LOOKING BACK AT THE WINTER JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS LILLY HIGGS MAKES CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL IN 100 YARD BREASTSTROKE AT WINTER CHAMPS

As some of the CARIFTA region top age swimmers prepare for themselves for competition at the inaugural UANA Swimming Cup in Coral Springs Florida starting tomorrow January 19 draftingcaribbean looks back at the region’s youngsters efforts at the 2017 SPEEDO Winter Junior Championships -EAST in December. The UANA Cup is designed for athletes from Central America, South America, and the Caribbean that are in UANA Zones 1 and 2. Hence Americans and Canadians will not be invited

On December 8 in Knoxville Tennessee Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas who represents SwimMac Carolina was the most outstanding female CARIFTA performer. Lilly, who was voted The Nassau Guardian’s Junior Female Athlete of the Year https://thenassauguardian.com/2017/12/28/junior-female-athlete-of-the-year/ made her first Championship final in the 100 yard breaststroke.

Link to Women’s 100y Breast A Final | 2017 Speedo Winter Junior Championships – East

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=13&v=ot7y3OBW7co

 

She placed 8th of the 102 competitors in the field with a time of 1:01.86. Her previous placings were 9th in 2015 and 11th in 2016.

Higgs on way to sprint breaststroke double at CARIFTA 2017
Lilly en route to the 100 metre breaststroke Gold medal at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas Photo courtesy of Micheal C Lyn

Higgs has been unbeaten at the CARIFTA level in the  100 metre breaststroke for the last three years and holds the 15-17 age group record at 1:11.92.

Higgs finished 57th in the 400 yard individual medley in a time of 4:26.97 just off her personal best of 4:25.49.

Lauren Hew Saint andrews aquatics
Lauren Hew Photo courtesy of Saint Andrews Aquatics

Lauren Hew of the Cayman Islands and Saint Andrew’s Aquatics was 66th in the 100 yard backstroke in a time of 56.37. Hew, won the CARIFTA Gold medal in her final year of the 15-17 age group in 2017 in the 100 metre backstroke and holds the record at 1:05.94. She also finished 80th in the 200 yard freestyle in 1:52.27. Lauren also won the 200 metre freestyle at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships in 2:05.98 finishing ahead of Higgs.

chade-pre-race-1-a-m-lyn
Chadé Nercisio before her race Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Curacao’s Chade Nersicio was 17th in the 200 yard freestyle relay team in a time of 1:34.93.She was just off her best time of 57.98 in the 100 yard butterfly as she hit the wall in 58.01. It would be another close miss for a personal record for the East Coast Aquatics swimmer in the 100 yard breaststroke as she stopped the clock in 1:05.72 and her personal record is 1:05.48. Nersicio is ranked 3rd in the 15-17 100 metre breaststroke with a time of 1:14.61.

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KIRBY AND HIGGS PUT CARIFTA REGION ON THE MEDAL PODIUM BY WINNING BRONZE MEDALS ON DAY ONE OF 2017 SPEEDO WINTER JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS – EAST

On the first day of the 2017 SPEEDO Winter Junior Championships – East at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville Tennessee on Dec 6 the CARIFTA region had reason to celebrate through the medal winning performances of regional standouts Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas representing SwimMac Carolina and Jack Kirby of Barbados representing Baylor Swim Club.

Lilly Higgs North Carolina

Higgs , a University of North Carolina commit, swimming as a member of the 200 yard medley relay A team won the Bronze medal. The squad of Julia Menkhaus backstroke 25.05, Higgs breaststroke 28.07, Sophie Lindner butterfly 23.96 and Olywyn Bartis 22.64 recorded a total time of 1:39.07. Being held simultaneously in University of Iowa Recreation Center in Iowa City Iowa is the competition for the West. When the results from meets in both the East and West are combined the SwimMac time was the 4th fastest of the 104 competing teams. Lilly also recorded the 8th fastest breaststroke split overall.

Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion
Lilly Higgs looks back at the clock after capturing the 15-17 100 metre breaststroke title at the 2016 CARIFTA Championships

She is also the reigning 15-17 CARIFTA champion in the 50 metre breaststroke and has been unbeaten in the sprint breaststroke events  for the last three years.

Kirby would win the same colour medal as his regional counterpart as his Baylor team won the Bronze in the 200 yard medley relay as well. With the combined results the team was also the 5th fastest overall.

jack-kirby-baylor-swimming
Jacky Kirby in action in the backstroke  Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

Jack crushed his previous personal best of 23.70 in the 50 yard backstroke with a lead off swim of 23.03.His teammates Piotr Kurleto breaststroke 25.28, Zachariah Althoff butterfly 22.32 and Robert Freeman freestyle 19.92 finished in a time of 1:30.55.

jacky-kirby-tastey-photo
Jack Kirby Photo courtesy of Tastey Blackman

Kirby, who is the reigning CARIFTA Silver medallist in the 15-17 50 metre backstroke had the 18th fastest backstroke split of 101 competing teams.

Bronze medal winning Baylor team
Kirby with members of his Baylor relay team Photo courtesy of Baylor swimming

There would be more success for Kirby as his 800 yard freestyle relay team the held the 800 yard freestyle championship record briefly before their time was bettered by two other teams to finish with the Bronze medal. The same team from the medley relay team Althoff 1:39.20,Kirby 1:39.17,Kurleto 1:37.84 and Freeman 1:34.44 stopped the clock in 6:30.65. That bettered the 2016 Scottsdale Aquatics meet record 6:31.93. Silver went Mason Manta Rays in 6:28.95 and Gold to the Carmel Swim Club in 6:28.25.

chade-pre-race-1-a-m-lyn
Chadé Nercisio  Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Others in action from the region on the day was Curaçao’s star sprinter Chadé Nercisio who anchored her East Coast Aquatics Swim club to 29th spot in the East Championships with a quick split of 22.92. The 20 fastest overall anchor from both meets. The final team time was 1:45.52.At her last CARIFTA Championship in 2016 she won the 13-14 50 metre freestyle.

Irvin via Rafael
Irvin Hoost Photo courtesy of Rafael Van Leeuwaarde

Irvin Hoost of Suriname provided the 7th fastest freestyle anchor split of both meets with his time of 20.01 .That powered his Metro Aquatics Swim club to 10th in the East with a time of 1:31.55.Hoost recently won the Florida 2A State Championship in the 50 yard freestyle and was 6th in the 50 metre freestyle at his last CARIFTA Championships.

Joseph black M Lyn
Joseph Black .Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

In the 800 yard freestyle relay Jamaican Joseph Black gave his Peddie Aquatics team a second leg of 1:42.84 to help to 6:51.92 and 27th overall in the East. Black was a member of the 800 metre freestyle team that won Jamaica’s first Gold medal in the 15-17 age group.

 

BAHAMIAN LILLY HIGGS COMMITS TO SWIM FOR NORTH CAROLINA

Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas, a top regional age group standout has committed to swimming for the University of North Carolina starting September 2018.

Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion
Lilly Higgs looks back at the clock after capturing the 15-17 100 metre breaststroke title at the 2016 CARIFTA Championships

Lilly has been the CARIFTA Championships top sprint breaststroker for the last two years. She has also been unbeaten in the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke for the last three extending to her final year of the 13-14 age group. Since winning her first CARIFTA medal, a bronze for Team Bahamas at the Aruba Championships in 2014 she has become a powerhouse for her country at the annual championships. Her overall CARIFTA medal tally now stands at 30 medals won, eleven of which are Gold.

Lilly created history for her country and the CARIFTA region last season when she won a Silver medal in new 15-17 and senior national record in the 50 metre breaststroke at the Commonwealth Youth Games July when The Bahamas hosted the competition. She would also lower the 15-17 and senior national record See link below

https://draftingthecaribbean.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/lilly-higgs-and-izaak-bastian-win-historic-silver-medals-on-day-two-of-commmonwealth-youth-games/

World Junior Champs team Bahamas.PNG

Her impressive run at the junior level also extends to the World Junior Championships where she competed at two editions, 2015 in Singapore and recently in Indiana. Lilly bettered her times from her first campaign and registered the top CARIFTA regional performances in all the events she competed in. She again lowered the national mark in the 100 metre breaststroke

Date Meet Location Event Time Placing
Aug 25, 2015 World Juniors Singapore 50 metre breaststroke 33.19 21st
Aug 27, 2016 World Juniors Singapore 100 metre breaststroke 1:13.00 24th
Aug 30, 2017 World Juniors Singapore 200 metre breaststroke 2:40.48 29th
Aug 28, 2017

 

World Juniors Singapore 200 metre individual medley 2:25.73 40th
Date Meet Location Event Time Placing
August 23,2017 World Juniors Indiana 50 metre breaststroke 32.84 20th
August 25,2017 World Juniors Indiana 100 metre breaststroke 1:11.18 22nd
August 28,2017 World Juniors Indiana 200 metre breaststroke 2:39.87 30th
August 26,2017 World Juniors Indiana 200 metre individual medley 2:23.41 34th

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to her about her college choice she had the following thoughts

“After many trips to schools and teams around the country, I decided that my best option for continuing my education and training was right here in North Carolina at UNC.  I am so excited to be a Tar Heel!”.

Lilly will join a number of talented Bahamian women competing at the NCAA Division I level. Those swimmers include Laura Morley who competes at University of Indiana –Bloomington and older sister Albury who swims for the University of South Carolina.

 

 

HIGGS LOWERS BAHAMIAN NATIONAL 100 METRE BREASTSTROKE RECORD ON DAY THREE OF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion
Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion Photo courtesy of carifta2016mque

Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas who has been the dominant swimmer in the sprint breaststroke events at the CARIFTA age group level for the last three years continued that good form at the World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis on August 25 when she lowered her 15-17 and senior national 100 metre breaststroke record for the second time this season.

 

Lilly recorded a time 1:11.18 to lower the mark she had set of 1:11.40 when she was a finalist at the Commonwealth Youth Games in July in The Bahamas. She was already the CARIFTA region’s best ever placed female performer in the event at the Global championships when she had placed 24th at the Singapore edition of the Championships. Higgs has raised the bar by moving the best placing to 22nd   and is almost 2 seconds faster than that swim.

Analysis of Lilly’s 2015 and 2017 world Championship performances

Date meet Venue First 50 metres Last 50 metres Final time Placing
 2015 World Juniors Singapore 34.54 38.46 1:13.00 24th
2017 World Juniors Indianapolis 33.89 37.29 1:11.18 22nd

Lilly was also the 2nd fastest swimmer from the CCCAN region finishing just behind Mexico’s Maria Jimenez who placed 20th in a time of 1:11.01 (split time 33.08).

Rounding out the top three in CCCAN was Puerto Rico’s Marissa Lugo Mojica who placed 39th in a time of 1:17.14 (split time 35.35).

LILLY HIGGS IS THE TOP CCCAN PERFORMER IN THE 50 METRE BREASTSTROKE AT THE 2017 WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion
Lilly Higgs 15-17 100 metre breaststroke champion Photo courtesy of carifta2016mque

As she did at the 2015 World Junior Championships in Singapore Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas was the CCCAN region’s top performer in the 50 metre breaststroke event today in Indianapolis.

 

Higgs, who is her country’s standard bearer in the event clocked 32.84 to be in place joint 20th overall with Australian Sarah Beale and be the top swimmer from the CCCAN region. For  Higgs who has been unbeaten in this race for the last three years at the CARIFTA Championships this was an improvement in time and placing from 2015 where she finished 21st in 33.19. Lilly was not far off making the semi-finals as it took 32.59 to make the top 16.

Mexico’s Maria Jiminez was 28th in a time of 33.32. Guatemala’s Jimina Ximin clocked in at 36.56 for 39th. It was a keen battle for who would be the top Honduran in the event. That accolade went Paola Cwu who was marginally ahead of countrywoman Angie Vilorio 37.21 to 37.36 to finish 43rd and 44th respectively.

LILLY HIGGS AND IZAAK BASTIAN WIN HISTORIC SILVER MEDALS ON DAY TWO OF COMMMONWEALTH YOUTH GAMES

historic silver medallists Lilly and Izaak
Commonwealth Youth Games Silver medallists and Head Coach from left to right Lilly Higgs Silver medallist women 50 metre breaststroke, Head Coach Olympian Andy Knowles, Izaak Bastian Silver medallist men 50 metre breaststroke Photo courtesy of Lynne Fraino

The second day of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games (Thursday July 20) being held at the Betty Kelly Kenning Aquatic Centre in The Bahamas saw history created by the Bahamian breaststroke duo of Lilly Higgs and Izaak Bastian.

Lilly with Silver
Lilly Higgs on the podium with historic Silver medal Photo courtesy of Shelly Bastian

The Games which are in its fifth installment saw Lilly Higgs winning Silver in the 50 metre breaststroke for girls. After posting a time of 33.10 in the heats to be seeded third Higgs went all out in the final stopping the clock in a time of 32.52 to win the Silver medal .She finished just behind  Christie Chue of Singapore who Gold in a time of 32.38. The Bronze went to Ciara Smith of New Zealand in 32.56. Lilly‘s time is a new personal best, 15-17 age group record and senior national record. That bettered her old personal best and national record time of 32.70 when she won Gold at the CARIFTA Games earlier this year at the same venue. It was also the FIRST the CARIFTA region had won a medal of any colour at the Commonwealth Youth Games. Additionally she became the FIRST Bahamian man or woman to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games in this event at either the Youth or Senior level. Lilly is also only the SECOND woman from the CARIFTA region to medal in this event. The first was Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson who won the Silver medal in Glasgow in 2014.Higgs is also only the SECOND person to win a medal for The Bahamas  at the Commonwealth Games both senior and junior. The first medal was won by Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace when she won Silver at the 2014 Glasgow Games in the 50 metre butterfly.Draftingthecaribbean got a few words from Higgs after her groundbreaking achievement.

“It’s always an honor to represent the Bahamas on a national level, and to be able to be the first medalist for swimming at Youth Commonwealth Games makes it an even greater honor. Going into the event and going into finals I was seated third, and I knew I had to have a good start and breakout stroke to be in the medal contention. The race felt really smooth and I was able to perform really well. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the meet holds. Go Bahamas!”

The hometown fans would have more to cheer as history would be continued to be made in the very next event through the efforts of Izaak Bastian. Also competing in the 50 metre breaststroke Izaak crushed his heats time of 29.55 and his personal best of 29.39 to win Silver in a new personal standard of 28.77.

CYG 50 metre breaststroke medalllist bas productions
2017 Commonwealth Youth Games medallists in the 50 metre breaststroke from left to right Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas Silver medallist,Michael Houlie of South Africa Gold medallist,ZongXian Khoo of Singapore Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of Shelly Bastian

He finished behind South African Michael Houlie who posted 27.68 for the Gold. Zongxian Khoo of Singapore won the Bronze in a time of 29.19. With that medal winning performance Izaak became the FIRST male medallist at the Commonwealth Youth Games for the Bahamas and the region .He also becomes the FIRST Bahamian male medallist at the Commonwealth either junior or senior. And only the Third medallist of either gender at any level of the Commonwealth Games behind Vanderpool-Wallace and his teammate Higgs just moments earlier. He gave draftingthecaribbean the following thoughts about his performance.

Lilly and Izaak
Historic Commonwealth Youth Games Silver medallists Lilly Higgs anb Izaak Bastian Photo courtesy of Lynne Fraino

“The race felt really great especially watching Lilly go in the heat before me and come second. It really inspired me. I wanted to try my best and do what I could to and represent the best I could. I didn’t know if it was going to be a medal or not but I just wanted to get out and have a good race. To touch the wall and see second was really surprising .It was a new experience and I felt very excited to race against persons from all across the world and just regionally. It was a new experience and something I had to get over .Instead of being able to swim easy in the morning and then faster in the night. Swimming fast twice in the day was definitely a change for me. To come back in the night and swim almost half a second faster than my best time was amazing”.

Jesse Washington, Jack Kirby and Lilly Higgs represent for CARIFTA region by making Championship finals at 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games

The first day of competition of the Commonwealth Youth Games at the Betty Kelly Kenning Aquatic Centre in the The Bahamas saw three swimmers from the CARIFTA region making it to the prestigious Championship final, Jesse Washington of Bermuda, Jack Kirby of Barbados and Lilly King of The Bahamas. The competition will see young swimmers aged 15 to 18 for the boys and girls 14-17 for the girls in action from Wednesday July 19 to Saturday July 22.

JEsse washington fly bersun
Jesse Washington Photo courtesy of the Bermuda Sun

Bermuda’s Jesse Washington made the first Championship final for the region when he placed 6th in the 50 metre butterfly .He recorded a personal best and new 17-18 national record time of 25.17. The race was won by Scott McLay of Scotland in 24.53. Silver went to Dylan Koo of Singapore in 24.55 and the Bronze was won by Welsh swimmer Lewis Fraser in 24.66.

Washington has gotten progressively faster throughout the season and is now in sight of the senior national record of 24.77 by Olympian Roy-Allan Burch(2008,2012)

Roy-Allan Burch swimbrain
Bermudian Olympian Roy-Allan Burch and national record holder in the 50 metre butterfly Photo courtesy of swimbrain.com

Analysis of Washington’s 100 metre butterfly races for the region

Competition Date Venue Time Medal/Position
CARIFTA 2017 April 16 The Bahamas 25.38 6th
CCCAN 2017 June 30 Trinidad and Tobago 25.23 Silver
Commonwealth Youth Games July 19 The Bahamas 25.17 6th
jack-kirby-baylor-swimming
Jacky Kirby in action in the backstroke Photo courtesy of Baylor Swimming

In the 100 metre backstroke it was Jack Kirby from Barbados who made the first Championship final . In the heats of the event Kirby set a new 15-17 national record and personal best when he clocked 57.01. That bettered the old mark of 57.91 set by Olympian Nicky Neckles (1996, 2000,2004,) at the 1996 Atlanta Games. In the final he posted 57.26 to place 6th overall.

Nicky Neckles
Nicky Neckles Photo courtesy of barbadostoday.com

The race was won by Francis Fong of Singapore in 56.42.The Silver went to  Mclay of Scotland 56.53 and the Bronze to Kennard Campbell of Australia in 56.85.

Kirby has being having a great season so far winning Silver at CARIFTA, winning Gold at CCCAN and now making a final at major international competition.

Kirby’s 100 metre backstroke results for the region

Competition Date Venue Time Medal/Position
CARIFTA 2017 April 16 The Bahamas 58.20 Silver
CCCAN 2017 June 30 Trinidad and Tobago 58.12 Gold
Commonwealth Youth Games July 19 The Bahamas 57.01 heats
Commonwealth Youth Games July 19 The Bahamas 57.26 6th
lilly-higgs-100-breast-jpp
Lilly Higgs Photo courtesy of Rochelle Bastian and Bahamas Swimming

Also making a major international final was hometown girl Lilly Higgs who completed the CARIFTA Region Championship final trifecta on Day one .Lilly stopped the clock in a new personal best of 2:36.43 to place 6th as well. The winner of the event was England’s Layla Black in a time of 2:31.00. Silver went to Mya Rasmussen of New Zealand in 2:31.49. Bronze was won by South Africa’s Hanim Abrahams with a clocking of 2:32.32.

Higgs has also enjoyed success in the event this season as she won the Silver medal in the event at CARIFTA when her country hosted the event earlier this year.

Competition Date Venue Time Medal/Position
CARIFTA 2017 April 16 The Bahamas 25.38 6th
CCCAN 2017 June 30 Trinidad and Tobago 25.23 Silver
Commonwealth Youth Games July 19 The Bahamas 25.17 6th

Other regional swimmers who finished just outside of the top eight to make a Championship final included

Name Country Event Time Place
Madelyn Moore Bermuda 50 metre butterfly 28.91 9th
Victoria Russell The Bahamas 50 metre butterfly 28.93 10th
Jeron Thompson Trinidad and Tobago 50 metre butterfly 25.69 10th
Danielle Titus Barbados 100 metre backstroke 1:05.70 9th
Peter Morley The Bahamas 100 metre backstroke 1:00.40 10th
Izaak Bastian The Bahamas 200 metre breaststroke 2:22.91 9th