Curaçao’s Chadé Nersicio of Trinity Christian Academy captured the 50 yard freestyle at the 1A State Championships on November 16 at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Florida. Her win is a culmination of hard work and determination to finally capture the crown after a number of podium finishes.
Something special was on the cards for Chadé as for the the first time in the four years of competing in the event she was the top qualifier in the event . She also had her fastest ever preliminary time of 23.14. That would be a good sign of what was to unfold in the Championship final of the 50 yard freestyle.
Chadé would win her 50 freestyle title and the first for the Warriors. She stopped the clock in the only sub 23 seconds time of the race of 22.66 , a new personal best and school record. Silver went to McKenna Smith of Academy at Lakes in 23.29 and the Bronze to Madeline Burt in a time of 23.29. Chadé has been the standard bearer for the Warriors ever since she enrolled Lake Worth based institution making an immediate impact becoming the first swimmer to go under 24 seconds.
Her buildup to this State Championship Gold was perfect in all the major school meets leading up to the meet in Stuart Florida as she took the top sprinter title at the Districts,Regionals and the Palm Beach County Championships .
ROAD TO GOLD
Palm Beach County
22.89 MR PB
Draftingthecaribbean contacted Chadé and got her reaction to her win
“It felt so great winning the 50 free, my goal was dropping more time than usual in this event.Because over the years I wasn’t dropping much.I went from being stuck at 22.89 to going 22.66 Junior Nationals is coming up shortly my coach and I still believe I can go much faster than States so that’s what were preparing for”.
Only FOUR other winners of the 50 yard freestyle have ever gone faster than Chadé’s winning time across the Florida divisions and she now joins Chinyere Pigot of Suriname who represented the Doral Academy 2010 and Jamaican Natasha Moodie of Miramar (3A) 2005 as CARIFTA region swimmers to have won the 50 yard freestyle State Championships. Both went on to compete at the Olympics in the 50 metre Moodie at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Pigot at the 2008 Olympics and London 2012 Olympics.
This year has gone well in the 50 freestyle in the long course pool in the Chadé with top performances in regional age group meet and making the B final at the CAC Games in Colombia.
1st B final
There would be more Gold and yet another school record in the 200 yard freestyle relay . In the Championship final Nersicio provided the fastest split of 22.67 to move the team from third to Gold in a new school record and first ever State title in a time of 1:34.25.The team of Nicole Gomez, Naïma Dessout, Eriana Temperino produced the fastest 1A winning time since 2014.
It was also the first time a CARIFTA region swimmer was on the Gold medal winning team since Bahamian Olympian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace led off the 2006 Bolles team in a then state record time of 1:34.53.
There would also be another medal in the 400 yard freestyle relay as the Warriors replicated their best ever showing from 2017 with another Bronze medal. This time the quartet lowered the school record from 3:28.11 at the Palm Beach county champs to 3:27.44.
Nersicio would also go on to place fifth in the 100 yard freestyle in 50.64. She has set the school record in the event at the this year’s Palm Beach County Championships with a a winning time of 50.34.
The Warriors would place fourth in the girls division with 208 points. The Bolles school won with 381 points, followed by Pine Crest with 303 points and Saint Andrews with 244.
On Saturday November 16 at the Florida 4A State Championships in Stuart Florida Aruba’s Brandon Cheong provided a sensational breaststroke leg for the Bucholz high school to help them win the Silver medal in the 200 yard medley relay.
The final of the 200 yard medley relay at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center saw Bucholz trailing in 6th place after the backstroke leg. It would take a great leg by Brandon to move them back into medal contention. He provided just that leg with a 25.91 split. That time was the third fastest leg in 4A State Championships final history. That brought the team to third and gave anchor Julian Hill to challenge for the Gold. The total team was 1:33.70 earning them the Silver just behind Lake Brantley in 1:33.61. The team performance was also best the time done by Bucholz at the State Championships. This is the second consecutive Silver medal for the school as they placed second in 2017 in 1:33.99.
Brandon had been having a great year in this distance as he won Silver medals in the 50 metre breaststroke at both the CARIFTA Championships in Kingston Jamaica and at home in Aruba for the CCCAN Championships with times of 30.38 and 30 .23.
There would be another Silver medal for Cheong and his school mates in the 400 yard freestyle relay. The team moved from 4th in 2017 to second place in 2018 with a total team time of 3:07.30. Cheong also recorded his best split at the State Championships with a third leg effort of 48.53.
In the 50 yard freestyle he recorded a personal best of 21.81 in the heats to make the B final. In that race he stopped the clock in 22.02 to place 6th his best performance at the Championships. The 100 yard breaststroke saw him recording a season best of 58.49 in the heats before placing 4th in the B final in 59.66.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Brandon he gave this assessment of the 200 yard medley relay
“Honestly I had an amazing teammates this season, it wasn’t just me who had a great effect on the relay. My teammates made an awesome role for making states and we earned second place in the 200 yard medley relay. When I stepped on the block I knew I had to step up for my guys to win in the 200 medley relay. I’ve actually felt great in the water, I was mainly focusing on my turns, stroke and my underwater. When I touched the wall I saw the 25.91, I was actually shocked to go below 26 seconds in the 50 breaststroke. After I got out of the water I was supporting my teammates as loud as possible”.
Jamaica’s most well traveled junior swimmer for the calendar year 2018 Emily MacDonald of the Bolles School was in yet another high level meet as she competed in the prestigious Florida high school 1A State championships. Emily’s itinerary for 2018 included the UANA championships in Coral Springs Florida, CARIFTA in Jamaica, CCCAN Championships in Aruba, the CAC Games in Colombia and the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina The State Championships which were held on Saturday November 16 at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Florida saw Emily winning her first State Championships title in the 200 yard medley relay as well as Silver in the 200 yard freestyle relay. Along with those medal performances she recorded personal best times in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events on her way to making the Championship finals in those races.
The evening’s final began on the best possible note for Emily as the Bolles School Sharks team of Faith Khoo backstroke 26.11, Carly Schwab breaststroke 28.74, Sasha Ramey butterfly 25.22 and MacDonald 23.43 recorded a total team time of 1:43.50 to capture the Gold. Silver went to the Saint Andrews School in 1:44.97 and the Bronze to Pine Crest in 1:45.29.This is the first medley relay title at the 1A State Championships since St Lucia’s Olympian Danielle Beaubrun who swam the breaststroke leg on the 2007 Bolles team.
Next up was the 50 yard freestyle final. Emily had qualified for the Championship by lowering her personal best in the race from 23.76 to 23.70. She would be even faster in the final as she posted another personal best of 23.68 to place 5th. This is an improvement from 2017 where she had placed eighth.
The race won by Chade Nercisio of the Trinity Christian School in 22.66. Chade who is from Curacao is the reigning CARIFTA 15-17 50 metre champion while Emily is the reigning champion in the 13-14 age group.
In the heats of the 100 yard freestyle Emily recorded her first sub 52 seconds time performance when she registered 51.67 (split time 25.01) to make the A final. That would be the second time she has made the Championship final in the event after making her debut in 2017. In the final she would place eighth in 52.71.
The 200 yard yard freestyle relay saw MacDonald leading off the Bolles team in a time of 23.86 in the final faster than the 23.91 she did in 2017. Her fellow Sharks Ramsey, Adair Sand and Megan McGrath contributed splits of 23.71,23.35 and 23.47 to help the team to a Silver medal winning time of 1:34.39. That performance betters the Bronze medal performance of 2017 .It is also the fastest time by the Bolles Sharks in the final since 2014.
MacDonald who started the Championships with 1 career medal at States now has 3. When draftingthecaribbean contacted Emily on November 18 she had the following thoughts about her Championship performances
” I was very pleased with my performances at this year’ State Championships. I bettered my 50 free and 100 free times. My 50 free time is now 23.68 and 100 free is 51.67.I am very pleased because it means because I am a lot fitter than last year because in 2017 I was doing 52 in the 100 free and 23 high in the 50 free.My time shows that I can do a lot better in long course season when it comes and do a lot better overall for the season”
The Bolles School won the girls division with 381 points.Second went to Pine Crest with 303 points and third to Saint Andrew’s with 244 points.
When Jamaica’s Adrian Grant of the Bolles School spoke to draftingthecaribbean on Tuesday November 13 about his expectations for the 50 yard freestyle at the Florida 1A State high school Championships he said that he wanted to swim 21.6 during the morning heats to make a final and then go as fast as he could in the afternoon. Promise made and promise kept.
During the heats of the 50 yard freestyle at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center on Friday November 16 Grant broke through the 22 seconds barrier and lowered his personal best time of 22.05 from the Regional championships with a 21.58 performance. That enabled Grant to keep his word by making the B Final of the event. Buoyed by the good showing he was even better in the evening .Grant posted a time of 21.51 to win the B final.
This is a major improvement for Grant in the event as in 2017 he had placed 23rd in 22.59.His swim is the best performance by a male Jamaican swimmer in the event since Brian Forte also of the Bolles School swam 22.14 to place third in the B final in 2009.
It is also the fastest time by a Jamaican male swimmer since Brian’s older brother Travis swam 21.88 to place 5th in the 2005 Championship final. This is also the second consecutive B final win for Grant as he had won the 100 yard breaststroke B final in 2017.
Grant would continue his good showing in the 200 yard freestyle relay. This as the Bolles team clocked 1:25.02 to take the Bronze medal. Grant would anchor the team in 21.23.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Grant yesterday
“At States in the morning it was bit cold ,colder than Districts but I did all the necessary things I needed to do such as extra warm up and carry warm apparel to wear. I swam the race pretty well I went 21.58.I believed my stroke rate was a bit slow.That 21.58 placed me 10th and in the B final. I warmed down after that race and focused on recovery after the swim .I came back in the finals and went as fast as I could . I worked on a fast turnover rate as possible while maintaining my efficiency and went 21.51.I would have loved to get the Futures Swimming standard of 21.49 but I am still happy with the swim.In the 200 yard freestyle relay I was the anchor leg swimmer and I went 21.23 from a relay start . The swim itself was decent but in the future I will need to work on my underwaters”.
The Futures Swimming Championships are designed to be a a stepping stone between Sectionals meets and Junior Nationals, allowing those swimmers not qualifying for Junior Nationals to compete in a meet of their own.
Adrian was member of the 2018 CARIFTA 200 metre freestyle relay Bronze medley winning team that set a new 15-17 national record of 1:38.38 in front of a home crowd in Kingston.
The year 2017 will remain in Aruban Patrick Groters mind as one of his best at the age group level with top performances at the CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas and a strong showing at the World Junior Championships. The run of good performances would continue in his final year of high school in Florida where he would repeat as the 100 yard backstroke champion in the 1A State Championships on November.
In 2016 he ended a more than decade long drought for the CARIFTA region when he took the victory in the event.
The last swimmer to win the event was the legendary Olympian George Bovell III of Trinidad and Tobago when he won the title for the Bolles School in 2000.
It would be a Golden path to double success in the event for the University school student at the State Championships in Stuart Florida. He would take the race on September 23 at the Woodson Invitational easily in a time of 51.77 (split time 25.80).
He would also earn the accolade of top male performer of the meet for winning the 200 yard individual medley as well.
Receiving the top performer award is not a new experience for Patrick who earned that honour as well at CARIFTA 2017.
He would take the district title on October 20 in 52.86 (split time 26.54) and a week later the regional title in 50.80 (split time 24.93).
In the Championship final held at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center Patrick lay in 3rd place at the 50 yard mark with a split of 24.58.
The University of Denver commit then turned out a back half of 25.65 to which the field could not respond and he took the title again in 50.23.
The 200 yard individual medley saw him earning the Silver in a time of 1:49.02 (split time 49.56).That performance made it three consecutive medal winning performance for Groters after winning the title in 2015 and 2016.
In the relays it was the powerful combination of Groters and countryman Daniel Jacobs that aided the team to strong positions. In the 200 yard freestyle relay Patrick had the fastest opening leg split of both the preliminaries and finals of 20.51. The unit of Groters and Jacobs had the 2nd fastest 100 yards of the competition and that propelled their school to 3rd in the B final in a total time of 1:29.42.It would be that same Aruban one –two punch at the front half of the 400 yard freestyle that pushed the University school to 6th in the Championship final in a time of 3:15.38. Patrick’s first leg split was timed at 45.97 (split time 22.28).
The University School boys finished 6th overall with 108 points.
The 2017 edition of the Florida High School 1A Championships saw Lauren Hew of the Cayman Islands closing out her high school career with a Silver medal in the 200 yard medley relay. She would reaffirm her position as the fastest female swimmer to represent Saint Andrews.
The competition which was held on November 4 at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Florida saw Lauren being drafted in for the final of the 200 yard medley relay. She was given the responsibility of handling the butterfly duties. After the backstroke and breaststroke legs of teammates of Gabby Beltrano 27.28 and Shayna Fetes 28.86 the Boca Raton based institution lay in third place.
Normally known for her backstroke Hew proved she can sprint in butterfly as well clocking the 2nd fastest split of 25.12 to put the Scots in the Silver medal position. Teammate Hannah Trieschmann 23.38 would push the Bolles anchor leg Adair Sand all the way to the final to get the Silver medal in a total time of 1:44.64.
Bolles would just take the win in a time 1:44.48. That is the best performance by the Scots women since 2012 when they won the Gold in 1:42.77.
Hew’s performance for the butterfly was the best split for the school in the Championship final since Megan Moroney clocked 24.50 on that Gold medal winning team.
The 50 yard freestyle was put on Hew’s agenda for the school year. Hew would not disappoint her coaches belief in her freestyle sprint abilities.
On October 7 she would lower a decades old school record in the event when she won the Silver in a time of 23.46.That swim bettered the 23.58 standard of Vicki Stemper set in 1987. In the heats of the event at the State championships she would be even faster as she touched in a time of 23.24 to make the medal final. In the night’s Championship she would record the 2nd fastest time of her career when she hit the wall in 23.42 to place 4th. She was just off the bronze medal winning time of 23.33 clocked by Abby Burke of Lakeland Prep. The Gold went to Kaitlyn Schorr of Montverde in 22.93. That 4th place was the best performance by Saint Andrews since 2012 when Brenna Ruth placed 4th in 23.81.Hew’s Saint Andrews legacy will include being the fastest female swimmer ever and the fastest ever in the Championship final. This was possible after just one season of focusing on the event.
In the 100 yard backstroke her build-up to the state final included podium performances at the Palm Beach County championships, District and Regional Championships.
Palm Beach County champs
In the heats of the event she would record her fastest time of the season of 56.01 (split time 26.81).Hew finished 6th in the final with a time of 56.77 (split time 26.39).That swim marked her second straight Championship final. Before Hew’s arrival at Saint Andrews the last Championship finalist was in 2012.
At the 2017 CARIFTA Championships in The Bahamas Lauren swept the backstroke events in the 15-17 age group.
Her final race the 400 yard freestyle relay saw her swimming an opening leg of 51.48 to help the Scots to 4th spot in 3:29.92.That was the best ranking for the school since 2014.
Lauren is the reigning CARIFTA 15-17 100 metre freestyle champion
The girls from Saint Andrews placed 3rd overall with 208 points.
On November 4 Jamaica’s Jesse Marsh overcame illness to end his high school career with his best medal showing at the 1A State championships. He would win Silver and a Bronze medal in the relays for the Saint Andrews school.
Heading to the State Final at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Florida the Scots school record in the 200 yard medley relay had stood at 1:33.21 from their Silver medal winning performance in 2016.
That time would not make it past the morning heats as the team of Joshua Balbi backstroke 24.16 Izaak Bastian breaststroke 25.26, Marsh butterfly 22.64 and Tiago Pereira 21.11 set a new school mark of 1:33.17.
In the final of the event that mark would be destroyed as the boys from the Boca Raton based institution pushed the Bolles School all the way to the final wall to earn the Silver. The same quartet has the following splits in the final Balbi 23.78, Bastian 24.48, Marsh 22.46 and Pereira 21.14 for a total time of 1:31.86. The Bolles School took the title in 1:31.58. That Silver medal relay performance marked a Silver medal hat trick for the Scots
The common thread for those three Silver medal wins have been the Caribbean connection from the breaststroke and butterfly combination of Bahamian Izaak Bastian and Jamaican Jesse Marsh.
Marsh would earn his next medal in the 400 yard freestyle relay. He would be drafted in the final of the event to handle the second leg duties. The team of Bahamian Sam Gibson 47.32, Marsh 47.28, Balbi 48.78 and Tomas Piza clocked 3:10.33 to win the Bronze . Gold went to Trinity Prep in 3:03.03 and the Silver to the Bolles School in 3:04.10. That ended a four year medal drought in the event.
The last time the Scots were on the podium was when Coach Quinn Cassidy headed a squad that won the Silver behind the Bolles School team that included future Olympic Gold medallists American Ryan Murphy and Singaporean Joseph Schooling that set the State and National record of 2:54.43.
In the qualification process for the 100 yard butterfly for the State finals Jesse had lowered the school record at the 2017 Palm Beach County Championships to win that event in 50.56 (split time 23.95). The old record of 50.88 was set by Will Lane in 1988.
In Stuart he would qualify for his first individual championship final when he hit the pads in a time of 50.63. Still battling illness he would place 8th in a time of 50.65 (split time 23.88).
2nd B final
6th B final
Competing in the 200 yard freestyle heats Marsh would record a personal best of 1:43.99 (split time 51.00) to earn a second swim in the B final. In that night he would be slightly off his personal record and touched in 1:44.91 (split time 52.09).
The boys from Saint Andrews would place 2nd overall will 202 points.