ALBURY HIGGS CONTINUES CAC PREPARATIONS WITH YET ANOTHER RECORD BREAKING BREASTSTROKE SWIM

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.

100 breaststroke nationals 2018
2018 REV National Swimming Championships 15 and over medal podium from left to right Lilly Higgs, Albury Higgs and Laura Morley Photo courtesy of Pleasants Parott Higgs

COMPARISON OF RECORD SWIMS

100 metre breaststroke 2018 REV National 2018 Bulldog GrandSlam
First 50 metres 36.65 33.31
Second 50 metres 34.52 37.46
Final Time 1:11.17 1:10.77

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

Bahamas women
Bahamas women on 2018 CAC team from left to right Evans,Higgs and Morley
Bahamas men
Bahamas men on 2018 CAC team from left to righ Bastian, Fernander and Kerr

 

 

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ALBURY HIGGS MARKS A DECADE OF BEING UNBEATEN IN THE 100 METRE BREASTSTROKE AT NATIONALS WITH A NEW NATIONAL RECORD

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.

Breaststroke trio
Leading Bahamian Breaststrokers that will be competing in the NCAA Division I next season Lilly Higgs, Albury Higgs and Laura Morley Photos courtesy of swimswam and iuhoosiers

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

Name Time Date
Albury Higgs 1:12.07 March 5,2016
Laura Morley 1:11.83 March 27,2016
Laura Morley 1:11.46 March 4,2017
Lilly Higgs 1:11.18 August 25,2017

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.

100 breaststroke nationals 2018
2018 REV National Swimming Championships 15 and over medal podium from left to right Lilly Higgs, Albury Higgs and Laura Morley Photo courtesy of Pleasants Parott Higgs

 

Sister Lilly touched  1:12.95 for Silver and Morley 1:13.07 for the Bronze.

DECADE OF GOLD MEDALS

Year Time Age Group
2018 1:11.17NR 15 and  over
2017 1:12.18 15 and  over
2016 1:13.81 15 and  over
2015  1:13.46 15 and  over
2014 1:15.67 13-14
2013 1:19.80 13-14
2012 1:21.88 11-12
2011 1:24.36 11-12
2010 1:35.08 9-10

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!”.

TWO RACES, TWO GOLD MEDALS, TWO PAN AM QUALIFYING TIMES JOANNA EVANS WINS 200 IM IN NATIONAL RECORD AND TAKES FIFTH 200 FREE GOLD

Joanna Evans at the Rio Olympic Games
Joanna Evans at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

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.

Lightbourn
McKayla Lightbourn Photo courtesy of seminoles.com

 

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.

Evans celebrating breaking 1650 yard freestyle record
Joanna celebrating her win in the 1650 yard freestyle and new school record at the Texas Invite Photo courtesy of texassports

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.

Year Time Split Medal
2018 2:01.73 59.31 Gold
2016 2:01.62 59.68 Gold
2015 2:06.22 1:00.88 Gold
2014 2:10.85 1:03.07 Gold
2013 2:11.60 1:02.91 Gold
claudiapoll hirsit.org
Claudia Poll Photo courtesy of http://www.hirsit.org

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”.

BRYANNA RENUART CLOSES CARIFTA CHAPTER BY ENDING JAMAICAN GOLD MEDAL DROUGHT IN 400 MEDLEY

 

CARIFTA  2018 in Kingston Jamaica would be the last for University of Miami Ohio bound Bryanna Renuart.t would also  in front of her home crowd. Renuart who had been a mainstay in the Jamaican team since the 11-12 age group  had been a major points contributor in the breaststroke and individual medley events but had never tasted Gold in an individual event. That would all change on April 1.

Bryanna Renuart.PNG

Swimming in the second heat of the timed finals of the  400 individual medley in the afternoon she broke free of the field from the opening butterfly leg with a split of 1:10.10. she would not relinquish that lead at any point in the race and in fact built on it to win by more than seven seconds in a new PB of 5:07.30. The Silver went Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas in 5:14.30 and the Bronze to Sam Bailey of The Cayman Islands in 5:19.11.

Zara Bailey with 400 Im Gold
Zara Bailey 2013 400 IM Gold medallist Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

That ended a five year Gold medal drought for Jamaica as the last time the country was  a top of the long medley podium in this category was in  2013 in front of a home crowd through the efforts of Zara Bailey.It was only the third time in the last 20 years that a Jamaican had won the 400 Individual medley in the  category for girls. Olympian Alia Atkinson had won Gold as well in 2006.

When Draftingthecaribbean contacted her on April  14 she had this reaction to her Gold medal winning performance

renuart 400 IM Gold M Lyn
15-17 medal podium from left to right Higgs Silver, Renuart Gold and Bailey Bronze Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

“I really wasn’t expecting to win any individual CARIFTA events because Lilly Higgs is such a dominant swimmer so I was completely shocked. Even during the race I had no idea I was winning. Standing on the top of the podium and hearing the Jamaican anthem playing because of something I accomplished was incredible.The atmosphere at this CARIFTA from my perspective was the most electric swim meet I’ve ever been to. Having a home crowd reminded the Jamaican team how meaningful it is to represent our country and the extra people cheering for us led to some stand-out swims.”

 

 

HIGGS AND RUSSELL PREPARE TO DEFEND 15-17 BREASTSTROKE FORTRESS

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.

Albury higgs profile gamecocks online
Albury Higgs Photo courtesy of gamecocksonline
Laura Morley Indiana University Swimming and Diving
Laura Morley Photo courtesy of Indiana Swimming and Diving

With Laura and Albury now navigating in senior water the defence of the Bahamian streak is left to Lilly and  teammate Victoria Russell.

Victoria Russell
Victoria Russell finalist in the women’s 100 metre breaststroke at the  2017 Commonwealth Youth Games

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 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 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.

Year Stroke Time
2016 200 2:35.33
2017 100 1:11.70
2017 50 32.70

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.

BAHAMIAN STANDOUT LILLY HIGGS ENDS HIGH SCHOOL CAREER WITH A PB,MEET AND STATE RECORD IN THE 100 YARD BREASTSTROKE AT NORTH CAROLINA CHAMPS

Lilly Higgs celebrating 100 yard breaststroke win
Lilly celebrating 100 yard breaststroke State Record Photo courtesy of Patrick Schneider

Lilly Higgs of The Bahamas ended her high school career on the best possible note as she set a new meet and state record in the 100 yard breaststroke and helped school William Amos Hough High to their third consecutive North Carolina 4A State Championships.

Competing at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary on Saturday Feb 10,2018 Higgs would waste no time establishing herself as the top seed for the final when Lilly recorded the fastest time ever in 4A history as well as North Carolina high school history stopping the clock in 1:01.77. That just edged the 2017 record by Middle Creek”s Julia Poole of 1:01.77. In the final she would not have things her own. Mika Fullerton of Apex had shown early front end speed with a 28.68 in the preliminaries to take the second seed with a time of 1:02.40.

Lilly in action
Lilly Higgs stroking her way to Gold in the 100 yard breaststroke Photo courtesy of Patrick Schneider

The final would prove no different as Fullerton led the early proceedings with a 28.97.Higgs and Ashley McCauley of Leesville Road tracked her with splits of 29.20 and 29.56 respectively. The last 50 yards would be a battle between Higgs and McCauley as they split sub 33 seconds. It would be Higgs who would get her hands to the wall first as she split 32.37 to hold off Ashley and win Gold in 1:01.57. McCauley ,who pressed hard at the end clocked 1:01.78 while Fullerton won Bronze in 1:02.73.

That challenge helped Higgs not only reset the meet and State Mark but also lower her personal best of 1:01.58 set back in  March 10,2017 at the SPEEDO Sectionals –Eastern. Her Gold medal is also a tribute to her hard work and consistency to be the best over the years at this  Championship. She would also be her school’s only individual winner on the night

The Path to Gold

Year First 50 Second 50 Time Place
2018 29.20 32.37 1:01.58 Gold
2017 29.48 32.71 1:02.19 Silver
2016 30.19 33.05 1:03.24 Bronze
2015 31.58 34.25 1:05.81 2nd B Final

She would win another title in the 400 yard freestyle relay as the Hough Huskies recorded the fastest winning time of all three State Championships 1A/2A,3A and 4A to take Gold. The team of Heidi Lowe 50.95, Amaya Hanley 52.07, Kesnley Merritt 50.68 and Higgs 50.73 touched in 3:24.43 just ahead of South Mecklenburg 3:24.86.

In the 200 medley relay the Hough Huskies placed fourth in a time of 1:43.95. Higgs had the second fastest breaststroke split of the meet with a time of 28.20. She would also place fourth in the 200 yard individual medley in a time of 2:03.14 (split time 59.18), the fourth fastest time in her career.

Higgs gave her thoughts about her performances to draftingthecaribbean

“As always, I enjoyed representing my high school at the state level! With a team of only 3 divers and 8 swimmers we were able to win states for the third time in a row, which is an incredible accomplishment. Individually I placed fourth in the 200im and first in the 100 breaststroke and set a new meet record, which I was so proud to do to. Being a senior this year it was a way for me to leave my mark on high mark on high school swimming!”

She , along with older sister Albury were members of the 2016 Huskies team that set the state 200 medley relay record of 1:43.21 .

Lilly Higgs and Huskies 2018 celebration
The Hough Huskies celebrating the three peat Photo Courtesy: NCHSAA Twitter (@NCHSAA)

The Huskies topped the competition with 295 points followed by Leesville Road 267 and South Mecklenburg 197.

 

Higgs who has been unbeaten in the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke at the CARIFTA level for the last three will to aim to build on her CARIFTA legacy in her final year of eligibility when she competes at  the Championship in Kingston Jamaica next month

 

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.