Jamaica’s Nicholas Vale signaled his intentions to qualify for this year’s CARIFTA Championships in Barbados with personal bests at the 2019 Long Course Sectional Qualifier in Plantation,Florida held from Feb 8 to 9.
Vale, representing the Pine Crest swim club topped the 200 metre freestyle field with a new personal best time of 1:57.03. Nicholas was the best of the 63 strong field. He will be aiming to be on the medal podium in Barbados as he is atop the Jamaican rankings for 15-17 boys in the event . In the last two editions of the Championships Nicholas placed 5th with times of 1:57.46 and 1:58.32. Setting a personal best ahead of the Championships puts him in good stead to make that a medal a reality.
The last time Jamaica was on the boys 15-17 200 freestyle medal podium was 2015 in Barbados when Nico Campbell recorded 1:54.62 for the Silver medal. That Championship was in Barbados and Campbell’s time is also the fastest time ever done by a Jamaican in the event at CARIFTA.
Comparison of personal best times
Vale also lowered his personal best from the 2018 CARIFTA Kingston Championships in the 200 metre backstroke from 2:17.46 (split time 1:05.83) to 2:16.07 (split time 1:06.32) to place fourth. Looking at how Nicholas is pacing his races it can be seen that he is developing his back end speed. That was evidenced by his 400 metre freestyle when he negative split the race 2:10.10 and 2:07.88 to have a total time of 4:17.98 to place third overall.
In his other races he placed fifth in the 50 metre butterfly in 25.95 and the 100 metre freestyle saw him fifth again in 54.10 (split time 26.24) , just missing out on his personal best of 53.87
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Vale on February 16 he gave his thoughts on his performances
“I am really happy with my performances at the Sectional qualifier especially the 200 metre freestyle and 200 metre backstroke.They were both best times .I was really happy with the 200 metre freestyle because I had not dropped that time in a while. I know I can go faster in the 200 metre backstroke.I feel really good going into CARIFTA. I have some really big goals I hope to break the the CARIFTA record (54.87 set by Suriname’s Zuhayr Pigot in 2014)”.
In 2018 Vale had won the Silver medal in the 100 metre butterfly in a time of 56.29. The fastest ever time recorded by a Jamaican at CARIFTA
The pool swimming segment of the CARIFTA Championships will be held from April 19 to 23.Championships is an approved qualifying meet for the 18th FINA World Championships 2019 – Gwangju, Korea, the Pan American Games 2019 – Lima, Peru and the XXXII Olympiad 2020 – Tokyo, Japan
Jamaica’s Gabrianna Banks continued her upward trajectory in swimming with a strong performance at the Florida High School Athletic Association 4A swimming Championships on Saturday Nov 10 at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatics Athletic Center in Stuart Florida. Competing for the Cypress Bay School from Weston Florida.
Competing in her lone individual event the 50 yard freestyle Banks lowered her personal best of 23.88 set in 2017 to 23.67 to make her first ever high school Championship final. She would display even more speed leading off the 200 yard freestyle relay team. Banks stroked her way to a time of 23.53 and helped the team to a time 1:39.04 to make the consolation final.
In the Championship final of the 50 yard freestyle she was again faster than her old PB of 23.88 when she stopped the clock in 23.79 to place 8th. This is the first time a female swimmer from Cypress Bay has made the Championship final of the 50 yard freestyle since Tiffany Oliver accomplished the feat in the 2007-2008 season.
In the B final of the 200 yard freestyle relay Banks rocketed to the fastest opening lead leg of the race of 23.75. That gave her team an advantage of more than a second . That allowed teammates Paige Lane 24.40,Emily Lopez-Diaz 24.84 and Ellie Koch 24.52 to record a total team time of 1:37.51 of more than a second ahead of second placed Countryside. That is also the fastest time recorded by Cypress Bay since the 2006 -2007 team recorded a time of 1:37.79.
Comparison of teams
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Banks she gave her thoughts on her States performance
“I had a really good time at States.Cheering for my teammates and racing my competitors always gives me a sense of motivation. I went a personal best of 23.53.I always love racing with my teammates and relays are always to capture that moment so I was not suprised I was able to go that time. I am very thankful and fortunate to have such a supportive team that will stand together and uphold one another through everything”.
Banks has built quite an impressive resume with relays teams for Jamaica this year. At the UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida this year she along with teammates Shaun Johnson, Jesse Marsh and Nicholas Vale would set a new mixed 200 metre freestyle senior national and 15-17 record of 1:43.70 in a fourth place effort . At the CCCAN Championships in Aruba this past summer with Bryanna Renuart stepping in for Johnson the team would lower that to 1:42.81 for the Bronze medal.
There would also be a record setting performance at CARIFTA in Kingston in the girls 200 metre freestyle relay as Johnson and Banks teamed with Naomi Eaton and Brianna Anderson to win Gold in a new 15-17 age group record of 1:48.42.
Also in Aruba Banks would win the Silver medal in the girls 50 metre freestyle under the PAN AM Games B standard of 27.44. Banks is a member of a strong age group cohort that Jamaica will depend on for leadership and quick times at CARIFTA and CCCAN for 2019 and possibly a PAN AM Games relay berth.
The final day of competition at the CCCAN swimming Championships in Aruba on July 2 saw Team Jamaica adding Two Gold, Three Silver and Three Bronze medals.
The highlight of the day was Emily MacDonald who completed the freestyle sprint double .A day after she completed the record regional Golden Double (CARIFTA and CCCAN titles) in the 100 metre freestyle she did the same in the 50 metre freestyle. She took the race in a time of 26.48 a new PB, CCCAN and CARIFTA all time best.It was a mere .03 of a second outside of the automatic Youth Olympic qualifying mark of 26.45.
This makes her unbeaten for the 13-14 age group at CCCAN as she took the title in Trinidad and Tobago as well last year in 27.20. In April of this year in her hometown of Kingston she won the splash and dash in a time of 26.76 lowering the record of 26.81 held by Bermudan Madelyn Moore. In Aruba she would take down another Moore standard of 26.65 , the unofficial all time regional record. Emily has been Golden in all but one meet at the regional level since 2016.
26.48 record 26.65
MacDonald had the second fastest time of the competition. That accolade went to none other than Madelyn Moore who lowered the 15-17 meet of 26.13 by Suriname’s Olympian Chinyere Pigot (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) when she stopped the clock in 25.97.
Silver went to Bermuda’s Logan Watson -Brown in 27.24 and the Bronze to Aruba Chloe Farro 27.67.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Emily she gave her thoughts on her performances
“I’m very happy about winning events in the meet for my age group and breaking Championship record for both events .It gives me the assurance that I have the potential to be a great sprinter”.
There would almost be another regional record Golden Double in the 400 metre medley relay as the team of Simone Vale, Sabrina Lyn, MacDonald and Amore Hunter just missed the CCCAN record of 4:34.23 held by the 2005 Mexico team and their own national age group record of 4:33.81 when they won Gold in 4:34.48.Silver went to Colombia in 4:38.89 and Bronze to Aruba in 4:52.40.
butterfly Zaneta Alvaranga
There would be another national record for Morgan Cogle in the 11-12 200 metre backstroke.She lowered the 2007 Kendese Nangle record of 2:36.00 set at CCCAN 2007 in El Salvador in the morning heats with a time of 2:35.21. She would go on to win Bronze in the final in 2:35.29. Jillian Crooks of the Cayman Islands took the Silver in 2:33.98 with Gold going to Elizabeth Jimenez Garrido of the Dominican Republic in 2:33.23.
In the 400 medley relay Cogle backstroke ,Brooke Hopkins breaststroke ,Ireland Hunter butterfly and Safiya Officer won the Silver in a new national age group record of 4:56.06. That bettered the old 2007 record of 4:58.67 set in by the 2007 CARIFTA team Brittany Kenney, Kendese Nangle, Raynae Hall and Alexia Royal-Eatmon.
COMPARISON OF TIMES
Gold went to Trinidad and Tobago in 4:51.10 and the Bronze to Barbados in 5:06.93.
In the 15-17 Girls 50 metre freestyle it was Gabrianna Banks getting the medal for Team Jamaica . She stopped the clock in a new PB of 26.69 for the Silver. The performance marks consecutive Silver medals for Banks who won Silver in her last year of 13-14 in the twin island republic last year in 27.28. The Bronze went to Victoria Russell of The Bahamas in a new PB of 26.93. This is the first medal for Jamaica in 2017 since Breanna Roman won Bronze in 27.59 at CCCAN 2011 in Puerto Rico.
There would be a Bronze for Nathaniel Thomas in the 13-14 age group in the 50 metre freestyle as his effort was timed in a PB of 25.33. This is a step up from his performance at CARIFTA where he placed ninth in 26.19. Silver went to Malik Nelson of Trinidad and Tobago in 24.50. Gold went to the fastest 13-14 swimmer of the season Lamar Taylor of The Bahamas who won in a new CCCAN record of 23.94 to add to his CARIFTA title which he won in 24.27 and as well as National title in 23.79.
There would be Bronze for Safiya Officer in the girls 11-12 race she touched in 27.71.Silver went to St Lucia’s Naima Hazell in 27.61 .
The Gold went to the Cayman Islands Jillian Crooks who lowered the 1995 meet standard of 27.55 set by Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympian Cerian Gibbes who went to the Atlanta 1996 Games as a 13 year old.
The 11-12 boys 400 metre medley relay team won Silver . The team of Daniel Mair (backstroke) 1:16.61,brother Joshua (breaststroke)1:20.15 ,Jaedon Lynch( butterfly) ( 1:10.15) and Adrian Balfour (freestyle) 1:01.55 touched in 4:48.55 to finish behind the Trinidad and Tobago team that won in 4:41.05.the Bronze was won by Aruba in 4:53.76.
The 15-17 boys won the Bronze in their medley relay. The team of Nicholas Vale (backstroke) 1:01.47 ,Sean-Douglas Gooden (breaststroke) 1:09.48 ,Jesse Marsh (butterfly) 56.91 and Cameron Brown (freestyle) 55.86 touched in 4:03.72. Gold was won by The Bahamas in 3:59.57 and the Silver to Trinidad and Tobago in 4:01.63.
Day 2 of the 2018 CCCAN Swimming championships on Saturday June 30 saw Team Jamaica adding Five more medals to their treasure chest. The team won One Gold Two Silver and Two Bronze medals. The total medal count after two days of competition stands at Seven, One Gold, Two Silver and Four Bronze medals
Leading the way for the Black, Green and Gold was Sabrina Lyn in the girls 13-14 100 metre butterfly.
In this event Jamaica had not won a medal in the event for than 13 years on Saturday it would be two won as Emily MacDonald earned the Silver in the same event.
When gun sounded in the Championship final it would be the Jamaicans who separated themselves from the field as Lyn and MacDonald had the only sub 30 seconds splits of 29.83 and 29.96 respectively.Over the last 25 metres it would be Sabrina who pulled away from her teammate to get a decisive win in new PB 13-14 age group record and PAN AM B time of 1:03.82. MacDonald earned Silver in 1:05.36 and The Bronze to Laura Catalina Reyes Briceno of Colombia in 1:06.77.
This Gold medal performance by Sabrina marks her second consecutive CCCAN Gold in the event as in 2017 in Trinidad and Tobago she won the 11-12 crown .It also marks her second consecutive age group record breaking swim as she had set the current 11-12 age group mark in the twin island republic last year on June 29.
The old age group record was held by MacDonald when she had won CARIFTA Gold in a time of 1:04.28 (split time 29.61).The PAN AM B standard stands at 1:04.93.Lyn who had not qualified for CARIFTA in the event as she was not in top two is now Jamaica’s fastest age group 100 metre butterflier of all time in the age category.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Lyn she gave this impression of her record swim
“The race was smooth and nice.I had a great start and my turn was good. I just kept pace. I got tired towards the end but maintained the pace. I felt good about my race.”
Simone Vale earned Silver in the 13-14 50 metre backstroke as she produced a personal best time of 32.02. In a very tight race 7 swimmers swam 32 seconds.Gold went Bermuda Logan Watson-Brown in 31.62.Bronze went to Kimberly Ince of Grenada in 32.16.
Her brother Nicholas would not be left out on the medal podium party as he won the Bronze in the boys 15-17 100 metre butterfly in a time of 56.67 (split time 26.21). Gold went Kael Yorke in 55.28 (split time 26.68) who recorded the Golden Double as he also won the CARIFTA title in Jamaica. Silver was won by Curaçao’s Mauricio Payne in 56.54 (split time 26.45). Teammate Jesse Marsh was disqualified.
Vale again provided the “outside smoke” as he did in his hometown of Kingston Jamaica earned his medal from Lane 1 .
Competing in her final year of the 15-17 age group Bryanna Renuart stopped the clock in 2:45.63 (split time 1:18.60) to win Bronze in the 200 metre breaststroke. This is a step up from 2017 from Renuart who was fourth in 2017 in 2:47.79 (split time 1:19.04). She also won the CARIFTA Bronze at home in Kingston earlier in the year.
Jamaica would also have other Championship finalists on the day.
Brooke Hopkins placed 7th in the 11-12 girls 200 metre breaststroke (split time 1:27.38).
Jaedon Lynch placed 7th in the boys 11-12 200 metre breaststroke in 2:53.59 . Teammate Joshua Mair placed 8th in a PB of 2:56.13.Annabella Lyn recorded a new PB of 31.90 to place 7th in the 15-17 girls 50 metre backstroke.
The 2018 CCCAN swimming championships in Aruba got off to a great start for Team Jamaica on Friday June 29 with national record swims in the mixed 200 metre freestyle relay team in the 15-17 and 13-14 age groups.
The 15-17 relay team of Nicholas Vale, Jesse Marsh,Bryanna Renuart and Gabrianna Banks took the Bronze in 1:42.81 in a very close affair where the top four finishers were within a second of each other.
Gold was won by Colombia in 1:42.20 and Silver went to Bermuda in 1:42.52. The old 15-17 record and senior national record stood to the 2018 UANA team of Shaun Johnson,Marsh, Banks and Vale that clocked 1:43.70 in Coral Springs Florida on Jan 21.
There would be a new 13-14 mixed 200 freestyle relay record established as the team of Nathaniel Thomas (25.52 ), Rin Gyles 26.35, Sabrina Lyn (28.16) and Emily MacDonald (26.75) had a total time of 1:46.78 to win the Bronze medal. Gold went to Bermuda in 1:45.04 and Silver The Bahamas in 1:45.70.
It would be fourth place for the 11-12 mixed 200 metre freestyle relay team of Safiya Officer,Adrian Balfour, Jaedon Lynch and Aliyah Heaven. They stopped the clock in a time of 1:53.95,Splits 28.87,27.61,28.48 and 28.89.
Jordane Payne placed 10th in the 15-17 1500 metre freestyle in a time of 18:42.29.Naomi Eaton placed 8th in the 15-17 800 metre freestyle in a personal best of 10:05.82
Kael Yorke completed one stage of a feat that no other male swimmer has done in the 15-17 category twice and that is sweep all three butterfly races.
He made a positive start to that historic mission on Day one of the Championships on March 31 at the National Aquatic Centre by securing lane for the Championship final with a morning heats time of 56.43. He was the only swimmer under 57 seconds. Four other swimmers went under the 58 seconds barrier.
The final saw the field tightly bunched at the 50 metre turn. What would be the difference would be a fantastic turn by Kael utilizing most of the 15 metre allowed underwater he pulled away from the pack.That would be the game changer as Yorke, who is the reigning champion in the 200 metre event would not tire. He held on to that advantage to take the crown in 55.57, a new personal best time.It also bettered the automatic qualifying time of 55.59 for the Youth Olympic Games.
Outside smoke Jamaican Nicholas Vale, swimming from Lane 1 recorded his first time under 57 seconds to clock 56.29 for the Silver, the fastest time by a Jamaican this year in the event. It is also the fastest time recorded by a Jamaican at CARIFTA.
Countryman Jesse Marsh joined the sub 57 seconds with a personal best of 56.52 , the third fastest time by a Jamaican so far.The previous best was 56.31 held by Luke Gunning. Both Jamaicans will now have the 2014 age group record of 55.56 Justin Plaschka in their sights.
Recording a personal best for fourth place was The Bahamas DaVante Carey in 57.17. The top four finishers were all under the Youth Olympics B qualifying time of 57.54.
The final day of the UANA CUP in Coral Springs Florida saw Jack Kirby of Barbados completing the backstroke sprint double. Kirby would be the best placed swimmer from the CARIFTA region as he placed second overall with 26.5 points. Kirby, who was fittingly named Junior Athlete of the Year for 2017 for his nation lived up to that accolade by producing yet another another stellar performance.
He started his run of good performances by completing the CARIFTA region trifecta in the 50 metre backstroke. Earlier Zarek Wilson of Trinidad and Tobago and Lamar Taylor of The Bahamas captured the 11-12 and 13-14 crowns respectively.
He won the event in a time of 26.63 holding off Mexican standout Guillermo Cruz Zuniga who stopped the clock 26.73 .Matheus Zacharias of Brazil won the Bronze in 27.16. Kirby’s effort lowered his previous 15-17 national record of 26.88 set at the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis on August 25.It also bettered the Youth Olympic Games A qualifying standard of 26.73.He completed the backstroke double after winning the 100 metre in an new age group and Youth Olympic A standard time of 56.34.
In his sights for the CARIFTA Games will be the Championship record of 26.31 set by Trinidad and Tobago’s David McLeod at the 2014 Aruba Championships.
In the 100 metre freestyle he placed 4th in a time of 52.04 (split time 25.70) .He was just out touched by Zacharias who punched the clock in 51.96. Kirby’s strong back end speed was evidenced yet again as he produced the fastest last 50 metres of the competition of 26.34.
His effort earned him yet another age group record as he lowered the 52.25 (split time 25.42) set by Olympian Alex Sobers (Rio 2016) when he won Gold at the 2016 CARIFTA Championships in Martinique.
In the very last event of the day the mixed 200 metre freestyle relay Kirby lead off the Barbados team with a time of 23.68. That broke yet another Sobers age group standard of 24.14. Alex had set the record in the heats of the 50 metre freestyle at the 2016 CARIFTA championships. That also puts Kirby within striking distance of the Youth Olympics A standard time of 23.56. The other members of the team Danielle Titus 27.79, McKayla Treasure 29.31 and Luis Sebastian Weekes helped to produce a total time of 1:45.39 just missing the age group record of 1:45.16 to place 8th overall. The national age group record was set by the team of Sobers, Hannah Gill, Damon St Prix and Treasure set at the 2016 Caribbean Island Swimming championships in The Bahamas.
With that swim Kirby has put his name in the conversation to swim the event at CARIFTA in Jamaica and possibly go after the Championship record of 23.37 set by Olympian Renzo Tjon A Joe (Rio 2016) of Suriname at the 2013 Kingston Championships. Kirby gave his thoughts about his final day performances to draftingthecaribbean
“To me the race (50 metre backstroke) didn’t feel that great but the outcome was good. For the 100 free, the plan was to make the same time or better from the day before. For the 50 free, the goal was just to make the 23 from the start of the meet so making it on the second attempt was a great feeling”.