Regional standard bearers Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson and Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter continued to fine tune their preparations for the upcoming World Short course Swim Championships in Hangzhou China with top performances on the final day of the World Cup stop in Tokyo Japan.
Atkinson maintained her scintillating form with another world breaking performance in the 50 metre breaststroke.After the morning preliminaries Yulia Efimova from Russia would be the top seed with an effort of 30.23 followed by Atkinson in 30.30. It would not be a time that would be of concern to Atkinson as she had been sub 30 seconds for her split in the 100 metre event. In the Championship final of the 100 Efimova had matched Alia’s reaction time at the start .This time Commander would not yield any quarter . Her reaction to the gun was 0.64 to the Russian’s 0.68. With an advantage already from the gun and her underwater work impeccable alleyes would now be on the time Atkinson would produce as that was the same reaction time she produced to set the world record in Hungary and this pool was the site of her World record performance in 2016. With the field well beaten she stopped the clock in 28.95 , just off her world record but continuing to dominate the all time rankings in the event. Efimova placed second with a time of 29.56 and Australian Emily Seebohm taking the Bronze in 29.99.
Also put on notice was the national record in the 100 metre butterfly as Atkinson put up a time of 57.79 (split time 27.17) to make the Championship final in the event. In the final she produced a time of 58.90 to place eighth overall.
Dylan Carter continues to make this debut tour stop a very successful one for himself , the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the entire region by qualifying for two Championship finals.
In the heats of the 50 metre butterfly he rattled his national record of 22.53 when he led the qualifiers to the final with a time of 22.66. That was the second fastest time Carter has ever recorded in the event. He would replicate that time in the final and finish 4th overall. The Gold went to man of the moment Russian Vladimir Morozov in 22.29, Silver to American sprint sensation Michael Andrew in 22.39 and the Bronze to 2016 World Championship finalist Takeshi Kawamoto in 22.60. At the 2016 world Championships Carter had placed seventh in 22.68. This performance puts Dylan on steady bearing for an even faster performance in China next month.
His second Championship final would be in the 200 metre freestyle. In qualification he would put in the third fastest performance in his life of 1:44.44 (split time 50.92). In the final he posted a time of 1:48.42.This is another event that could see his national record and unofficial CCCAN region best of 1:42.48 that being on borrowed time.
Cuba’s Elisbet Matos turned in another good performance in the 100 metre freestyle. She placed 24th overall .She registered a time of 55.26( split time 26.90).
The second day of the Tokyo leg of the FINA World Cup was another successful day for the Caribbean at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center with Commander Alia Atkinson leading the way with yet another breaststroke Gold, Dylan Carter shattering his national backstroke record and recording the best ever time form the CCCAN region and Elisbet Matos swimming under 2 mins in the 200 metre freestyle.
Alia Atkinson , world record holder in the 100 metre breaststroke was back at her irrepressible best in the championship final of the event.The race was always going to be a battle between Atkinson and her Russian rival Yulia Efimova. With the sounding of the starter’s gun it was an identical reaction time between Alia and Yulia with both registering a response of 0.67. That would be where the similarities would end. Atkinson known for her excellent underwater work displayed that and took the early advantage. It would be a lead she would not lose as she took the first half of the race out in 29.67 shadowed by Efimova in 29.78. There would be no waning of strength on the second 50 metres as Alia outsplit the field again with a time of 33.42 to win a time of 1:03.09. This her second consecutive win in the event this season.
Video courtesy of FINA
Yulia won the Silver in a time of 1:03.42. The Bronze went to Siobahn O’Connor who clocked 1:05.07. Atkinson took out the race in her fastest split for the season and still had the speed endurance to take the win which augurs well for the defence of her title at the World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou China from Dec 11 to 18.
When Dylan Carter flew into Tokyo his nation’s national record for the 50 metre backstroke stood at 25.14 held by Jeron Thompson.That time would be committed to the pages of history as he lowered the Republic’s national record as well as the unofficial CCCAN record to become the first from the region under 24 seconds in the event with a clocking of 23.73.
He bettered the CCCAN best of 24.32 set by another icon from the region Rodolfo Falcon of Cuba.Falcon had set that time on Mar 17,2000 when he won the Bronze medal in the event at the World Championships in Athens Greece. Carter’s newly minted standard from the heats would get the same record breaking treatment in the Championship final as he placed fourth in a time of 23.43.
The Gold went to Jiayu Xu of China in 22.87. The silver to American Michael Andrew in 23.17 and Japanese Takeshi Kawamoto in 23.36. Carter’s time would have made the World Championship final in event in every edition from 2000.
There would be another Championship final for Carter as he qualified for the final of the 100 metre freestyle with a time of with a time of 48.06 (split time 23.08). In that final he would place 5th in a time of 47.75( split time 22,79) .Carter had the fastest reaction time of the field of 0.59 of a second.
The race was won by Russian Vladimir Morozov in 45.16,in yet another World Cup record, Silver to Australian Kyle Chalmers in 45.78 and the Bronze to American Blake Pieroni in 46.79.
Cuba’s Elisbet Matos remains on pace for good performances at the upcoming World Championships with her performance in the 200 metre freestyle.She recorded a time of 1:58.80. At the last edition of the Championship in 2016 she had placed 30th in a time of 2:01.08.
The nations of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba were well represented on the first day of the Tokyo leg of the 2018 FINA World Cup tour. They were represented by Alia Atkinson, Dylan Carter and Elisbet Matos respectively.
Atkinson again set a season best time in the 100 metre individual medley. She recorded her best time outside of a World Short Course Championships when she recorded 58.96 in the heats of the event. In the final she would return to place 6th in the Championship final. Gold went to World record holder Hungarian Katinka Hosszu in
Comparison of best in season times
First 50 metres
Second 50 metres
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago saw their return to the World Cup tour since the legendary George Bovell III swam his last race in November 2014 at the Singapore stop when Dylan Carter lined up behind the blocks in the 50 metre freestyle and 100 metre individual medley. It would not be an easy path to the Championship final of the freestyle. After the morning heats Carter was in a dead heat with New Zealand’s Daniel Hunter as they recorded identical times of 21.93 for 8th place. Dylan would win the swim off 21.85 to 21.95. In the final he would place 6th in a time of 21.68 .
The race was won by a fellow University of Southern California alum Vladimir Morozov in a World Cup record time of 20.49. Second went American sprint sensation Michael Andrew in 21.05 and the Bronze to Australian Olympic Champion Kyle Chalmers in 21.09.
Dylan would just be off the pace in the medley as he touched in a time of 54.02 ( split time 24.34) for 13th overall. The race went to Morozov in a new World Record of 51.26 , more than a second ahead of the field.
Cuba’s Matos would record time of 4:08.86( split time 2:03.03) to qualify for the Championship final in the 400 metre freestyle . She was not that fast in the final and placed eighth in a time of 4:15.47. The race was won by Dutch swimmer Femke Heemskerk in a time of 4:01.29.
As it was on the first two days of the 2018 Dean Martin Memorial meet in Kingston Jamaica so it was on the final day Sunday October 28 where Jillian Crooks of Camana Bay Aquatics continued the constant assault on the Cayman Islands 11-12 age group records.
In her first event of the day she raised the bar for her age group in the 100 metre butterfly. The 11-12 meet record stood to Jamaican standout Zaneta Alvaranga at 1:08.85 in 2017 which was also the fastest time by a female swimmer at the meet, Jillian’s 11-12 Cayman record was 1:06.87 from her CCCAN Gold medal performance in Aruba and the best ever 11-12 time in Jamaica was 1:05.98 by another wunderkind Bermuda’s Elan Daley in her Gold medal winning performance at CARIFTA 2018. Jillian would blast through all of those times to record a winning time of 1:04.54. Her opening split of 30.21 almost broke her 50 metre butterfly record of 30.08.Crooks has made considerable progress since her first regional meet of 2018 which was UANA where she recorded a time of 1:12.43.
Still in only her first year of the 11-12 age group she is already faster than the Cayman Islands 13-14 record held by Olympian Heather Roffey (Athen 2004) of 1:05.62 and is closing fast on the senior record of Lara Butler (Rio 2016) of 1:04.10. Her winning time at Dean Martin would have won her the Silver medal in the boys race at CARIFTA earlier in the year
She would not finish with her record breaking in the butterfly but also extended that to the 200 metre backstroke. Jillian would slice a few hundredths off her PB and national record of 2:33.98 to register a winning time of 2:33.91 . That now stands at the 11-12 record and fastest ever female time of the meet. The old 11-12 meet record was held by Kendese Nangle of the Blue Seals swim club from 2007 who posted a time of 2:42.95.
She would close out the meet with a meet record in the 50 metre freestyle record of 27.78 just eclipsing the 2016 meet record of 27.79 by CAC and Youth Olympics representative Emily MacDonald of Swimaz Aquatics. Crooks now dominates the LCM record board for the Cayman Islands in the 11-12 age group and has a chance to lower the CARIFTA and CCCAN records in those events in 2019.
50 metre freestyle
100 metre freestyle
200 metre freestyle
50 metre backstroke
100 metre backstroke
200 metre backstroke
100 metre breaststroke
50 metre butterfly
100 metre butterfly
200 metre IM
Continuing his own meet record smashing streak was Zarek Wilson of the Blue Dolphins Swim club of Trinidad and Tobago. He recorded the fastest ever time at the meet of 4:30.45 while destroying the 11-12 record of Sean -Douglas Gooden of 4:51.45.In his final event of the competition he clocked 26.20 just missing the 2017 record of 26.16 set by Nathaniel Thomas of the Tornadoes swim club.
In one of the most exciting races of the day in the 13-14 age group in the 100 metre butterfly which saw the 2018 CARIFTA Silver medallist Zaneta Alvaranga of the Kaizen Swim Club in a head to head battle with the 2018 CCCAN Gold medallist and national record holder Sabrina Lyn of the Tornadoes. It would be Alvaranga’s fast opening 50 metres that proved to be the difference as she held off a late charge from Lyn. They would finish in times of 1:05.24 and 1:05.56 well under the 2008 record of 1:10.86. Also finishing under the record was P’aige Lewis of the Y Speedos who recorded a time of 1:10.57.
Alvaranga would return to close out her individual races with an emphatic win in the 50 metre freestyle in a time of 27.23 . That shattered the 2016 meet record of 28.38 by 2018 Commonwealth Games competitor Alison Jackson of the Stingrays Swim Club of the Cayman Islands.The performance will also stand as the fastest ever female time at the meet.
Also in record standard setting mode was Thomas of the Tornadoes Swim Club in the 13-14 age category. In the 100 metre butterfly he set a new personal best time of 1:00.54 to take the win and break the meet record of 1:01.80. He would top the 13-14 field in the 50 metre freestyle with a time of 25.12 ,just under the old record of 25.16 in yet another personal best.He will be targeting the 2004 national record of 24.47 set by another Tornadoes swimmer Brad Hamilton.
In the 15-16 category Jordan Crooks of Camana Bay Aquatics produced the meet’s first ever sub minute swim in the 100 metre butterfly when he touched the pads in 59.83.In the 15 and over category of the 50 metre freestyle he held off two members of Jamaica’s national record setting 15-17 200 metre freestyle team at CARIFTA Jordan Hines of the Tornadoes Swim Club and Kyle Sinclair of the Y Speedos to be the fastest sprinter in the history of the meet. He cut through the water to touch in 24.60. Hines was a touch back in 24.61 and Sinclair ,the final sub 25 seconds swimmer with a 24.80. Both Jordans won their respective 15-16 and 17-18 age groups.
The Y Speedos Swim club retained their crown with 845 points followed by the Tornadoes Swim club with 745 and the Marlins swim club third with 256 points.
The afternoon session of the Dean Martin Memorial Swim meet on October 27 saw Jillian Crooks of Camana Bay Aquatics again breaking more Cayman Islands 11-12 national records. Joining her in the record breaking party was Zarek Wilson of the Blue Dolphins of Trinidad and Tobago who also lowered the English speaking record 11-12 butterfly record.
It would be Wilson who started the record breaking in the 200 metre butterfly. Zarek already held the fastest English speaking Caribbean mark in the 11-12 age group when he had set the bar at 2:20.25 at meet earlier in the month. As the race was open he would test his skills with older swimmers . He did not waste the opportunity as he and Jordane Payne of the Y Speedos battled for the majority of the race for supremacy. In the end it would Wilson prevailing and becoming the first 11-12 English speaking swimmer under 2:20. He touched in a time of 2:17.82 .
Records bettered on the way to his new mark was the meet standard of 2:33.52 set by Nathaniel Thomas and the fastest time set in Jamaica by an 11-12 boy of 2:22.71 in 2013 by Damon St Prix at CARIFTA 2013. Also downed was the fastest time recorded at the meet of 2:20.91 by Payne in 2017. When he was in Jamaica for the CARIFTA Championships and won this event he had recorded a time of 2:23.22. In his sights before he enters the 13-14 age group will be the all time 11-12 CCCAN record of 2:15.69 set by Mexico’s Joshua Laisequilla in 2011. Payne would top the 15-16 swimmers and better his own record with a clocking of 2:20.86.
Zarek would also record the fastest time for the meet when he won the 400 IM in a time of 5:18.30. That bettered the 2015 mark of 5:24.99 held by Zachary Moore of the Stingray Swim Club of the Cayman Islands.
Crooks would set her national marks in the 200 metre freestyle and 100 metre breaststroke. In the freestyle event would see Crooks, the 2018 CCCAN Bronze medallist in event battling with the CCCAN Gold medallist and national record holder Jamaican Morgan Cogle of Jupiter Dragons. Crooks would take the win in Kingston as both swimmer went under the 2016 record of 2:19.16 held by the former Jamaican national record holder in the event Emily MacDonald of Swimaz. Crooks would touch in 2:15.17 with Cogle second in 2:17.00. Crooks previous best and national record from CCCAN stood at 2:16.95.
In the 100 metre breaststroke she was not the first to wall as Kokolo Foster of the Tornadoes Swim club lead her to the pads in a time of 1:23.18. Jillian touched just behind in 1:23.60. Both swimmers bettered the 2008 record of 1:24.19 held by Octivia Gray of the Marlins Swim Club. Crooks bettered the 2015 national record of Alison Jackson of 1:24.96.
Brother Jordan , a 2018 Youth Olympics competitor and flag bearer would also set meet marks in Kingston . He took down the record in the 15-16 boys 100 metre freestyle of 55.48 with a time of 54.42. Battling him to the wall was Kyle Sinclair of the Y Speedos timed in 55.02. In the same race teammates from the Tornadoes Swim Club Jordan Hines and Sean -Douglas Gooden topped the 17-18 division with swims of 57.41 and 58.26 respectively and were both under the meet standard of 59.26.
The 200 metre freestyle would see Jordan lowering the 15-16 mark of 2:05.00 by Stingrays Jonathan Key and recording the best time ever done at Dean Martin with a 2:01.05 performance (split time 58.68).
Cogle would bounce back from the 200 freestyle to record the fastest time ever done by a girl at the meet when she stopped the clock in 5:39.56. that swim broke the 11-12 record of 5:47.56 by Ria Plunkett of the Stingrays Swim Club in 2015.It is also faster than the best mark ever at the meet , the 15-16 record of 5:39.99 by Breanna Roman of Swimaz Aquatics.
Other notable records on the day saw the Tornadoes duo of Sabrina Lyn and Sean -Douglas Gooden taking down the breaststroke records in the 13-14 and 17-18 age groups respectively with swims of 1:19.74 and 1:11.45.
Lyn also lowered the 200 metre butterfly record for good measure in a time of 2:41.67 .Last year she had set the 11-12 record with a time of 2:46.66.
The 2018 Dean Martin Memorial swim promised to be an exciting three days of swimming action and the first session held at the National Aquatic Centre did not disappoint. Leading the way on night one of action was young sensation from the Camana Bay Aquatics Club from the Cayman Islands Jillian Crooks.
Her last competitive outing saw her smashing eight national records including a senior national record in the 25 metre pool. The question now was could she transfer her short course form to the big pool (50 metre ) .Question asked Answer EASILY.
In her very first event the 100 metre backstroke she produced a new PB, meet record and 11-12 Cayman national record swim and the fastest time ever swum by an 11-12 girl in Jamaica of 1:08.40. That was the only sub 1:10 swim of the day and also the fastest female performance ever at meet. With splits of 33.43 and 35.95 Jillian proved herself a class a part.
She has also shown much improvement as the youngest swimmer in the Championship final of this event at CARIFTA in Kingston earlier this year she had placed 5th in 1:15.71. The old national record of 1:10.45 has already belonged to Jillian from her CCCAN Silver medal winning performance. The old meet record belonged to Jamaican age group star Angara Sinclair at 1:14.97.The previous fastest ever mark by an 11-12 girl was held by Trinidad and Tobago’s Tyla Martin who won Gold in that age group at CARIFTA 2010
In her next race on the night she would destroy another Cayman 11-12 age group record in the 200 metre individual medley. At the 2018 CCCAN Championships in Aruba she won the Silver medal in a time of 2:36.70. After she swum the race it would become part of history as she clocked the only sub 2:40 time time on the night and the fastest ever female performance at the meet of 2:34.88. The old 11-12 record of 2:42.65 belonged to another Jamaican age group star Victoria Ho. An aggressive opening butterfly leg changed the course of the race and allowed her to win easily.
Second in the 11-12 age group was Jamaican age group star and 2018 CCCAN Bronze medallist in the event Morgan Cogle of Jupiter Dragons who stopped the clock in 2:43.81.
There would be another quality performance in the 11-12 age group as CARIFTA’s top 11-12 male swimmer Zarek Wilson of Blue Dolphins of Trinidad and Tobago won the 1500 metre freestyle in 18:24.66 . That shattered the previous fastest 1500 metre freestyle of 18:51.65 set by Zachary Moore of the Stingrays Swim Club in 2015. He also produced the fastest time across all age groups on the night.He would also set a new mark in the 11-12 200 metre individual medley as he became the first 11-12 swimmer under 2:30 seconds at the meet with a top age group time of 2:28.86
Jamaica’s first CCCAN open water medallist Daniel Mair of the Tornadoes Swim Club dropped more than 10 seconds to place second overall in the 11-12 age group with a time of 19:04.69.
Jamaica’s 2018 15-17 CARIFTA Championship Gold Medallist in the 200 metre freestyle Britney Williams lowered the 15-16 age group meet record in the 100 metre backstroke.The Swimaz aquatics athlete touched the wall in a time of 1:15.16 .That bettered the old meet record held by Angara Sinclair of 1:16.01.
There would be an exciting battle in the 15-16 10 metre backstroke as Kyle Sinclair of the Y Speedos and and a member of the 15-17 2018 CARIFTA 200 freestyle team that set the Jamaican age group record in the event and Jordan Crooks,2018 Youth Olympics flag bearer of the Cayman Islands and Camana Bay Aquatics went stroke for stroke to the wall . Sinclair got the victory in 1:03.75 and Jordan a touch behind in 1.03.98.
With the major regional competitions completed for the year Zarek Wilson of Team Trinidad and Tobago (Team TTO) rose from the ranks to dominate the region in the 11-12 age group.
His excellent run of form started at the inaugural UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida in late January.Fittingly he opened the CARIFTA region’s account when he took the Bronze in the 400 metre freestyle in a time of 4:33.49. That was the first medal of an opening triple medal winning performance that included the CARIFTA best performance in the 200 individual medley of a Bronze in 2:31.50 and ending with with another regional standard performance of 27.32 in the 50 metre freestyle to claim another Bronze.
The second day of swimming action saw him with another triple medal winning performance and also opening the Gold medal for Team TTO in the the 100 metre backstroke in time of 1:07.63 which stands as a new championship record. That Gold was accompanied with two Bronze in the 100 metre butterfly 1:03.48 and 200 metre freestyle 2:09.05 another Regional best performance.
The final day of competition saw the Wilson completing the backstroke sprint double taking the 50 metre event in 30.20 . He completed his medal tally with Silver in the 100 metre freestyle in a CARIFTA region best placing of 58.20.
His versatility and mental strength over the three days in colder conditions led him to being awarded the high point award for the 11-12 age group amassing 61 points.
DOMINATION IN KINGSTON
In Jamaica at the CARIFTA championships late March and early April he lead a powerhouse 11-12 contingent from Team TTO that was the engine behind their overall placing of second on the medal table.
It would also be his most dominant performance of the year winning 12 Gold medals and a Silver.
100 metre freestyle
200 metre freestyle
400 metre freestyle
50 metre backstroke
100 metre backstroke
100 metre butterfly
200 metre IM
400 metre IM
200 metre butterfly
200 metre backstroke
400 metre freestyle relay
400 metre medley relay
4:44.35 /heats 4:38.35
200 metre freestyle relay
Such was his conditioning all 13 races medal yielded a near perfect medal performance. In addition to topping the 11-12 age group top performer with he also won the Landon Von Kanel trophy for winning the 200 and 400 metre freestyle.
The CCCAN championships in Aruba this summer saw strong competition from Guatemala and The Dominican Republic Wilson still withstood this to win 10 medals Seven Gold and Three Silver. Zarek would complete Regional Golden Doubles in the 400, 200 metre freestyle and 200 metre IM events. He would have no equal in the sprint backstroke events at UANA,CARIFTA and CCCAN. His leadership would again lead the Team TTO Youth Brigade to overall age group titles for both the girls and boys.
The boys total of 201 points were more than double the second placed country and the most points tallied across the four age groups 11-12,13-14 , 15-17 and 18 and over.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Zarek on July 10 he spoke about the CCCAN and championships and his preparation for the 13-14 age group
“CCCAN 2018 in Aruba was a continuation of my learning experience as a competitive swimmer. I believe I showed some growth and achieved many of my goals. Even the events that I fell short in provided valuable experience which will also serve as motivation going forward. The highlights for me were the 400 freestyle and the 200 butterfly. In the 400 freestyle I was able to execute the race just the way my coach, Edmund Pouchet, suggested. Even though I won silvers in the 100 (1:02.18) and 200 (2:21.11) butterfly events, they were both personal bests with the 200 fly being a new national record. I am encouraged by the times that I swam. After a short break I will sit down with Coach Pouchet and begin preparations for the next two years in the 13-14 age group. I am thankful to God and everyone, (family, coaches, teammates, and supporters), especially those who are there when the lights are not shining brightly”.
Zarek is a Form 2 student of the Presentation College in San Fernando. He trains with the Blue Dolphin Swim Club at the St Mary’s College in Port of Spain which is a 65km commute one way. Draftingthecaribbean had the opportunity to speak with his coach Edmund Pouchet on Sep 25 about how he conditions Zarek and his performance at the major meets this year , what he needs to do step up his training and the approach that should be taken to age group swimming.
He said that Zarek performed well this season . He swam a full schedule and that takes a lot of conditioning. Zarek has nine sessions per week which includes four morning sessions.
Coach Edmund said that work load will need to step up by one session entering the 13-14 age group.At this time of the season the work is mainly aerobic .Medley work twice a week,Stroke work twice a week. Mornings sets would be around 4,000 metres and the afternoons 7,000 metres in the afternoons.
There is one sprint session session per week to keep the swimmers sharp. More sprint sessions will be added as the target for aerobic work has been met but still maintaining the aerobic base.
Coach Edmund also stressed that in the development of age group swimmers there needs to be a focus on building the aerobic base. Swimmers should mainly be doing 200, 400 races and up as this is central to their development. Coach Edmund who has more than three decades of coaching experience believes in the mantra “put in the work and you will get the results”. He has seen clearly over the years of coaching that there is no shortcut to success and coaches must build their swimmers so when they leave a programme they are able to handle the workload in a collegiate programme.
Zarek will be one of the leading lights Team TTO will be looking to step up for the Republic when he enters the more competitive 13-14 age group