Florida Southern College’s Jamaican Junior Nico Campbell continues to show progress in his swimming career by winning two relay medals so far at the NCAA Division II championships underway at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in North Carolina. The meet which started on Wed March 14 saw him bettering his 2017 performances.
In the 800 yard freestyle relay, which was swum yesterday, saw The Moccasins’ team of Matthew Holmes 1:36.75,Campbell 1:37.37,Luka Matacin 1:38.65 and Luka Planinc 1:36.92 stopped the clock in 6:29.69 to win the Silver .This is a big movement from 2017 when the team finished seventh in 6:33.85.Nico’s split then was 1:38.78.Queens won the event in 6:25.42
In the 200 yard freestyle relay on Thursday Florida Southern earned their second consecutive Silver medal in the event.The team of Noah Franz 20.46,Campbell 19.92,Matacin 19.77 and Talor Hamilton 20.05 stopping the clock in 1:20.20.In 2017 Nico was timed in 20.19. The Gold went to Oklahoma Baptist in 1:18.11 . The second leg swimmer on that team was Chad Brandon whose parents are Jamaican.
In the 200 yard freestyle he would better his 2017 showing of 1:38.39 twice. In the heats when he swam 1:38.09 (split time 47.60) and when he registered 1:38.13 when he placed fourth in the B final.
Campbell’s 200 yard medley relay team placed second in the B final with a time of 1:28.17.Nico contributed an anchor leg of 20.13.
Florida Southern College’s Jamaican Junior Nico Campbell captured his first Conference title when he stormed to victory in the 200 yard freestyle on Friday Feb 23 at the 2018 Sunshine State Conference Championships.
Nico, who has been in great form since the 2017 Long course season where he recorded several bests carried that over into the yards portion of the season. In the morning heats he showed his intent when he recorded a season and personal best time of 1:37.49 (split time 47.45) to claim the number one seed heading into the final. In the final the Jamaican trailed in third place at the century mark with a time of 47.20.He would have more in legs than the field and came roaring back to win in another personal best of 1:37.28.For Nico this is a step up the podium as he finished with the Silver in 2017 in a time of 1:38.23.
The Road to Conference Gold
It was no surprise to anyone following Nico’s career that his first Conference title would be in the 200 yard freestyle as he is a former Jamaican senior national record holder in the 200 metre freestyle in the short course and long course metre versions of the event.At the CARIFTA level he is remembered for his anchor leg in the 15-17 800 metre freestyle relay that brought the island its first Gold medal in that event for that age group in 2014. He would replicate that exciting performance in 2015. He still holds the 15-17 age group record 1:53.95 as well as the fastest Jamaican performance of all time performance at CARIFTA 1:54.62.
That would not be the only Gold medal won by Campbell as his Florida Southern team won the 200 yard medley relay. The quartet of Brandon Dyck backstroke 22.23,Luis Jasso breaststroke 24.48, Noah Franz 21.04 and Campbell 20.07 won Gold in a new Championship record time of 1:27.82.That bettered the 2017 mark of 1:28.01 set by Nova Southeastern University.Silver went to Nova in 1:28.07 and the Bronze to Florida Tech in 1:28 .57 which had Grenadian Corey Ollivierre doing breaststroke duties
The 50 yard freestyle saw Nico setting a new personal best of 20.49 to place 4th in the B final.His 200 yard freestyle relay team placed fourth in 1:20.93. Campbell provided a third leg of 19.93
The meet would be a short one as injury struck. Campbell would speak to draftingthecaribbean about the meet on Feb 25 about the Conference Champs and the outlook for the NCAA Division II finals to be held in Greensboro, North Carolina at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, March 14-17
“My 50 free on the first day was not as fast as I wanted but I anchored the 200 medley relay to gold, so that was a really great achievement. I knew my main focus was on the 200 freestyle and that was the event in which I was most likely going to make NCAAs. In the prelims I set a best time, booked my ticket to NCAAs and I was top seed for the final. Being as the morning went well and I had qualified for NCAAs, the final was all about having fun with the race and trying to get gold, to score maximum points for my team, which I did. I’m honored to say that I’m the Sunshine State Conference 200 freestyle champion. However, on day 3 I did not have a swim. I was counting for a teammate in the 500 and I had a back spasm being that I was unable to complete the rest of the meet. I was disappointed, upset and annoyed knowing that I would have to be spectating the rest of the meet. But now the focus is on getting a quick recovery and looking forward to heading to Greensboro, North Carolina for the NCAA’s”
Florida Southern Men placed second overall with 802 points. Nova won with 876
Members of Jamaica’s team to the 2016 and 2014 World Short Course Swim Championships got 2018 off to solid starts for 2018
Justin Plaschka, who competed in Windsor in 2016, represents Notre Dame in the NCAA Division I, travelled to Iowa for a meet against Iowa on Jan 12 and 13. Justin recorded individual wins in the 50 yard freestyle in 20.16 under the NCAA B time of 20.19, 100 yard butterfly 48.90 .In the 200 yard medley relay the Fighting Irish finished second in a time of 1:29.01 Justin contributed a 20.82 butterfly leg. He had second place finishes in the 400 yard medley relay 3:18.09 and his butterfly split was 49.09,400 2:59.07 and 200 1:20.87 yard freestyle relays. On the freestyle relay teams he led off the team with splits of 20.47 and 44.54. Notre Dame beat Iowa 187-113.
His teammate in 2016 Kelsie Campbell who represents Florida International University also in Division I was in action on Jan 5 at her home pool at the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Center . She had her top performance in the 50 yard butterfly where she touched in 27.32. Kelsie would record other top ten performances in the 100 yard butterfly 59.17 fourth place and the 50 yard backstroke 27.60 sixth. She would place 14th in the 100 yard individual medley in 1:04.09. FIU would top the 11 strong women’s field with 756 points.
Nico Campbell who represented the country at the 2014 Doha World Championships had back to back dual meets against Emory and Nova Southeastern on Jan 12 and 13 respectively for his Division II Florida Southern College. Against Emory Nico won the 100 yard freestyle in 46.29.He was runner up in the 50 yard freestyle in 21.36. He was also a member of the 200 yard freestyle relay team that place 2nd in 1:25.56. On the following day his 200 yard medley relay won in 1:33.56 against Nova. Nico anchored the team with 20.99 freestyle leg. On the 200 yard freestyle relay he led off with a 21.76 as his A team placed second in 1:25.80. He would also finished second in the 100 freestyle in 46.53.The 50 yard freestyle saw him finishing third in 21.57. Florida Southern won both contests turning back 131 to 74 Nova 134 to 128.
Jamaica’s Michael Gunning continued to show that he is one of the next wave of Jamaican stars looking to impress in senior international waters at the Commonwealth Games, CAC Games and World Short Course Championships in 2018 with another series of record breaking performances over the weekend.
Competing at the Stockport Metro November Open Meet this past weekend contested over short course metres (25 metre pool) he took down the 400 metre freestyle record and crushed his 200 metre butterfly set a little over week ago . He has set those records in the midst of heavy training schedule which means when he is fully shaved, rested and tapered one can expect him to go much faster in both the 25 metre pool and 50 metre pool when called upon to represent the island in international competitions.
Gunning, who has represented Jamaica in at the 2017 World Championships and the 2017 World University Games placed 3rd in the 400 metre freestyle in a time of 3:53.08
Analysis of swim
That lowered the 3:54.26 by distance King Dominic Walter when he represented the McMaster University in a Silver medal winning performance at the 2016 Ontario University Athletics Championships. Gunning completed yet another national record double as he now owns both the short course and national records in the event.
400 metre freestyle
Michael only participated in the Saturday session of the three day meet as he revealed to draftingthecaribbean “I only swam as I’m so broken from training I did not want to run myself into the ground” which speaks to the intensity of his workouts at this time of the season.
Despite that he managed to crush his 200 metre butterfly national record of 2:05.12 with a Silver medal winning performance of 2:00.07. Michael was just edged for the Gold by Jacob Jackson of Ellesmere who recorded a time of 1:59.75.
Comparison of national record swims
Draftingthecaribean spoke to Michael and got his thoughts about his performances
“I’m absolutely tired from racing every weekend but it’s great to see all my hard work is paying off and I’m managing to transfer all my skills from training and see the benefits coming together when I race. I was overjoyed to see how much I had broken those new Jamaican Records by as I didn’t expect to be swimming too fast right now in this block of work. It’s great to see that the Jamaican Swimming History is getting stronger and I’m so honoured that I get to be a part of it. It’s truly heart-warming to see how much encouragement and support I’ve received over the past year I can’t wait to see what’s to come leading into next year, as it’s a really exciting time for both me and Jamaican swimming”.
The Stockport swimmer owns the national records in the 50 metre pool in the 200 metre butterfly and 200 metre freestyle at 1:59.83 and 1:50.00. He boasts a personal best of 55.10 in the 100 metre butterfly since donning the Jamaican national colours. Those times would give him the following placings at the last three Commonwealth Games.
200 metre freestyle
400 metre freestyle
100 metre butterfly
200 metre butterfly
Michael is a part of a Jamaica’s next generation of swimmers that includes and is not limited to names such as Nico Campbell, Justin Plaschka, Keanan Dols, Kelsie Campbell, Breanna Roman and Bryanna Renuart. Queen of the pack remains Alia Atkinson and she will seek to lead the Jamaican delegation for the third time. The country continues to improve in the quality and depth of swimming at the senior level. In 2006 the island sent 3 swimmers to the Melbourne Games, in 2010 3 went to Delhi India and in 2014 6 went to Glasgow Scotland.
Michael Gunning pressed his case for inclusion on the 2018 Commonwealth Games team when he lowered the national records in the 200 metre butterfly and 200 metre freestyle at the British University and College Sports Short Course Swimming Championships held from November 10 to 12.
The meet held in a 25 metre pool at the Ponds Forge in Sheffield saw the University of East London student qualifying for the 200 metre freestyle with a time of 1:50.71. The final would see him finishing 4th in a new personal best time of 1:48.28.
That swim, which is his best placing at the Championship, bettered the previous national record of 1:49.11 by distance king Dominic Walter. Dominic had set the previous mark at the Canadian Inter university Championships on February 26, 2016.
Analysis of national records swims by Gunning and Walters
With that championship final performance Gunning now owns the national records in the both the short course and long course (50 metre pool) .The long course record stands at 1:50.00 set at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest Hungary this past summer.
Michael would not be finished with his record breaking exploits as he lowered another Walter standard, this time in the 200 metre butterfly. He finished 11th in the event in a time of 2:05.12 (split time 59.28). His swim lowered the 2:05.55 Walter recorded on Feb 7, 2013 at the Ontario University Championships. With that swim he again achieved the national record double in both 25 metre and long course formats.
Michael’s long course metre record stands at 1:59.83 from the British Championships held on April 19 of this year.
He also competed in the 100 metre butterfly where he placed 21st in a time of 56.61 (split time 26.48)
When draftingthecaribbean spoke the Early Childhood Studies Major today he spoke about his record swims and his quest for Commonwealth Games qualification
“I’m over the moon to break those records last weekend!!I’m still in the middle of my hardest cycle yet and to break those records whilst feeling this tired and fatigued it makes me super excited to see what’s to come. My coach and I have sat down and we are trying to compete at lots of different competitions and race in different events whilst I’m tired as it’s all to get my body use to stepping up when it matters most no matter how tired I am, so when it comes to the Commonwealth Games next year when I am fresh and rested it will come natural to me”.
Michael is seeking to be a part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Team. In 2014 Jamaica was represented by Six swimmers Three women and Three Men .That squad had Eight top 16 performances including medals a Silver and a Bronze won by Atkinson in the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke races. With Jamaican swimming improving since 2014 a team of the same size at least should be expected . The 2018 squad should see Commonwealth Games record holder Alia Atkinson in action in Melbourne . Other hopefuls for the team include
Jamaica was represented by Florida Southern College sophomore Nico Campbell and Florida Institute of Technology freshman Bryce Butler at the 2017 Sunshine State Conference Championships in Orlando Florida from February 16 to 19.
Campbell would come away with 5 medals at his 2nd Conference Championships and all personal bests in his individual events.
The 200 yard freestyle saw the former national record holder in the 200 metre freestyle winning Silver. He went from a season and personal best of 1:39.08 to new personal best of 1:38.24 (split time 48.66). The final saw him shaving off .01 of a second to record a time of 1:38.23 to finish just behind winner Franco Lupoli of Nova Southeastern University 1:37.91.
He would defeat Lupoli in the 800 yard freestyle relay .Both men would lead off their respective A teams. In that opening stanza it would be Nico who would get his hand to the wall first and have the fastest opening leg 1:38.20 to 1:38.22, yet another personal best. Nova would however win the event in 6:30.97. Nico’s teammates Noah Franz 1:38.56, Matthew Holmes 1:37.25 and Luka Planic 1:38.65 contributed to Silver medal winning effort of 6:33.55.
The 200 yard freestyle relay team of Diego Gimenez 20.44, Marco Palacios 19.94, Franz 20.10 and Campbell 20.09 helped the Moccasins to the Silver medal in a time of 1:20.57.
There would be yet another Silver medal in the 200 yard medley relay. This time the team composition would be Palacios backstroke 21.83, Sean Kim 25.43, Gimenez butterfly 21.35 and Campbell freestyle 20.16. The clock would register an overall team effort of 1:28.82.
The 400 yard freestyle relay team of Franz 44.56,Campbell 44.58,Holmes 45.07 and Gimenez 43.48 accounted for the Bronze medal in the event with a total team time of 2:57.69.
In the 100 yard freestyle ,the Exercise Science Major lowered both his season best of 45.48 and personal record of 45.28 in the morning heats to 45.03 (split time 21.66). That earned him a second swim in the B final .In that race he was able to record his first sub 45 time with a 3rd place finish of 44.96 (split time 21.44).
In the 50 yard freestyle Campbell recorded a personal best of 20.72 in the heats. That bettered his season best of 20.84. It also beat personal record of 20.81 that he registered when he placed 17th at the 2016 edition of the Conference Championships. That time put him in the B final where he was again faster. He finished 5th in a time of 20.59 well under the NCAA Division II B time of 20.83.
Nico spoke to draftingthecaribbean about his performances at the Conference Championships
“Overall it was a good meet for me. I made finals in every event I swam, which scored points for the team, and I achieved best times in all my events, which was one of my meet goals. I knew there was a chance to be in the top 5 in the 200 freestyle but I didn’t think I would finish second by a close amount. I am now part of the Florida Southern Mocs national team that will be traveling to Birmingham, Alabama for the Division II NCAA championships to be held from March 8-11”.
His countryman and teammate on the 2015 CARIFTA team that competed in Barbados, Bryce Butler competed in his Conference for the FIT Panthers. Swimming exhibition only Butler, a Biomedical Engineering student recorded personal best times in the in 50 yard freestyle 23.06, 100 yard butterfly 56.80 and 200 yard breaststroke 2:21.73. In the 100 yard breaststroke he was just off his personal best of 1:01.72 with a 1:02.01 clocking.When Butler spoke to draftingthecaribbean he had the following thoughts
“Coming off an injury of fractured toes I didn’t expect to do best times..I’m looking forward to next year where I hope to post better times”.
The Moccasins finished 2nd in the men’s competition with 841 points. The Panthers were 4th with 603 points.
The first night of the Canadian Interuniversity Sports championships got under way at Université Laval in Quebec City Quebec on Friday Feb 26. The format of the meet is to have the heats swum in short course metres (25 metre pool) and the final in long course metres (50 metre pool).The CARIFTA region is represented at the meet and continues to raise the bar in terms of quality swimming.
Twenty two year old Christopher Courtis of Barbados had a fantastic morning swim in the 50 metre backstroke when he lowered the record of legendary Barbadian Olympian (1996, 2000, 2004) Nicky Neckles. The record of 25.45 was set by Neckles in December 2009 while Courtis had a season best of 25.79. He crushed both times to set a new senior national record of 24.79. The University of Calgary student was the top seed heading into the long course metre final.
The long course record in the 50 metre backstroke also belonged to Neckles with a time of 26.26 set in August 2005. Courtis would go on to erase that standard from the books when he won Bronze in a time of 26.21. This is a major improvement for Courtis from 2015 when he finished 4th in the B final .Last year his times were 26.00 scm (short course metres) and 27.29 lcm (long course metres).
Also doing the national record double was Jamaican Dominic Walter of McMaster University. Walter had been on a record breaking spree having set national short course metres records in the 400 and 1500 freestyle. Competing in the 200 metre freestyle the Wolmer’s Boys graduate had a personal best of 1:50.62 in the 200 scm freestyle. The national record prior to the meet belonged to Nico Campbell at 1:49.63 set at the World Short Course Championships in 2014 in Doha. At the end of the morning heats it would Dominic with yet another national record of 1:49.11. See analysis of splits of Walter and Campbell.
That performance propelled Walter to 11th overall and into the B final.
The national lcm record also belonged to Campbell .That record was also set in 2014 and stood at 1:53.95. In the B final which had ten competitors Dominic was 7th with a split time of 56.39. At this point Walter decide to make his move and turn up the heat on his competitors. He unleashed a last 100 metres with his distance background that the field could not handle. He split 56.94 which was the fastest last 100 metres by over a second. He stopped the clock at 1:53.33, a new national record by more than half a second. This is another major improvement for Walter who was 34th last year having posted 1:53.69 scm.
Teammate and country man Cameron chow was the best McMaster swimmer in the 50 metre backstroke. He clocked 26.32 scm for 24th overall.
In the 400 metre freestyle relay Walter split the fastest time of 51.66 lcm on the 2nd leg to help the Marauders to 8th in 3:30.90.