The 2nd day of the 13th World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada saw Alex Sobers of Barbados just missing the senior national and 15-17 record in the 200 metre freestyle.
Swimming in the heats of the event on Dec 7 Sobers stopped the clock in a time of 1:49.69 (split time 53.27) . That performance put him just outside of the 2001 record of 1:48.98 by Damian Alleyne. However it was the best time by a Barbadian male swimmer at the World championships since 2000. The previous best time was by national record holder Damian Alleyne who clocked 1:51.38 at the 2002 Moscow Championships. Speaking after the swim Alex said
“ I felt really good entering the 200 free knowing that I was really close to the national record .I was a little disappointed after the race because I didn’t break the record but I was still pleased that I won my heat and did a best time”.
Teammates Lani Cabrera and McKayla Treasure competed in the heats of the 100 metre freestyle. They had times of 1:00.69 (split time 29.20) and 1:01.12 (split time 29.34).
On Day one of the 13th edition of the World Short Course Swimming Championships the Barbados contingent of Chris Courtis, Alex Sobers, Lani Cabrera ,McKayla Treasure and Danielle Titus . It would be Courtis and Titus who would set new national marks in Windsor Canada.
Chris Courtis, who is based at the University of Calgary, had made history for his country by becoming the first swimmer to go under 55 seconds in the 100 metre backstroke when he clocked 54.31 at the CIS (Canadian College Championships) in February of this year. 2016 is proving to be his breakout year as he raised the bar for Barbados by lowering his national record and becoming the first swimmer under 54 seconds posting a time of 53.94. The progress can be made see in the comparisons in the splits from Feb to now in Dec where he was more aggressive in the first 50 metres
When asked about the race he said
“Coming into Short Course Worlds, my goal was to be faster than the times I posted at Canada West Championships a week ago. Going a personal best time is always a great achievement and I was beyond thrilled. The fact that it was also a new National Record is huge a bonus”.
Teammate Danielle Titus was responsible for the other national record to fall in the morning heats.She lowered the 13-14 national record in the 100 metre backstroke. The old standard of 1:06.46 belonged to Amara Gibbs from Dec 2010. Titus lowed that considerably when she touched the wall in a time of 1:04.82 (split time 31.14 ). That performance is not far off the senior national record of 1:04.58 set by Lee- Ann Rose in Dec 2012. Speaking after the race Titus said
“ I came into meet just looking for personal best and in my 100 back I did just that. I did not achieve the time I was looking for but I was satisfied with my swim. Knowing that I broke a record makes me feel better about my swim”.
Also in action on Day one was Alex Sobers in the 400 metre freestyle . He clocked a time of 3:58.13 (split time 1:55.81) to finish 54th overall.That is the best time done by swimmer from Barbados at the World Championships. Sobers beat his 2014 time of 4:08.54 and the previous best Barbados time of 4:00.36 by Damian Alleyne in 2002.
In the 200 metre freestyle Lani Cabrera and McKayla Treasure finished 58th and 67th respectively with times of2:08.44 (split time 1:01.73) and 2:12.32 (split time 1:03.96).
The second day of swimming action saw Mehdy Metella who comes from Cayenne, French Guiana earning the first medal of the Rio Olympics Games for a swimmer from the CARIFTA region. Mehdy won Silver as a member of the French 400 freestyle relay team. In the morning heats he had the 9th fastest leg with a time of 47.75 (split 22.79). In the final the 6 ft 3 in swimmer started the relay and showed great closing speed as he moved from 6th at the 50 metre mark with a time of 23.23 to give the French the early advantage with a time of 48.08.Their total time for the Silver medal was 3:10.14.
Coralie Balmy who hails from La Trinité Martinique cemented her place as the best 400 metre freestyle swimmer from the region when she qualified for her 3rd consecutive Olympic final. In the heats of the event the French swim team captain registered the best time of her Olympic career when she hit the touched the timing pad in 4:03.40. That is the best performance by a swimmer from the CARIFTA region . Her splits were 2:00.10 and 2:03.30.She beat her CARIFTA region best of 4:03.60 set at the 2008 Beijing Games when she placed 4th. In the final she finished 8th in a time 4:06.98 split time 2:01.85. She is tied with Janelle Atkinson for the best placing in the region in this event. Atkinson finished 4th at the 2000 Sydney Games.
In the heats of the 100 metre breaststroke Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson who qualified for her 4th Olympics following on Games in London 2012, Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004 bettered the best Olympic performance by a Jamaican ,either male or female in the heats when she registered 1:06.72. That bettered the 1:06.79 she swam to make the 2012 final. She would be even faster in the semi-final when touched the final wall in a time of 1:06.52.
Joanna Evans of the Bahamas has established herself as the fastest English speaking Caribbean swimmer in the 400 metre freestyle of all time when she swam 4:07.60.That crushed her old national mark of 4:12.14 and placed her 13th overall. The previous best was 4:08.79 done by the Jamaica’s Janelle Atkinson at the Sydney 2000 Games.
Lani Cabrera became the second female Olympian for Barbados when she swam the heats of the 400 metre freestyle. She is also the only female swimmer to swim the event at the Games. Lani placed 30th with a time of 4:28.95
The Cayman Islands Lara Butler became the second female swimmer to compete at the Olympics Games when she contested the 100 metre backstroke. She set a new national record in the event with a time of 1:04.98. With her brother Geoffrey contesting the 400 metre freestyle the day before made it the 3rd consecutive Games the Cayman Islands have sent siblings to swim following on the Fraser brothers Shaune and Brett representing in 2008 and 2012.
The Us Virgin Islands Caylee Watson became the fastest woman in Olympic history for her country in the 100 metre backstroke when she clocked 1:07.19 for 30th overall. It also made her the highest placed female swimmer in the event. The best placing and time previously was Tricia Duncan who swam 1:10.37 for 34th at the 1998 Seoul Games.
In the men’s 200 metre freestyle Antigua and Barbuda’s Noah Mascoll-Gomes set a national record with his time of 1:53.16 to place 44th.He is the first person to compete at the Games in an event other than the 50 metre freestyle.
Aruba’s Mikel Schreuders became the first swimmer from his country to race the 200 metre freestyle at the Olympics when he finished 45th in 1:55.10.
Suriname’s Evita Leter became the 4th woman to compete at the Games when she raced in the 100 metre breaststroke. She is the first woman to swim the event and finished 37th with a time of 1:14.96.
Izzy Joachim of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines became the first swimmer to contest a race other than the 50 metre freestyle when she placed 39th in the 100 metre breaststroke with a time of 1:17.37.
The lone regional competitor in the men’s 100 metre backstroke Timothy Wynter became the fastest swimmer at the Games for Jamaica. His time of 57.20 which placed him 34th bettered the 1:00.04 Allan-Roy Marsh registered in 1984 at the LA Games.
The ladies of the CARIFTA region have been pushing themselves to better standards in swimming and hence faster national records for their respective island nations. Daniella Van Den Berg of Aruba, Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and Lani Cabrera of Barbados have been the leading lights for their nations in their respective disciplines.
At the Orlando Grand Prix held between March 3 to 5 Aruba’s distance standout Danielle Van Den Berg broke a national record on each day of competition. On day one she lowered her personal best and national record of 2:08.07 to 2:07.22. She had set the old record in 2014 at the Florida Gold Coast Senior championships. Day 2 saw her 400 metre freestyle national record lowered. Her performance of 4:24.79 done at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan Russia would be topped by her performance in Florida. Daniella would stop the clock in 4:24.20. She would not leave Orlando without taking out yet another of her national records. This time it would be the 800 metre freestyle record. She would stroke her way under the 9 minute mark again. This time she bettered her 2014 Youth Olympics time from the Nanjing China Games. The old mark was 8:59.38 but now stands at 8:58.09. Her performances are a testimony to the adage “hard work pays off”. She is currently training with Azura Aquatics in Florida where she has 10 pool sessions per week. Added to that heavy she also has 2 gym sessions and 2 dryland sessions.
Alia Atkinson continues to build on her great swimming legacy with her performance at the Southern Zone Sectionals in Plantation Florida. Swimming 10 events which ran from March 10 to 13 Alia won 5 Gold ,1 Silver and 1 Bronze medal. But it was not her speciality breaststroke events that the Jamaican national record fell but in the 100 metre backstroke. She lowered the record of 1:05.49 set by outgoing Dartmouth senior Kendese Nangle. Nangle had set the mark at the 2011 CCCAN championships in Puerto Rico. Atkinson would get close in the heats with 1:05.72 with a split time of 32.12. In the B final she went out in 31.56 and returned in 32.58 to become the first Jamaican under 1:05 with a 1:04.04 clocking. That performance also made her the holder of all the 100 metre records for Jamaica in an Olympic sized 50 metre pool. The other records are 100 metre butterfly 1:00.61 set Sectionals in 2015, 100 metre breaststroke 1:05.93 and the 100 metre freestyle at 56.06.
Lani Cabrera has represented Barbados with distinction in the mid to long distance freestyle events and her performance at Sectionals would be another testament to her effort. Swimming only the 200 metre freestyle she lowered her season best of 2:09.56 in the heats. She went out in 1:02.85 and stopped the clock in a new season best of 2:09.50.In the B final she would blast the first 100 metres in 1:01.29. Lani would stroke the last 100 metres in 1:04.33.Cabrera crushed her season best as well as her old national record of 2:06.38 to set a new Barbados record of 2:05.62.With that record swim Lani continues to be the top performer for her country as she holds the national records in the 200, 400, 800 and 1500 metre freestyle events.
The second day of the CCSA championships saw outgoing Florida Gulf Coast University senior Barbadian Lani Cabrera as the CARIFTA region’s top performer. The swimmer who hails from Bridgetown set her second Championship record in as many days.
Lani won her second consecutive Conference title in the 500 yard freestyle .She took the title in 4:47.53 breaking the old meet record of 4:48.11 by Eagles swimmer Leah Daniels in 2011.It was also under the NCAA Division 1 B standard time of 4:47.79. This title goes along with her 2015 title which she won in 4:51.50.
Surinamese teammate Evita Leter made the championship final of the 50 yard freestyle with a season best 23.85 clocking. She would lower that in the final clocking 23.45 for 8th overall.
Another Eagle Samantha Rahael of Trinidad and Tobago swam as an exhibition swimmer in the 200 yard individual medley .Rahael stopped the clock in 2:03.87 just off her career best of 2:03.75.
Her fellow Eagle and countrywoman Kristin Julien was also an exhibition swimmer in the 50 yard freestyle. She recorded her 2nd best time of the season of 23.72. Jamaican Danielle Boothe who represents Liberty University also swimming as an exhibition swimmer bettered her lifetime best of 24.62 with a 23.85 showing in the 50 yard freestyle.
In the 200 yard freestyle relay Julien’s B team had a total time of 1:34.55 .Kristin aided the team performance with 23.37 anchor leg.
In the men’s competition Howard’s Jamaican freshman recorded a lifetime best in the 500 yard freestyle. He hit the pads in 4:52.40 .That performance bettered his previous personal best of 4:54.88. Bahamian team mate Farion cooper was disqualified in the 200 yard individual medley. In the 200 yard freestyle relay his Bison A team finished 6th in a time of 1:31.40.Haughton anchored the team with a 21.98 clocking.
Day one of the CCSA (Coastal Collegiate Sports Association) got underway yesterday February 17 in Athens Georgia at the University of Georgia’s Gabrielsen Natatorium. The CARIFTA region was again represented at this Conference Championships. The outstanding performer on the opening day was Florida Gulf Coast senior Barbadian Lani Cabrera. She along with team mates Elise Haan 1:47.67, Linda Shaw 1:48.67, Barbara Caraballo1:48.48 combined to win the 800 yard freestyle relay Gold medal .Cabrera swam the anchor in a time of 1:49.01.The total time for the team was 7:13.83. That performance broke the Eagles school record of 7:16.90 that the team (which included Cabrera) had set when they won the conference title last year. It also broke the conference record set by Davidson at the 2014 Championships. The margin of victory by the Eagles was more than 6 seconds.
In the men’s competition the Howard team with Bahamian Farion Cooper and Jamaican Nicholas Haughton moved to 4th all-time in Bison history when they finished 7th in 7:09.35. That team of Jared Miller 1:42.83, Cooper 1:49.95, Jonathan Hill 1:49.90 and Haughton anchor 1:46.77 lowered their season best time by more than 10 seconds. Haughton also improved on his season best relay time of 1:49.26.
In exhibition swims the Eagles 200 yard medley relay B team finished with a time of 1:39.96. Swimming the breaststroke leg was Suriname’s Evita Leter who clocked 27.66. Her Trinidad and Tobago Kristin Julien anchored the C team to a total time of 1:43.79 with her freestyle leg of 22.93.
In the men’s relay the Bison B team with Farion Cooper doing the backstroke 25.50 helped the B team to a time of 1:43.50.
On January 3 in Fort Myers Florida, Barbados distance star Lani Cabrera along with her CARIFTA region team mates Suriname’s Evita Leter and the Trinidad and Tobago duo Kristin Julien and Samantha Rahael won their first meet of 2016 beating Rice 134 to 71 .The result also means the Eagles are undefeated in dual meet action this season.
Cabrera won the first individual event, the 1000 yard freestyle in a time of 10:13.23.That performance marked her 5th straight victory in the event. The former St Ursala’s Secondary student was also part of the victorious Eagles 200 yard freestyle relay team .The A team won in a time of 1:36.57 with Cabrera handling the first leg duties with a split of 24.96. She earned another podium spot when she was 3rd in the 500 yard freestyle in a time of 5:04.67.
Speedster Julien helped the Eagles to their first win of 2016 when she anchored the A team to victory in the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:45.01.Kristin’s anchor leg was timed at 24.55. She went first on the B team in the 200 yard freestyle relay. Her split was 24.97. In the individual 50 yard freestyle she was 5th in 25.00.
Leter of Suriname had the fastest breaststroke split of the swimmers in the 200 yard medley relay. Evita swam 28.56 to help the Eagles B team to 3rd place in a total time of 1:46.99. In the 200 yard freestyle her 2nd leg split was timed at 25.70.Her C team finished 4th in 1:41.35. In the 100 yard breaststroke the former Doral Academy student was 5th overall in 1:05.85.
Rahael was 7th in the 200 yard individual medley in a time of 2:13.10.She was an exhibition swimmer in the 100 yard breaststroke. She stopped the clock in a time of 1:10.77.