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 Bahamas||Jeremy Knowles||4:26.00|
|Cayman Islands||Shaune Fraser||4:27.56|
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”.