Izaak Bastian continues to confirm his credentials as the top breaststroker in the CARIFTA region with the best individual performance on the first day of competition at the 2019 World Junior Championships in Budapest Hungary.

Izaak Bastian on the blocks Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

Coming to his second World Junior championships he was already the best Bahamian in the 100 metre breasstroke with his 1:04.37 effort and 34th placing from the 2017 edition at the Indianapolis Championships . In his opening salvo in Europe he established the best showing ever from a CARIFTA swimmer in the heats. He swam 1:02.55 split time 29.30 to finish 14th overall.The best a CARIFTA swimmer had been was 23rd in the very first World Championships in 2006 in the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro when Rodion Davelaar representing the Netherlands Antilles placed 23rd in a time of 1:11.18 (split time 32.36).

The swim also marked Izaak’s best performance at senior Championships bettering his 7th place finish effort of 1:02.91 at the 2018 CAC( Central American and Caribbean) Games in Barranquilla Colombia and the 1:03.60 he recorded at the senior World Championships in Gwangju ,South Korea.

Edgar Crespo Photo courtesy of

In the semi final he would get his first swim under 1:02 flat when he touched the wall in finish 11th overall. This is the best ever CARIFTA showing in the race.It is also the best ever CCCAN showing as he bettered the 2006 12th place showing of CCCAN breaststroke stalwart Edgar Crespo of Panama. Crespo had touched the wall in the semis in a time of 1:07.23. He had qualified for the second round with a heats swim of 1:06.42.Ironically Crespo had finished one place higher that Bastian in the 2018 CAC Games Championship final.

Bastian celebrates Record swim Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

Bastian , who is ending his final junior in style also lowers his record as the fastest CARIFTA region 15-17 swimmer of all time.His overall regional age group record was set at this summer’s REV National Championships when he took the senior crown in 1:02.41.

The semi final blast also saw him nearly becoming the fastest swimmer of all time as he missed the Bahamian and overall CARIFTA region record regardless of age of 1:01.56 set countryman Dustin Tynes set on March 27,2016.

Dustin Tynes Bahamas

It was Izaak’s aggression on the first 50 metres splitting sub 29 seconds that saw him getting under 1:02.Tynes was also very strong with his front end speed that allowed him to get the overall regional accolade.


100 breast2019 Nationals2019 World JrTynes 2016
First 5029.3428.9628.39
Second 5033.0733.0333.17
Total Time1:02.411:01.991:01.56


In the CARIFTA region there have been a number of sibling acts that have raised the standard of swimming in their countries with top swims, records and medal performances.

Allan Murray Photo courtesy of The Bahamas Olympic committe

At the 1999 Winnipeg Games we hadBahamian brothers Allan and Christopher Murray who were Championship finalists in the 50 metre freestyle .Chris placed 6th in 23.22 and Allan 7th in 23.30. They also set set then national relay records of 3:58.37 in the medley relay and 3:31.46 in the 400 metre freestyle relay that was broken recently by the AWESOME FOUR of Fitzgerald, Greene ,Fernander and Carey.

Janelle Atkinson Photo courtesy of

Also at those Games was the Jamaican sister act of Janelle and Jilandre Atkinson .Janelle would have the best single Games performance for Jamaica when she won three Silver medals in the 200 2:01.11, 400 metre freestyle 4:10.83 and 800 metre freestyle 8:39.51.Janelle,Jilandre , Tamara Swaby and Dawn Kane then Chuck who is a coach at Brown University set a then national record in the 400 metre freestyle relay of 4:04.76.

Shaune and Brett Fraser displaying ther 200 metre freestyle medals at the 2011 Games

In 2011 we had the Cayman Islands duo of Shaune and Brett Fraser who has made a return to competitive elite swimming at the 2019 Games winning Gold and Silver in the 200 metre freestyle.Brett took Gold in 1:47.18 and Shaune the Silver in 1:48.29.

Jada Chatoor before her historic 10K swim Photo courtesy of Camille Chatoor

Also from Team Trinidad and Tobago we have the brother and sister pair of Graham and Jada Chatoor. Jada became the first female swimmer to compete in swimming marathon the 10k in open water.Older Brother Graham became the fastest ever swimmer from the twin island republic in the 400 metre freestyle race at PAN AMs when he set a personal best of 4:02.77 to place fifth in the B final.

The above mentioned names are just a few of such CARIFTA region families who have competed in recent years.

Jordy Groters Photo courtesy of

In 2019 we have the Groters brother Jordy and Patrick. Jordy had retired from elite level competition having made his mark at the 2011 and 2015 Games. He played an integral in younger brother Patrick’s training this summer. It has worked tremendously with Patrick lowering his own national record in the 200 metre backstroke of 2:03.47 to set a standard of 2:02.32.He also became the first Aruban to make a Championship final in this event. He was just outside the top 8 with his 100 metre backstroke heats and national record swim of 56.20. In the B final he became the highest placed Aruban in the event with a second place and national record swim of 55.82.

Draftingthecaribbean contacted Jordy on Friday August 9 and he spoke about the path he charted for his brother for the summer of 2019

“Patrick swam the 200 on the 7th and swam a new PB and National record during prelims dropping 1.1s from 2:03.47 to 2:02.32. To the casual audience, that may not seem like a lot, but I am sure that I don’t have to tell you that dropping a full second from your PB doesn’t happen often, especially not at the elite level.

Patrick behind the blocks before his first major international final in the 200 metre backstroke Photo courtesy of the Aruban Olympic Committee

Though his swim in finals did not go as we would have hoped (let’s call it nerves from being in his first Pan Am Finals), we did see one positive takeaway: he had amazing front-end speed. He was out 1st at the 50m, which again, wasn’t what he was supposed to do.

Patrick starts in the final of the 200 metre backstroke Photo courtesy of the Aruban Olympic Committee

He jumped the gun, which led to him fading hard and fast in the second 100. Of course he was disappointed not being able to replicate his morning swim, but we quickly shook it off and recognized the potential for the 100. We knew he had the endurance for the 200, and with a slight increase of stroke frequency, he could throw down a huge PB in the 100 as well.

Patrick completing the first 100 of the 200 metre race.Photo courtesy of the Aruban Olympic Committee

We switched his regular meet warm up a bit to better suit the 100. During the warm up I also tried to point out where his 200 went wrong on the technical side (like his turns) and how he can correct it for the 100. I was very pleased to see that he was able to drop 0.7s from his PB and National Record in the morning from 56.92 to 56.20. We were already ecstatic with that swim but I recognized a few errors that could lead to a sub-56 swim. We tackled those in his meet warm up in the afternoon and were once again treated to a PB and National Record, dropping 0.4 from his morning swim (and, like his 200, 1.1 from his previous PB) to a 55.82.

Yeziel Morales Puerto Rico Lane 3,Patrick Lane 4 and Augustin Hernandez Lane 5 get off to a quick start in the B final Photo courtesy of the Aruban Olympic committee

As his coach, I’m constantly looking for areas to improve even when he drops big like that. His turn can still be so much better. Another positive, however, is that Patrick’s PB in the 50m is 26.32 and he split a 26.41 in the 100 at finals. No doubt in my mind that he could have been sub-26 had it been a 50. 

Patrick and Jordy in Lima

These huge time drops, however, didn’t come out of nowhere. Due to unfortunate circumstances surrounding the coaching staff at his University (of Denver), Patrick decided that he would get better preparation for Pan Am while training at home for the summer. Thus, Patrick arrived on Aruba in June for our national meet and stayed afterwards to train under me. We knew that his summer meet schedule would be loaded as he was scheduled to go to Worlds and Pan AMs (which were basically back-to-back, on opposite ends of the globe). We quickly identified that the priority was Pan AMs as he could very well make finals there while he would just be attending worlds for the participation medal. Thus, I created a training routine around this idea and we also changed his flights so that he would spend as little time as possible in Korea. Patrick flew to Korea the day before his 200 IM (2:11.38 at Worlds, 7 seconds above his PB) and did the 200 back the following day (2:10.25 at Worlds, also 7 seconds above his old PB at the time). Patrick then immediately flew to Lima the day after the 200 Back (spending a total of 3 and a half days in Korea) and spent 11 days in Lima with me adjusting to the time zone, recovering from his trip, and making final preparations for Pan AMs. Even though his swims in Korea were abysmal in time, we were still able to look beyond that and see the positives (though few, there were still some positives). As I mentioned, we had created the program around his trip to Korea and fully expected the times there to not represent what he is capable of, so mentally moving past that was not difficult for us.
With all that said, we are very pleased with the 2-for-2 on best times and national records for Patrick. However, the work isn’t done yet. He still has the 200 IM tomorrow, and if his Worlds to Lima conversion in the 200 back is any indication, it should be a really good effort as well. The last two months haven’t been easy. Breaking the “You’re my brother” barrier took a while for both of us but in the end we have a really good dynamic going on. I really put Patrick to work and he has accepted the challenge phenomenally and is currently reaping the rewards “.

Patrick continues to close in on the Olympic B standards in the 100 and 200 events of 55.47 and 2:01.03.


At the 1999 Winnipeg ,Canada edition of the Pan American Games a formidable team of Bahamian Olympians Christopher Murray (Sydney 2000,Jeremy Knowles (Sydney 2000,Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 Christopher Vythoulkas (Athens 2004 )and Allan Murray (1992 Barcelona,1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney) set a national record in the 400 metre freestyle with a time of 3:31.46.

Jeremy Knowles Photo courtesy of Bahamas swimming

Twenty years and a day later a new generation of Bahamian swimming starts would crush that mark in good display of sprinting at the Aquatic Centre in Peru.The team of Jared Fitzgerald , Gershwin Greene,N’Nhyn Fernander and Davante Carey set a new national standard of 3:28.22 to place fifth overall.

Fitzgerald,Greene,Fernander and Carey


Draftingthecaribbean contacted lead leg swimmer Jared Fitzgerald and got his thoughts on this great national accomplishment.

Jared Fitzgerald Photo courtesy of Bahamas Swimming

“Before the race Team Bahamas was really pumped.We knew we had a chance to break it.Everyone was excited to see what we could swim.The atmosphere and team environment before was great.Diving into the pool I felt amazing I just wanted to bring it home.Afterwards everthing kind of set in everyone realized what we did and we are just really excited for what the future of Bahamas holds becuase.Hopefully we can show the officials and executives of Bahamas swimming that we can send relays to these meets and do better than what was done before us”

2019 WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS 50 metre breaststroke women Commander Alia Atkinson continues to be the CCCAN standard bearer with fourth place Championship finish

When Jamaican and CCCAN swimming icon Alia Atkinson navigated her way to second place in her semi final breaststroke she ensured that there would be a swimmer from the region competing in a Championship final.

In that final Atkinson gave it her all and finished fourth in a season best time of 30.34. Gold was won by American Lilly King in 29.84, Silver to Benedetta Pilato of Italy in 30.00 and the Bronze to Russian Yulia Efimova 30.15.

Alia Atkinson prepares to compete

In making the Championship final she created more history. In making the the semi finals she is the only swimmer from the CCCAN region to make three semi finals in this event. In making the Championship final she is the only swimmer from the CCCAN region to make two Championship final in the race. In fact she is the only swimmer male or female to make it beyond the preliminary round of the event.

Atkinson still retains the CCCAN record for the best placing in a 50 metre event at the 2015 Kazan World championships with her Silver medal and national record swim of 30.11.Other swimmers who have earned the distinction of making a World Championship final in a 50 metre race include fellow legends George Bovell III of Trinidad and Tobago and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of The Bahamas.


Goerge Bovell III Photo courtesy of
NameEventTime YearPlace
Alia Atkinson50 breaststroke30.112015Silver
George Bovell III50 freestyle21.512013Bronze
Alia Atkinson50 breaststroke30.3420194th
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace50 freestyle24.4420156th
George Bovell III50 freestyle22.0420117th
  Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 50 butterfly25.9320157th
George Bovell III50 freestyle21.5320097th
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace Photo courtesy of Mike Lewis

National record holder Evita Leter recorded her second best performance at the World Champs when she placed 41st in a time of 34.58.

Evita Leter

This is Leter’s fourth consecutive World champs competing in this race.

Naima Hazell Photo courtesy of Eddie Hazell

St Lucian Naima Hazell who was fifth in this event at CARIFTA in the 13-14 age group with a time of 35.85 shattered that time with a new PB and St Lucian 13-14 record to place 42nd overall in a time of 34.79. . Hazell who has one more year in the age group will be aiming for the CARIFTA Championship record which stands at 34.29. It was set by Shne Joachim of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 2015.

Naomy Grand’Pierre

Haiti’s first female Olympian Naomy Grand’Pierre who is back in the water after a significant time recovering from injury was 46th in a time of 37.02.

2019 World Swimming Championships 100 metre breaststroke women Atkinson tops region with yet another semi final showing

Alia Atkinson

Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson added to her legacy by reaching yet another semi final at the Championships. The Commander is the only athlete from the CCCAN region to do this. In the heats of the event she produced a time of 1:07.25 (split time 31.44) to be eighth overall, a season best. In the semifinals she would be even faster , stopping the clock in 1:07.11 ( split time 31.64) to be joint 11th overall with Switzerland  Lisa Mamie. She has now provided with three consecutive World Championships top 16 placings. She did not participate at the 2017 edition in Budapest.

Albury Higgs Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

Albury Higgs of The Bahamas in her World Championships debut created history for herself and her nation. In addition to being the second fastest swimmer from the Region in the event she rattled her own national record from the 2018  CAC (Central American and Caribbean Games)  of 1:10.03 with  a swim of 1:10.65 to place 35th.

 ALL Time Best Swims

Year1st 502nd 50Final time

That performance puts her as the fastest Bahamian woman of all time at these Championships. She lowers the previous Bahamas best of 1:12.60 by Alicia Lightbourne recorded at the 2009 Rome meet.Her swim also marks the first time a Bahamian woman has been among the top 40 swimmers in this race. Additionally she is the second fastest ever swimmer from the region to compete at the World Championships.

CCCAN Top performers

2013Alia Atkinson1:06.21JAM
2019Albury Higgs1:10.65BAH
2013Erica Dittmer1:10.82MEX
2015Daniela Carrillo1:11.22MEX
2011Danielle Beaubrun1:11.34LCA
Albury Higgs SEC 2019

Higgs is enters the long course Championship season off the strength of a great NCAA collegiate season for the University of South Carolina . This year she became only the third CARIFTA region woman to break the minute barrier in the 100 yard breaststroke behind  Jamaicans Alia Atkinson  and Breanna Roman.

Yards Top Performers

2016Alia Atkinson57.61
2018Breanna Roman59.50
2019Albury Higgs59.69
Maria Jimenez Peon Photo courtesy of linkedin

Maria Jimenez Peon of Mexico lowered her six year old personal standard of 1:12.70 to record a time of 1:11.83 (split time 33.55).

Evita Leter Photo courtesy of Florida Gulf Coast Swimming and Diving

Competing for the fourth consecutive time in the event at these World Championships national record holder Evita Leter of Suriname posted a time of 1:20.89 to be ranked 51st.

2019 World Swimming Championships 200 metre freestyle women Cuba’s Elisbet Gamez Matos is the top ranked CCCAN swimmer

Elisbet Gamez Matos Photo courtesy of FINA

The 200 metre freestyle saw Cuban Elisbet Gamez Matos earning the right to be seen as the best from the CCCAN region at the global championships. She split 59.26 en route to a total time just over 2 minutes as she touched in 2:00.33.She placed 20th overall. This is an upward movement for the region since the 2017 Budapest Championships when Helen Moreno of Costa Rica was the top regional athlete in 32nd spot. This is also the best world Champs performance for Elisbet.The 2018 CAC Central American and Caribbean Silver medallist  had finished in 36th in Barcelona in 2013 with a time of 2:05.54.

Joanna Evans 800 metre freestyle Champion Olympic qualifier Fastest woman ever from the English speaking CARIFTA region

Finishing second on the regional rankings was Joanna Evans of The Bahamas. The fastest woman ever from the English speaking Caribbean and reigning CAC Games Champion  posted the fastest time ever by an English speaking woman at these Championships with a swim of 2:02.76 (split time 58.05) for 31st . That bettered the old record of 2:07.75 set by Lani Cabrera of Barbados at the 2015 Kazan edition of the Championships. She also equaled the best performance by a swimmer from the English speaking Caribbean.Shelly Cramer has also placed 31st at the 1982 Guayaquil Championships .Cramer had swum 2:12.66.

Gabriela Santis of Guatemala just missed PB of 2:05.08 when she stopped the clock in a time of 2:05.36 (split time 1:02.14) for 36th overall.This is an improvement from 2017 when she had recorded 2:06.94 for 37th .

Elan Daley gives a thumbs up after setting the 11-12 CARIFTA record

Reigning CARIFTA Champion and record holder in the 13-14 age Elan Daley of Bermuda was next on  the CCCAN regional list .Already the her nation’s senior national record holder with swim at CARIFTA in Barbados of 2:06.13 she went even faster in South Korea. Swimming in heat 3 the 2019 CCCAN champion was fearless in taking the race to her older competitors and almost won but was touched out by Santis .Elan stopped the clock in a 13-14 and national record of 2:05.47 (split time 1:00.87) for 38th .Only legendary Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson has swum faster from the English speaking Caribbean with her national 13-14 standard of 2:05.07 from 1997.

Costa Rican Amanda Alfaro had a near miss with her personal best of 2:06.29.She hit the pads in 2:06.60 for 39th.

Sara Pastrana of Honduras was 40th in 2:06.76.

Danielle Treasure of Barbados was 46th in a time of 2:11.51.

The US Virgin Islands Natalia Kuipers was 52nd in a time of 2:15.45

Maya de Freitas of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lowered her own PB and national record of 2:19.10 when recorded a time of 2:15.48.That placed her 54th overall.

Olivia Fuller of Antigua and Barbuda was 57th in a time of 2:19.71.

The best performances by the region are dominated by the Poll sisters Sylvia and Claudia of Costa Rica. Sylvia still holds the 13-14 CCCAN record with a super fast 2:00.49 from 1985.Claudia holds the 15-17 record at 2:02.12 set in 1989.

Claudia Poll Photo courtesy of panamericanworld
1998Claudia Poll1:58.90GoldCosta Rica
1994Claudia Poll1:57.61BronzeCosta Rica
2001Claudia Poll1:58.924thCosta Rica
1986Sylvia Poll2:02.176thCosta Rica
2009Coralie Balmy1:56.7910thFra/Martinique

2019 World Championships 100 metre breaststroke men Mexican Miguel Chavez Gonzalez tops CCCAN region in South Korea, National records fall for Sanes and Joachim

Miguel Chavez Gonzalez photo courtesy of

The 100 metre breaststroke for men contested on the opening day of the World Swimming Championship in Gwangju South Korea saw Mexican Miguel Chavez Gonzalez as the top CCCAN swimmer .He dropped more than a second from his personal best to record a time of 1:02.37. An aggressive first 50 metres of 28.99 helped him to achieve the top regional placing of 45th overall.

Edgar Crespo Photo courtesy of

Panama’s  national record holder Edgar Crespo recorded a 2019 best time of 1:02.62 (split time 28.83) for 48th overall. This is the eighth consecutive World Championships Crespo has contested this event .

Adriel Sanes .Photo courtesy of University of Denver athletics

Adriel Sanes of the US Virgin Islands recorded a new national record to place 48th overall. He lowered his old national standard of 1:03.71 (split time 29.27) from the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games to 1:02.91 (split time 29.18). His performance is also the best performance. The previous fastest time was done by Abraham McLeod of Trinidad and Tobago who clocked 1:03.47 for 49th overall at the 2013 Barcelona Championships. This is a big improvement for Adriel who had placed 63rd in the 2015 Kazan Championships with a time of 1:07.16.It is also the first top 50 performance by a swimmer from the US Virgin Islands in the event.

National record holder from Honduras Julio Horrego was just off his national record of 1:03.30 when he touched in a time of 1:03.55.That is the fastest time a Honduran swimmer has ever recorded at these championships. He placed 57th.

The 2019 CARIFTA Champion and record holder Izaak Bastian of The Bahamas recorded a swim of 1:03.60 to place 58th in his World Champs debut.

Fausto Huerta of the Dominican Republic was 63rd in a time of 1:04.65.

Rainer Rafaela of Curacao recorded a personal best of 1:06.41 (split time 31.15) to finish 71st overall.

Costa Rican Arnoldo Herrera was just behind him with a time of 1:06.42 for 72nd .

Alex Joachim .Photo courtesy of

There was a new national record for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as Alex Joachim clocked 1:08.14 (split time 31.78) for 80th . The previous national standard was set by Shane Cadogan just this year at the 2019 CARIFTA Championships during the heats of the 15-17 age group.