Since he made his debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics Aruban Mikel Schreuders has made it an excellent habit of creating history for himself and his country in international competitions. This competition was no different as he bettered his 2017 time and placing to be the fastest and placed Aruban ever in this event . One can see the improvement from Budapest as he timed at 1:49.66 (split time 53.66) for 39th and in 2019 he covered the course in 1:48.92 (split time 53.10) for 32nd . Added to the accolade of being the fastest ever from Aruba at the meet he topped the region in an Olympic qualifying time , just off his historic 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games Bronze medal winning national record of 1:48.63. He is also among the fastest ever swimmers to compete at the World Championships from the region.
Michael Gunning of Jamaica continues to be the leader for his nation in this race . He is the only Jamaican to go under 1:52..He produced yet another such performance in South Korea with a time of 1:51.14 (split time 53.47).
Sobers produced the best ever showing by a swimmer from his country by
bettering his standards from 2017. In Gwangju the 2019 18 and over CCCAN
champion produced an effort of 1:51.89 (split 53.83) to finish 46th.
This is an improvement of ten places when he clocked 1:52.50.
Mascoll-Gomes of Antigua and Barbuda also produced best ever performance for his country. The
2019 CCCAN 18 and over Bronze medallist set the standard in 2017 in Budapest
when he clocked 1:55.32 for 62nd . On the Asian continent he was 56th
in a time of 1:54.20 (split time 55.23).
CARIFTA Champion in the 15-17 age group Jordan Crooks of the Cayman Islands
lowered his Gold medal winning time and personal best of 1:57.45 to 1:56.33
(split time 55.57). He placed 59th in his World Championships debut.
Team Aruba will be sending a delegation of four swimmers Allyson Ponson, Mikel Schreuders ,Daniel Jacobs and Patrick Groters and national Coach Ismael Santiesteban .
Olympian Schreuders comes to this World Championships off the strength of his best and final collegiate season ever .He finished his NCAA Collegiate career at Missouri as the second fastest all time for his school in the 100 yard freestyle with a time of 41.96 and setting a school record in the 200 yard freestyle of of 1:31.27 which makes one of the top ten fastest swimmers ever in the event. He will be contesting the 100 and 200 metre freestyle events in South Korea. Ever since making his Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Games Mikel has risen to the challenge of senior international competition ever since. He has lowered the national records at the 2017 World Championships as well being the first medallist ever for Aruba at the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2018 winning 100 metre Silver and 200 metre Bronze .
100 metre freestyle
200 metre freestyle
will take on the world on Monday July 22 in the 200 metre event in heat 4 from
lane 2. He will throw down his challenge to the world’s best in the 100 metre
freestyle on Wednesday July 24 in heat 10 and he swim from lane 3
Olympian from the Rio 2016 Games Allyson Ponson will be making her second trip
to the global long course championships. Earlier this year she proved her
readiness to swim with the world’s best when she lowered her national records
in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle events to 25.61 and 56.78 respectively.Her
national records make among the fastest ever female swimmers from the CARIFTA
region of all time. She will carry the mantle as the number one seed from the
CCCAN region in the 100 metre event when she swims on Thursday July 25 in heat
6 and swim from lane 1.Ponson will again be the CCCAN region standard bearer in
the 50 metre freestyle when she competes in heat 8 and swims from lane7.
Jacobs who just completed his freshman year at Georgia Tech will be competing
in the 400 and 800 metre freestyle events in his senior World Champs debut. He
left the junior ranks at CARIFTA as the Champion in the 400 event with a time
of 4:05.64. His best in the event stands at 4:01.25 and this season he has
already been 4:02.41.Look for him to go under 4 minutes and be a member of that
exclusive club to better that mark. He will be the first Aruban in the water in
Korea as he will swim in heat 1 from lane 5 in the event. His second event will
be the new Olympic event at the Olympics in 2020 , the 800 metre freestyle.He
will chart new territory for Aruba in the event on Monday July 22 in heat 1
also left his junior years at the CARIFTA level on a high winning in 2017 with
Championship records in the 200 metre
individual medley and backstroke races with times of 2:04.69 and 2:04.44.Though
making his senior World long course he is the senior national record holder in
both medley events. The 200 in which he holds the standard at 2:04.13 will see him in action on Wednesday July 24 swimming in heat 2 lane 6 .He will swim the
200 metre backstroke on Sunday July 28. He will race from lane 9 and heat 2.His
national record in the event stands at
2:03.47 from his B final win at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games.
Outgoing Missouri senior Aruba’s Mikel Schreuders is leaving the SEC Championships with his name in the record books and his first title in the 200 yard freestyle.
Last night in Georgia he reaffirmed his position as the best 200 yard freestyler that the Championships has ever seen when he won Gold in a new PB, school and SEC record time of 1:31.27 . That bettered his lead leg relay split of 1:31.61 on the opening day of the SEC Championships at the University of Georgia.Silver was won by Joey Reilman of Tennessee in 1:32.35 and the Bronze went to Khader Baqlah of Florida in 1:32.71. He is now the second fastest swimmer in the event across all divisions this year. Through determination and the goal to set higher standards for himself each year at these Championships Schreuders had swum faster all of the four years he has competed.
THE PATH TO GOLD
Schreuders now adds Aruba to the CARIFTA region nations that have won individual titles in the men’s 200 yard freestyle
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to the SEC Champion after his race and he shared his thoughts on the race
“The race was amazing .Before the race I was not trying to focus on any specific time.I was just trying to go out there and have fun and do the best I can. I felt good the entire way.Afterward of course it hurt a little bit but that always happens.It feels good not only to represent my school and my name but also Aruba and all the kids from the Caribbean”,
The second day of the SEC championships being held in Georgia. Mikel Schreuders and Albury Higgs both set new personal bests and recorded their highest ever placings in the 50 yard freestyle and 200 yard individual medley respectively.
Higgs of the Bahamas competing for the South Carolina Gamecocks earned her first ever spot in an SEC final in the 200 yard IM when she lowered her personal best from 2:00.37 to 1:58.30, an NCAA B qualifying time. In 2018 she had placed 38th overall. She would have more in store in the C final as she lowered that time further to place 6th overall in 1:58.24. This is a big improvement from November 2018 when she recorded her previous best heading into the SEC’s as seen by the splits below
With her SEC performance Higgs now moves from joint fourth to the third fastest performer in South Carolina history.
Aruban Mikel Schreuders of Missouri earned his best ever placing in the 50 yard freestyle when he won Bronze in the event in a new personal best time of 19.24. Coming to Georgia Mikel had a personal best time of 19.45. He lowered that in the morning heats to 19.31. Schreuders has swum faster each year he has contested this event.
1st C final
With that swim he now moves from fourth to second fastest all time in Missouri Tigers history. He moves to being the third fastest ever performer from the CARIFTA region . The list is headed by the legendary George Bovell III Trinidad and Tobago who is the region’s fastest ever swimmer in yards, short course metres and long course metres
In 2017 at the NCAA Championships during the heats Schreuders had anchored the 200 yard freestyle relay to a time of 1:16.78 , a new school record,with a split of 19.61.That enabled the Tigers to make the final . He never swum in the final and the team placed seventh with the exact same time. In Georgia he blew past the 19 seconds barrier to split 18.77 on the second leg. Mikel, along with Luke Mankus 19.48,Danny Kovac 19.14 and Kyle Leach 19.29 combined to swim to a new school record of 1:16.68 and place fourth.
The opening night of the SEC South Eastern Conference Championships got underway last night at the Gabrielsen Natatorium at the University of Georgia. The CARIFTA region was represented by Aruba’s Mikel Schreuders and Albury Higgs of The Bahamas. Both ensured that their names were in etched in the record books.
Albury Higgs representing the University of South Carolina joined her teammates on the 200 yard medley relay to place 11th and shatter the school record. The old record stood at 1:39.70 from the 2018 SEC competition.
In the 800 yard freestyle relay Schreuders representing Missouri set the pool alight with his opening 200 yard freestyle split. His time of 1:31.68 is a new PB, School record and SEC Championship record and it also propelled the Tigers to the Silver medal in a new school team record of 6:11.38. By the first 100 yards fans knew they were in for something special from the Oranjestad native as he had the only sub 44 seconds split of 43.91.When he touched he had given the Tigers a lead of almost a second. It took a new SEC record time of 6:10.50 by the Florida Gators to overhaul the Missouri team. The old Tigers record which was destroyed was from their 2018 SEC Silver medal winning performance. In 2018 Mikel had swum the second leg in a time of 1:33.45. It was Mikel’s aggression in the first half of the race that helped him to the record smashing performance as seen with a comparison of his splits, the old SEC record and his previous PB and school record
The old SEC record belonged to American Conor Dwyer who had set that standard leading off the 2011 Florida Gators team. He would later win Gold medals in the 800 metre freestyle relay at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai China and the 2011 PAN American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Schreuders had set the school record leading off the Tigers team at the 2018 NCAA Championships.
Mikel now stands at the 14th fastest swimmer ever in the event.He is now the second fastest swimmer from the CARIFTA region as he passes the Fraser brothers Shaune and Brett of the Cayman Islands who represented the Gators for that position. The number one spot belongs to Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter who with his opening leg blast for the USC Trojans at the 2017 NCAA Championships. On his school website Mikel who is the reigning Central American and Caribbean Games Bronze medallist in the 200 metre freestyle gave his thoughts on his performance ” We’ve all been preparing really well for this meet. I wanted to try and get the biggest lead that we could because we had strong opponents in that field. I just went for it and tried to do as much as I could. I didn’t even know I broke the record, but after hearing it on the podium, it was awesome. We’ve all been working so hard, it shows that it pays off. But we still have work to do.”
Top 200 yard freestyle swimmers from the CARIFTA region
On that night on Feb 16,2011 it was Dwyer who gave the lead to Brett Fraser (1:32.77) to help the Gators to the Gold and a then SEC record time of 6:13.74. They had combined for 200 yard medley relay Gold as well also in an SEC record time of 1:24.94. Dwyer had swum the breaststroke in 23.56 and Brett had anchored in 19.08. At the PAN AM Games in Mexico later that year Brett and older brother Shaune gave the Cayman Islands their first ever Gold and Silver finish in the 200 metre freestyle.
Also on that night in 2011 the CARIFTA region had Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of The Bahamas and Auburn anchoring her school team with a split of 21.04 for a then SEC record of 1:36.11 in the 200 yard medley relay. Also Jamaican standout and current coach at Saint Andrews Ramon Walton led off the Kentucky team medley relay with a time of 22.46.
Alex Sobers of Barbados continues to add to his swimming legacy with another five star performance for the Emmanuel College Lions at the 2019 Conference Carolinas Men’s Swimming Championship at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in Charlotte,North Carolina. Sobers laid waste to all his personal bests and conference records in every single event that he contested.
The opening battle in the 200 yard medley relay saw the Lions disqualified. With a moniker such as Lions the team from Franklin Springs would not be deterred or bowed and swam a time trial in the event . And what time trial it was as the Lions shattered the school record , the Carolinas record and recorded the eighth fastest time in the NCAA Division II so far.
The previous school and conference records previously stood at 1:30.43 in 2017 and 1:30.08 by the 2018 Limstone College team.
Sobers denied a Gold medal with the disqualification would certainly make up for it with his performances in his remaining events.
Coming to the Conference Championships Alex was the holder of the 500 yard freestyle mark with a time of 4:27.56 set in 2017. The 2018 conference record belonged to Robert Zamarano of Barton who had stopped the clock in 4:42.09. Both marks were swept away with disdain in Sobers’ preliminary swim as he touched in 4:22.74. Now already the best his school and the conference had ever seen in the event the final served to be a coronation ceremony as he lowered that time to win by over 20 seconds and record a time of 4:19.41 , the fastest time currently in Division II . The Division II record of 4:17.09 held by Dutch Olympian Dion Dreesens while competing for Queens University of Charlotte can officially be put on notice.
Comparison of Personal best splits
Sobers is now the fastest ever English speaking Caribbean and CARIFTA region swimmer in the event bettering the 4:25.03 set by countryman and Olympian Damian Alleyne in Nov 1999. Alleyne set that time as 16 year old swimming for the world renowned Bolles school in Jacksonville Florida . He still holds the Bolles record for the 15-16 age group .He set that time at the 1999 4A state when it was a then record performance.The girls record is held by Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson . The record board also includes names such as US Olympic gold medallist Caleb Dressel.
Top times from the Region
The Lions would roar to an emphatic win of more than five seconds in the 400 yard medley relay. Falling by the wayside was the school record of 3:18.77 and the Carolinas conference record of 3:17.84
Sobers had the fastest time of the relay that bettered his 43.68 when he was the anchor on the team that set the school record in 2017. It also puts the Lions as the 16th fastest team in Division II.
In the 200 yard freestyle relay the same quartet put up a gold medal winning time of 1:21.53 . That places them 16th in Divison II and broke the Conference record.
The 200 yard freestyle saw the 2018 Carolinas record of 1:40.43 set by Saint Leo ‘s Fridtojov Mork taken down in the heats when Sobers touched in a time of 1:37.94. He crowned himself King and the best the conference has ever since when he set a new PB, School record and conference record of 1:35.32 (split time 46.41). That ranks him as the second fastest in Division II.He crushed the field by more than five seconds.
In the 100 yard freestyle he again took down the Conference record in the heats with a swim of 44.25. The old record belonged to Mork of Saint Leo with a time of 45.06.The final saw the Lions going 1-2 as Sobers recorded his first sub 44 seconds clocking of 43.65 (split time 20.86).Silver went to teammate Rose in 44.01. Sobers bettered his PBof 44.20 and Rosa’s school record of 44.00.The swim places Sobers ninth overall in the Division.
Sobers and his teammates capped the meet with yet another school and conference record in the 400 yard freestyle relay and a winning margin of almost ten seconds.They stopped the clock in a time of 2:57.90
The old school and conference records stood at 2:58.24 and 3:00.34.
For his tremendous efforts Sobers was named Carolinas Co -swimmer of the Year along with his teammate Joao Santos. The Lions finished second to Barton College amassing 732 points.
Sobers continues to raise the bar for his country with record breaking exploits. In December draftingthecaribbean spoke with Damian Alleyne, a leader in the freestyle events in his time from the late 90’s to early 2000’s, after Sobers lowered his national record in the 200 metre freestyle at the World Short Course Swimming Championships in in China from 1:48.98 to 1:47.55. Alleyne belonged to a Golden era of male swimming in Barbados that included such names asNicky Neckles, Bradley Ally, Cliff Gittens, Martyn Forde, Shawn Clarke,Andrei Cross among others. We spoke to Alleyne about his record breaking swim in 2001 and what what Alex’s swim in China meant in the context of swimming in Barbados moving forward
” To be honest, I don’t remember the exact details of my swim, I believe I was home for SC Nationals at Christmas and managed to squeeze that time out. As far as what Alex has accomplished, I believe it shows a positive progression for the sport of swimming in Barbados and the Caribbean. I am very proud of Alex and what he has been able to accomplish in his swimming career and I can’t wait to see what more he can achieve! I always had the mindset that I wanted to set the bar for swimming in Barbados. I wanted to make sure that bar was so high that the next swimmer to come along and challenge it would be a legitimate, world class, athlete and Alex has displayed this. I wish him all the best in any future endeavors and can’t wait to see how much further he takes the sport for the next generation to aspire to”.
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.
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.
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
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.
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