PONSON READIES HERSELF FOR TOKYO WITH SPRINT FREE RECORD PERFORMANCES IN PUERTO RICO

Aruban Olympian Allyson Ponson announced her readiness for top performances at this summer’s World Championships in Korea and ultimately the Tokyo Olympics with national record performances in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle.

Allyson Ponson celebrating her 100 metre freestyle Gold medal Photo courtesy of Azura Florida Aquatics

The occasion was the Puerto Rico International Swimming Open held from April 25 to 28 at the San Juan Natatorium . In her first sprint event the 100 metre freestyle Allyson, representing Azura Florida Aquatics rattled her national mark of 56.84 in the morning heats.She swam 56.86 to claim the top seed heading into the Championship final. In that final in the afternoon she relegated the 56.84 to the history books when she swam the only sub 57 time of 56.78. Allyson had set the old national record during the heats of the 18 and over category at the now defunct Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships. Silver went to Daniela Gutierrez Zapata of Colombia in 57.66.The Bronze was won by Julimar Avila of Honduras in 58.26.

Ponson was just off the 2019 Lima A standard of 56.56.In her sights for the rest of the season will be the World Championships B time of 56.40 and Olympic B standard of 56.01.

Allyson Ponson at the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony Photo courtesy of wikipedia

The record breaking was not limited to the 100 metre freestyle as she turned her attention to the fastest event in swimming , the 50 metre freestyle. In that event she blasted through a number of standards as well as her national record in her morning swim. She exerted her dominance with a new Aruban mark of 25.61. That blew away her old national standard of 25.84 set in 2016. Also bettered was the Lima Peru PAN AM A standard of 25.89 and the World Championships B standard of 25.92.

Allyson with her teammate Mariel Mencia displaying Gold and Silver medals from the 50 metre freestyle Photo courtesy of Azura Florida Aquatics

In the night’s final her speed proved too much for her rivals as she stopped the clock in a time of 25.70.Second went to club mate Mariel Mencia in 26.56 and the Bronze to Olympian and 2007 PAN AM Games Silver medallist in the event Puerto Rico’s Vanessa García Vega in 26.50.

Allyson who is now training in Florida with Azura Florida Aquatics spoke to us earlier this month about that move

” So I left February 2 to train with Azura my goals where to do the Pan American A cut in the 50 (25.89) and swim a personal best in the 100 free. In regards with the training I was expecting to do a lot of sprint focused training which I did and I think that really helped me a lot”.

She also gave draftingthecaribbean some insight about her races in San Juan

”  Well during the heats of the 50 I really just tried to stay calm and not focus on the fact that I needed to still qualify with a Pan Am A cut. I felt confident because during warm up I felt really good and I really believed that the training I did during Azura would help me qualify with the A time. So during the race I was just focused on doing what I practiced and not thinking of the time. How ever I wasn’t expecting to go 25.61 yet. For the 100 finals I was already so happy to have done 56 in the morning that my mind set was basically just put on lets try to go a little faster than the morning .I can definitely improve my second 50 in the 100 going back.I also need to make sure I don’t breathe as much in the last few metres”.

Allyson along with twin sister Gabrielle provided the backbone of Aruba’s sprint force during their junior years at the CARIFTA swimming championships

Allyson’s CARIFTA record

Age Group50 freePlacing100 freePlacingAgeYear
11-1228.40Gold1:03.96Bronze122008
13-1427.72Bronze1:04.077th132009
13-1428.17Gold1:01.484th142010
15-1727.29Silver59.81Gold152011
15-1726.97Gold58.48Gold162012
15-1726.91Gold58.28Gold172013

Those swims are putting her in elite company among the top sprinters of all time from the region. In the 50 metre freestyle she is the second fastest active swimmer and fifth overall.

Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace Photo courtesy of theswimpictures.com
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace The Bahamas24.31
Malia Metella   French Guiana/France24.58
Alia Atkinson Jamaica25.47
Leah Martindale Barbados25.49
Malia Metella celebrating Olympic Silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics Photo courtesy of zimbio

In that group Vanderpool-Wallace,Martindale and Metella have all made the Olympic final in the event. Metella won the Silver in 2004 in Athens,Martindale was the first female swimmer from the CARIFTA region to make the sprint final in 1996 at the Atlanta Games. Arianna showed her dominance during her era to make the final in 2012 in London.

For the 100 metre freestyle the all time list is as follows

Coralie Balmy Photo courtesy of Coralie Balmy
Malia Metella   French Guiana/France53.49
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace The Bahamas53.73
Joanna Evans  The Bahamas55.29
Alia Atkinson   Jamaica55.35
Coralie Balmy   Martinique/France55.49
Leah Martindale  Barbados56.03
Allyson Ponson Photo courtesy of sportskidsaruba.com

With Allyson already faster than her 2016 Olympic debut swim in Rio of 26.00 she is one of the most exciting prospects to watch her heading to the 2020 Tokyo Games.

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AFTER TWO DAYS MORE THAN 10 PAN AM GAMES B STANDARDS REGISTERED AT CARIFTA CHAMPIONSHIPS

The CARIFTA Championships are underway in beautiful Barbados and the region’s junior swimmers are putting on a show with great swims. Since the meet got started on Saturday at the Aquatic Centre in Wildey,St Michael the athletes have been also knocking on the door for senior representation at the PAN AM Games later this year in Lima Peru.

Jada Chatoor Photo courtesy of Bertram Blackman

In the 800 metre freestyle it was Jada Chatoor who threw down the first marker with a time of 9:19.12 under the PAN AM B standard of 9:24.97.She won the Gold medal in the 15-17 age group .This continues the family tradition of distance freestyle excellence .Her older brother Graham won the 1500 metre freestyle in his final year of junior competition at the 2018 edition in Kingston Jamaica. He is also making a name for himself in the collegiate ranks this season as a freshman at NYU.

https://draftingthecaribbean.wordpress.com/2019/02/28/team-ttos-graham-chatoor-crushes-numerous-records-to-earn-rookie-of-the-year-award-at-conference-champs/

Interestingly since being eligible to swim the distance event she has only contested the race twice and has never been defeteated. First in 2017 in The Bahamas when she won in 13-14 in 9:24.69 and now in the Bahamas.It is also the fastest winning time since a certain Joanna Evans of The Bahamas and Texas Longhorns fame contested the event in 2015. Jada has now put the national record of 9:14.78 on notice.

1500 metre freestyle medal podium from left to right Jake Bailey Silver,Luke -Kennedey Thompson Gold and brother Mark-Anthony Thompson Photo courtesy of Alcindor Bonamy

The 1500 metre freestyle for the boys in the 15-17 age group saw Bahamian Luke Kennedy Thompson dipping under the PAN AM B mark .He swam under the time standard of 16:39.97 with a 16:37.95 effort.That is major improvement from his 2018 showing in Kingston Jamaica when he placed fifth in 17:05.64.Leader for most of that race Jake Bailey just got under the B time with a Silver medal performance of 16:39.20

Bastian opening up a lead in the 200 metre breaststroke Photo courtesy of Mike C Lyn

In the 200 metre breaststroke overwhelming favourite from the Bahamas ,Izaak Bastian was easily under the B standard and gave his championship record of 2:17.78 and PAN AM A standard of 2:17.56 a scare with a 15-17 Gold medal winning effort of 2:18.03. The Florida State swimmer made a name for himself this NCAA season by making the Division I Championship final in the 200 yard medley relay.Bastian has only lost this race once in his CARIFTA career.

Age GroupYearTimePlace
11-1220132:57.427th
11-1220142:39.63Gold
13-1420152:28.15Gold
13-1420162:24.99 heats 2:2378 CRGold
15-1720172:21.14Gold
15-1720182:17.78CRGold
15-1720192:18.03Gold
Alexander Grand’Pierre Photo courtesy of Haiti’s Swim team

Also making a push for senior representation was Silver medallist in the 15-17 age group was Haiti ‘s Alexander Grand’Pierre.He stopped the clock in 2:25.40 just under the B standard of 2:25.79.

15-17 100 metre butterfly podium from left to right Jayhan Odlum-Smith Silver,Ian Pinder Gold and Davante Carey Bronze Photo courtesy of Alcindor Bonamy

In the 100 metre butterfly it was another Bahamian who topped the podium who held up his name to be put on the plane to Lima. Ian Pinder registered a winning mark of 56.80 to better the B standard of 56.95.

Sabrina Lyn 13-14 CCCAN Gold medallist 100 metre butterfly and age group record holder Photo courtesy of CCCAN

It was in the 13-14 age group that the 100 metre butterfly standard was bettered.Jamaica’s fastest ever junior female swimmer in the event Sabrina Lyn bettered the B time of 1:04.93 twice.In the heats she clocked 1:03.47 and then 1:03.19 in the Championship final for new PB,age group record and Championship record and the fastest female time of the meet.

15-17 200 metre freestyle podium from left to right Macdonald,Watson-Brown and Williams Photo courtesy of Mike Critchlow

In the 200 metre freestyle the entire podium party of Bermuda’s Logan Watson-Brown and the Jamaican duo of Emily McDonald and Britney Williams who bettered the PAN AM B mark.The 15-17 trio finished with times of 2:07.86,2:08.72 and 2:08.79 respectively.

Elan Daley Photo courtesy of islandstats.com

The quickest time in the 200 metre freestyle on the day belonged to Bermuda’s Elan Daley .She registered a new 13-14 Championship record of 2:08.03 before crushing that time with a final swim of 2:06.13

15-17 100 backstroke champion and new senior natior record holder Danielle Titus of Barbados

It was almost the case in the 15-17 girls 100 metre backstroke as local girl Danielle Titus won the event in a new Championship record and senior national record of 1:04.60.She broke her old Barbados record of 1:04.79 set in 2018 in Jamaica.

Gabriela Donahue Photo courtesy of floridaswimnetwork.com

Titus was pressed to the wall by Gabriela Donahue of Trinidad and Tobago who also set a new 15-17 and senior national record of 1:05.09.She lowered the mark of 1:05.38 by Kimberlee John -Williams of 1:05.38. Gabriela joins mother Olympian Karen Dieffenthaller Donahue (Seoul 1988) and sister Alexandria as senior national record holders for the twin island republic

EventNameTimeYearMeet
200 freestyleKaren Donahue2:07.031988Olympics
100 breaststrokeAlexandria Donahue1:12.332013CARIFTA
100 backstrokeGabriela Donahue1:05.092019CARIFTA

If Gabriela chooses to go to Brown she can continue the family tradition of becoming an Ivy League champion

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Davante Carey Photo courtesy of Bahamas Aquatics

Double sprint backstroke champion at these championships Davante Carey continued the strong showing by the defending champions The Bahamas with his effort in the 100 metre backstroke.He stopped the clock in 59.83.That time was under the B mark of 59.99.

TYLER RUSSELL WINS RELAY SILVER, WEEKES MAKES CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL AS CARIFTA REGION FRESHMEN MAKE DIII CHAMPS DEBUT

The first night of the NCAA Division III Championships in North Carolina proved to be a successful outing for the CARIFTA region freshmen making their debuts at the NCAA DIII debut. It would be Tyler Russell of The Bahamas and Emory who would get the first medal for the CARIFTA region , a Silver in the 200 yard medley relay.Luis Sebastian Weeks of Barbados and Kenyon College would make it to the Championship final of the 200 yard individual medley. Others getting their first taste of swimming at Nationals included Graham Chatoor, Joseph Black and Racine Ross.

Tyler Russell bringing the heat in the 100 yard breaststroke Photo courtesy of D.B Cooper

Russell, who was entering the Championships from a strong showing at his UAA Conference Championships continued his good form with the Eagles in the 200 yard medley relay. He recorded a breaststroke split of 25.37 to help them to fifth overall in the morning heats with a time of 1:29.38. In the night’s final he brought the same energy from the morning to split 25.38 to help Emory place second in a season best time of 1:28.48

BackstrokeSage Ono22.44
BreaststrokeTyler Russell25.38
ButterflyColin LaFave21.16
FreestyleTrey Kolleck19.50
Total Time1:28.48
Luis Sebastian Weekes

Weekes , who left his junior years behind in 2018 as the CARIFTA and CCCAN Champion paced himself well to make his first individual Championship final with a time of 1:49.45. In the final he placed seventh in a time of 1:49.44 to finish seventh in his DIII Championships debut.

Butterfly24.25
Backstroke27.76
Breaststroke31.27
Freestyle26.16
Total Time1:49.44

That is Weekes’ third fastest time of his career and he ends the season as the fastest Kenyon Lord for the season and the fourth fastest performer in the event in school history.

Graham Chatoor Photo courtesy of gonyuathletics.com

Graham Chatoor of Trinidad and Tobago and New York University clocked the third fastest time of his career in the 500 yard freestyle 4:32.48 .He to placed just outside the top 16 times to finish 18th.

His countrywoman and Kenyon swimmer Racine Ross also recorded the third fastest time of her career in the 50 yard freestyle. She placed 52nd in a time of 24.30. Her teammate Jamaican Joseph Black coincidentally recorded the third best time of his career in the 50 as well recording a time of 20.96 to finish 40th.

TYLER RUSSELL MAKES NAME FOR HIMSELF WITH THREE MEDAL PERFORMANCE AT DEBUT CONFERENCE CHAMPS

Tyler Russell behind the blocks before the Championship final of the boys 15-17 100 metre breaststroke Photo courtesy of C.C.C,A.N

At CCCAN 2018 in Aruba Tyler Russell of The Bahamas closed with the fastest second 50 metres of the field of the boys 15-17 100 metres breaststroke to earn a Silver medal in a new personal best time of 1:05.68.The look of accomplishment and quiet determination on his face belied a swimmer who had found a new approach of performing in championship final.

2018 CCCAN medallists from left to right Russell Silver medallist, Luis Sebastian Weekes Gold medallist and Luke -Kennedy Thompson Bronze medallist Photo courtesy of C.C.C.A.N

Fast forward to his first conference championships with NCAA DIII powerhouses Emory University and this new self belief was seen in an excellent display of swimming that earned him Two Gold and a Silver at at the UAA (University Athletic Association) Conference Championships.

The meet which was held from Feb 13 to 16 at the Myers-McLoraine Pool at the Ratner Athletics Center at the University of Chicago saw the freshman earning his first medal, a Gold in the 400 yard medley relay. The team of Sage Ono,Russell ,HwaMin Sim and Trey Kolleck recorded the only sub 3:18 seconds time of 3:17.86 to lift the long medley relay crown.

Tyler Russell in action in the 400 yard medley relay Photo courtesy of Milena Russell
backstrokeSage Ono49.81
breaststrokeTyler Russell55.55
butterflyHwaMin Sim48.82
freestyleTrey Kolleck43.68
Total time3:17.86

Silver went to University of Chicago in 3:18.28 and the Bronze to Washington University St Louis in 3:18.52.

Gold medal number two would be in the sprint medley relay .This time the butterfly leg duties would be handled by Colin LaFave. This time the Eagles were the only team under 1:29.Tyler went clocked 25.12 in the mornings heats on the breaststroke leg and was even faster in the championship with a leg timed at 25.06.

backstrokeSage Ono22.91
breaststrokeTyler Russell25.06
butterflyColin LaFave21.24
freestyleTrey Kolleck19.75
Total time1:28.96

Second and third spots went to Chicago and Washington in 1:29.70 and 1:29.77 respectively.

Tyler Russell bringing the heat in the 100 yard breaststroke Photo courtesy of D.B Cooper

After earning podium places it was fitting that he should get individual glory in arguably his best event, the 100 yard breaststroke. In the morning heats he qualified for the Championship final in seventh place with a time of 56.98.That performance was the third fastest time of his career at that point. In the night’s final Russell trailed in fifth place with a split of 26.17.After the turn he changed gears and brought the heat as he did in the summer of 2018 in Aruba to record the fastest back half of 29.52. He ran out of water to catch the early leader and eventual Gold medallist Kevin Van Cleave of Washington 55.32 .He did however earn himself his first individual conference medal a Silver in a new personal best of 55.69 , his first sub 56 seconds clocking.Bronze went to Nianzhong Liu,a senior from NYU in 55.78. He is the fastest Eagle in the event for this season.Only two former Eagles Andrew Wilson and Cooper Tollen have swum faster than Russell in the last decade.

In the 200 yard breaststroke he earned an evening swim in the C final.He recorded the second fastest time of his career , 2:08.11 (split time 1:00.14).In the 200 yard IM he placed 25th in a season best and the third fastest time of his career of 1:56.47.The Eagles won the Conference championships with 1848 points. Finishing runner up was Washington University St Louis with 1454.5 points and third was University of Chicago who tallied 1299.5 points.

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to the talented six footer from Nassau about his his expectations heading into the conference , his performances , what areas he wants to improve upon for the DIII Championships which start today in Greensboro ,North Carolina and that CCCAN performance .

Russell off to a a fast start at the UAA Champs Photo courtesy of Milena Russell

“So going into Conference the big goal was to qualify for NCAA’s the Division III championships.That was the big focus for the team. I knew the relay would be my best shot for that and it turned out that is what I ended up making it for.I got close in the 10 breast but I missed it by a little bit.I was hoping to have fun and that we would the meet as a team as we usually do and enjoy the experience as a freshman.It was cool to be able to go.In terms of my performances I was really excited by it.It was an honour to be on the relays.They were really fun and we won which was cool.The team energy was really great.The big idea was to establish ourselves as astrong relay especially going in NCAA’s where that are going to be some tough teams .For my 100 breast where I got second that was really exciting and I was actually surprised.I was hoping to make the A final but I definitely was not expecting to place very well.I was pretty much just focused on my time to hopefully get into the top 16 to qualify for NCAA’s.I missed that by a little bit but I was still happy with my time because it was a pretty big improvement and I still ended up making the meet for the relays.It was pleasant surprise to actually come second because I was not even thinking about that.Going into NCAA’s my goal is to make an A final.That could include being on a relay.the meet is very competitive and is not a given.Also to make an A final individually would be amazing.That would definitely make the meet worthwhile.If I am on the relay we would be hoping to win the event .We are in fourth right now but we have a lot left in us so we can all improve some more and it all really close.It will all come down to the race and who performs and seeing how everybody performs and hopefully we can take it.For me to improve I need to get my pullouts to be better.That is normally where my competitors get me.My swim is normally fine coming from a long course background.My competitors have been doing more short course yards longer than me so have better turns.I think it is going to be good because lot of persons are really nervous because they have never been to a big meet before.With my Caribbean background it is really cool to get to get go to bigger meets.It is a really big meet I am a bit nervous but I know I can handle the pressure because I have been in high stakes situations before.I was really happy with CCCAN. The 100 breast was really good .Most of my swims I was very happy with.The biggest change I made was just putting less pressure on myself .I have a tendency to be real serious and uptight but I tried to change that and put less pressure on myself and enjoy it more.That helped me having more confidence in my races that actually goes a long way which was a pleasant surprise.Hopefully I can keep doing that and continuing to improve going into these other meets”.

ALEX SOBERS WINS 200 FREE SILVER AND KOHEN KERR WINS FREESTYLE RELAY BRONZE ON DAY TWO OF NCAA D2 CHAMPS

The second night of action at the NCAA Division II championships saw the CARIFTA region nations of Barbados,The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica all involved in finals. Medals were earned by Alex Sobers of Barbados and Emmanuel College and Kohen Kerr of The Bahamas and Delta State University.

In the morning heats the Statesmen team of Giulio Brugnoni,Alex Zolotuhkin,Mattia Schirru and Kerr lowered the school record of 1:19.98 to 1:19.36. The same quartet had finished fourth in the 2018 Championship final in a time of 1:20.33. The final would prove to memorable as the team from Cleveland,Mississippi went even faster to claim the Bronze in a tight final in a new school record of 1:19.11. That is the best result for Delta State for more than a decade.

LegNameheatsfinal
First legGiulio Brugnoni20.0719.83
Second legAlex Zolotuhkin19.7819.84
Third legMattia Schirru19.5519.77
Fourth legKohen Kerr19.9619.67
Total time1:19.361:19.11

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Kerr this morning about his team’s record breaking feats

Kohen Kerr Photo courtesy of gostatesmen.com

” My relay teammates and I really enjoyed our morning swim.We did not expect to go that fast as we did in the morning.Not all of our relay team swam as fast as they could.In the night we decided we were going to do better.We tried to come second but unfortunately it did not happen but we all went close to our best times in our 50 splits. We came third which is a school record and the third fastest time in the nation so we were pretty happy about that”.

In the 200 yard freestyle Championship final Sobers created history for Emmanuel College Lions as he became the first swimmer from the Franklin Springs Georgia based team to win a medal in the event . Alex lowered his personal best and school record from 1:35.32 to 1:34.76 to win the Silver medal.

Alex Sobers receiving award for Silver medal performance Photo courtesy of goeclions.com
First 50 22.4021.78
Second 50 24.0123.76
Third 50 24.6224.23
Fourth 5024.2924.99
Total time1:35.321:34.76
Alex and Coach Allen Gilchrest Photo courtesy of goeclions.com

Gold was won by Alex Kunert of Queens in 1:33.56 and the Bronze to his teammate Alec Mosic in 1:36.00. Sobers is the fastest ever swimmer from Barbados in this event.

When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Sobers he had the following thoughts on his medal winning performance
“I was really excited to swim the 200 freestyle yesterday .I knew I had to push with the guy from Queens (kunert) as he is a really good competitor.Overall it was a really good race and I improved my time.This is my team’s first time at Nationals so we are really here to do our best and have fun”.

Kael Yorke

Kael Yorke’s Greyhounds rattled their school record in the 400 yard medley Championship final when the recorded a time of 3:12.87 for fifth place. Yorke had split 48.02 and then 48.05 in the morning heats and Championship final respectively for his butterfly leg.

Nico Campbell Photo courtesy of fscmocs.com

Jamaica’s best 200 yard freestyler Nico Campbell equalled his best ever placing in the event at the National championships with a third place finish in the B final. Campbell’s best time at these Championships stood at 1:38.09. He was faster than that in the heats and final with times of 1:37.24 and 1:37.43 , the third and sixth fastest performances of his career. No other Jamaican swimmer has dipped under the 1:38 barrier other than Nico. In the 200 freestyle relay his Florida Southern College placed sixth in the B final with a time of 1:21.72 .In the morning heats they had recorded a time of 1:21.29. Nico’s splits in the morning and evening were 20.03 and 19.83 respectively.

Jordan Augier Photo courtesy of tampaspartans.com

The record in the 200 yard freestyle relay belongs to Tampa at 1:17.27 set in 2016 . Included in that lineup was St Lucia’s Jordan Augier who had a game changing leg to propel the Spartans to the Gold and the Division II record

https://draftingthecaribbean.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/st-lucian-sprinter-jordan-augier-has-game-changing-relay-leg-to-help-tampa-spartans-set-new-championship-record-at-division-2-championships/

LEGEND!!! JOANNA EVANS ENDS BIG 12 CONFERENCE CAREER UNDEFEATED IN THE 1650 AND 500

With the conclusion of her BIG 12 career on March 2 at the Lee and Jamail Center in Texas Bahamian Joanna Evans can be conclusively described as a legend in the Conference. The Texas Longhorn has been undefeated in the conference in the 1650 and 500 yard freestyle events. Except for 2018 when she did not compete Evans has turned back all challenges and 2019 was no different.

Joanna Evans en route to a win in the 500 yard freestyle Photo courtesy of Andy Ringgold/Aringo

In the 1650 yard freestyle she maintained her winning margin of at least ten seconds .She took the Gold in a time of 15:57.28 breaking the 2012 meet record of Maureen McLaine of 16:00.70. Joanna already owns the Conference mark with her personal best and school record of 15:51.74 from 2017

Year201920172016
1650 yard freestyle15:57.28 CR16:05.11 PB16:13.39 PB

In the 500 yard freestyle no swimmer has come within 2 seconds of her.She capped her 500 yard freestyle with second record setting win in a time of 4:36.87. The overall conference record is also the property of Evans and the Texas Longhorns with her personal standard of 4:35.05.

Year201920172016
500 yard freestyle4:36.87 CR4:36.97 CR ,PB4:39.97 PB

For good measure she also added crowns in the 200 yard freestyle 1:44.82 and the 800 yard freestyle relay .

Victorious 800 yard freestyle relay team from left to right Adams, Pfeifer, Rule and Evans Photo courtesy oftexassports.com
Claire Adams1:44.48
Evie Pfeifer1:44.26
Remedy Rule1:45.17
Joanna Evans1:44.61
Total time6:58.52
Joanna Evans .Photo courtesy of swimswam.com

When she first came to the Conference in 2016 she was awarded Women’s newcomer of the meet and she left it on March 2 as the Swimmer of the Meet to help Texas win easily with 1073.5 points.

Joanna Evans 2019 Photo courtesy of texassports.com

Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Evans about her expectations heading into Conference and how it played out from Feb 27 to March 2

“So going into conference we did not rest too much because our conference is not that competitive we got a day or two off from lifting weights and we had one morning practice off but nothing too serious as we are looking forward to Nationals.I think all of my races the morning swims were not fabulous simply because there was not too much work to do and then in the evening obviously the swims were a little better”.

Joanna Evans at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Evans will enter the NCAA Division I Championships at her home pool ranked fourth in the 500 yard freestyle , 11th in the 1650 yard freestyle and 14th in the 200 yard freestyle.

IZAAK BASTIAN HAS MASSIVE TIME DROP AT ACC’S TO BECOME THE FASTEST BAHAMIAN OF ALL TIME IN 100 YARD BREASTSTROKE, HELPS SEMINOLES CRUSH MEDLEY RECORD

Izaak Bastian Photo courtesy of swimswam

The 2018 CARIFTA class remains undaunted in their pursuit for excellence in senior aquatics. One swimmer from that Kingston 2018 class is freshman Izaak Bastian of the Bahamas who had a breakout meet at the 2019 Atlantic Coastal Conference Championships for the Florida State Seminoles.

Izaak Bastian

Before coming to University Bastian’s best in the 100 yard breaststroke stood at 54.21. A time which he lowered at November’s Georgia Tech Invitational where he swam 54.16(split time 25.53). In the morning heats of the event at the ACC Championships held from Feb 27 to March 2 at the Greensboro Aquatics Center in Greensboro, North Carolina he crushed that mark by exactly a second to make his first major collegiate Championship final . His split was 24.80.He is the first Seminole to make the ACC Championship final since Jason Coombs in 2016

Dustin Tynes Bahamas 2016 National Champion 100 metre breaststroke

In the medal race Izaak went out fast in 24.73 and came back in 28.08 to place sixth and earn a new personal best time of 52.81. With that time he now becomes the fastest Bahamian and English speaking Caribbean swimmer of all time in the event .The previous standard was held by Olympian Dustin Tynes (Rio 2016) when he recorded 52.93 (split time 24.78). He set that time at the 2016 Big Ten Championships while competing for Ohio State University.

2014 Baylor medley relay team Christian Selby ,Sam McHugh,Coach Dan Flack, Tynes and Luke Kalizak Photo courtesy of swimming world magazine

Tynes along with Christian Selby of Barbados were members of the 2014 Baylor team that hold the American independent high school relay record of 1:27.74.

That swim by Bastian make the second fastest performer in Florida State history behind Coombs who holds the record at 52.11 from the 2015 NCAA Division I Championships. The fastest time from the CARIFTA region is held by Aruban Jordy Groters who recorded 52.70 (split time 25.16) form the heats of the 2016 NCAA Division I Championships.

TOP TIMES FROM THE CARIFTA REGION

Jordy Groters Photo courtesy of flaswimnetwork.com
NameCountryTimeYear
Jordy GrotersAruba52.702016
Izaak BastianThe Bahamas52.812019
Raiz Tjon A JoeSuriname52.882018
Dustin TynesThe Bahamas52.932016
Greg PennyUS virgin Islands54.032014
Rafael van leeuwaardeSuriname54.312015
Julian FletcherUS virgin Islands54.442012
Adriel SanesUS virgin Islands54.462019
Serg MartinniCuracao54.562018
Bradley AllyBarbados54.712004
Fantastic FSU Four Kaleoaloha,Muratovic, Pisani and Bastian Photo courtesy of Jeremy Esbrandt

He started the competition on the best possible note as the Seminoles won the Bronze and set a school record of 1:23.65 in the 200 yard medley relay. It was the first medal for Florida State in the event since 2014 when the former relay record holders won Silver in 1:24.72. Izaak now joins country woman McKayla Lightbourn as Bahamians holding school records.

McKayla Lightbourn Photo courtesy of seminoles.com
100 yard backstroke52.392014
200 yard IM1:58.112014
400 yard freestyle relay3:15.762014
Christian Homer Photo courtesy of floridagators.com

When Florida State placed fourth at the NCAA’s 2014 they finished just ahead of the University of Florida team that had as their lead off leg Trinidad and Tobago’s 2010 Commonwealth Gold 50 metre backstroke medallist Christian Paul Homer who has split 21.88.

LegNameTimeNameTime
backstrokeEmir Muratovic21.18Pavel Sankovich20.99
breaststrokeIzaak Bastian23.78Jared Pike24.14
butterflyKanoa Kaleoaloha19.96David Knight20.46
freestyleWilliam Pisani18.71Paul Murray18.98
1:23.631:24.57

Izaak would lower his time as well in the 200 yard breaststroke. In the morning heats he earned a second swim with a time of 1:58.88.That got him a lane in the C final.In the initial stages of the race that night he trailed Notre Dame’s senior Steven Shek 55.62 to 55.15. He used a powerful back half to dominate the field and win decisively in 1:56.62 to win by over a second and half . His swim was the fastest by a Seminole at ACC’s since 2015. That also put as the best Bahamas has ever produced in the event as he bettered another Tynes’s 2016 Big ten performance. This time it was his heats swim of 1:57.46 (split time 55.98).He also rises to third overall in the CARIFTA region all time rankings.

Bradley Ally Photo courtesy of panamerican world
NameCountryTimeYear
Bradley AllyBarbados1:55.852007
Jordy GrotersAruba1:56.602016

In the 400 yard medley relay the Seminoles placed fourth in a time of 3:05.50. That is the best placing for the team since 2014 when that team set a then meet and conference record of 3:04.47

LegNameTimeNameTime
backstrokeEmir Muratovic46.22Pavel Sankovich45.31
breaststrokeIzaak Bastian52.56Jared Pike52.56
butterflyKanoa Kaleoaloha44.95David Knight45.20
freestyleWilliam Pisani41.71Paul Murray41.40
3:05.503:04.47

Izaak spoke to draftingthecaribbean on March 4 about his Conference experience

Izaak Bastian Photo courtesy of seminoles.com

” My first ACC experience was amazing to say the least.I honestly surprised myself with the times I did.I have been training all semester really hard and even last semester as well.Before ACC’s I dropped 2/tenths of a second in the 100 and 200 breaststroke .I really did not know what to expect going into this championship meet.I had been working really hard even after our mid semester meet especially during our training meet to be better than I was there.So I was hoping to be faster but I honestly did not know how much faster I would be .So to come out with a 52.8 was really exciting for me because I was 53.1 in the morning so I thought I would probably go 53 again. But somehow I went 52.8 .I was really happy about that.I honestly did not know I had beaten Dustin’s best time so that is really encouraging going into my next three years to know that I have already done that and hopefully will have a long way to go and more time to drop .Also the 200 was pretty good.It was poorly executed in the morning but luckily I got another swim. I was able to improve my time and fix my mistakes. I think I could have been faster if the 200 was on any other day than the last one. I was a little bit tired going into the final day.Meets like CARIFTA have prepared me for these longer four or five day meets.It was not too bad but I believe I could have been a little bit faster. It was a great experience overall.Our senior did very well so it was great to see them on their last ACC’s performing so well for the team.The team atmosphere was really something different.Everybody getting behind each other no matter what race it was.You always had people creaming from the sidelines cheering.It was just a great atmosphere to be in and race in so I am really happy to be a part of this team and to be a part of something big like that to make my first ACC’s as a freshman and score for the team was a big deal for me”.