HISTORIC FIRSTS FOR THE BAHAMAS AND JAMAICA AS ALBURY HIGGS, JOANNA EVANS AND ALIA ATKINSON WIN MEDALS ON DAY 4 OF THE CAC GAMES

The fourth night of action the at the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia on Saturday night at the Eduardo Movilla Aquatic Complex saw three CARIFTA region ladies as they won the first ever medals for their nations in their respective events.

Higgs breaststroke bronze
200 metre breaststroke Bronze medallist Albury Higgs

Starting the medal run Was Albury Higgs of The Bahamas. Albury has been having quite the summer lowering the national records in the 100 and 200 metre breaststroke right before the Games . She was expected to be in form at the meet and she was. She qualified for the 200 metre breaststroke Championship final with a time of 2:32.90 just her national standard of 2:32.30 set at the Bahamian REV national championships in June. Joining in her in the final was countrywoman  2:33.90 Laura Morley who made the Championship finals in all the breaststroke events, the 50,100 and 200 .

With increased  speed evidenced by her national record of 1:10.77 in the 100 metre event in  the United States Albury pushed the pace in the final turning at the 100 metre mark in a time of 1:12.59 in the Silver medal position.She held that placing until the last couple of metres when Mexico’s Esther Gonzalez Medina passed her. That early front end speed would pay off as she just just held off Morley to take the Bronze in 2:30.83 to 2:31.02 .Both ladies went well under the old national mark and were well under the 2019 Lima PAN AM Games automatic qualifying standard of 2:34.43. Both swimmers achieved the 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course Swimming Championships and 2019 Gwangju World  Championships B standard of 2:31.02. With her Bronze medal she becomes the first Bahamian man or woman to win a medal in the event.She also becomes the fastest ever CARIFTA region swimmer at the Games as she bettered Alia Atkinson’s 2006 effort of 2:30.99.  Only Atkinson and now Higgs have ever medalled in the event for the ladies. It also marks the first medal for Albury in the senior ranks

Higgs offered this reaction to her historic swim

“It was an exciting swim and I was very happy with the best time and record, as well as a bronze for team Bahamas!”

Gold went to the Mexican duo of Byanca Melissa Rodriguez Villanuez in a Games record of 2:25.60 and the Silver to Gonzalez Medina in 2:29.72.

Puerto rico 400 im
400 IM medallists Photo courtesy of the Puerto Swimming federation

Known primarily for her distance exploits Joanna Evans has taken the opportunity to add a few other events to her schedule and it has resulted in medal winning performances.In the 100 metre freestyle she set a new personal best to win the Silver medal. She had set the national record of 4:59.25  in the 400 metre individual medley as a junior swimmer at the 2015 CARIFTA Games in Barbados which still stands today. in qualification she  cleared that mark  with a time of 4:57.56. In the final she blew that mark away with a swim of  4:50.38 to land the Silver. Joanna becomes the first Bahamian woman to medal in the event. Both record breaking swims were under the  2019 LIMA PAN AM Games mark of 4:57.99. The only other swimmers  from the CARIFTA  region to medal at the Games are Gold was won by Puerto Rico’s Kristen Romano in 4:46.31 and the Bronze by Monika Gonzalez Hermosillo in 4:52.13. She gave an assessment of the race and the  humid conditions to draftingthecaribbean

“Honestly there was not much of a strategy except to go out and race and see what I can do.It is really hot .We are just hydrating and trying to stay out of the sun”.

CARIFTA REGION MEDALLISTS THROUGH THE YEARS

Year Name Time Country Medal
1986 Rhett Chee Ping 4:39.14 Trinidad and Tobago Bronze
1998 Carolyn Adel 4:52.42 Suriname Gold
2006 Jeremy Knowles 4:23.83 The Bahamas Silver
2006 Bradley Ally 4:22.86 GR Barbados Gold
2010 Bradley Ally 4:21.49 GR Barbados Gold
100 metre butterfly
100 metre butterfly medallists Photo courtesy ofadiimages

Competing in her third CAC Games Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson created another first by medalling in the 100 metre butterfly. No Jamaican man or woman has ever made it to the podium in the event . Last night she took the Bronze medal in the event in a time of 1:00.13 (split time 27.34). Silver went to Venezuela’s Isabella  Paez 1:00.04 and Gold to Miriam Guevara Hernandez in 59.13. Alia’s medal winning time was the second best effort of her career as her national record stands at 59.94 (split time 28.44) when she beat Paez (1:00.47) for the Gold at the 2017 Southern Zone Sectional Championship.

FEMALE CARIFTA REGION MEDALLISTS THROUGH THE YEARS

Year Name Time Country Medal
1978 Shelly Cramer 1:05.64 ISV Silver
1982 Shelly Cramer 1:04.20 ISV Silver
1982 Judy Lawaetz 1:05.10 ISV Bronze
1993 Siobhan Cropper 1:03.01 Trinidad and Tobago Gold
2010 Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 59.74 GR The Bahamas Gold
2014 Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 1:00.17 The Bahamas Gold
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TEAM JAMAICA DAY 2 REPORT ALIA SETS NATIONAL FLY RECORD EN ROUTE TO GOLD, DOLS LOWERS ANDREW PHILLIPS DECADES OLD MEDLEY RECORD

Team Jamaica’s performances on Day 2 of the 2018 CAC (Central American and Caribbean ) Games by yet another Gold medal by Olympian Alia Atkinson in the 50 metre butterfly and record breakinng swims by Keanan Dols in the 200 metre individual medley.

Alia 50 metre butterfly
Alia Atkinson posing with 50 metre butterfly Gold Photo courtesy of Gillian Millwood

Colombia will hold special memories for Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson as it was in 2006 when the 50 metre butterfly was introduced to swimming schedule she was the first winner of the event in Cartagena in a time of 28.59. Fast forward to 2018 in Barranquilla and Atkinson has not lost her appetite for Colombian Gold. In the heats we saw  signs that the Gold would be heading to Kingston when she broke her three year old 50 national record of 26.65 with a time of 26.54.  She would not be top seed as that went to 2010  and 2014 Bronze medallist Jeserik Pinto of Venezuela who got Lane 4 with a time of 26.52. In the final however Alia would prevail with a time of 26.60. Pinto upgraded her Bronze to Silver with a time of 26.76. Mexican Lilianna Ibanez Lopez  returned to win another Bronze in 27.08. With that swim Atkinson closes in on the A standard for the 2019 Gwangju World Champs of 26.34.

The event has been dominated by the CARIFTA region ladies as no swimmers other than Atkinson and recently retired Olympian Bahamian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace have won this race.Additionally Vanderpool-Wallace holds the Games record at 26.46.

Year Winner Time
2006 Alia Atkinson 28.59
2010 Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 26.92
2014 Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 26.46
2018 Alia Atkinson 26.60
andrew phillips
Andrew Phillips Photo courtesy of andrewphillips.com

Almost 30 years ago on August 4 at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games Andrew Phillips registered the fastest time by a Jamaican in the 200 metre individual medley when he clocked a national record of 2:05.60. That is the best placing for a Jamaican man at the Olympic Games.

keanan-dols-m-lyn
Keanan Dols Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

On July 21, 2018 in Barranquilla Colombia that mark was finally lowered. Keanan Dols swimming in heat 2 of the event won his race in  a time of 2:04.00. That helped Keanan qualify for his second consecutive senior level Championship final.He would record his best placing of fourth in yet another record swim with a time of 2:03.66, a mere 0.18  of a second away from the Bronze medal winning time of Mexican Hector Ruvalcaba Cruz who stopped the clock in 2:03.48. Gold went to Puerto’s Jarrod Aroyo in 2:02.37.Silver was won by Venezuela’s Carlos Claverie in 2:03.06.

National record progression

Leg Phillips 1984 Dols  2018 Dols 2018
butterfly 27.88 26.70 26.78
backstroke 31.58 31.67 31.55
breaststroke 36.67 35.91 35.55
freestyle 29.47 29.72 29.78
Total Time 2:05.60 2:04.00 2:03.66

That qualifies Keanan automatically for the 2019 Lima PAN AM Games and is under the 2019 Gwagju World Championships  and 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course swimming championships B standards of 2:04.43.

Dols ay 2016 CISC
Dols at 2016 CISC Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

The CCCAN region occupied positions 1,3,4 ,5,6, 7 and 8 in the Championship final. Fifth placed Patrick Groters set a new national record of 2:04.13. Interestingly at the last Caribbean Islands Swimming championships held in The Bahamas in 2016 Arroyo had won the 13-14 200 IM in a Championships record of 2;07.59 while Groters and Dols had finished 1,2 in the 15-17 age group in 2:06.19CR and 2:07.09.

Michael Gunning earned a second swim in the 200 IM after posting 2:12.41 in the morning heats. He would return to swim to fourth place and a season best of 2:10.60.

Emily MacDonald was 19th in the 50 metre butterfly in a personal best of 28.61. she finished 20th in the 200 metre freestyle in a time of 2:14.83.

 

 

 

CARIFTA LADIES NIGHT IN COLOMBIA ATKINSON AND EVANS SET NEW NATIONAL MARKS ON THEIR TO BARRANQUILLA GOLD

It was CARIFTA region ladies on Day Two of the swimming competition at the CAC (Central American and Caribbean ) Games in Barranquilla Colombia asOlympians Joanna Evans of The Bahamas and Jamaican doubled their Gold medal count . Both ladies set national records on their way to winning the 200 metre freestyle and 50 metre butterfly events respectively.

Coming to the competition Joanna was already the best the CARIFTA region had ever produced in the 200 metre freestyle with a national record of 1:59.19. What would now be asked is how could the competition push to her to new levels of excellence. Last night’s final would not disappoint.When the race got underway Joanna took the lead at the first turn with a time of 28.13. She was however closely followed by 2014 Bronze medallist Elisbet Gamez Matos of Cuba with 28.45 and Mexican Lilianna Ibanez Lopez 28.65. Lilianna could not hold the pace leaving Joanna and Elisbet to record the only sub 59 seconds 100 metre splits of 58.18 and 58.69. It would be the third 50 metres where Evans had a split of 30.01 that broke the Cuban resistance. Although Elisbet made a push on the final 50 metres it would not be enough as Joanna won in a new PB, national record and Games record of 1:58.03. The old record of 2:00.19 belong to Olympic Gold medallist Claudia Poll . Poll was a dominant force in her time in the event as she won virtually every Gold medal that was on offer.

Claudia Poll panamerican world
Claudia Poll celebrates after winning Olympic Gold at Atlanta 1996 Photo courtesy of Panamerican world
Date and Venue Medal
1993 Pan Pacific  Champs Gold
1995 World Short Course Champs Gold
1996 Olympics Gold
1998 World Champs (LCM) Gold
2006 CAC Games Gold

This is a major jump up the standings for Evans as in 2014 she placed sixth in 2:04.07.With her win Evans becomes the FIRST Bahamian man or woman to win the 200 metre freestyle as well as first English speaking woman to win the event .Joanna is the FIRST Bahamian man or woman complete the 200 and 400 metre free Gold Double. She is also the first CARIFTA region swimmer man or woman to complete the double in record time. Olympian Carolyn Adel did the double in 1998 but only the 400 metre freestyle was a Games Record. Her record swim automatically qualifies her for the 2019 Lima PAN AM Games, 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course Swimming championships and 2019 Gwangju (LCM) World Championships.  Silver went Gamez Matos in 1:58.55 and Lilianna the Bronze in 2:01.36.

When draftingthecaribbean contacted new Games record holder she spoke about the race and her expectations

“Going in, I knew it would be a close race. It’s always exciting to be able to race. It’s hard to tell how fast your going because it’s a little on the warm side, but I felt good. It’s great to get Team Bahamas fired up”.

 

Evans 200 free Gold
Joanna Evans poses with 200 metre freestyle Gold medal Photo courtesy of Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe Barranquilla 2018

National record progression

Date and Venue First 100 Second 100 Final Time
Aug 24,2017 WUG 58.23 1:00.83 1:59.19
July 21,2018 58.18 59.85 1:58.03
Alia 50 metre butterfly
Alia Atkinson posing with 50 metre butterfly Gold Photo courtesy of Gillian Millwood

Colombia will hold special memories for Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson as it was in 2006 when the 50 metre butterfly was introduced to swimming schedule she was the first winner of the event in Cartagena in a time of 28.59. Fast forward to 2018 in Barranquilla and Atkinson has not lost her appetite for Colombian Gold. In the heats we saw  signs that the Gold would be heading to Kingston when she broke her three year old 50 national record of 26.65 with a time of 26.54.  She would not be top seed as that went to 2010  and 2014 Bronze medallist Jeserik Pinto of Venezuela who got Lane 4 with a time of 26.52. In the final however Alia would prevail with a time of 26.60. Pinto upgraded her Bronze to Silver with a time of 26.76. Mexican Lilianna Ibanez Lopez  returned to win another Bronze in 27.08. With that swim Atkinson closes in on the A standard for the 2019 Gwangju World Champs of 26.34.

The event has been dominated by the CARIFTA region ladies as no swimmers other than Atkinson and recently retired Olympian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace have won this race.Additionally Vanderpool-Wallace holds the Games record at 26.46

Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace Photo courtesy of fitterandfaster.com
Year Winner Time
2006 Alia Atkinson 28.59
2010 Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 26.92
2014 Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 26.46
2018 Alia Atkinson 26.60

TEAM JAMAICA REPORT DAY ONE ALIA WINS HISTORIC GOLD , KEANAN DOLS AND MIXED RELAY TEAM OF ATKINSON, LUKE GUNNING AND EMILY MacDONALD SET NEW NATIONAL MARKS

Team Jamaica
Team Jamaica at CAC Games

Day One of the 2018CAC ( Central American and Caribbean) Games saw Olympian Alia Atkinson leading the way for Team Jamaica with Gold in the 100 metre breaststroke in Games Record time. Setting new national marks would be Keanan Dols as well as the 400 metre mixed medley relay team of Dols ,Atkinson,Luke Gunning and Emily MacDonald.

alia-atkinson-smiling
Alia Atkinson

After bettering her old Games record of 1:10.24 in the morning heats  Atkinson was the second seed with a 1:08.00. Also under the record was Byanca Rodriquez Villanuev who just edged Alia with a time of 1:07.99.The two ladies swam in the last of the morning heats side by side.Rodriquez Villanuev had gained the early advantage then with a split of 31.28 to Atkinson’s 31.32. So the setting was clear for the final as it would be between Byanca and Alia. In the Championship final there would be no synchronized swimming as Alia got her customary bullet start and gave the field too much to handle with a split of 30.85. After an excellent pullout she also turned in the best last 50 metre of 35.98 to ensure that the CAC Games record remained in Jamaica with a final time of 1:06.83.With the that win she breaks the tie with Mexico’s Silvia Rivero who won the titles in 1982 and 1986 as she now has crowned herself Queen on three occasions 2006, 2010 and now 2018. She is still the only woman from the CARIFTA region to medal in the event. Silver went to Rodriquez Villanuev in 1:07.80 and her countrywoman Esther Gonzalez Medina  in 1:10.60.  Her record swim also puts her as the 11th fastest swimmer in the world so far.Her swim qualifies her automatically for the 2019 Lima PAN AM Games as well as the 2019 Gwangju World Champs and 2018 Hangzhou World Short Course Champs.

keanan-dols-m-lyn
Keanan Dols Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

In the morning heats of the 400 mixed medley relay the team of Dols, Atkinson ,Luke Gunning and MacDonald established a new national mark of 4;02.47 to qualify for the Championship final. In leading off the team with his backstroke leg Dols became the Jamaican swimmer under 56 seconds  as he clocked 55.78.

Timothy Wynter
Timothy Wynter Photo courtesy of jamaica-gleaner.com

That lowered the mark of  56.15 set  by Olympian Timothy Wynter at 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming championships.It automatically qualifies him for the 2019 PAN Games. It was just off the CAC 100 metre backstroke Games record of 55.48. It is also under the B standard of 55.95  for the 2019 World Championships The team would be even faster in the final as they had a total time of 4:01.90 to place fifth.

Dols would be swim in another Championship final as swam in the 200 metre butterfly event. He qualified for the medal race with a new personal best of 2:01.32 (split time of 58.06). In the final he would place eighth in the second best time of his career of 2:02.41. National record holder in the event Michael Gunning still feeling the effects of jet lag clocked 2:03.23 in the heats to qualify for the B final. In that race he was fourth in a time of 2:03.64.Both Keanan and Michael were well under the 2019 PAN AM B time of 2:07.77

Making her senior international debut Bryanna Renuart made her first final in the 100 metre breaststroke. The University of Miami (Ohio) bound swimmer recorded the second fastest time of her career 1:15.13 (split time 34.65) to qualify for the B Final. In that race she was just off her morning swim to place fifth in 1:15.50, the fourth best time in her life.Her morning swim was under the 2019 PAN AM B time of 1:15.38.

Luke Gunning who was a member of the national record breaking relay team swam his first individual race in the Black,Green and Gold  in the 100 metre freestyle placed 33rd  in a time of 53.42 (split time 25.73).He was just off the 2019 PAN Games B time of 52.79

THREE CAC GOLD MEDALS THE CARIFTA WAY OLYMPIANS EVANS, CARTER AND ATKINSON WIN THEIR RACES IN RECORD TIME

Friday July 21 at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean saw three of the CARIFTA region’s biggest stars Olympians Joanna Evans of The Bahamas , Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago and Alia Atkinson of Jamaica win Gold in Games Record times.

Joanna Evans posing 400
Joanna posing for pictures after her victory Photo courtesy of Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe Barranquilla

The historic Gold Rush was started by Evans in the 400 metre freestyle.She easily qualified for the Championship final with a time of 4:16.63  . Her medal final saw  her putting on masterclass on how to swim the event.The race was effectively over as a contest when Joanna took out the first 50 metres in 28.80. At the 100 metre mark when she split 59.59  the question on everyone’s mind was how much she would lower the 2010 Games record of 4:11.36 Venezuelan Olympian Adreina Pinto. With a final 50 metres of 31.61 she would just get by the record with a time of 4:11.15. With her win she becomes only the Second woman from the CARIFTA region to win Gold in the event following Suriname’s Carolyn Adel victory in 1998. Evans also upgrades her Silver medal from 2014 to Gold and moves from a tie with Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson as the best placed English speaking swimmer in the event. She also joins  Mexican Maria Souza as the only women to have won Silver and Gold in the event. Souza took Silver in 1959 before going on to win Gold in 1962 in Kingston Jamaica.

400 metre freestyle podium
400 metre freestyle medallists Photo courtesy of Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe Barranquilla

Silver went to Mexico’s Allyson Macias Alba in 4:14.74 and the Bronze to Costa Rica’s Helena Moreno Hernandez in 4:15.51

Dylan Carter trinidad express

Carter ensured the CARIFTA Golden streak with his own historic swim .After making the final as the second seed with a time of 49.24 . It would be time to bring SHOWTIME to Barranquilla Colombia Team TTO style. When the gun started it be another CARIFTA region star that would take out the first 50 metres as Suriname’s Olympian Renzo Tjon A Joe split 23.03. However Carter split 23.29 worked his underwaters and when he popped up it was SHOWTIME . He came home in the second fastest 50 metres of 25.66 to take the Gold in a new Games Record of 48.95 , the first CAC Games swimmer under 49 seconds. That bettered the 2014 Games record of 49.00 held by Cuban Olympian Hanser Garcia. With his record swim he became the first Man to win the 100 metre freestyle crown from the CARIFTA region as the previous best placing had been Silver medals won by countryman Olympian Mark Andrews in 1986 and Cayman Islands Olympian Shaune Fraser in 2006. Team TTO now has a complete set of medal in the events rounded out by Olympic medal winner George Bovell III’s Bronze in 2006. Silver went Aruban Olympian Mikel Schreuders in yet another national record time of 49.17 , the first medal ever for Aruba in the event. Bronze went to Jorge Andres Iga Cesar in 49.28. Tjon A Joe placed fifth in a time of 49.38 and Barbados Olympian Alex Sobers eighth in a personal best time of 50.51. Both swimmers were just off their respective national records of 49.29 and 50.40. Carter spoke about this journey to 100 metre freestyle Gold to TEAM TTO

 

 

 

Anchoring this Golden run on the opening day of the CAC Games was Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson . After bettering her old Games record of 1:10.24 in the morning heats  she was the second seed with a 1:08.00. Also under the record was Byanca Rodriquez Villanuev who just edged Alia with a time of 1:07.99.The two ladies swam in the last of the morning heats side by side.Rodriquez Villanuev had gained the early advantage then with a split of 31.28 to Atkinson’s 31.32. So the setting was clear for the final as it would be between Byanca and Alia. In the Championship final there would be no synchronized swimming as Alia got her customary bullet start and gave the field too much to handle with a split of 30.85. After an excellent pullout she also turned in the best last 50 metre of 35.98 to ensure that the CAC Games record remained in Jamaica with a final time of 1:06.83.

Alia-Atkinson
Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of heppdesigns.com

With the that win she breaks the tie with Mexico’s Silvia Rivero who won the titles in 1982 and 1986 as she now has crowned herself Queen on three occasions 2006, 2010 and now 2018. Atkinson is also the 11th fastest woman in the world with that swim.She is still the only woman from the CARIFTA region to medal in the event. Silver went to Rodriquez Villanuev in 1:07.80 and her countrywoman Esther Gonzalez Medina  in 1:10.60. The deep talent pool spread across the region was evident at The Bahamas duo of Lilly Higgs  1:11.32 and Laura Morley 1:12.34 placed fifth and sixth respectively in the Championship final

 

 

2018 REV National Swimming Championships LAMAR TAYLOR CLOSES IN ON BECOMING THE FASTEST 13-14 SWIMMER IN THE ENGLISH SPEAKING CARIFTA REGION OF ALL TIME, LOWERS THREE NATIONAL RECORDS IN SIX GOLD MEDAL PERFORMANCE

When Lamar Taylor had been disqualified in the Championship final in the boys 13-14 50 metre freestyle at the 2017 CCCAN Championships after qualifying with a time of 25.18  in  July  he told draftingthecaribbean would be using that moment as inspiration to be even faster . Less than than a year later he has been true to his word by breaking the national record in the 50 metre freestyle and closing in on being the fastest 13-14 swimmer from the English speaking CARIFTA region OF all time.

Lamar Taylor UANA
CARIFTA region’s top 13-14 boy at the UANA Cup Lamar Taylor of The Bahamas

Since last summer the Freeport Aquatics swimmer has blazed a trail to become the fastest regional swimmer this season in the 13-14 age category. At the inaugural  UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida he was the top CARIFTA swimmer as he won Silver in a time of 24.57, the Gold went to Mexican Victor Salcedo Carrillo who out touched him with a 24.56.

At the CARIFTA Championships in Kingston Jamaica he took the Gold medal in a then personal best of 24.27 . He took the title convincingly as he was more than half a second ahead of the field . In that race he was just short of the national and CARIFTA record of  24.25 set by countryman Izaak Bastian.

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

At the 2018 Rev national he would make no mistake as he clocked a new PB, Championship record and age group national record of 24.06. In the final he was in scintillating form as he took the title in a time of 23.79. Lowered in the process was the Bastian’s 2016 meet record of 24.56.

Joshua Romany
Joshua Romany

The next milestone is getting past the 23.77 of Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany which stands as the fastest performance by a 13-14 swimmer from the English speaking CARIFTA region.

Crox Acuna rtve.es
Crox Acuña Photo courtesy of rtve.es

 

Already the top seed in the race for the upcoming CCCAN Championships in Aruba he is now faster the meet record of 24.10 held by Venezuela’s  Olympian Crox Acuña (Beijing 2008 and London 2012).

Event CCCAN 2017 UANA CARIFTA Nationals
50 metre freestyle DQ 25.18 heats 24.57 Silver * 24.27 Gold 24.06,23.79 Gold

The national age group record in the 100 metre freestyle would not be spared as it went down as well. In the heats of the event he had splits of 26.24 and 27.72 for a total time  of  53.96 to go under 54 seconds for the first time. The old national and Championship record of 54.25 had belonged to Kevon Lockhart. In the final he even split the race 27.60 and 27.51 to win in a time of 55.11.

_John Bradley Bahamasswimmingfederation
John Bradley Photo courtesy of bahamasswimmingfederation

The 200 metre freestyle saw another easy win for Taylor as he took Gold in 2:03.33 (split time 1:00.47) to be just outside the Championship record of 2:03.28 by John Bradley .

Swimming for  exhibition he broke the 50 metre butterfly meet record and age group record of 26.16 and 26.18 respectively by Bastian with a blast of 26.09. His club mate Rommel Ferguson would lower that in the final with time of 25.98.

The 100 metre butterfly final would be a battle between the clubmates. Ferguson struck the first blow when he went out to a lead of 28.52 to Taylor’s 29.97. But in great display of negative splitting Lamar had the only sub 30 seconds split of 29.75 to lead his teammate to the wall 59.75 to 59.95. That would be the first time under the 1 minute mark for both swimmers.

Event UANA CARIFTA Nationals
100 metre butterfly 1:01.87 7th 1:00.01 Gold 59.72 Gold
13-14 100 back podium
CARIFTA 13-14 100 metre backstroke medal podium from left to right Tristan Pragnell Barbaos Silver medallist, Taylor Gold and Youris Geran Guadeloupe Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

The sprint back stroke events the 50 and 100 metres saw him winning Gold in 28.05 and 1:01.57 respectively.

Event UANA CARIFTA Nationals
50 metre backstroke 28.62 Gold 28.38 Gold 28.05 Gold

The 100 metre backstroke effort lowered the Championship record of 1:01.82 held by DaVante Carey.  A sub minute performance in the event could be on the cards for Lamar as his splits at CARIFTA and REV nationals suggest that he could  be much faster

reacting after a close win
Taylor reacts to coming from behind to win the 100 metre backstroke Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

CARIFTA 30.94 and 30.47 Gold 1:01.41

Rev Nationals  30.11 and 31.46 Gold 1:01.57.

Chris-Vythoulkas Bahamas Olympic Committee
Chris Vythoulkas Photo courtesy of Bahamas Olympic Commitee

The 1999 national record of 1:00.82 is held by Olympian Chris Vythoulkas (Athens 2004)  .

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Lamar he gave us his impression of nationals

“I feel really good about breaking the national records. I came to Nationals with the goals of setting the national marks in the 50 and the 100 freestyle and if I was lucky even more. It felt amazing to go 53 in the heats of the 100 metre freestyle. After my DQ in the 200 individual medley I felt I had to play it safe and that caused me to slow down a lot.So I just came up early (before the 15 metre mark and played it safe). In the 50 metre freestyle I knew that people were watching me on the 15 metre mark so in the heats I popped up early and went as fast as I could. In the final I stayed down a little longer and came up right before the 15 metre. I felt really good about the time and how I broke the record. In my mind during training for Nationals my goals were to better all my times and go under 24 and 54 for my 50 and 100 freestyle. I do have to say I was a little disappointed with my 50 freestyle time as I wanted to get the Youth Olympics Games A cut of 23.56″.

 

SPRINTING IS IN THEIR DNA JAMAICAN GIRLS SWEEP SPRINT FREESTYLE RELAY TITLES AGAIN

As it was in 2017 in The Bahamas, so it was again in 2018 in Kingston as the Jamaican girls swept the sprint freestyle titles on the last day of the CARIFTA Championships on April 3.

11-12 girls Gold medallists
11-12 Gold Medallists from left to right Cogle,Heaven,Sierra and Officer Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

The 11-12 girls started the Golden streak in record fashion. Starting the relay for Jamaican was Safiya Officer who touched in 29.35 with the chasing pack. First to the wall on the opening leg was Bermuda’s Elan Daley who was in awesome form throughout the competition. That advantage was eaten up by Isabella Sierra, a member of last year’s record setting team who was timed in 29.02.It was the final legs of the relay that changed the structure of the medal podium as Morgan Cogle with a leg of 28.96 and Aliyah Heaven who dropped the hammer with the fastest anchor leg, 28.14 that sealed the victory and record. The total team time was 1:55.47 .

11-12 gold medallists 2017
2017 Gold medallists from left to right Lewis,Lyn,Sierra and Alvaranga Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

That bettered the  Championship and national age group record of 1:55.77 set by P’aige Lewis, Sierra Sabrina Lyn and Zaneta Alvaranga. Trinidad and Tobago won the Silver in 1:57.37. Martinique earned the Bronze in 1:59.54.

13-14 Gold medallists
13-14 Gold Medallists from left to right Alvaranga,Hunter,Lyn and MacDonald Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

The 13-14 category saw the opening leg contested keenly between the Silver medallist in the flat 50 Naele Portecop of Guadeloupe and Bronze medallist Zaneta Alvaranga of Jamaica . It was the French Speaking territory that held the early advantage, with Portecop timed in 27.06 to Zaneta’s 27.65.Second leg swimmer Amore Hunter regained the advantage with a 28.46 clocking. Sabrina Lyn maintained the  edge with a time of 28.51. Anchor leg and  50 freestyle Gold medallist Emily MacDonald removed all doubts as to who the winners would be with the fastest split of the relay 26.17 to push the team to a time of 1:50.79 just off the 1:50.77 Championship record .

13-14 gold medallists 2017
2017 13-14 Gold medallists from left to right Banks,Vale,Anderson and MacDonald Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

 

15-17 gold medallists
15-17 Gold medallists from left to right Eaton ,Johnson, Banks and Anderson Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

In the final category the 15-17 age group Shaun Johnson got the proceedings under way with a 27.51 leg. The early advantage however, was held by the Bermudans who front loaded their relay with Bronze medallist Madelyn Moore who was timed in 26.44. Brianna Anderson took control of the event and took the lead for the Black , Green and Gold with a 27.17 effort. Naomi Eaton 27.58, withstood a charge from the Arubans in the form of Anahi Schreuders 27.17.It was now left to Gabrianna Banks to complete the sweep. She did not disappoint. She recorded the fastest split of the night 26.16 to help the Jamaicans to a Gold medal winning time and new  national age group record of 1:48.42.

15-17 gold medallists 2017
2017 Gold medallists from left to right Anjuii Barrett,Johnson, Bryanna Renuart and Angara Sinclair Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

The old national age age group and senior national record of 1:49.07 was set last year.Silver went to Aruba in 1:49.68 and the Bronze to Bermuda in 1:51.09