On Saturday August 5 at the 2017 Futures Championships in Nashville Tennessee while representing the Pine Crest Swim Team Nicholas Vale became the fastest age group 400 metre freestyler Jamaica has ever produced when he clocked a time of 4:10.52.
That performance by Vale lowered the 15-17 boys’ record of 4:11.31 held by distance standout Dominic Walter when he competed at the 2010 CISC (Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships) in Cuba.
Nicholas lowered his personal best of 4:15.57 that doubles as the 13-14 national record that he set at the 2016 CISC in the Bahamas. He now holds five individual national records
1500 metre freestyle
400 metre individual medley
400 metre freestyle
200 metre individual medley
Vale has been a regular fixture in the Jamaican swimming lineup since making his national debut at the 2013 CARIFTA Championships held in Kingston Jamaica.
Analysis of Vale’s 13-14 and 15-17 freestyle records
First 100 metres
Second 10 metres
Third 100 metres
Fourth 100 metres
At the same competition he registered the top times this season for the 15-17 Jamaican boys when he stopped the clock in 57.36 in the 100 metre butterfly and 2:13.03 in the 200 metre individual medley.
In the relays Nicholas had two top 10 finishes with Pine Crest.
His 400 metre freestyle relay team placed 6th overall in 3:36.05 while the 400 metre medley team was 5th in 3:57.65
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Nicholas he spoke about his achievement
“I actually didn’t know what the 15-17 400 free Jamaican National record was prior to the race. I found out afterwards that I had broken it by a second. I was very pleased with the swim considering that I still have two years left in the 15-17 age group to lower that 400 free record and hopefully break many more.
During the race I felt very controlled and smooth. My goal going into the race was to keep my splits as close as possible and I was successful in doing so. I was very pleased to have finally dropped my time of 4:15.57 from a year ago at the 2016 CISC Championships. I believe that all of my technique work along with the grueling distance sets have attributed to my success in this event. After this swim I plan on doing a lot more 400 specific pace”.
As draftingthecaribbean continues to highlight the top performances of swimmers from the region we look the performance of Bahamian Victoria Russell who made her first international final in the 100 metre breaststroke at the Commonwealth Youth Games in her home country.
The swimming competition ran from July 19 to July 22 at the Betty Kelly-Kenning Aquatic Centre. Russell competed in the 50 metre butterfly and 50 metre breaststroke races before her historic swim .She was just outside of making the finals with personal best time of 28.93 for 10th place and 34.40 for 9th place.
She would make no mistake in the 100 metre breaststroke shattering her personal best time of 1:17.23 with a 1:14.75 to book her place in the final with teammate Lilly Higgs. In the final on Friday July 21 she was just off that time placing 8th in 1:14.82.Victoria would end the competition with another tenth placing finishing 10th in another personal best time of 27.33.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Victoria on July 27 she gave her thoughts on the build-up to the race and then the Championship final
“At first I was rather surprised because in the 50 metre breaststroke I was first alternate and it was by a mere 3 hundredths of a second it was so close. I was upset that I did not get to swim the 50 breaststroke final. So going into the 100 the next day I was really focused on making the final. I honestly thought the prelims were better than the finals because in the final I was the 8th seed so I had no one to the left side of me so I was only in the race at one perspective. So I went out with the majority of the field. As I turned and looked to see the race I saw quite a few ahead of me and that discouraged me a bit from swimming my best because I was going against a number of good competitors think that played on me a bit mentally.”
She also spoke about what she has learnt from this experience
“The thing I learnt the most is seeing how dedicated the swimmers were in terms of how they were getting ready for their races and their preparation compared to what I was doing and I saw how I could improve on that”.
Victoria also spoke about her plans for next season
“I will be trying to make the Commonwealth Games team (Gold Coast Queensland Australia April 4 to 18, 2018). If not hopefully I will be aiming for the CARIFTA team that will be held in Jamaica next year”.
Jamaica’s fastest ever sprinter Justin Plaschka continues to etch his name further in the nation’s swimming history books. Already the quickest swimmer in short course yards (25 yards), short course metres (25 metres) and the long course pool (50 metres) he continues to solidify his top spot by recording the top time ever done by a Jamaican in all the meets he competes in. That trend started in his first meet, the 2015 CCCAN Championships in Barbados and continued at the 2016 Caribbean Islands Swimming championships in The Bahamas and the 2016 World short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada. The 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest would just be a continuation of his hot streak.
He stroked his way to a time of 22.93 to place 49th overall. That performance is the fastest Jamaican time ever done at the World Championships. That bettered the 23.87 set by Brad Hamilton at the 2009 Rome Championships. The swim also marks the first time a Jamaican man has broken into the top 50 since 1994. Justin also ranks as the fastest CARIFTA swimmer in Budapest and the 4th fastest amongst CCCAN sprinters
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Plaschka today and he gave his impressions on his performance and the Championship overall
“I was a little disappointed to not go a personal best but overall I executed my race strategy pretty well and was happy with that. My start wasn’t great which could have cost me a few tenths but other than that I could not complain. It was just an amazing experience to get to compete at world championships and all the experience it gave me is only going to help me hopefully in my future meets”.
As it has been for the entire 2016 -2017 one name has stood out among the region’s elite male swimmer in the swimmers in the 200 freestyle event. Whether it was the 200 metre freestyle at the World Short Course Swimming championships or the 200 yard freestyle at the prestigious NCAA Division 1 Championships Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter has been region’s man to be the standard bearer. So it was no surprise when he again led the region with 200 metre freestyle at the World Long course swimming championships in national record time.
The national mark of 1:48.44 set at the Caribbean Islands Swimming championships was on borrowed time from the Mesa Swim meet when Carter touched in a winning time of 1:48.45. At his home meet the CCCAN Championships in Trinidad and Tobago he again got the job done in sub 1:50 this time 1:48.91.
In Budapest his intentions were made clear from the opening 50 metres with an opening split time of 24.93 that set the tone for the entire race. He would touch in 1:47.77 for 24th overall, the best time at the World championships for both CCCAN and CARIFTA region swimmers. It is also the best ranking at the Championship for the CCCAN region since 2011.
A very aggressive approach led to the new national record as seen through the analysis of his races below
CISC July 2016
Mesa April 2017
WC July 2017
CCCAN rankings for the 200 metre freestyle in Budapest
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
When the Commonwealth Youth Games swimming competition started at the Betty Kelly-Kenning Aquatic Centre on Wednesday July 19 no Bahamian man had won a medal at either the Youth or senior level. Izaak changed that with a Silver medal winning performance in the 50 metre breaststroke on Thursday July 20.
He would double that medal count for his nation on Friday July 21 when he won the Bronze medal in the 100 metre breaststroke in a new personal best time of 1:03.71.
On April 18 in his first year in the 15-17 age group he won the 100 metre breaststroke CARIFTA crown at the same venue in a time of 1:04.68. On the third day of competition in the morning heats he secured a spot in the Championship final with a time of 1:04.90 for 7th overall. In the final the CARIFTA Champion would improve upon that placing to win a historic Bronze medal in 1:03.71 to cement his place in Bahamian sports history as the only male medallist in swimming at the Commonwealth Games with two medals, Silver and now Bronze. The breaststroke sprint double was completed by South African Michael Houlie who won in a time of 1:01.86. The Silver was won by Singapore’s ZongXian Khoo with a clocking of 1:03.41.
Draftingthecaribbean asked Izaak about his thoughts on his Bronze medal winning performance
“It was a pretty good race. I felt a few things were off . Small details like my finish and stroke count were off also my start was a little too deep. I went out pretty slow compared to what I expected to go out in. So when I turned and saw everybody already doing their pullouts I knew that I had to bring it home fast as I could to try and come home and not be last and I guess it worked out for the best”.
The second day of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games (Thursday July 20) being held at the Betty Kelly Kenning Aquatic Centre in The Bahamas saw history created by the Bahamian breaststroke duo of Lilly Higgs and Izaak Bastian.
The Games which are in its fifth installment saw Lilly Higgs winning Silver in the 50 metre breaststroke for girls. After posting a time of 33.10 in the heats to be seeded third Higgs went all out in the final stopping the clock in a time of 32.52 to win the Silver medal .She finished just behind Christie Chue of Singapore who Gold in a time of 32.38. The Bronze went to Ciara Smith of New Zealand in 32.56. Lilly‘s time is a new personal best, 15-17 age group record and senior national record. That bettered her old personal best and national record time of 32.70 when she won Gold at the CARIFTA Games earlier this year at the same venue. It was also the FIRST the CARIFTA region had won a medal of any colour at the Commonwealth Youth Games. Additionally she became the FIRST Bahamian man or woman to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games in this event at either the Youth or Senior level. Lilly is also only the SECOND woman from the CARIFTA region to medal in this event. The first was Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson who won the Silver medal in Glasgow in 2014.Higgs is also only the SECOND person to win a medal for The Bahamas at the Commonwealth Games both senior and junior. The first medal was won by Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace when she won Silver at the 2014 Glasgow Games in the 50 metre butterfly.Draftingthecaribbean got a few words from Higgs after her groundbreaking achievement.
“It’s always an honor to represent the Bahamas on a national level, and to be able to be the first medalist for swimming at Youth Commonwealth Games makes it an even greater honor. Going into the event and going into finals I was seated third, and I knew I had to have a good start and breakout stroke to be in the medal contention. The race felt really smooth and I was able to perform really well. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the meet holds. Go Bahamas!”
The hometown fans would have more to cheer as history would be continued to be made in the very next event through the efforts of Izaak Bastian. Also competing in the 50 metre breaststroke Izaak crushed his heats time of 29.55 and his personal best of 29.39 to win Silver in a new personal standard of 28.77.
He finished behind South African Michael Houlie who posted 27.68 for the Gold. Zongxian Khoo of Singapore won the Bronze in a time of 29.19. With that medal winning performance Izaak became the FIRST male medallist at the Commonwealth Youth Games for the Bahamas and the region .He also becomes the FIRST Bahamian male medallist at the Commonwealth either junior or senior. And only the Third medallist of either gender at any level of the Commonwealth Games behind Vanderpool-Wallace and his teammate Higgs just moments earlier. He gave draftingthecaribbean the following thoughts about his performance.
“The race felt really great especially watching Lilly go in the heat before me and come second. It really inspired me. I wanted to try my best and do what I could to and represent the best I could. I didn’t know if it was going to be a medal or not but I just wanted to get out and have a good race. To touch the wall and see second was really surprising .It was a new experience and I felt very excited to race against persons from all across the world and just regionally. It was a new experience and something I had to get over .Instead of being able to swim easy in the morning and then faster in the night. Swimming fast twice in the day was definitely a change for me. To come back in the night and swim almost half a second faster than my best time was amazing”.