M C st Lucia 2
Mikaili Charlemagne Photo courtesy of Brian Charles photography

On July 29 Mikaili Charlemagne of St Lucia recorded the fastest time by a St Lucian woman at the World championships when she stopped the clock in a time of 28.26 to place 60th overall. That bettered the previous best time of 28.59 recorded by Siona Huxley at the 2009 Rome World Championships.

Draftingthecaribbean got her reaction to her swim on Sunday July 31.

Although the outcome of the 50 freestyle was not what l expected I had fun and enjoyed racing. From looking at the heat that I was seeded in I knew that the competition would be stiff. From the start I broke out with my head down trying to go for my goal time. I was disappointed that I did not make my best time but this race was motivation for me to train hard to be able to do better the next time I swim”.

mikaili Charlemagne 1
Mikaili Charlemagne Photo courtesy of Brian Charles photography

On Thursday July 27 Mikaili became the first St Lucian woman to contest the 100 metre freestyle. In that race she posted a time of 1:02.59 to finish 66th. She gave draftingthecaribbean her impressions of competing at her first senior international competition

This meet has been a wonderful experience for me thus far. It all started with me seeing the competition pool, that alone was motivation for me to swim to the best of my ability. Another thing that motivated me was seeing world class athletes like Katinka   Hosszu, Katie Ledecky, Adam Peaty and Simone Manuel swim before me. The days leading up to my first event  I started to warm up in the competition pool and that also helped me get a better feel of the type of competition that I was about to go up against. I also started to visualize my race days before. I think visualizing my race was one of the factors that helped me perform how I did. When the morning of my race came I was a bit nervous. Going down to the call room was a totally new experience because I had never been to a call room like that before. Going to the call room was also a little intimidating for me because there were so many girl tapping themselves to keep their muscles warm. Thankfully I was able to block out that sound and focus on my race. I felt that I had a wonderful race and during the race I felt energized and happy although I was nervous. I am just so happy that I did a PB (personal best time) and made my country proud. I am looking forward to my next race and many other meets like this to come”.


Competing in his first Long Course World Championships in Budapest Hungary sprinter Jean Luc Zephir made his presence for his nation St Lucia and provided evidence of his talent.

Racing in the 100 metre freestyle he produced an effort of 51.98 (split time 24.61) to place 65th overall. That performance was the 3rd fastest for the CARIFTA region swimmers and the 8th fastest among the CCCAN sprinters. It is also the 2nd fastest time ever recorded by a St Lucian at the World Championships. The fastest time for St Lucia is the 51.39 set by Olympian Jordan Augier at the 2015 Kazan Championships.


He placed 4th among CARIFTA sprinters today July 28 in the 50 metre freestyle and 8th for the CCCAN region with a time of 23.76. The only St Lucian faster than Jean Luc again is Augier who produced a 23.30 clocking also in Kazan.

Jean Luc Zephir
Jean Luc Zephir Photo courtesy of Brian Charles Photography

Zephir spoke about his performances at the biggest swim meet outside of the Olympics early today with draftingthecaribbean

“I had a range of emotions about the experience. I am happy and at the same time a little disappointed in my times.  I think that for my first World Championship in long course it is satisfactory. All these steps will allow me to progress and learn. I had great races in the 100 freestyle, and the 50 freestyle where I finished 3rd in my heat but I think I can do even better. This week I was very proud to swim in the St Lucian colours. I think my father and mother and my club Plymouth Leander will also be very proud of me”.




The opening day of the 2017 FINA World Championships (Sunday July 23) saw one St Lucia’s promising youngsters Jayhan Odlum-Smith making his debut at this level in the 50 metre butterfly.

Jayhan who was a finalist in the 13-14 category in that event at both the CARIFTA Games in The Bahamas and the CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago clocked 26.99 to place 67th overall. That swim placed him 5th among CARIFTA representatives at the global Championships. Jayhan’s time is the second fastest time by a St Lucian in the event since 2001 .

Jayhan Odlum-Smith St Lucia
Jayhan Odlum-Smith Photo courtesy of

When draftingthecaribbean spoke him yesterday he gave his impressions on competing at this level

“At the age of 15 years old participating in the World Championships has been pleasurable and very motivating experience .I swam the 50 metre butterfly .I was nervous getting on the blocks. Swimming a 26.99 I was disappointed .But now I am ready to swim the 50 metre backstroke knowing what I have to do. I was excited to come to the World Championships to meet new stars and big ones like Adam Peaty (Great Britain’s World Record Holder in the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke, Katie Ledecky (American World record holder in the 400 800 and 1500 metre freestyle events) Katinka Hosszu (Hungarian World Record Holder in the 200 and 400 metre individual medley).I have learnt that swimming in the pool is not all there is to being successful you have to work hard and be disciplined. One day I would like to be ranked in the top three in the 50 metre butterfly and 50 metre backstroke”.


Dylan Carter Photo courtesy of Paul Goldberg/usctrojans.com

Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter continued to lead the way for the CCCAN and CARIFTA regions with a 23.73 performance in the 50 metre butterfly the Budapest world Championships currently underway.


On the first day of competition Carter clocked 23.73 to place 19th overall . In 2015 at the Kazan Championships Dylan had made the semi- finals and touched in a national record of 23.60 to finish 15th overall. That performance was also the top performance for the CCCAN and CARIFTA regions.

Analysis of CCCAN performance in the 50 metre butterfly

Name Country CCCAN ranking  Overall ranking Time
Dylan Carter Trinidad and Tobago 1 19th 23.73
Justin Plaschka Jamaica 2 41st 24.63
Bryan Alvarez Costa Rica 3 47th 25.06
N’Nhyn Fernander The Bahamas 4 51st 25.20
Stefano Michell Antigua &Barbuda 5 57th 25.98
JJ Odlum -Smith St Lucia 6 67th 26.99
Joseph Denobrega Guyana 7 71st 27.50
Papy Dossous Haiti 8 78th 30.08


Day three (June 30) of the CCCAN Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Trinidad and Tobago saw more exciting races and championship records and also more World Championship qualifying swims. Those World championship Qualifying performances came from the local stars Olympian Dylan Carter and Joshua Romany.

Dylan Carter
Dylan Carter Photo courtesy of usportt.com

Dylan competing in the 18 and over 200 metre freestyle crushed the 2009 Championship record Costa Rica’s Olympian Mario Montoya of 1:52.43 with a 1:48.91 clocking. That bettered the World Championship B qualifying mark of 1:51.50.Also under the record and just missing the B standard was El Salvador’s Olympian Marcelo Acosta who clocked 1:51.76 for the Silver. Aruban Olympian Mikel Schreuders took the Bronze in 1:51.76.

Romany swimswam
Joshua Romany Photo courtesy of swimswam.com

In the 18 and over 50 metre butterfly Joshua Romany bettered the 2011 championship record of countryman Joshua McLeod of 24.43 as well as the World Championship B standard time of 24.50 with a Gold medal winning time of 24.40. Winning the Silver was N’Nhyn Fernander of The Bahamas in 24.94 and the Bronze was won by Christian Awah  of Trinidad and Tobago in 25.06.

The winning times by Carter and Romany brought the World Championship qualifying tally to five.

Chade Nercisio 13-14 breastroke Triple Gold medallist
Chade Nercisio 13-14 CCCAN record holder Photo courtesy of carifta2016mque

In the girls 15-17 50 metre butterfly the crowd was treated to excellent sprinting by Curaçao’s  Chadé  Nercisio. She became the fastest woman of all time at CCCAN when she broke the 28 seconds barrier in the 50 metre butterfly when she clocked 27.99 in the morning heats. All her energy was not spent after that national record swim as she returned in the evening to destroy that mark and record a time of 27.59. that swim was not too far off the World championships B mark of 27.42. Silver went to Celismar Guzman of Puerto Rico won the Silver in 28.62 and the Bronze went to Celina Marquez of El Salvador in 28.65.

Valerie Gruest
Valerie Gruest Photo courtesy of guatemala.com

Valerie Gruest of Guatemala just missed out on another World Championships qualifying mark when she took Gold in the 15-17 400 metre individual medley in a time of 4:54.67. That swim bettered the 2009 meet record of 5:02.43 by Maria Coy.That was just off the B standard of 4:52.97. CARIFTA Champion Albury Higgs won Silver in 5:03.67. The Bronze went to Marissa Lugo of Puerto Rico in 5:11.77.


Other championship record to fall on the day went to Zaneta Alvaranga of Jamaica in the girls 11-12 50 metre butterfly. She lowered the meet record of 29.85 twice .She swam 29.32 in the heats before uncorking a 28.74 for the Gold in the final.

In the 13-14 age group Beatriz Padron of Costa Rica Gold 28.36,Katie Kyle of St Lucia Silver 28.80 and Trinidad and Tobago’s Gabriela Donahue Bronze 28.85 all bettered the 2011 record of 28.89 by Dorian McMenemy.

Swimmers who completed the Regional Gold Double on Day Three by winning their respective events at CARIFTA in The Bahamas and at CCCAN in Trinidad and Tobago include

Regional Golden Double
Regional Golden Double medallists from left to right Zaneta Alvaranga of Jamaica,Kael Yorke of Trinidad and Tobago and Danielle Titus of Barbados Photos courtesy of Michael C Lyn and swimtt.com


Age Group Event Name Country
11-12 girls 50 metre butterfly Zaneta Alvaranga Jamaica
15-17 boys 50 metre butterfly Kael Yorke Trinidad and Tobago
13-14 girls 100 metre backstroke Danielle Titus Barbados



Mehdy Metella Rio 100 butterfly final
Mehdy Metella Photo courtesy of Mehdy Metella

The 6th day of swimming saw Mehdy Metella (French Guiana/France) becoming the fastest swimmer from the CARIFTA region with his heats swim in the 100 metre butterfly .Going out in 24.10 he came home in 27.61 to record a time of 51.71. That bettered the Gold medal winning time of 53.00 by Suriname’s Anthony Nesty done in 1988 Seoul Games. He would be just off that time in the semi-finals when he clocked 51.73 split time 24.17 to qualify for the final. He became the first swimmer to qualify for the 100 metre butterfly since Nesty accomplished that feat at the 1992 Barcelona Games.


Renzo rio
Renzo Tjon A Joe photo courtesy of Renzo Tjon A Joe

Renzo Tjon A Joe became the fastest swimmer from Suriname ever at the Olympics when he clocked a national record of 22.23. With his placing of 21st he also became the highest placed swimmer from his country in the event. Renzo was just 0 .13 of a second outside of qualification for the semi finals. The previous Olympic best was 23.74 by Enrico Linscheer who placed 33rd at the 199s Barcelona Games. Enrico was the youngest athlete for Suriname at the Games being 17 years 283 days.

George Bovell
Goerge Bovell III Photo courtesy of sportsmax.tv

George Bovell III of Trinidad and Tobago was 27th with a time of 22.30. George remains the fastest swimmer ever from the region in the race with times of 21.77 done at the London 2012 Games and the 2008 Beijing Games.

Jordan Augier D2 400 free relay
Jordan Augier Photo courtesy of Jamie Peterkin

Jordan Augier became the fastest swimmer from St Lucia with his time of 23.28. His placing of 45th also makes him the highest placed male swimmer from that nation. The fastest time and ranking was held by Jamie Peterkin who was 59th in the 2000 Sydney Games with a time of 25.33.

Joanna Evans Day 2 Nationals
Joanna Evans 800 metre freestyle  Fastest woman ever from the English speaking CARIFTA region

In the 800 metre freestyle Joanna Evans became the 3rd  fastest swimmer from the region at the Olympics. Evans stopped the clock in 8:42.93 (split time 4:15.93) to finish 23rd overall.  The overall record is held by Coralie Balmy with her time of 8:27.15 done at the London 2012 Games. The fastest English speaking time is held by Jamaica’s Janelle Atkinson who clocked 8:34.51 at the Sydney Games.

Nikolas Sylvester
Nikolas Sylvester Photo courtesy of http://www.bosvg.com

Nikolas Sylvester became the fastest swimmer from St Vincent and the Grenadines when he clocked 25.64 for 61st  in the 50 metre freestyle . He bettered the time of 26.27 done by Tolga Akcayli at the 2012 Games.


Hannibal Gaskin
Hanniabl Gaskin Photo courtesy of guyanachronicle.com

Guyana’s Hannibal Gaskin clocked 58.57 in the 100 metre butterfly for 42nd place. That tied the best placing at the Olympics by a Guyanese swimmer at the Games. In 2012 Britney Van Lange placed 42nd in the 100 metre freestyle.






Justin Plaschka ACC 2
Justin Plaschka Diving off the blocks

The third day of action at the 2016 ARENA PRO SWIM SERIES AT CHARLOTTE  on Saturday May 14 saw yet another CARIFTA national mark being lowered. This time it was the Jamaican national senior mark in the 50 metre butterfly that was lowered. Justin Plaschka who held the mark of 24.89 prior to this meet when he won the Gold medal at the 2015 CCCAN championships on June 27 in Barbados. That record would not last beyond the morning heats as he stopped the clock in a time of 24.84. He would crush the record in the B final in the evening when he placed second in a time of 24.46 .Justin is the only Jamaican swimmer to swim under 25 seconds in this event.


Justin Plaschka
Justin Plaschka Photo courtesy of Jamaica-star.com

He would also be the fastest CARIFTA region swimmer at the meet in the 50 metre freestyle. In the morning heats he would record a time of 23.66 just off his season best of 23.52.That time who would earn him a spot in the D final. Joining him in that final would be Trinidad and Tobago’s former University of Louisville standout Caryle Blondell who posted a time of 23.54. In the final Plaschka would be the victor winning the race in a time of 23.30.The 19 year old Irish Aquatics swimmer already boasts an Olympic B time in this event having swum 22.90 in a time trial at the Phillips 66 in San Antonio Texas in August 2015 bettering the B standard of 23.05. Blondell repeated his morning performance with yet another 23.54 clocking .That propelled him to 5th in the race. Blondell has a season best of 23.02 recorded in February of this year.


Roy Burch (SwimMac Carolina) , the fastest sprinter ever from Bermuda continued on the road to full fitness when he swam the 3rd fastest time of his season of 23.85 to place 36th overall. Jordan Augier (Sharks Swim Club) ,St Lucia’s national record holder opened his long course season with a 24.15 to place 47th overall.

The meet which will not see the swimmers in peak condition as the main focus remains the Rio Olympics Games. Swimmers will continue to be doing heavy weight training and intense conditioning and using these competitions to gauge different aspects of training.

Arianna V-W underwater shot -swimoutlet
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace Photo courtesy of swimoutlet.com

Bahamian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (SwimMac Carolina) had her first start in the 50 metre butterfly in the morning when she posted a time of 27.09 to make the championship final .She finished 5th in  the evening in a time of 26.49. She had won the title previously in 2015 in 25.93 and in 2014 in 26.28.

Jamaican national record holder in the 50 metre butterfly Alia Atkinson put in a 27.92 performance in the morning to make the B final in the event. She lowered that significantly to hit the pads in 27.17 for 2nd in the race. Atkinson had put a 2:36.26 to earn a second swim in the 200 metre breaststroke but scratched .Laura Morley who has the fastest recorded time for the Bahamas in the event worked for a second swim in the evening when she clocked 2:37.37 to make the final. She would win that race in the evening in 2:36.00 not far off her Bahamas best of 2:35.03.

Aruban national record holder in the 200 metre breaststroke Jordy Groters was 34th 2:29.59.