Heading to the London 2012 Olympics no English speaking Caribbean swimmer had graced the final of the 50 metre freestyle.

The legend known as George Bovell III of Trinidad and Tobago made his intention known from early at the London Aquatics Centre with the fastest swim of the morning heats with a blast of 21.77.

The semifinals of the splash and dash would see him repeating that time and getting the fifth fastest time in the final.

The final on August 2,2012 saw him cutting through the water to place seventh in 21.82.

History created and another chapter written in the Bovell legacy.


Before Bovell at the Olympics there was Hilton Woods of then Netherlands Antilles who had placed eighth in then B finals in 1988. Woods, the 1987 PAN AM Games Bronze medallist (23.39) made it to the B final with a swim of 23.46 before registering 23.65 in his second swim at the Seoul Games.Finishing just ahead of Woods was Mark Andrews 23.64 who represented Trinidad at the PAN AM Games a year earlier and had won Bronze in the 100 metre freestyle.

Allan Murray .Photo courtesy of

In 1996 Allan Murray of The Bahamas , a great CARIFTA region sprinter of his era also made it to the B final. He set a then national record of 22.75 in the heats to be 11th overall. In the B final he tied for fourth place in the race with the legendary Brazilian sprinter Gustavo Borges in a time of 22.92.


Staying in Europe exactly a year later at the Barcelona World Aquatic Championships George would make another breakthrough for the CARIFTA region. This time the series leading into the final was like a building swim. Bovell was 14th in the early qualification with a time of 22.09. The semi finals saw him cracking the 22 seconds barrier with a 21.74 earning the last available spot.

Men of Speed. 2013 medla podium from left to right Morozov, Cielo and Bovell

This August 3,would be even better than the previous year. His reaction time was 0.71 off the blocks his turn of speed however would be even greater as he rocketed to 21.51 to earn the Bronze medal. Silver went to Vladimir Morozov of Russia in 21.47 and the Gold to Brazilian César Cielo in 21.32.

Bovell in flight . Photo courtesy of Mike Lewis


Bovell at this stage in his career had made three World Championships finals and also set the Championship record in 2009 with his still standing national record swim of 21.20 during a swim off to make the Championship final. No other swimmer has made the 50 metre freestyle final so many times or held the Championship record.

Ricardo Busquets .Photo courtesy of primerahora

Only Puerto Rican sprint star Ricardo Busquets who won Bronze at the 1998 Perth Championships can match Bovell re medal count.


What makes those years especially historic and inspirational is what George overcame before the London Olympics.Reggae icon Buju Banton summed it up best in his hit song “Not An Easy Road”

“It’s not an easy road
And many see the glamour and the glitter so them think a bed of rose”

In his own words Bovell spoke about his ordeal to his home club Marlins of Trinidad and tobago

” My brain injury before London – I had terrible vision and memory loss. I was forced to remain very quiet because if my blood pressure raised from an elevated heart rate it could have caused the bruise on my brain to bleed, giving me a stroke which could have been potentially fatal. It was a very stressful time because for a while there I had no guarantee that everything would be ok and the prospects having a stroke or having to undergo brain surgery had me absolutely terrified and unable to have peace of mind. After progressive brain scans we saw that my brain healed up and I was allowed to return to training. I lost so much strength and fitness that I think to fight back and make it to the Finals in London will be something that I will continue to be proud of for the rest of my life.”

The legacy of Bovell III continues to be a source of motivation not only for the swimmers of the region that he represented but athletes in all sports. An indomitable spirit and an unquenchable thirst for excellence.



Another successful staging of the Karl Dalhouse Memorial was held this past weekend at the National Aquatic Centre in Kingston Jamaica. The meet had an international flair with the presence of teams from the United  States, The Cayman Islands and Bolivia. The Y Speedos hosted event saw a number of record breaking performances and top swims.

Jillian Crooks Photo courtesy of Cheser Adams

Leading the way was Jillian Crooks of Camana Bay Aquatics from the Cayman Islands. The 13 year old took down two national 13-14 records. In the 50 metre freestyle she lowered the 26.97 record held by Allison Jackson to 26.83.

Alison Jackson with one her Gold medals won at the 2017 CARIFTA Championships held in The Bahamas Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

She also lowered the meet record held by Zaneta Alvaranga of 27.70. It is also the fastest time ever recorded at the meet by a girl.

Emily MacDonald CARIFTA record holder

In her sights will be the CARIFTA record of 26.73 held by Emily MacDonald and the CCCAN record also held by Emily at 26.48.

Zaneta Alvaranga , the English speaking Caribbean’s fastest 13-14 girl Photo courtesy of Lynval Lowe

. The fastest time by an English speaking swimmer from the CARIFTA region is 26.34 set by Alvaranga in November at the Dean Martin Memorial in Kingston. It was also the best FINA points rated individual swim of the meet. Her sprint earned her 686 points.

Lauren Hew Photo courtesy of

Jillian also took the down 100 metre backstroke record of Lauren Hew with a new record of 1:05.74. Hew had set a national standard of 1:07.21 in winning the event in a then Championship record at the 2014 CARIFTA Games in Aruba.

Former record holder in the 15- 17 girls 100 metre backstroke Kendese Nangle in 2011 Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Falling along the wayside was the meet record of 1:09.23 set by Jamaican age group standout Kendese Nangle from 2009 .

McKayla Lightbourn

.Also bettered was the fastest time ever done by 13-14 girl in the event of 1:08.00 set by Bahamian McKayla Lightbourn at the 2007 CARIFTA Games in one of the most dominant individual displays at the Championships.

Event TimeMedalRecord
800 metre freestyle9:18.65GoldCR
200 metre breaststroke2:38.67GoldCR
200 metre freestyle2:09.74GoldCR
100 metre backstroke1:08.00GoldCR
400 metre IM5:00.35GoldCR
200 metre IM2:22.80Gold CR
50 metre breaststroke35.04GoldCR
200 metre butterfly2:25.43Gold 
400 metre freestyle4:31.05GoldCR
100 metre breaststroke1:16.24Gold 
200 metre backstroke2:26.05Gold CR
13-14 100 backstroke champion and senior national record holder Danielle Titus of Barbados

Jillian will have a chance to go after the CARIFTA record and fastest English speaking record for the region held by Barbadian star Danielle Titus of 1:05.61. Also on notice will be the CCCAN record of 1:05.11 set by Celismar Guzman of Puerto Rico set in 2015.

Jordan Crooks

In the land of the sprinters older brother Jordan crushed the 50 freestyle meet record of 24.44 by Sidrell Williams by almost a second .He stopped the clock in 23.50. That time was just off his 23.48 set recently at the TYR Pro swim series in Knoxville Tennessee that would have in the top 100 swims by 18 and under swimmers globally.  He also had the most FINA points at the meet for a single event with that swim amassing  744 with 51.60  100 metre freestyle blast. At CARIFTA in 2019 he won the Silver with an effort of 53.24 Jordan will be looking to take the title of CARIFTA’s fastest swimmer in Barbados.

Shaune Fraser Photo courtesy of

The last time the Cayman Islands lifted the crown was when CARIFTA legend Shaune Fraser won in the 15-17 title 2005 in Curacao with a time of 24.38. That year saw another outstanding and dominant display of versatility by Shaune at the annual regional Championships.

Event TimeMedal
50 metre freestyle24.38Gold
100 metre freestyle 52.08Gold
200 metre freestyle1:54.94Gold
400 metre freestyle4:08.46Gold
1500 metre freestyle17:10.31Gold
50 metre backstroke28.20Gold
100 metre backstroke1:00.36Gold
200 metre backstroke2:11.42Gold
50 metre butterfly26.10Silver
100 metre butterfly56.74Gold
200 metre butterfly2:07.16Gold
200 metre IM2:09.23Gold
400 metre IM4:44.60Gold

This year’s CARIFTA again promises to be the stage when we see names such as Jordan, Lamar Taylor and DaVante Carey of the Bahamas, Jayhan Odlum Smith among the protagonists likely to break the 23 seconds barrier.

The meet was won by the hosts with 862.50 points. They were followed by Tornadoes with 673 points and Camana Bay Aquatic Club.341

Meet records broken

Sabrina Lyn CARIFTA record holder in the 13-14 100 metre butterfly
EventNameClubAge groupTimeRecord
1500 metre freestyleZachary RandleSpeedosopen18:19.2118:30.81
50 metre freestyleLilla HiggoCamana11-1227.9628.17
100 metre freestyleLilla HiggoCamana11-121:02.061:02.61
200 metre IMLilla HiggoCamana11-122:33.252:45.04
200 metre backstrokeLilla HiggoCamana11-122:33.192:44.07
50 metre freestyleJillian CrooksCamana13-1426.8327.70
100 metre freestyleJillian CrooksCamana13-1459.261:01.06
200 metre freestyleJillian CrooksCamana13-142:12.502:18.47
100 metre backstrokeJillian CrooksCamana13-141:05.741:09.23
200 metre backstrokeJillian CrooksCamana13-142:28.172:34.89
50 metre freestyleZaneta AlvarangaKaizen15-2427.0227.07
50 metre freestyleJordan CrooksCamana15-2423.5024.44
100 metre freestyleJordan CrooksCamana15-2451.6053.82
200 metre freestyleJordan CrooksCamana15-241:56.942:01.78
100 metre backstrokeJordan CrooksCamana15-241:00.551:02.37
100 metre breaststrokeJessica DennistonSwimmaz10 and under1:41.141:46.14
100 metre breaststrokeKai RadcliffeAquamarine10 and under1:28.711:36.51
100 metre breaststrokeKai RadcliffeAquamarine9-1039.8639.91
200 metre breaststrokeAiden KohanyiTS Aquatics13-142:34.062:44.08
200 metre freestyleAiden KohanyiTS Aquatics13-142:04.002:05.76
100 metre breaststrokeAiden KohanyiTS Aquatics13-151:08.621:13.15
100 metre freestyleSabrina LynTornadoes15-2459.5859.77
100 metre butterfluSabrina LynTornadoes15-241:04.161:04.38
50 metre backstrokeLuke HiggoCamana9-1037.2537.79
200 metre butterflyKyra RabassStingraysopen2:34.132:37.27
200 metre freestyleKyra RabassStingrays15-242:12.702:12.76
100 metre butterflyJose QuintanillaBolivia15-2456.4459.53
100 metre breaststrokeKito CampbellSpeedos15-241:10.961:11.15

2019 WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS 100 metre backstroke men Lion hearted Dylan Carter of TTO becomes the fastest ever CCCAN swimmer at Worlds

The heats of the 100 metre backstroke event  at the 2019 World Swimming championships was hit by issues with swimmers either slipping or not getting the push required from the backstroke wedges. One such affected swimmer was Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago. In the initial morning swim Carter had recorded a time of 55.35 for 30th overall. Also suffering a similar fate was Italian swimmer Simone Sabbioni who heard the starter’s gun three times, slipping twice before he was able to put a time that enable him to make the semi finals.

Carter dissatisfied with the wedge and wanting to give his best for himself, and his country and by extension the region requested a second swim.This was accepted and he did not disappoint. He split 26.56 en route to a total time of 54.03. His happiness was seen after the swim as he slapped the water in approval. The time not only got him in into the semifinals in 16th spot but also a new national record .In the semi finals he maintained his overall position and  recorded the second fastest time of his career 54.08

Carter’s Top Three Performances

Meet1st 502nd 50 Total time
WC heats26.5627.4754.03
WC semis26.2527.8354.08
Can trials26.4127.6854.09
Dylan Carter Photo courtesy of

The University of South California Grad has attained the highest placing for a swimmer in his country at the World Champs. He bettered the previous best placing and time by a swimmer from Trinidad and Tobago as in 2015in Kazan where he placed 33rd in 55.24. He also vaults to the top of the all time CCCAN rankings as he went under the under the 55.21 recorded by legendary Cuban backstroker Neisser Bent . He stroked his way to 55.21 and fourth place ahead of another icon of the region Rodolfo Falcon 55.32 in the Championship final of the race at the 1998 Perth Championships .

Rodolfo Falcon Photo courtesy of

CCCAN All Time Top Performers

Dylan Carter54.032019TTO
Neisser Bent55.211998CUB
Rodolfo Falcon55.321998CUB
Ricardo Busquets55.781998PUR
Rex Tullius55.882015ISV
Bradley Ally55.882011BAR
Pedro Medel56.122013CUB
Nicky Neckles56.202007BAR
Jack Kirby56.252019BAR
Jack Kirby being honoured as the 2018 Junior Sportman of the year Photo courtesy of the Barbados Olympic Association

Making his World Championships debut Jack Kirby cracked the all time top ten list. The incoming USC freshman split 27.64 on way to 56.25 and 42nd place overall.

Third overall from CCCAN was Cuban Armando Barrera 47th overall in a time of 57.00 (split time 27.25).Barrera got the chance to show his best effort in the race on a global stage after an unfortunate disqualification in 2015

Eisner Espinoza Barberena of Nicaragua was 57th overall in time 1:00.56 (split time 29.29).This marks his fourth consecutive time competing at the World Champs.

2019 World Swimming Championships 200 metre freestyle men Aruban Mikel Schreuders is CCCAN leader in Korea

Mikel Schreuders Photo courtesy of

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.

Shaune Fraser Photo courtesy of
2009Shaune Fraser1:46.1310thCAY
2017Dylan Carter1:47.7724thTTO
2009Brett Fraser1:48.1824thCAY
2009Lennox Silva1:48.8135thPUR
2019Mikel Schreuders1:48.9232ndARU
2017Michael Gunning1:50.0043rdJAM
Michael Gunning

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).

Alex Sobers

Alex 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.

Noah Mascoll-Gomes Photo courtesy of

Noah 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).

Jordan Crooks

Reigning 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.

2019 World Championships 100 metre backstroke Krystal Lara of Dom Rep is #1 for CCCAN in Korea ,Titus of Barbados lowers national record

Krystal Lara Photo courtesy of NSU Sports

On the second day of competition at the World Swimming Championships Krystal Lara of the Dominican Republic produced the best time for the region in the 100 metres backstroke. Lara who set the fastest time ever by a woman at CCCAN when she stopped the clock in 1:03.77 went fastest in South Korea when she was timed in 1:02.71(split time 30.17) to place 36th overall.The first swimmer to win a medal for her country to win a medal at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games she won the Bronze in the event in Colombia. She also returns the region to a top 40 position at the Global Champs.

National record holder from El Salvador Celina Marquez was tantalizingly close to her newly minted standard of 1:02.92 when she touched in 1:02.94 for 38th overall.

15-17 CARIFTA Champion and record holder in the 100 metre backstroke Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

Reigning CARIFTA and CCCAN Champion in the 15-17 age Danielle Titus of Barbados lowered her age group and senior national record of 1:04.60 when she swam 1:03.66 for 43rd overall.

Meet1st 502nd 50Final time

Another record holder Puerto Rico’s Celismar Guzman hit the pads in a time of 1:04.11 for 46th

2019 CARIFTA Bronze medallist in the 13-14 age group Grenada’s Kimberly Ince recorded better her medal winning time of 1:10.09 to record a personal best of 1:09.85.


Kenzo Simons with his 50 metre freestyle Silver medal at the 2019 European Junior Championships today announced his arrival on the world stage with a major medal as well as a new Netherlands age group record in the event. Simons clocked a swift 22.10 to win Silver .

Kenzo Simons and father

In a race that show how fast the world of swimming has become saw German Artem Selim winning in 21.83 and the Bronze going to Vladyslav Bukhov of the Ukraine in 22.37. Simons had the advantage for most of the race before Selim pulled away for victory in a new European Junior record.

50 metre freestyle Championship race

Kenzo’s time would have won the Silver medal at the World Juniors at 2017 edition and Gold in 2015,2013 and 2011. No other swimmer from the region has ever gone faster than 22.50 in that age group.

In the history of CARIFTA region swimmers the top three rankings now includes Renzo Tjon A Joe of Suriname who blasted to 22.75 at the 2013 World Junior Championships en route to a Championship final. Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter would speed to 22.49 of the Youth Olympics the following year before winning Bronze in the Championship final with a time of 22.53

Renzo Tjon A Joe reacts to winning Gold in the 15-17 metre freestyle in 2013 Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn


Name50 free
Kenzo Simons22.10 (2019)
Dylan Carter22.49 (2014)
Renzo Tjon A Joe22.75 (2013)

This shows the vast improvement Simons has made since regional fans would have seen him last at the now defunct Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships in 2016 when he won the Gold in the 13-14 age group in a time of 24.08 in a Championship record.Another top junior swimmer coming into his own now Jan Collazo of Puerto Rico won the Silver in 24.80 and Curacao’s Christopher Marlin the Bronze in 25.04.

Earlier at the 2016 CARIFTA championships earlier in Martinique Simons had set the 13-14 record of 24.49 before it was lowered by Izaak Bastian of the Bahamas in the Championship final.

CARIFTA 2016 Simons Silver 24.49,Bastian Gold 24.25, Berol Bronze 24.69.Photo courtesy of Carifta 2016 MARTINIQUE C

Simon’s Recent Regional Results

2016CISC50 free24.0814Gold
2016CISC50 back28.1614Silver
2016CARIFTA50 free24.4914Silver
2016CISC50 back28.7314Bronze
2014CARIFTA50 back32.4112Bronze
2014CARIFTA50 free27.58124th
2014CISC50 free28.19127th
2014CISC50 back31.4912Silver

Simons time has bypassed the ranks of junior swimmers to make him the second fastest of all time from the CARIFTA region

Goerge Bovell III Photo courtesy of
TTO21.202009George Bovell II
Neth/SUR22.102019Kenzo Simons
SUR22.182018Renzo Tjon A Joe
TTO22.392018Dylan Carter
BAH22.392009Elvis Burrow
CAY22.412011Brett Fraser
BER22.472012Roy Allan Burch
BAH22.751996Allan Murray
JAM22.772016 Justin Plaschka
TTO22.792017Joshua Romany
JAM22.832008Jevon Atkinson
FRA/Fren GUY22.862015Mehdy Metella

This fantastic effort makes Simons the second fastest 18 and under swimmer in the world behind Selim and the 15th fastest in the World .

He would also create more history by extending the distance between himself and the rest of the region’s age group swimmers in the 50 metre backstroke. Before 2018 the fastest time in the event was 25.99 by Carter. Simons had bettered that last year with a swim of 25.65 in the semi finals of this competition. This year he moved up from seventh to fourth with a new PB of 25.63

Start of the 2018 15-17 50 metre backstroke final from left to right Carey Silver medallist and Jack Kirby of Barbados Gold medallist Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn
Neth/SUR25.632019Kenzo Simons
TTO25.992013Dylan Carter
BAR26.072018Jack Kirby

In the 50 metre butterfly only Dylan Carter with his sub seconds blast of 23.81 to win the 2014 Youth Olympics Silver medal is faster than Kenzo from the region at the youth level.

Dylan Carter at the 2013 CARIFTA swimming championships Photo courtesy of Michael C Lyn
TTO23.812014Dylan Carter
Neth/SUR24.282019Kenzo Simons
FRA/Fren Guy24.562010Mehdy Metella

In the 100 metre freestyle Simons is in the same company .He posted a huge PB of 49.71 in the heats of the mixed 400 metre freestyle relay .That was a massive time drop from his previous standard of 50.74. He would also be under the 50 seconds barrier in the Championship final with a swim of 49.92 as the Dutch team placed fifth in a time of 3:31.13.

Mehdy Metella Photo courtesy of Arena Water Instinct France and Stéphane Kempinaire
FRA/Fren Guy49.2523.552010Mehdy Metella
TTO49.5023.982014Dylan Carter
Neth/SUR49.7123.392019Kenzo Simons

Simons exploits should serve as motivation to the region’s youngsters about what can be achieved through hard work and dedication. Also that certain times are not above their abilities at the youth level


Aruban Olympian Allyson Ponson announced her readiness for top performances at this summer’s World Championships in Korea and ultimately the Tokyo Olympics with national record performances in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle.

Allyson Ponson celebrating her 100 metre freestyle Gold medal Photo courtesy of Azura Florida Aquatics

The occasion was the Puerto Rico International Swimming Open held from April 25 to 28 at the San Juan Natatorium . In her first sprint event the 100 metre freestyle Allyson, representing Azura Florida Aquatics rattled her national mark of 56.84 in the morning heats.She swam 56.86 to claim the top seed heading into the Championship final. In that final in the afternoon she relegated the 56.84 to the history books when she swam the only sub 57 time of 56.78. Allyson had set the old national record during the heats of the 18 and over category at the now defunct Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships. Silver went to Daniela Gutierrez Zapata of Colombia in 57.66.The Bronze was won by Julimar Avila of Honduras in 58.26.

Ponson was just off the 2019 Lima A standard of 56.56.In her sights for the rest of the season will be the World Championships B time of 56.40 and Olympic B standard of 56.01.

Allyson Ponson at the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony Photo courtesy of wikipedia

The record breaking was not limited to the 100 metre freestyle as she turned her attention to the fastest event in swimming , the 50 metre freestyle. In that event she blasted through a number of standards as well as her national record in her morning swim. She exerted her dominance with a new Aruban mark of 25.61. That blew away her old national standard of 25.84 set in 2016. Also bettered was the Lima Peru PAN AM A standard of 25.89 and the World Championships B standard of 25.92.

Allyson with her teammate Mariel Mencia displaying Gold and Silver medals from the 50 metre freestyle Photo courtesy of Azura Florida Aquatics

In the night’s final her speed proved too much for her rivals as she stopped the clock in a time of 25.70.Second went to club mate Mariel Mencia in 26.56 and the Bronze to Olympian and 2007 PAN AM Games Silver medallist in the event Puerto Rico’s Vanessa García Vega in 26.50.

Allyson who is now training in Florida with Azura Florida Aquatics spoke to us earlier this month about that move

” So I left February 2 to train with Azura my goals where to do the Pan American A cut in the 50 (25.89) and swim a personal best in the 100 free. In regards with the training I was expecting to do a lot of sprint focused training which I did and I think that really helped me a lot”.

She also gave draftingthecaribbean some insight about her races in San Juan

”  Well during the heats of the 50 I really just tried to stay calm and not focus on the fact that I needed to still qualify with a Pan Am A cut. I felt confident because during warm up I felt really good and I really believed that the training I did during Azura would help me qualify with the A time. So during the race I was just focused on doing what I practiced and not thinking of the time. How ever I wasn’t expecting to go 25.61 yet. For the 100 finals I was already so happy to have done 56 in the morning that my mind set was basically just put on lets try to go a little faster than the morning .I can definitely improve my second 50 in the 100 going back.I also need to make sure I don’t breathe as much in the last few metres”.

Allyson along with twin sister Gabrielle provided the backbone of Aruba’s sprint force during their junior years at the CARIFTA swimming championships

Allyson’s CARIFTA record

Age Group50 freePlacing100 freePlacingAgeYear

Those swims are putting her in elite company among the top sprinters of all time from the region. In the 50 metre freestyle she is the second fastest active swimmer and fifth overall.

Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace Photo courtesy of
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace The Bahamas24.31
Malia Metella   French Guiana/France24.58
Alia Atkinson Jamaica25.47
Leah Martindale Barbados25.49
Malia Metella celebrating Olympic Silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics Photo courtesy of zimbio

In that group Vanderpool-Wallace,Martindale and Metella have all made the Olympic final in the event. Metella won the Silver in 2004 in Athens,Martindale was the first female swimmer from the CARIFTA region to make the sprint final in 1996 at the Atlanta Games. Arianna showed her dominance during her era to make the final in 2012 in London.

For the 100 metre freestyle the all time list is as follows

Coralie Balmy Photo courtesy of Coralie Balmy
Malia Metella   French Guiana/France53.49
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace The Bahamas53.73
Joanna Evans  The Bahamas55.29
Alia Atkinson   Jamaica55.35
Coralie Balmy   Martinique/France55.49
Leah Martindale  Barbados56.03
Allyson Ponson Photo courtesy of

With Allyson already faster than her 2016 Olympic debut swim in Rio of 26.00 she is one of the most exciting prospects to watch her heading to the 2020 Tokyo Games.


On November 10 Nigel Forbes of the Bahamas representing the YMCA Waverunners created history for himself and his country when he recorded the fastest 100 metre butterfly time for an 11-12 boy from the English speaking Caribbean.

The calendar year 2018 had proven extremely successful for young Nigel with starting with the top CARIFTA region 11-12 100 metre butterfly performance at the inaugural UANA Cup in Florida where he won a Silver medal. After which he won the CARIFTA , REV National Championships and CCCAN crowns

Nationals1:03.27 CR28.99Gold

Nigel though winning Gold had just missed the Championship records at CARIFTA and CCCAN

Boys 11-12 100 metre butterfly podium .Photo courtesy of C.C.C.A.N
MeetTime Record HolderYear
CARIFTA1:02.40Yael Touw Ngie Tjouw2014
CCCAN1:01.83Eumir Quintero2005

It would almost seem that it would be the case of that oft repeated swimming adage ” last one fast one” . The occasion would be the 2018 Barracuda Family Guardian Invitational. In that race Nigel produced the fastest time ever by an 11-12 boy in the 100 metre butterfly. He uncorked a time of 1:00.20 breaking the unofficial CARIFTA English speaking record of 1:00.29 set by Franz Huggins way back in July of 1992.

Nigel Forbes looking at his time after a victory in 2018

When draftingthecaribbean informed Nigel Forbes about his feat ” He said he was “shocked and suprised”. When asked to describe the race he said “coach told me to go out hard and see what he had coming back.I went out hard and felt good on the first 50 metres but everything hurt on the last 50 metres. My coach told me it was a good swim and I should continue doing what I was doing in practice”

Nigel Forbes

When asked about his plans re time in the event now that he is in the 13-14 age group he said ” I am looking to do a 59 low or 58 and will be trying to achieve that time a meet in Florida shortly”

Franz Huggins with his Marlins Swim club at camp in Florida in 2012

Draftingthecaribbean contacted the former record holder in the event Franz Huggins , the former age group coach of Dylan Carter and Joshua Romany . The year was 1992 and Huggins was being conditioned by Richard Knaggs, a Central American and Caribbean Games medallist.

Huggins described the type of training he was doing at the time and who his main challengers would be

” Heavy aerobic with a lot of speed endurance. Three times a week was racing. It was not only being able to race but repeat it in training . Patrick DaSilva was a training partner who was older in the 13-14 age group who helped push me in training on the swimming. Joel Seda and Arsenio Lopez of Puerto Rico , Enrico McConney of Barbados,Masai Zebechaka and Tshaka Douglas of Jamaica would be the main competition.

He also described the race and how he felt at the time

Franz Huggins swimming butterfly in 1992

The record was held by Jose Santa Puerto Rico at 1:02.13 set in 1986 in Curacao 1:02.13. My goal was to go faster than 1:02 and my previous best was 1:04.60 the previous year .I felt confident going out fast on the opening 50 metres and then the base training would help me to finish well .That year (the now defunct) Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships CISC was held in Trinidad and Tobago hosted by Marlins Swim. I have never experienced such a adrenaline rush before,. In the race there was no pain, went out in 28.4  and finished well in a time of 1:00.29 That year I went faster than everyone in 13-14 at the meet.That performance also got me nominated for the Sportsman of the Year.

Nomination letter for Sports personality of the year 1992

Huggins also gave advice for age group swimmers

” Most kids are still developmental cycle and need to have a structured work and rest cycle . Training should be generalized and not specialized at a young age. Swimmers should swim as many events as possible.They should also learn about different energy systems and the concept of proper nutrition.He also emphasized resistance training is important for injury prevention and Motor skills but not for gaining muscle mass.

He also had a few words for Nigel as well as other age group standouts

The one thing I would tell any swimmer who has had a measure of success at this age is that that really has not yet begun.There are so many things to achieve and goals to set. As a young swimmer there is still the Junior world Championships, Commonwealth Youth Games, Youth Olympics and then you get into senior swimming, those who go to college in the United States have many championships, then you get into senior swimming there are the Central american and Caribbean Games,PAN american Games,World Championships and Commonwealth Games and the ultimate being the Olympics so just take it one step at a time .Every success is a benchmark but it is a long road ahead.Stay grounded and keep working hard”.


The second day of the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in Hangzhou China saw Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter as the top swimmer from the region in the 200 metre freestyle.

Dylan CarterPhoto courtesy of Walt Middleton/

Carter topped the best from the region with a time of 1:43.74 (split time 49.43) to finish 12th overall. In 2016 Windsor he was the top swimmer as well as he had made the Championship final.  

Marcelo Acosta Photo courtesy of

Second from the region was El Salvador’s Marcelo Acosta shattered his national record from the 2014 Championships of 1:49.93 in Qatar with a swim of 1:47.00 to placed 29th overall.In Qatar he had placed 51st overall.

First 5025.0425.39
Second 5026.6627.90
Third 5027.2928.72
Fourth 5028.0127.92
Final time1:47.001:49.93
Alex Sobers Photo courtesy of Barbados Aquatic Centre

Another swimmer in record smashing form was Alex Sobers from Barbados. He lowered the 2001 national mark of 1:48 .98  with a time of 1:47.55 (split time 52.60) to place 32nd overall.Damian Alleyne. Damian was one of the most dominant swimmers from the region in the late 1990’s to early 2000’s.  In 2016  at the Windsor Championships Sobers had placed 57th with a time of 1:49.69 (split time 53.27).

Yeziel Morales Photo courtesy of primerahora

Yeziel Morales of Puerto Rico was just off his national record of 1:50.58. He placed 44th overall in a time of 1:50.73 (split time 53.81).

Noah Mascoll-Gomes Photo courtesy of

Noah Mascoll-Gomes set a new national record when he placed 45th overall. He stopped the clock in a time of 1:51.60 (split time 54.58).


Kohen KerrThe Bahamas1:56.5254th
Cruz HalbichSt Vincent and the Grenadines2:00.0959th
Daniel ScottGuyana2:00.8460th


Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson was the regional standard bearer on the first day of competition of the 14th FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships underway in Hangzhou China. Atkinson made her fifth consecutive World Championship final in the 50 metre breaststroke.A feat no other woman has ever achieved.

Alia Atkinson Photo courtesy of

This morning local time Atkinson progressed to the final  with a time of 29.54 but what was different this occasion is that she will contest the final as the fastest seed. This looks to be a good indicator that she will take the Global title in this event after winning three consecutive Silver medals.She has always made the final in the event five of the six times she has entered the event. In her debut in Athens in 2004 she had placed 17th in a time of 33.17.

Analysis of Atkinson’s semi final performances

World Champs 2010 United Arab Emirates30.194th seed
World champs 2012 Turkey29.622nd seed
World Champs 2014 Qatar28.992nd seed
World Champs 2016 Canada29.092nd seed
World Champs 2018 China29.541st
Anahi posing with 50 metre breaststroke Silver at the CCCAN Championships Photo courtesy of C.C.C.A.N

Other ladies representing the region in that race were Victoria Russell of The Bahamas who registered a time of 32.94 for 34th. Anahi Schreuders lowered her own national record of 34.46 to place 39th in 33.90.

Marcelo Acosta Photo courtesy of

The region’s top middle and long distance freestyler El Salvador’s Marcelo Acosta solidified that position with a new national record of 3:42.74 (split time  that shattered his old national record set in 2014 in Qatar of 3:53.11. That swim ranked Acosta 13th overall a big jump from 2014 when he placed 51st .Antigua and Barbuda’s Stefano Mitchell placed 40th with a swim of 4:06.94.

Elisbet Matos Photo courtesy of desdeesteladodelaisla

Elisbet Gamos of Cuba was the region’s top swimmer in the women’s 200 metre freestyle placing 21st with a time of 1:58.37 (split time 58.33).

Other regional 200 metre freestyle results

GuatemalaGabriela Santis2:05.7640th
USVILidia Boguslawska2:13.8948th
Antigua and  BarbudaBianca Mitchell2:15.1751st

Bryan Alvarez Photo courtesy of diario extra

In the 200 metre butterfly there were national records for Cuban Luis Vega Torres (27th) 1:57.45(split time 56.51),Bryan Alvarez of Costa Rica (34th) 2:01.57 (split time 57.96), Guatemala’s Fernando Ponce (35th) 2:04.91 (split time 59.71)

Puerto RicoJarrod Arroyo1:58.2230th
Dominican RepublicZeniel Guzman2:05.5437th
Cadell Lyons Photo courtesy of Harold Wilson

Cadell Lyons was the top swimmer for the men in the 100 metre backstroke placing 36th in a time of 54.92 (split time 26.07). He was just off his national record of 54.36

Other regional 100 metre backstroke results

CubaArmando Barrera55.0738th
US Virgin IslandsMatthew Mays56.0940th

In the 400 metre individual medley Costa Rica’s Daniela Alfaro lowered the 1986 national record of 5:12.86 by Olympian Sylvia Poll to 5:01.36. That swim placed her 30th overall.

Edgar Crespo Photo courtesy of La Prensa

In the men’s 100 metre breaststroke Panama’s Edgar Crespo led the region with a sub minute performance of 59.40 (split time 27.40). Costa Rica’s Arnoldo Herrara lowered his own national record from 1:02.39 to 1:02.20 to place 51st overall.

Photo courtesy of Northern Michigan University

Other regional results

US Virgin IslandsAdriel Sanes1:01.8747th
CuracaoSerginni Marten1:01.8747th
ArubaBrandon Cheong1:05.4864th
St Vincent and the GrenadinesShane Cadogan1:05.7866th
Krystal Lara Photo courtesy of womenintheworld

It was Krystal Lara of the Dominican Republic that had the region’s top time in the 100 metre backstroke. She stopped the clock in a time of 1:00.28 (split time 29.17) to finish 32nd overall

Other regional results

CubaAndrea Becali1:03.9641st
PanamaNimi Murua1:05.0945th
BarbadosDanielle Treasure1:06.7447th
GrenadaKimberly Ince1:07.6849th
HaitiBritheny Joassaint1:09.5852nd
Jarrod Arroyo

2018 CAC Champion Jarrod Arroyo of Puerto Rico was the top performer in the 200 metre individual medley with a time of 2:00.97 placing 32nd , just missing the national record of 2:00.49 (split time 57.12).  Patrick Groters of Aruba shattered the Aruban national record of 2:17.86 when he finished 35th in a time of 2:02.16 (split time 55.77).

Patrick Groters courtesy of Michael C Lyn

Other regional results

Cuba Luis Vega Torres 2:03.61 36th