2018 SWIMMING ACHIEVEMENTS JACK KIRBY NAMED JUNIOR SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR

Jack Kirby being honoured as the 2018 Junior Sportman of the year Photo courtesy of the Barbados Olympic Association

Jack Kirby of Barbados was recognized for his outstanding performances for the year 2018 by his nation’s Olympic Association on December 20 at  BOA and Flow awards ceremony at the Barbados Hilton when he was named Junior Sportsman of the Year. This is the second consecutive year he is being bestowed with this honour after being given the accolade in 2017 as well. This is the third year that a swimmer is being recognized as the top junior sportsman as Olympian Alex Sobers won the award in 2016

2016 Junior Sportsman of the year Olympian Alex Sobers .Photo courtesy of the Barbados Olympic Association

Kirby who is one of the top regional junior swimmers in the sprint freestyle events and sprint individual medley but is known primarily in regional circles as being the top swimmer in the backstroke record shows

Meet50 backPlace 100 back Place 200 backPlace
UANA26.63 CRGold56.34 CRGoldN/A
CARIFTA26.27 CRGold56.59 59 CRGold2:11.64, 205.22 NAGRGold
CAC 26.07 NR ,NAGR6th56.19 NAGR5th2:07.80heats only
Junior NationalsN/A56.756th
Start of the 15-17 50 metre backstroke final from left to right Carey Silver medallist and Jack Kirby of Barbados Gold medallist Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

In 2018 Kirby established himself as the fastest ever swimmer at UANA and CARIFTA swimming Championships in the sprint backstroke events. And in his senior international debut at the CAC Games he was the youngest swimmer in the 50 and the 100 metre backstroke Championship final. He is the best backstroker of all time in the 15-17 age group and the fastest backstroker of all time for Barbados with his 26.07 clocking in the 50 metre backstroke.

National records in 2018

National recordTime
50 metre backstroke26.07
15-17 National recordTime
50 metre backstroke26.07
100 metre backstroke56.19
200 metre backstroke2:05.22
50 metre freestyle23.46
100 metre backstroke50.97
CARIFTA recordsTime
50 metre backstroke26.27
100 metre backstroke56.59
200 metre backstroke2:05.22

At the 2018 SPEEDO Winter Junior Championships in North Carolina held in a 25 yard pool Kirby recorded a big personal best in the 100 yard backstroke heats. This as he dipped below the 48 seconds barrier for the first time in his career to record a time of 47.88. It also puts as him only the third swimmer from Baylor to break 48 seconds .

Jacky Kirby in action in the backstroke Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

Kirby represents Baylor both at school and club level in the United States. In February of last year he also captured Gold in the 100 yard backstroke by over a second in a then personal best at the Tennessee State Championships.

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Kirby and asked him for this thoughts on receiving this award and what was the high point for him in 2018

Jack Kirby UANA Gold medallist and Barbadian age group in the 100 metre backstroke

“I’m extremely very grateful to be chosen for the award because I know I was chosen amongst many Bajan athletes on the same level as me. The highlight for this year has to be (Central American and Caribbean) CAC Games in Barranquilla. I say CAC Games because my competitors were older than me and I was still able to compete with them in finals”.

University of Southern California (USC commit) Jack Kirby .Photo courtesy of swimswam

Not one to rest on his laurels the University of Southern California bound Kirby representing Baylor today Jan 10,2019 made the Championship final of the 50 metre backstroke at the 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series #1 – Knoxville

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PROMISE KEPT ,ADRIAN GRANT LOWERS 50 FREESTYLE PERSONAL BEST AT FLORIDA STATE CHAMPS,WINS FREESTYLE RELAY BRONZE MEDAL

Adrian Grant before the race
Adrian Grant Photo courtesy of Art Kozel

When  Jamaica’s Adrian Grant of the Bolles School spoke to draftingthecaribbean on Tuesday November 13 about his expectations for the 50 yard freestyle at the Florida 1A State high school Championships he said that he wanted to swim 21.6  during the morning heats to make a final and then go as fast as he could in the afternoon.  Promise made and promise kept.

Adrian Grant readies before race
Adrian Grant about to start the final Photo courtesy of Art Kozel

During the heats of the 50 yard freestyle  at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center on Friday November 16  Grant broke through the 22 seconds barrier  and lowered his personal best time of 22.05 from the Regional championships with a 21.58 performance. That enabled Grant to keep his word by making the B Final of the event. Buoyed by the good showing he was even better in the evening .Grant posted a time of 21.51 to win the B final.

Brian Forte
Brian Forte

This is a major improvement for Grant in the event as in 2017 he had placed 23rd in 22.59.His swim is the best performance by a male Jamaican swimmer in the event since Brian Forte also of the Bolles School swam 22.14 to place third in the B final in 2009.

nolefan.org
Travis Forte Photo courtesy of nolefan.org

 

It is also the fastest time by a Jamaican male swimmer since Brian’s older brother Travis swam 21.88 to place 5th in the 2005 Championship final. This is also the second consecutive B final win for Grant as he  had won the 100 yard breaststroke B final in 2017.

Bolles School
Bolles School Bronze medal winning 200 yard freestyle relay team from left to right Noah Emerson, Ansen Meyer ,Adrian Grant and Ethan Thomas

Grant would continue his good showing in the 200 yard freestyle relay. This as the Bolles team clocked 1:25.02 to take the Bronze medal. Grant would anchor the team in 21.23.

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Grant yesterday

“At States in the morning it was bit cold ,colder than Districts but I did all the necessary things I needed to do such as extra warm up and carry warm apparel to wear. I swam the race  pretty well I went 21.58.I believed my stroke rate was a bit slow.That 21.58 placed me 10th and in the B final. I warmed down after that race and focused on recovery after the swim .I came back in the finals and went as fast as I could . I worked on a fast turnover rate as possible while maintaining my efficiency and went 21.51.I would have loved to get the Futures Swimming standard of 21.49 but I am still happy with the swim.In the 200 yard freestyle relay I was the anchor leg swimmer  and I went 21.23 from a relay start . The swim itself was decent  but in the future I will need to work on my underwaters”.

The Futures Swimming Championships are designed to be a a stepping stone between  Sectionals meets and Junior Nationals, allowing those swimmers not qualifying for Junior Nationals to compete in a meet of their own.

Adrian Grant
Adrian Grant Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

Adrian was member of the 2018 CARIFTA 200 metre freestyle relay Bronze medley winning team that set a new 15-17 national record of 1:38.38 in front of a home crowd in Kingston.

RED HOT JILLIAN CROOKS OF CAMANANA BAY TO BRING HEAT AT DEAN MARTIN MEET

There will be more international talent on display at this year’s edition of the Dean Martin Memorial meet at the National Aquatic Centre (50 metre pool) in Kingston Jamaica as siblings Jillian and Jordan Crooks will be representing Camana Bay Aquatics Bay Club from the Cayman Islands. Brother Jordan is coming from a successful 2018 Youth Olympics Games campaign today draftingthecaribbean will feature sister Jillian .

As the year has gone on Jillian has put in faster and faster performances in the pool. At her most recent meet the CBAC Fall meet from the 12th to the 14th she set eight new short course metres national age group records at the  Camana Bay Sports Complex

Event Time
50 metre butterfly 29.20
50 metre freestyle 27.05
100 metre backstroke 1:06.77
100 metre butterfly 1:05.59
200 metre butterfly 2:31.33
100 metre individual medley 1:10.51
100 metre breaststroke 1:23.18
200 metre freestyle 2:14.31

The 50 metre butterfly also doubled as the senior record . The previous record of 29.24 was held by Cayman Islands standout and current Florida State University freshman Lauren Hew.

Crooks after 50 heats at CCCAN
Jillian Crooks exiting the pool after the heats of the 50 metre freestyle at CCCAN Photo courtesy of CCCAN

Jillian has seen constant improvement since her first regional outing in 2018 at the UANA swimming Cup in Coral Springs in January. One of those events is the 50 metre freestyle where her last long course meet saw her producing a new 11-12 national record of 27.25 which is faster than the meet record of 27.70 held by Jamaican standout Emily MacDonald

Meet Time Place
UANA 30.52 14th
CARIFTA 28.72 4th
CCCAN 27.46 Gold CR
TYR meet 27.25 Gold NR

In the 100 metre freestyle fans on hand at the meet may see not only a new meet record but also the fastest 11-12 girls time produced on Jamaica.This as her personal best and Cayman National record stands at 59.93 , a time that few in the region at her age have ever swum. The meet record stands to MacDonald at 1:01.66 and the Jamaica best time 1:00.06 to Bermuda’s Elan Daley when she Gold in the event at CARIFTA here in Kingston earlier this year.Crooks won the CCCAN title in 1:01.72.

thumbnail_Crooks CCCAn warmup
Jillian in the marshalling area at CCCAN Photo courtesy of CCCAN

Another meet record that looks to be on borrowed time is the 11-12 100 metre butterfly of 1:08.85 .Jillian has a personal best and national record time of 1:06.87. She recorded that when winning the CCCAN title in Aruba this summer.The Jamaica best time may also be on the cards as the Elan Daley standard from CARIFTA is 1:05.98.

The  meet record  in the 11-12 100 metre backstroke stands at 1:14.97 and Jillian boasts a best time of 1:10.45 which is also a national age group record. She will also be vying to record the fastest time record at the meet as the fastest overall female time of 1:13.72  was recorded last year by Brianna Anderson in the 13-14 age group.

Other meet standards under threat by Jillian are

Event Time Meet record
200 metre freestyle 2:16.95 2:19.16
200 metre backstroke 2:33.98 2:42.95
200 metre Individual medley 2:36.70 2:42.65

 

Crooks is not stranger to Jamaica having set four 10 and under records last year. Her improvement can be seen in the sport as her 200 metre freestyle record time last year was 2:31.43.

thumbnail_cogle and crooks cccan day 3 cccan
CCCAN 11-12 200 metre freestyle podium from left to Zoe Anthony Trindad and Tobago Silver medallist, Morgan Cogle Jamaica Gold medallist and Crooks Cayman Islands Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of CCCAN

The three days of action from October 26 to 28 should be quite interesting as Crooks will be trading strokes with Morgan Cogle of Jupiter Sea Dragons from Florida who she has shared the podium with at CCCAN and CARIFTA this year in a number of races . That duo along will a strong local contingent including Safiya Officer, the CCCAN 50 metre freestyle Bronze medallist  will ensure that the races are entertaining.

ARUBA’S ANAHI SCHREUDERS TO END AGE GROUP CAREER ON A HIGH NOTE AT 2018 YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES

The CARIFTA Region has a good history at the Summer Youth Olympic Games with the talented swimmers performing well at the competition. One of those gifted athletes who will be displaying their skills in Buenos Aires Argentina is  Aruban rising star Anahi Schreuders

Anahi will be capping a very successful final year as a junior swimmer when she competes in the sprint breaststroke events. She will dive into the water in the 50 metre event on Sunday October 7 and the 100 metre race on Tuesday October 9.

She has been having a successful campaign in these events at the major Championships for the calendar year. At the CARIFTA championships in Kingston Jamaica in the 15-17 age group she set  a personal best of 1:15.82 to take the Bronze in the 100 and was just off her personal standard in the 50 to take the Silver in 33.82.

anahi at CCCAN
Anahi posing with 50 metre breaststroke Silver at the CCCAN Championships Photo courtesy of C.C.C.A.N

In her quest for excellence and competing in front of her home crowd in Aruba at the CCCAN Championships she would be even faster.She would retain her Silver medal in the 15-17 breaststroke but with a new personal best of 33.43 compared to the 34.02 recorded in Trinidad and Tobago a year earlier.

Anahi during the heats of the 100 metre breaststroke
Anahi concentrating before the heats of the 100 metre breaststroke at the CAC Games Photo courtesy of Comite Olimpico Arubano

There would be more personal bests in store as well as Aruban records. Making her senior national debut at the Central American and Caribbean records in Barranquilla Colombia.She would make her first Championship final when she became the first swimmer from Aruba under 33 seconds with a time of 32.98. She would place sixth in the final in the second fastest of her career of 33.33.

There would be another senior national record in the 100 metre breaststroke as she lowered her personal best in the morning heats to 1:14.02 to make the B Final. In that race she showed great speed endurance to have the fastest closing 50 metres of 38.50 to take the win 1:13.24. That equalled the 2009 record set by Ashley Groters at the Rome World Championships.

Anahi and Coach
Coach Ismael Santisesteban Espinsona and Anahi

Schreuders indicated to draftingthecaribbean that training heading into the Games has been going well .With that in mind one can expect more good performances from Anahi.

daniella-van-den-berg
Daniella Van Den Berg Photo courtesy of seminoles.com

Past representatives for Aruba at the Summer Youth Olympics were Jonathan Ponson and Saskia Postma in 2010 in Singapore and Jordy Groters and Daniella van den Berg in 2014 in China.

CARIFTA BREASTSTROKE CHAMPIONS LILLY HIGGS AND IZAAK BASTIAN NAVIGATE MAKE FIRST SENIOR LEVEL CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS

The Bahamian duo of CARIFTA Champions Lilly Higgs and Izaak Bastian made the championship finals at the 2018 CAC (Central American and Caribbean) Games in Barranquilla Colombia on July 20 and 21st respectively.

final preparations for free final Izaak
Bastian makes last minute preparations for his race at CARIFTA 2018. Photo courtesy of Rochelle Bastian

This competition marks their second opportunity participating at a senior level meet, the first time was earlier this year at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. With more rest between competitions both swimmers who hold the fastest time ever in this event at the CARIFTA level were able to make the Championship final in the 100 metre breaststroke events. Lilly placed fifth in a time of 1:11.32 just ahead of countrywoman Laura Morley who stopped the clock in 1:12.34. In 2014 there was also a Bahamian as Lilly’s older sister Albury had placed fourth in 1:14.06.

Higgs sisters CAC 2018
CAC 100 metre breaststroke championship finalists in 2018 and 2014 Lilly and Albury Higgs Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

 

 

Bastian lowered his best time twice .In the heats he had a time of 1:02.99 (split time 29.49)  and in the final he placed seventh 1:02.91( split time 28.96). His split is significant as he won the 50 metre breaststroke at CARIFTA in Kingston Jamaica earlier this year in 28.69.

Izaak and Lilly Shelly Bas productions
Izaak Bastian and Lilly Higgs after their historic 2017Commonwealth Youth Games  Silver medal winning performances Photo courtesy of Shelly Bastian

 

The presence of three Bahamians in Championship finals at this competition also speaks to the proficiency of that nation in this stroke.

Draftingthecaribbean contacted Lilly and asked about her first senior level Championship final and she gave us her thoughts about her first day of competition

“Overall, my races today went pretty well. This morning I swam the backstroke leg on the mixed 4×100 medley relay and later swam 100 breaststroke and qualified for the A final. My prelims swim wasn’t what I wanted, but I was still able to get another swim and am very happy with my finals swim!”

 

KAEL YORKE SET TO MAKE SENIOR INTERNATIONAL DEBUT FOR TEAM TTO AT CAC GAMES TODAY

Kael Yorke Gold medallist
Kael Yorke

Kael Yorke of Trinidad and Tobago has had an outstanding junior swimming career for Team Trinidad and Tobago and this 2018 season was no exception. He completed the regional Golden Double (CARIFTA and CCCAN) titles in the 100 metre butterfly.He was also amongst the medals in both competitions in both competitions.  He also came very close to establishing new records at both meets in his preferred stroke.

Event Meet Time Placing Championship Record
50 metre butterfly CARIFTA 25.45 heats 25.09 Silver 25.06
50 metre butterfly CCCAN 25.17 heats 24.99 Gold 24.97
100 metre butterfly CARIFTA 55.57 Gold 54.85
100 metre butterfly CCCAN 55.28 Gold 55.25
200 metre butterfly CARIFTA 2:05.88 Gold 2:05.83
200 metre butterfly CCCAN 2:08.27 heats 2:08.12 Bronze 2:01.58

 

Today awaits a new challenge , a senior international debut at the Central American and Caribbean Games.

Kael Yorke H wilson
Kael Yorke checks his times after his race at CARIFTA Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

It will be a challenge that he will have to learn to face as he transitions from the junior level to senior waters where the competition will be much closer from the morning heats to the final where mistakes will be capitalized upon by his competitiors

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to young Yorke at the CCCAN Championships about this season and the competitions he had for the rest of the season

“The CCCAN Meet has been progressing nicely for a meet that I am not tapered for. I am satisfied with the times that I am swimming. I actually swam a best time in the 50 m butterfly, going under the 25 second barrier (24.99). That says a lot about my training.

15-17 200 metre butterfly medallists
CCCAN 200 metre butterfly medallists from left to right Silver medallist Fernando Ponce Guatemala, Gold Medallist Juan Camilo Ocampo Urbano Colombia, joint Bronze medallists Yorke and Carlos Vazquez Honduras Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

My favorite event, the 200 butterfly, was a bit off here (2:08.12 in preliminaries, 2:08.27 in finals which won a bronze medal). Hopefully I will be able to go faster when tapered.
After CCCAN I have two more championship meets this year, CAC and Youth Olympic Games.  CAC will be an opportunity to test myself against senior level swimmers. This is the meet that I am tapering for. When it is over I will have a better idea how I rank against world-class times. This will give my coaches at the University of Indianapolis, where I am enrolling in the fall, a better feel for how to prepare me for the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina (October 6-18, 2018) and the 2020 Olympics where I hope to compete”.

Renzo Tjon A Joe seeks regional sprint hat trick at CAC Games after 50 metre freestyle wins at South American Games and CCCAN

Suriname’s Olympian Renzo Tjon A Joe will be looking for a regional tri fecta in the 50 metre. So far this season he claimed the FASTEST SWIMMER title at the 2018 South American Games in Bolivia and the CCCAN Championships in Aruba and will be seeking to do the same in Colombia. At the Rio Olympics he was the CAC region’s top sprinter placing 21st

Renzo South american
Renzo celebrating South American Games Gold in the 50 metre freestyle Photo courtesy of therenzotjonajoeofficial fan page

He started his hot streak at the G.A.M.C. Aquatics Center at Mariscal Santa Cruz Park in Cochabamba in May when he  topped the sprinters in a time of 22.65. Winning the Silver was Venezuela’s Cristian Quintero who touched in 22.71 and Brazilian André Calvelo took the Bronze in 22.80.

Renzo CCCAN
18 and over 50 freestyle medallists Greene, Tjon A Joe and Reyes Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

He would strike more Gold at the CCCAN championships at Pisina Olimpico Roly Bisslik in  early July when he was the only sub 23 seconds swimmer as he clocked 22.88  after being 22.86 in the heats. Silver went to Gershwin Greene of The Bahamas in 23.52 and the Bronze was won by Franco Reyes of Panama in 23.65.

He will now set about the challenge of taking his first CAC Games title after winning Silver in Veracruz Mexico in 22.62.Winning on that occasion was legendary regional swimmer Olympic medallist George Bovell III of Trinidad and Tobago who won his third consecutive title. Defending the throne this time for the twin island republic will be Olympian Dylan Carter and Joshua Romany. He would be familiar with the duo swimming against them in the junior ranks at CARIFTA.

Renzo CARIFTA 2013
Renzo Tjon A Joe reacts to winning Gold in the 15-17 metre freestyle in 2013 Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

They also finished in the order Renzo 23.44, Dylan 23.46 and Joshua 24.27 in  2013 in Kingston Jamaica when he set then fastest time for CARIFTA  23.37 in the heats before taking Gold.

Izaak celebrates
Bastian celebrates Record swim Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

The swimmer that that took that record from him Izaak Bastian at CARIFTA 2018 also in Jamaica with a time of 23.25 will also be in the 50 metre freestyle lineup trying to deny him the triple.

In 2014 at the South American Games in Chile he finished with the Bronze with 22.88 and this year he upgraded it to Gold. After winning the Silver in  Veracruz Mexico will we see Renzo mining Colombian Gold? Will he also be able to break his own national record which is the same time as the 2010 Games record held by Bovell at 22.23 ?