Albury Higgs continued her record breaking run from the 2018 REV National Swimming championships with another record breaststroke swim at the 2018 Bulldog Grand Slam in Athens Georgia.
Competing in the 100 metre breaststroke at the Garbielsen Natatorium on July 6 Albury qualified for the B final with a time of 1:12.12 (split time of 33.42). In the final later that afternoon she used a different approach to the one she employed in record breaking swim in Nassau. She attacked the race from the start with a split of 33.31. That gave her an early advantage of more than a half a second.She would not be caught and split 37.46 on the second 50 metres to win the race in 1:10.77.
COMPARISON OF RECORD SWIMS
100 metre breaststroke
2018 REV National
2018 Bulldog GrandSlam
First 50 metres
Second 50 metres
Albury who lowered the national standards in the 200 and 100 metre breaststroke last month has now bettered the automatic qualifying standards for the 2019 PAN AM Games of 1:11.11.She is also another step closer to going under the mythical 1:10 barrier . Also of note that time would have won the Gold medal at the 2014 CAC (Central American and Caribbean ) Games where she had placed fourth.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Albury she gave us her impression of the race and spoke about her tactics
“I was trying to take out the first 50 faster than I had previously this summer. It went well considering I didn’t rest for this meet, so I am hoping that rest will help me bring the last 50 home a little better. Excited for CAC and to represent the Bahamas one more time this summer!”
Team Bahamas will also be represented at the 2018 CAC Games from July 20 to 25 in Barranquilla, Colombia by Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016),Lilly Higgs,Laura Morley, Izaak Bastian, Kohen Kerr and N’Nhyn Fernander
Albury Higgs marked a decade of being unbeaten at the Bahamian national championships with a senior national record breaking swim in the 100 metre breaststroke.
Entering the 2018 REV National Swimming Championships it was expected to be a great race between the teammates of the former teammates at Swift Swimming Albury , her sister Lilly and Laura Morley now representing Makos.
All three young ladies will be competing in the NCAA Division I this September as Lilly will be an incoming freshman at the University of North Carolina. Older sister Albury attends the University of South Carolina and Laura ,Indiana University. The trio also formed integral components of the CARIFTA 15-17 100 metre breaststroke fortress as The Bahamas has not lost that race at the annual regional Championships since 2014.
Going into the Championship final on June 19 Lilly held the national record with her swim at the 2017 World Junior Swimming Championships with a time of 1:11.18 (split time 33.89).Laura’s personal best stood at 1:11.46 (split time 33.92) from the 2017 Arena Pro Swim Series – Indianapolis. Albury had a best of 1:12.06 (split time 34.01) from the 2017 Charlotte UltraSwim.All three at one point in their career held the national standard.
NATIONAL RECORD PROGRESSION
When the gun sounded it was Lilly and Laura who attacked the race with splits of 33.66 and 34.84 respectively with Albury seemingly out the picture with a first 50 metres of 36.65. It was at the turn that Albury brought the fire to the race. She uncorked a split of 34.52 to take charge of the race and take her tenth consecutive Gold medal in a new national record of 1:11.17.
Sister Lilly touched 1:12.95 for Silver and Morley 1:13.07 for the Bronze.
DECADE OF GOLD MEDALS
15 and over
15 and over
15 and over
15 and over
That time would have won the Bronze medal at the 2014 CAC Games. Albury would had actually competed in that Championship final in Mexico was fifth in 1:14.06 which shows the progress she has made in the last four years. She also falls just short of the automatic qualifying standard 0F 1:11.11for the 2019 PAN AM Games to be held in Lima Peru. She is also closing in on the 2018 Hangzhou China World Short Course Swimming Championships and 2019 Gwangju Korea World Championships B standard of 1:09.79. That swim also saw her doing the breaststroke national record double as she also set the 200 metre breaststroke standard earlier in the competition.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Higgs she spoke about her race strategy
“I was pleasantly surprised when I went a personal best and broke the national record in the 100 breast. I knew I couldn’t swim all out on the first 50, so I swam my race plan and it went well!”.
Days 2 and 3 of the 2018 REV National Swimming Championships at the Betty Kelly-Kenning Aquatic Centre saw Olympian Joanna Evans (Rio 2016) setting a new national record in the 200 individual medley and winning her fifth straight 200 metre freestyle senior title all in 2019 PAN AM Games automatic qualifying times.
The 200 metre individual medley contested on Monday saw Joanna Evans unattached taking out the race faster than her former teammates at the now defunct Swift Swimming Club sister Albury and Lilly Higgs unattached and Laura Morley Makos. Her former clubmates are national record holders in the breaststroke and would make the challenge on their favoured stroke in the medley. With a split of 1:05.98 at the half way mark and her country women splitting 1:09’s the expected push came . This as they out split her on that section of the race as their splits were Albury 38.69,Laura 39.33 and Lilly 39.78.Joanna was timed at 40.55. But they would not overcome her early advantage as she won the race in a new personal best and national record time of 2:18.10.
That bettered the 2011 Championship record of 2:20.11 by McKayla Lightbourn, a standout for Florida State University . It was also faster than Lightbourn’s national record of 2:19.72 set March 12,2011.Joanna’s Gold medal swim was also faster than the PAN AM A time of 2:19.99 and Evans’ old PB of 2:20.71 when she won the crown in 2017 .
Personal bests were recorded by the Silver and Bronze medallists Albury Higgs and Morley with times of 2:21.50 and 2:21.72 . Lilly Higgs finished fourth in a time of 2:24.15. That trio were well under the PAN AM B time of 2:28.92.
The 200 metre freestyle saw the University of Texas standout winning her fifth consecutive senior crown .She just missed her Championship meet record of 2:01.62 set at the 2016 edition of the national championships. She would however be well under the PAN Am A qualifying mark of 2:03.55.
At the CAC 2014 Games in Mexico Evans placed seventh in the 200 metre freestyle in 2:04.07. Her national record in the event currently stands at 1:59.19 which is faster than the current Games record of 2:00.19 by Costa Rican Olympian Claudia Poll (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004).
Silver went to Laura Morley who stopped the clock in 2:09.45 .The Bronze was won by Lilly in 2:09.49. Both swimmers were under the PAN AM B time of 2:10.96.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Evans yesterday she gave her thoughts about training heading into the Championships
“Basically I took a break after the Commonwealth Games and I have been trying to get back to where I want to be.I did not rest coming into the Championships so I am happy with swims. It is a nice prep for the CAC Games in a few weeks’ time”.
The quality in Bahamian swimming was on display in the women’s 15 and over 200 metre breaststroke on Day One of the 2018 REV National Swimming Championships on Saturday June 16.This as Albury Higgs won Gold in a new national record time and former record holder Laura Morley won Silver , both ladies were faster than the PAN Games A standard time.
Higgs got her hand to the wall first in a time of 2:32.30 (split time 1:13.31) . Laura representing Makos was second in 2:33.92 (split time 1:14.56) and the Bronze to Katherine Slatter of Barracudas in a personal best time of 2:53.89. The PAN AM A time stands at 2:34.43.The top two swimmers also are in striking distance of the 2019 World Championship B standard in the event of 2:31.01 and the initial Olympic qualifying B standard of event of 2:29.89. Earlier in the morning session her cousin Miller Albury became the first Bahamian under the 27 seconds barrier in the 50 metre backstroke.
Albury spoke to draftingthecaribean about her recordbreaking feat yesterday and said
“I am very pleased with my swim and national record in the 200 breaststroke! I have been training at school in South Carolina this summer and I didn’t really rest for this meet. so I was not sure how my swims would go, but I am happy with the results so far!”.
Higgs and Morley, who both compete for NCAA Division I Universities University of South Carolina and Indiana University respectively have been at the helm of raising the standards in the event over the last few years
200 metre breaststroke National Record Progression
Laura Morley of The Bahamas showed her readiness for her National Championships and a possible CAC Games berth with a near record swim in the 200 metres breaststroke event over the weekend.
At the TYR Pro Swim Series meet held in Indianapolis she clocked 2:34.59 (split time 1:15.51) to earn herself a second swim in the event held on Thursday May 17. That performance earned Laura a lane in the B Final . In that she race she rattled her national record of 2:32.98 when she stopped the clock in a sixth place time of 2:33.50.She had set the Bahamian senior national record at the 2017 edition of the meet on March 2.
COMPARISON OF TIMES
When draftingthecaribbeancontacted her she spoke about training leading up to the meet , the race itself and plas for the rest of the season
“Before competition, training has been pretty hard. I didn’t get any rest for this meet so I was really pleased with my 200 breaststroke this weekend considering the circumstances.After my morning swim of the 200, I knew that I had a good chance to set up a good swim in finals. It was still a little choppy but a really good first swim of the long course season. Overall I am really pleased with the swim.Now that my first long course meet is in the books, my plan is to get right back into hard training for the rest of the summer. I will be going home for Nationals (2018 RBC National Championships to be held from June 16-19) in about a month and then hopefully I will get selected for the CAC Games in Columbia (July 19 to August 2).Looking forward to the rest of the long course season.
Morley has won the Bahamas senior national title in the 200 metre breaststroke three of the last four years with wins in 2017, 2016 and 2014.
She placed fifth in Indianapolis in the D final of the 100 metre breaststroke in a time of 1:14.26 (split time 35.47).
Since 2014 no other nation other than The Bahamas has won a breaststroke event in the 15-17 girls age group. Thanks to sweeps by Laura Morley in 2014, Albury Higgs in 2015 and the joint efforts of the Higgs sisters Albury and Lilly in the years 2016 and 2017 all other nations have been kept out.
With Laura and Albury now navigating in senior water the defence of the Bahamian streak is left to Lilly and teammate Victoria Russell.
Russell who made her first international final at last summer’s Commonwealth Youth Games will be looking to make her mark at her final year at CARIFTA. She is ranked second in the 50 and 100 metre events and fourth in the 200.
Lilly who has committed to swim for the University of North Carolina this September will be looking to lower the Championship record in all three races. Higgs who has is undefeated at these Championships will be looking to lower her records in the 50 and 100 as well as her sister’s in the 200.
Higgs and Russell will be looking to turn back the expected challenges of Aruba’s Anahi Schreuders, Curacao’s Chade Nercisio and Jamaica’s Bryanna Renuart along with other outstanding swimmers from around the region. After competing in Kingston, Higgs will jet off to make her senior international debut at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in GoldCoast Australia. Currently she is the only Bahamian swimmer to medal at the Commonwealth Games when she copped the Silver medal at the Youth Games at home in 2017.
After swimming to lifetime bests in the yards pool at the BIG TEN Championships Bahamian standout Laura Morley converted her impressive short improvement to the long course pool by setting 2 new national records. Morley moved the performance bar up for her nation by taking down the national records in the 100 and 200 metre breaststroke at the ARENA Pro Swim Series meet held at the Indiana University Natatorium from March 2 -5.The new Bahamian records stand at 1:11.46 and 2:32.98 respectively.
Morley set the previous marks of 1:11.83 (April 2) in the 100 metres and 2:35.03 (March 31) in the 200 metres and at 2016 Speedo Sectional Championship at SPIRE Institute.
Laura actually bettered her 200 metre breaststroke records twice clocking 2:34.00 (split time1:13.51) to qualify for the B final. She would crush that time in the final. She showed the strength of her conditioning as she moved from 8th at the 100 with a time of 1:13.53 to record a sub 1:20 split of 1:18.32 to finish 5th in 2:32.98. Her previous record splits before this meet were 1:14.72 and 1:20.31.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to the Nassau native on March 8 she offered these thoughts on her expectations heading in to the meet and described the heats and final of the 200 metre breaststroke
“ I headed into this meet hoping to go best times. On Thursday morning I swam the 200 breaststroke prelims and my coach told me to go out and have fun while swimming. I had no expectations going into this meet and was looking forward to competing against other International swimmers that had come to the Arena Pro Series. After touching the wall I was pleased with my time as I had dropped a whole second from my best time. However, for finals my coach and I really wanted to focus on my back half speed and see how fast I could go in finals. My B final at night had a lot of great competition and gave me a great opportunity to race really talented breaststrokers. Ultimately I went out in the same speed as the morning but really focused on my last two 50’s. When I touched that wall I was thrilled and so surprised, I had no idea that a 2:32 was in my reach!”
In the 100 metre breaststroke, Laura, who represented The Bahamas at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games lowered her national record in the morning preliminaries. She swam 1:11.46 (split time 33.92) to yet again make another B final. In the evening’s B final she was again faster than her 2016 best when she placed 3rd in a time of 1:11.80 (split time 34.15).
Morley spoke about her 100 metre breaststroke and her performances overall
“For my 100 breaststroke on Saturday morning I also had no expectations because I swim more efficiently without putting pressure on myself. I ended up dropping a few tenths in the morning and qualified for the B final. I was very thrilled with my morning swim but unfortunately added a few tenths during my finals swim. However, my coaches and I were very pleased with my personal best times and performance at the meet”.
When asked how this meet sets her up for faster times for summer she said
“The Arena Pro Swim Series was a good indicator of where my fitness and training level are. I am looking forward to getting back into hard training so that I can completely gear up for the long course season. I do not have a set schedule yet for the summer for which meets I will be attending but my ultimate goal will be to qualify for Worlds”.
The 2016 national Champion in the 200 metre breaststroke was also asked if her coaches would have the World Championships B standards of 1:09.95 and 2:31.02 in mind when conditioning her for the rest of the season
“It would be such an honour to compete at the World Championships and it is a big goal for me this summer. However, my coaches and I try not to put pressure on specific time standards but strive for best times whenever I am rested for a meet. I think 2:31 and 1:09 are great goals for me moving forward with my training!”
She also gave an insight as to what her schedule would be now like
“Since the college season is almost over I do not have any meets scheduled until after I take my final exams. My coach and I are looking into swimming at the Arena Pro Series Meet in Atlanta during the first week of May but those plans are not set in stone. As of now I will be back in the water training full time until summer meets pick up”.