The second day of competition on Thursday March 23 at the 2017 NCAA Division I Championships in Indiana saw Suriname’s Raiz Tjon-A- Joe and Aruba’s Mikel Schreuders helping their teams secure second swims in the 200 yard freestyle relay.


Raiz, a freshman at Texas A&M University handled the anchor leg duties for the Aggies in the morning heats. He swam 19.95 to help them secure 15 place overall in a time of 1:17.59 .That team performance was not far off the school record of 1:17.37. The team without Raiz in the afternoon secured 4th place in the B final in a time of 1:17.19 breaking the school record. The Aggies had not qualified a team in this event last year.

Mikel Schreuders
Mikel Schreuders Photo courtesy of

Schreuders also only swam in the preliminaries of the 200 yard freestyle relay. He too was entrusted with anchor leg duties. He recorded a 19.61 split to help the University of Missouri Tigers set a total time of 1:16.78 and break the 2016 school record of 1:16.87 to place 7th overall. The team would retain the same place and record the exact same time of 1:16.78.

Mikel, who is a sophomore, competing in the 50 yard freestyle for the first time at the NCAA Division I championships placed 47th in the 50 yard freestyle in a personal best time of 20.13 .That bettered his previous personal standard of 20.15 set this year at the SEC (Southeastern Conference Championships).



Raiz Tjon A Joe

Texas A & M Surinamese freshman Raiz Tjon A Joe recorded his first B cut at NCAA Division I level at the Art Adamson Invitational at the Mansfield ISD Natatorium in Texas.

After making his season debut in the 100 yard breaststroke in the event with a time of 56.78 he earned a 2nd swim by making it to the C final. He proved to be the class of the field as he was half a second ahead of his competitors at the 50 yard mark with a split of 26.02. His second 50 yards split of 29.17 was almost a second faster than the competition giving him the win in 55.19. It bettered the B standard of 55.39. His performance was the 6th fastest of the 4 final heats contested.

He would have near misses for bettering the B cut in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle. In the 50 yard freestyle he placed 3rd in the B final with a time of 20.37. In the morning he recorded a season best of 20.27(split 9.91) to be just off the B time of 20.19. In the longer sprint freestyle event he was 6th in a time of 45.19.Like the 50 he recorded his season best earlier in the day posting 44.63(split time 21.02) not far off the B time of 44.29.

In the 100 yard butterfly he recorded a time of 50.06 (split time 23.33). He finished 4th in the C Final with a time of 50.24.

His highest placing would be in the 400 yard freestyle relay as the Aggies A team placed 3rd . The team of Corey Bolleter 44.47, Jacob Gonzales 43.31, Raiz 44.24 and Kaan Ayar 44.17 clocked the 17th fastest time in Division I of 2:56.69.

In the 200 yard medley relay Raiz had his fastest breaststroke split this season of 25.10 as the Aggies B team placed 6th in 1:29.58.In the 400 yard medley relay his C team placed 7th overall in a time of 3:17.55. His breaststroke contribution was 55.62.


Raiz had the following thoughts about the meet and the rest of the season

“My performances where very good considering not being tapered and being able to go close to best times in both the 100 fly and 100free.I am very excited for the season and hope to qualify for NCAA Championships. I predict that my 100 free and 100 breast will be my fastest events in the season .I also have the  possibility to swim very well in the 50 free, but I am more focused on my 100m,because I am a better at 100 free than 50m due to my endurance. My ultimate goal is to go 41-42 in 100 free and 53 in 100 breast for this season. I think this jump is possible since I adapted a vegan diet. It drastically increased my recovery and endurance, hence why I am concentrating more on my 100’s. Furthermore I am excited to see what I can do for other collegiate meets as well as international meets.”

The Aggies finished 2nd of the 6 team with 917 points.


Izaak Bastian starts race Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

Bahamian Izaak Bastian hit top form for Saint Andrews at the FHSAA (Florida High School State championships) at the recently concluded 1A state championships held in Stuart Florida. Izaak lowered 3 school records at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center on Friday Nov 11.

Saint Andrews record breaking 200 yard medley relay team From left to right Izaak Bastian, Jesse Marsh, Nicholas Sharp and Andrej Sokolovski Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

In the first final of the night, the 200 yard medley relay, he combined with Nicholas Sharp backstroke (23.67), Jamaican Jesse Marsh butterfly (22.41) and Andrej Sokolovski freestyle (21.73) to take the Silver in a new school record of 1:33.21. Izaak’s contribution to the relay was a breaststroke leg of 25.40. That bettered the 25.75 he did when the 2015 team clocked a then school record of 1:34.33. With all 4 divisions having completed their championships the Saint Andrew medley performance places them 3rd among all Florida high school teams.

50 yard freestyle podium From left to right Bastian Silver medallist ,Robert Cecil (Berkley) Gold medallist, Nicholas Ferrara Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

The record breaking would continue in the 50 yard freestyle .He dipped under the 21 second barrier for the first time to earn Silver in the event in a time of 20.75. That also bettered the school record of 20.89. It places Izaak as the 4th fastest in Florida.

Bastian Photo courtesy of Michael Lyn

In the 100 yard breaststroke he replicated his performance in 2015 to earn the Bronze yet again. He however did it in a much faster time. Last year he had set a school record of 57.19 (split time 27.06). This year he lowered the standard to 55.68 (split time 26.46).He ranks 4th in Florida with that time.

The Florida state record of 54.64 set by Suriname’s Raiz Tjon A Joe was broken by 2016 1 A champion James Daugherty of The Bolles who clocked 54.33.

In the 200 yard freestyle relay the team moved up from 6th in 2015 to 4th in a time of 1:25.97. Bastian started the relay with a split of 21.08.

Izaak had the following thoughts “I had a pretty good meet. It was really fun racing against guys that I had seen before and some new faces too especially Paul Degrado (Bolles) and James Daugherty (Bolles) two of the fastest breaststrokers in the nation. I felt I had a pretty good meet so I was happy with my results and my training for the year so far and hopefully it is just up from here”.

Samuel Gibson 100 freestyle record holder
Bahamian 13-14 100 metre freestyle record holder Samuel Gibson

The Bahamas was also represented by his teammate Samuel Gibson in the 400 yard freestyle relay. Samuel had a 3rd leg split of 48.58 to push Saint Andrews to 6th in the Championship final in a total time of 3:12.38. That performance places them 17th in Florida. He was 19th in the 100 yard butterfly in a time of 53.45 (split time 24.77).

Saint Andrews finished 3rd in the boys category with 87 points.


Raiz Tjon A Joe
Raiz Tjon A Joe Photo courtesy of Azura Florida Aquatics



Suriname’s Raiz Tjon- A -Joe made his collegiate debut with Texas A & M on Friday October 28 in College Station Texas. The occasion was a duel meet with the University of South Carolina.

His life as an Aggie began with the 200 yard medley relay C which swam for exhibition purposes. Swimming the breaststroke leg where he split 26.05. Raiz helped them to a total time of 1:32.64.

In his first individual event the 50 yard freestyle he led the field into the 25 yard turn with a split time of 9.99. He would not be able to hold off the field and finished 4th in a time of 20.67.

The longer sprint, the 100 yard freestyle, Raiz was 2nd to the wall with a split of 21.58. He would be one place lower at the finish to place 3rd in a time of 45.74.

The swimmer who hails from Paramaribo was given A team duties in the 400 yard freestyle. Though the team swam for exhibition purposes they still had the fastest time on the day. The line-up of Adam Koster (45.41), Turker Ayar (45.69) ,Raiz (46.20) and Jacob Gonzales (44.47) touched in a total time of 3:01.77.

The Aggies won the contest 176 to 118.

Raiz is known for his sprinting prowess. While representing Westlake Prep he won the 2015 Florida State 1A Championships in the 50 yard freestyle and was 2nd in the 100 yard breaststroke. He had set the Florida state record in the heats of the 100 yard breaststroke with a time of 54.64 .The all-time top 3 fastest times in Florida high school history are held by swimmers from the CARIFTA region. Raiz broke the record of 54.72 held by Olympian Bradley Ally of Barbados when he represented St Thomas Aquinas in 2004.Rounding out the trio is Aruban breaststroke national record holder Jordy Groters who clocked 54.76 representing University School in 2013.

At the 2015 SPEEDO Winter Junior Nationals East Raiz was 2nd in 100 yard freestyle and 4th in the 50 yard freestyle cracking the 20 second barrier with a time of 19.94. Notable alumni of Texas A &M include Jamaica’s World Record Holder Alia Atkinson and Barbadian national record holder Shawn Clarke.



Daniella Van Den Berg
Daniella Van Den Berg Photo courtesy of

The first day of the Orlando Pro Swim series got underway on Thursday March at the YMCA of Central Florida aquatic Center with a number of the CARIFTA region’s swimming participating in the 3 day meet.The competition which will see action from a number of international competitors also serves as an offcial Rio 2016 Olympic qualifier.
In the heats of the women’s 200 freestyle Aruban Daniella Van Den Berg lowered her national record of 2:08.06 set in 2014 to 2:07.22 . That performance placed her 58th overall. She also made a big season drop from 2:08.73.Her split time was 1:02.05.
In the men’s equivalent Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter had the fastest time among the CARIFTA region men with a 1:52.77 (split time 53.54) to have the 25th fastest from the morning heats. He did not contest D finals.Trinidad and Tobago’s Emiro Goossen had dropped his season best from 1:57.12 to 1:54.19 (split time 56.21) for 43rd .Christian Selby of Barbados dropped his season best as well from 1:59.53 to 1:55.01 (split time 55.94) for 56th. Countryman Alex Sobers was 63rd with a time of 1:55.56 (split time 56.03).Matthew Lowe of the Bahamas was 83rd in a time of 1:57.48 (split time 58.04).
In the 100 metre breaststroke Trinidad and Tobago’s Alexndria Donahue was 6th in the C final with a time of 1:14.19.She was faster in qualifying with a time of 1:13.58 (split time 34.36).Bermuda’s Lisa Blackburn was 8th in that final in a time of 1:15.08.In the morning she almost bettered her season best of 1:14.11 with a 1:14.47 (split time 34.28).
Raiz Tjon-A-Joe lowered his season best in the 100 metre breaststroke of 1:09.02 when he clocked 1:05.62 (split time 30.16). In the C final he was 8th in a time of 1:07.13.
Suriname’s Zuhayr Pigot was 39th in the 100 metre butterfly in a time of 56.00.His split time was 24.87.


Jesse Marsh
Jesse Marsh


Izaak Bastian
Izaak Bastian


On Sunday Dec 13 a long course time trial was held at the SPEEDO Winter Juniors in Atlanta. On that day Jamaica’s Jesse Marsh (St Andrew’s Swimming) lowered the 13-14 100 metre butterfly record to 58.49. That performance marked the first time a 13-14 Jamaican swimmer had cracked the 59 second barrier.

The previous record was held by Timothy Wynter at the 2011 CARIFTA Championships held in Barbados. Wynter on his way to the old record had taken it out faster in 2011. Given that Marsh is also good at the 200 metre butterfly he took it home faster as seen by the analysis of the splits below

Wynter had finished second to Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter on that day. The two swimmers are now training partners in Southern California as they prepare to make qualifying bids for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Marsh also lowered his best time in the 50 metre freestyle clocking 25.96. At the 2015 CARIFTA Championships he was timed at 26.42.

His teammate at St Andrew’s Swimming Bahamian Izaak Bastian recorded 1:08.01 for the 100 metre breaststroke. At this year’s CARIFTA Championships Bastian won the Gold medal in his first year of the 13-14 age group 1:08.27. He continues to track the 13-14 Championship record by fellow Country man and Ohio State sophomore Dustin Tynes of 1:07.99. He is also targeting the national age group record of 1:07.22. Izaak came close this summer posting 1:07.51 at the Southern Zones Age Group championships. He also recorded a personal best in the 50 metre freestyle stopping the clock in 24.80.

Azura Aquatics Surinamese sprint star Raiz Tjon a Joe clocked 24.00 for the 50 metre freestyle.


Raiz Tjon A Joe
Raiz Tjon A Joe Photo courtesy of Azura Florida Aquatics


Albury Higgs
Albury Higgs Photo courtesy of
Izaak Bastian
Izaak Bastian


Jesse Marsh
Jesse Marsh
Jay Fitgerald ,Patrick Groters,Maruis Podkoscielny
Jay Fitgerald ,Patrick Groters,Maruisz Podkoscielny

Suriname’s Raiz Tjon A Joe worked his way onto the podium of the final day of yard swimming at the  2015 Speedo Winter Jr. Championships – East on Saturday Dec 12. Raiz representing Azura Florida aquatics edged his season best and personal best of 45.05 by the slimmest of margins to record a new standard of 45.04 and be 6th heading into the Championship final of the 100 yard freestyle. His split time was 21.28. Raiz had more in the tank in the final in the evening. He ripped a 20.72 50 yard split to be leading with two lengths to go.He held on to secure the Silver medal in 44.03 taking more than a second off his time in a sprint event. He won the 15-17 100 metre  Silver medal at this year’s CARIFTA Games in 52.57.

SwimMac Carolina’s sister act of Albury and Lilly Higgs punched their tickets to the final of the 200 yard breaststroke with personal bests. Albury crushed her season best of 2:17.01 and personal best of 2:16.87 to register 2:14.37 to be ranked 5th going into the Championship final. Sister Lilly destroyed her season best of 2:26.63 to be 8th going into the final. Her previous personal standard of 2:19.22 was also blown away. In the final it would be Albury who would again lower her personal best. Her new personal record now stands at 2:14.07. She took the out the race half a second faster at the 50 yard mark in 1:03.96 to help her secure 5th position. Lilly improved upon her position after the morning heats to finish 7th in 2:15.80. At CARIFTA 2015 Albury won the 15-17 200 metre breaststroke Gold medal in 2:39.53 while the Lilly won the 13-14 equivalent in 2:41.14. Swimming the 200 metre breaststroke at the World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore Lily clocked 2:40.48 while Albury was timed in 2:36.78.


Aruban Patrick Groters was the next best placed CARIFTA region swimmer. The 16 year old representing Pine Crest Swimming was 30th in the 200 yard backstroke in a new personal best time of 1:49.27He destroyed his previous personal best of 1:56.75. Groters is the reigning 15-17 Silver medallist in the 200 metre backstroke having clocked 2:09.34 in Bridgetown earlier this year. At the World Junior Championships in Singapore in August he posted a time of 2:09.89.

Saint Andrew’s Bahamian Izaak Bastian lowered his personal best of 2:05.36 in the 200 yard event to record a time of 2:04.13. Bastian won the 200 metre breaststroke in Barbados in his first year of the 13-14 age group in 2:28.15.

His countryman Jared Fitzgerald who swims for Peddie was 58th in the 100 yard freestyle in 46.67. Fitzgerald was 8th in the 15-17 100 metre freestyle at CARIFTA 2015 in 54.49.

In the 400 yard freestyle relay Saint Andrews was 22nd  in a time of 3:07.40. Jamaican Jesse Marsh took charge of third leg duties with a 48.29 split. Bastian anchored in 47.11.

Fitzgerald helped Peddie to 23rd with his 2nd leg split of 46.51 .The total time for Peddie was 3:07.80.

Aruban Patrick Groters started the relay for Pine Crest with a 46.94.they finished 24th in 3:08.02.

SwimMac Carolina won the girls competition with 57s points.

Azura Florida Aquatics was 18th in the boys competition with  62.50 points. Baylor was 19th with 56 points. Saint Andrew’s Swimming was 38th with 16 points.