At the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart, Florida on Nov 11 Jamaica was represented by 2019 World Junior Championships representatives Emily MacDonald of the Bolles School and Cameron Brown of the University School.
Emily’s Bolles School won the State Championship for the girls for the 29th consecutive year. In the 400 yard freestyle relay the Grade 11 student along with her teammates created history to lower the school standard en route to Gold in the relay.
Emily, who was drafted into the final for her first ever swim on this relay at States made the best use of it with a big personal best. She led off the relay in a time of 50.81, beating her lifetime best by almost a second. That gave the Bulldogs a lead that they would not relinquish to hold off the Saint Andrews team in a new school record of 3:23.18 to the Scots 3:24.00. The last time a Jamaican was on the podium was through Annabella Lyn and her Pine Crest team in 2017 when they won Silver in 3:27.02.
The old 1A Champs best was set in 2014. The 2019 winning time now stands as the fastest time ever done at the 1A championships.
MacDonald is just outside the top five fastest Jamaican women of all time in the 100 yard freestyle.
The time also has Bolles as the fastest team in Florida when compared to the other teams in 2A, 3A and 4A.
In the 200 yard medley relay the 2018 team repeated the Gold medal performance with a change in legs to produce a faster time in 2019.This time Emily and Sasha Ramey switched freestyle and butterfly legs. The result saw Emily producing the first butterfly sub 25 second split since 2017 at States. Their winning time of 1:43.43 is the fastest Gold medal performance since 2015.
In the 200 yard freestyle relay MacDonald now has a complete set of medals. In 2017 she won the Bronze with her team touching in 1:35.67. In 2018 they were in the runner up spot stopping the clock in 1:34.39. This time they had no equal at the meet or in Florida as they record a time of 1:33.61 to take the Gold . The time is the second fastest time ever recorded at the 1A state Championships . Only the 2013 Bolles team with their school record of 1:32.74 has been faster.
In the morning heats Emily recorded her first sub 23 seconds relay split of 22.94 to push the team to the number one seed for the final with a time of 1:35.37.
In the 50 yard freestyle the Pan Am Games B finalist recorded a personal best in the heats of 23.43. In the final she recorded the second fastest time of her career to place fourth in 23.53. She has steadily improved at the State championships with an 8th place finish in 2017 with a time of 23.97, then finishing 5th in 2017 with a swim of 23.68. MacDonald is now tied with Shaun Johnson on the list of the fastest Jamaican woman of all time. The list is again headed by Natasha Moodie with her blast from the 2011 NCAA Division I champs.
Her teammate Cameron Brown, who has been Jamaica’s best age group breaststroker for a number of years, recorded his best time in the 100 yard event at the State Champs in the heats with a swim of 59.45. In the final Brown recorded his highest ever placing punching in a time of 59.64. That bettered his best showing of 7th in 2017 in 1:00.08.
In the 200 medley and freestyle relay Brown recorded his best splits at the State championships for his best ever relay showing.
In the 200 yard medley relay he was timed at 27.49 that helped University School hold off Saint Andrews 1:40.11 to 1:40.32 to top the B final. Last year the team was 5th in 1:42.80. His breaststroke leg was the fastest of the B finalists.
In the 200 yard freestyle relay Brown’s team were the victors in the B final with a time of 1:29.45. Cameron’s second leg was 22.01. This is major improvement from 2018 when the team placed 8th in the B final with a total effort of 1:31.91.
The Bolles topped the girls field amassing 489 points, Saint Andrews was second with 280 and PK Yonge third with a total of 152.5.
On the boys side University School was 13th with 63 points. The winners were Bolles with 337 points, Second Episcopal(Jacksonville) 209.5 and Berkeley Prep with 169.