden Girls” went under the Youth Olympics B qualifying mark of 27.39 with her opening leg. In 2017 Jamaica’s 15-17 girls dubbed the “Golden Girls” won all their relay events at the CARIFTA Championships winning the 200, 400 and 800 metre freestyle relays as well as the 400 metre medley relay.

When draftingthecaribbean caught up with Johnson she spoke about the race, the competition overall and being chosen as the flag bearer

Shaun Johnson flag bearer UANA M Lyn
Shaun Johnson UANA Cup Flag bearer Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

“For the 4 x 50 freestyle relay, I was a little nervous because I had never done a mixed relay before and I rarely ever lead off. Coach Gillian (Millwood) decided to place me in the relay and said she was confident in seeing a great 50 time for me being the lead off especially considering I didn’t do the 50 free this weekend. Seeing 27.37 was surprising! My PB for last year was a 27.72 at CARIFTA and right now I’m in the middle of my high school season so things look exciting in that event. The rest of the team actually voted me to be the flag bearer and that was a fun part of the weekend as well! That was really cool”.

Britney williams UANA day 2
Britney Williams joint top CARIFTA 15-17 swimmer in the 100 metre freestyle

Britney Williams tied with Alison Jackson of The Cayman Islands as the top CARIFTA region performer in the 15-17 100 metre freestyle with identical 59.55’s for 5th place.

Alia ,Ramon and some members of the UANA cup M Lyn
Jamaican Sportswoman Alia Atkinson , Saint Andrews Aquatics Coach Ramon Walton take a picture with some of the members of the UANA Cup Team Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Team Jamaica finished the competition with 6 more  best times on the final day to end with 20 new personal records overall, two age group records and one senior national record.


Emily Day 2
Emily MacDonald top Jamaican point scorer at the 2018 UANA Cup

Emily MacDonald was the best placed Jamaican in the high point scoring for the age group placing 8th with 22 points.

Nathaniel Thomas UANA Cup M Lyn
Nathaniel Thomas on his way to new personal best in the 50 metre butterfly Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn
Sabrina Lyn 100 metre breaststroke M Lyn UANA cup
Sabrina Lyn stroking to the wall en route to a new personal best in the 100 metre breaststroke Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn
Name Event Age Group Time
Nathaniel Thomas 100 metre freestyle 13-14 57.12
Karci Gibson 100 metre freestyle 15-17 1:03.83
Sabrina Lyn 100 metre breaststroke 13-14 1:21.67
Nathaniel Thomas 50 metre butterfly 13-14 27.60
Jesse Marsh 50 metre butterfly 15-17 26.26
Shaun Johnson 50 metre freestyle 215-17 27.37


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.

Jamaica WUG
Michael representing Jamaica at the World University Games in Taipei

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

First 100 54.83
Second 100 58.40
Third 100 59.37
Fourth 100 1:00.48
Total time 3:53.08

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 3:53.08 3:57.70

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.

gunning fly
Michael Gunning 200 metre butterfly record swim

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

First 100 58.00 59.28
Second 100 1:02.07 1:05.84
Total time 2:00.07 2:05.12
gunning profile pic
Michael Gunning

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”.

Michael Gunning funky trunks
Michael Gunning Photo courtesy of funkytrunks.com

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.

Event 2014 2010 2006
200 metre freestyle 12th 13th 7th
400 metre freestyle 18th 15th 13th
100 metre butterfly 17th 12th 12th
200 metre butterfly 12th 11th 5th

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.


Gunning on way to breaking national freestyle mark
Michael Gunning on his way to a new national record in the 200 scm freestyle


Michael Gunning pressed his case for inclusion on the 2018 Commonwealth Games team when he lowered the national records in the 200 metre butterfly and 200 metre freestyle at the British University and College Sports Short Course Swimming Championships held from November 10 to 12.

The meet held in a 25 metre pool at the Ponds Forge in Sheffield saw the University of East London student qualifying for the 200 metre freestyle with a time of 1:50.71. The final would see him finishing 4th in a new personal best time of 1:48.28.

Gunning reacts to setting new national record
Gunning reacts to his new national record


That swim, which is his best placing at the Championship, bettered the previous national record of 1:49.11 by distance king Dominic Walter. Dominic had set the previous mark at the Canadian Inter university Championships on February 26, 2016.

Analysis of national records swims by Gunning and Walters

Gunning Walter
25.40 25.80
27.09 27.46
27.85 28.06
27.94 27.79
1:48.28 1:49.11


With that championship final performance Gunning now owns the national records in the both the short course and long course (50 metre pool) .The long course record stands at 1:50.00  set at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest Hungary this past summer.


Michael would not be finished with his record breaking exploits as he lowered another Walter standard, this time in the 200 metre butterfly. He finished 11th in the event in a time of 2:05.12 (split time 59.28). His swim lowered the 2:05.55  Walter recorded on Feb 7, 2013 at the Ontario University Championships. With that swim he again achieved the national record double in both 25 metre and long course formats.

Gunning fly
Michael Gunning in his record breaking swim in April

Michael’s long course metre record stands at 1:59.83 from the British Championships held on April 19 of this year.

He also competed in the 100 metre butterfly where he placed 21st in a time of 56.61 (split time 26.48)

When draftingthecaribbean spoke the Early Childhood Studies Major today he spoke about his record swims and his quest for Commonwealth Games qualification

“I’m over the moon to break those records last weekend!!I’m still in the middle of my hardest cycle yet and to break those records whilst feeling this tired and fatigued it makes me super excited to see what’s to come. My coach and I have sat down and we are trying to compete at lots of different competitions and race in different events whilst I’m tired as it’s all to get my body use to stepping up when it matters most no matter how tired I am, so when it comes to the Commonwealth Games next year when I am fresh and rested it will come natural to me”.

Michael is seeking to be a part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Team. In 2014 Jamaica was represented by Six swimmers Three women and Three Men .That squad had Eight top 16 performances  including medals  a Silver and a Bronze won by Atkinson in the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke races. With Jamaican swimming improving since 2014 a team of the same size at least should be expected . The 2018 squad should see  Commonwealth Games record holder  Alia Atkinson in action in Melbourne . Other hopefuls for the team include

Women Men
Breanna Roman Nico Campbell
Kelsie Campbell Xavier Phillips
Sidrell Williams
Bryce Butler
Joseph Black
Keanan Dols



The 4th morning of competition at the 13th World Short Course swimming Championships saw Alia Atkinson making her way to the semi-finals and Justin Plaschka breaking yet another butterfly record.

Alia Atkinson cruised in to the semi-final stage of the 100 metre breaststroke with a 1:05.27 .That ranked her 3rd going into the next round. Alia is the defending Champion and World record holder in the event with a time of 1:02.36.

Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Teammate Justin Plaschka accounted for the 7th national record to fall at these Championships when he took down the 50 metre butterfly record for the second time .During the heats of the 100 metre butterfly he established the record of 24.29 when he turned at the 50 metre mark with that split. In the heats of the 50 metre butterfly he became the first Jamaican under 24 seconds when he stopped the clock in a time of 23.92.It is also the best placing for a Jamaican swimmer in the event bettering the 56th spot by Brad Hamilton from the 2004 World Championships in the United States.

Keanan Dols placed 2nd in heat with a time of 25.58 to place 65th overall.

The Jamaican team has set a national record each day of the competition in Windsor.


Team Jamaica From left to right Dominic Walter,Kelsie Campbell, Alia Atkinson and Justin Plaschka

The third day of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada saw Team Jamaica in good spirits. Team manager Jacky Beckford-Henriques said of the squad.

“They have gelled nicely as group .They are very supportive of each other”.

Team Jamaica From left to right Dominic Walter,Kelsie Campbell,Keanan Dols,Alia Atkinson and Justin Plaschka

That mood has been evident in the level of performance as national records have fallen each day of the competition so far.

Keanan Dols Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Keanan Dols completed the medley record double when he set a new mark in the 100 individual medley. He took out the first 50 metres in 25.99. His second 50 metres was 31.46 for a total time of 57.45. He would be ranked 49th overall.




Justin Plaschka ACC 1
Justin Plaschka

In the 50 metre backstroke Justin Plaschka set a new national record as well as becoming the best placed Jamaican man at the World championships. With a reaction time of 0.61 Plaschka went on to register a time of 25.01 to place 37th .That beat the national record of 25.98 by Timothy Wynter at the 2012 Championships in Turkey. It also beat Wynter’s placing of 42nd. Dols was 49th in a time of 26.33. Speaking after the race Justin said

“It was fun .I enjoyed it because it is not an event I swim too much”.

In the 100 metre individual medley Alia Atkinson who holds the 2nd fastest time in the world cruised through the heats to top the qualifying in a time of 58.47. She was slightly slower in the semi-finals with a time of 58.54 but qualified comfortably as the 2nd seed. The top qualifier is Hungarian World Record holder Katinka Hosszu with a time of 57.53. This Atkinson’s 2nd Championship final in the event after her 4th place finish in 2014 in a time of 58.58.

In the 50 metre freestyle Plaschka recorded the fastest time by a Jamaican when he touched in a time of 22.51.That bettered the 22.53 Sion Brinn recorded when he finished 8th at the 1995 Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Kelsie Campbell finished 44th in the 50 metre butterfly in a time of 28.27. In speaking about the race she said

“It was good. Could have been faster”.

Team Jamaica from left to right Dominic Walter,Kelsie Campbell,Keanan Dols,Alia Atkinson and Justin Plaschka

Team Jamaica has won One Silver and set Six National records after three days of competition.


Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of Jamaica Olympics


Jamaica’s team to the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships started off their campaign on a good note yesterday morning Dec 6.

National and global standard bearer Alia Atkinson cruised to the semi finals of the 50 metre breaststroke with a time of 29.48. She topped the morning qualifiers this morning with that swim .Atkinson, the reigning Silver medallist also equalled her fastest heats swim as she posted 29.48  in the heats at the 2014 Championships .Only 4 women broke the 30 seconds barrier this morning.

Keanan Dols in his World Championships debut broke two senior national records. In the 100 metre backstroke he set a new mark of 55.39 (split time 26.79) .That bettered the 2012 mark of 55.55 by Timothy Wynter set at the world championships that year. He equalled the best placing by a Jamaican of 43rd in the event. That was achieved by Wynter in 2012. The 17 year old Dols would also lower the 200 individual medley record. He bettered team mate Dominic Walter’s mark of 2:08.88. Keanan swam to a new record of 2:02.06 (split time 56.85).It was also historic in that it was the first time a Jamaican man has swum this event at these World Championships.

Dominic Walter also became the first Jamaican man to swim the 400 metre freestyle at the World Short Course Swimming Championships. He clocked a season best of 4:03.16 (split time 1:56.94) to finish 61st.

Kelsie Campbell set a new personal best in the 200 metre freestyle . She hit the wall in a time of 2:04.93 (split time 1:00.13).That placed her 47th overall. When asked about the race she said

“Not a bad start. Felt good first 150. Think I got a little nervous”.

Teammate Justin Plaschka will get his campaign underway today starting with the 100 metre butterfly.


Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn


The second day of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor saw another 2 national records falling in the morning session.

Competing in Heat 5 of the event Justin Plaschka had the 3rd   fastest reaction time of all 87 competitors . He went out in the first 50 metres in a time of 24.29. That broke the national 50 metre record set by Aidan Chow of 25.25. He completed the final 50 metres in 28.02 to win the heat in a time of 52.31.That final time broke the 100 metre butterfly record of 55.74. Justin placed 22nd overall. That was not far off the 16th place time required to make the semi finals. It is also the best performance in the event by a Jamaican man at the World Short Course Swimming Championships. The previous best placing was 62nd.

When asked about his swim Justin had the following thoughts

“I was very happy with the race and how it went because it’s my first time competing at such a big meet and also my first time swimming short course metres. I wasn’t expecting too much because I only had a short drop taper beforehand but was very pleased with the swim and the time. There were still things I could fix though to go even faster”.

Teammate Keanan Dols who was responsible for 2 senior national records placed 56th in the event with a time of 56.05 (split time 26.05). He was just outside off the previous national mark off 55.74.


Kelsie Campbell finished 59th in the 100 metre freestyle in a time of 57.18 (split time 27.40). Campbell was just outside the best performance by  a Jamaican woman in the event of 57.07 set by Angela Chuck at the 2004 edition of the Games in the US.


Dominic Walter set a season best in the 200 metre freestyle of almost 3 seconds to place 73rd in a time of 1:52.43 (split time 54.32)