The morning heats of the 100 metre freestyle saw big time drops for the Team Barbados duo of Alex Sobers and Jack Kirby
Sobers lowered his personal best of 51.82 (split time 25.25) from the TYR Pro Swim Series in Atlanta on March 1 to 50.74 (split time 24.13) to rank 9th overall and qualify for the B final. He will contest the Championship final at 8.22 pm local time. Sobers gave his thoughts to draftingthecaribbean about his PB
“I am happy with the new best time (50.74).Renzo Tjon A Joe (Suriname) was in the lane next to me, so I used that to push me.That swim gave me a positive attitude towards the meet , I am looking forward to the rest of my swims”.
Teammate Kirby was also in record breaking form as he crushed his personal best and national 15-17 age group record of 52.04 (split time 25.70) that he recorded in January at the UANA Cup in Florida to place 10th in a time of 50.97 (split time 25.10). That swim also propelled him past the Youth Olympics A standard time of 51.40.Draftingthecaribbean contacted Kirby and got his thoughts on record swim
“50.97 was a surprise to me because my goal for the race was 51. It felt like a normal 100 free race to me and I believe having older competitors helped my outcome a lot.”
Both swimmers will be chasing top honours in the B final slated for 8:16pm local time as well as the 2019 Gwangju Korea World Championships and 2018 Hangzhou, China World Short Course B time of 50.51. Also in their sights will be the senior national record of Shawn Clarke of 50.40.Clarke set that record leading off the 2009 Rome World championships 400 metre freestyle relay and had an opening split of 24.48
At the recently concluded CCCAN swimming Championships held in Aruba Nigel Forbes continued his epic season in an 11-12 age group division which was brimming with talent. Forbes stood tall among his peers in the breaststroke for 2018 and was unbeaten for the season in that stroke .
It would be the 50 metre breaststroke in which he would make put together a masterpiece of a swim .Already the fastest Bahamian 11-12 breaststroker of all time with 32.54 he now had his sights on the 2005 CCCAN record of Panamanian Arturo Medina of 32.42 .That time tied Bermudan Sam Williamson 11-12 national mark of 32.42 as the second fastest of all time in the CCCAN region. The unofficial record was held by Aruba Jordy Groters at 32.41. Things looked promising for young Forbes when he clocked the fastest time of the preliminaries of 32.99. In the championship Final Forbes took off from the sounding of the starter’s gun and was more than a body length of the field by the 25 metre mark.With the question of the Gold answered what needed to be determined was what the record would be lowered to . Forbes continued to blaze towards the wall and slapped the pads in a time of 32.15 , a new PB, Bahamian , CCCAN Championship record and he can officially hold the moniker of the fastest the region had ever seen in the event. Winning the Silver was Trinidad and Tobago Nikoli Blackman in 34.74 and the Bronze to Edu Trejos in 34.75. It was this event that he created history for the CARIFTA region by winning the first ever Gold medal at the inaugural UANA Championships so it is fitting that he would take the regional Triple Crown UANA , CARIFTA and CCCAN titles in the fastest swim of all time.
The 100 metre breaststroke would see Nigel putting another show of scintillating speed.As with the 50 metre breaststroke he was already the best The Bahamas had ever produced with his 1:12.24 clocking from the REV nationals and was within a hair’s breadth of the CCCAN record time of 1:12.18 set by Olympian Carlos Claverie of Venezuela (Rio 2016) .
Claverie won Bronze at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing China in the 100 metre breaststroke in a time of 1:01.56.
After easing into the final with a time of 1:14.78 he decided to turn on the thrills in the final. When the race started Nigel again separated himself by some distance by the halfway mark turning in 33.13, a split that would have would the Silver in the 50 metre race. He kept applying the pressure and touched in a new PB,Bahamian record and CCCAN Championship record of 1:11.16. Forbes is now the fastest ever swimmer the CARIFTA region has produced in the event.He just missed the unofficial CCCAN 2014 record of 1:10.94 held by Puerto Rico’s Daniel Chevere. The win also marked another Triple Crown performance ( UANA, CARIFTA and CCCAN). Silver went to Panamanian Trejos in 1:13.24 and Blackman won Bronze in 1:16.24.
The 200 metre breaststroke which was Forbes first individual race saw a colossal battle between himself and Trejos. The Panamian started the race with a split of 35.67 followed by Nigel with a 36.50 . They were the only swimmers under 37 seconds for the first 50 metres and well ahead of the rest of the field. Nigel kept closing the gap on Edu until he was ahead by .01 ahead of him coming off the final wall.
He then stepped on the gas to take the win in a new PB and Bahamas record 2:36.00. Forbes just missed another Claverie standard of 2:35.89 but is now the fastest ever 11-12 200 metre breaststroke swimmer from the CARIFTA region. Edu was close behind winning Silver in 2:36.32. Bronze went to Stefan Bonati of the Cayman Islands in 2:49.08.
There would be more Gold for Forbes in Aruba in the sprint butterfly events. In the 100 metre butterfly he won the Gold based on a strong back half. This, as he was behind at the 50 metre mark as the early leaders Christopher Gossmann of Guatemala 29.23 and Trinidad and Tobago standout Zarek Wilson 29.44. Nigel’s split was 30.05. He however provided the fastest last 50 metres to take the Gold in 1:01.95 a new PB and Bahamian record taking almost a second off the 2014 Evante Gibson standard of 1:02.83 .that completed the regional Golden Double as he won the CARIFTA Gold in 1:04.05 earlier this year in Kingston. Silver went to Wilson in a new PB of 1:02.16 and the Bronze to Gossmann in 1:02.23.The same trio finished in the exact same order earlier at the UANA cup with times of 1:03.34,1:03.48 and 1:04.19 respectively
In the 50 metre butterfly he posted the only sub 28 seconds time in the final to win 27.73. Omari Sealy of Barbados took the Silver in 28.17 and Gossman 28.25. He holds the national record at 27.67.
In the 100 metre freestyle he dipped under the 58 seconds barrier for the first time to win Silver in a PB and national record time 57.79.Gold went to Blackman in 57.61 and the Bronze to his teammate Marvin Johnson in 58.75. The old 11-12 record of 57.99 belonged to Lamar Taylor .
There would be another Silver for Forbes and Team Bahamas in the 200 metre mixed freestyle relay.The team of Johnson (27.98),Keianna Moss (28.72) ,Devin Cuffy-Bethel 28.98 and Forbes (25.76) stopped the clock in 1:50.64 just behind Team Trinidad and Tobago 1:50.29 .The Bronze went to the Cayman Islands in 1:52.64. Nigel placed 9th in the 400 metre freestyle.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted the young swimmer he gave his thoughts on his breaststroke Gold medals . He said that he felt great about all the breaststroke races his favourite was the 100 metre race. When questioned about the 200 metre event if he knew about the record and if he could have gone faster he said he did not think he could have gone any faster because he had great competition from his Panamanian competitor (Edu Trejos) and he gave it his all. Forbes now owns 7 of the 16 individual Bahamian national records for the 11-12 age group
When Lamar Taylor had been disqualified in the Championship final in the boys 13-14 50 metre freestyle at the 2017 CCCAN Championships after qualifying with a time of 25.18 in July he told draftingthecaribbean would be using that moment as inspiration to be even faster . Less than than a year later he has been true to his word by breaking the national record in the 50 metre freestyle and closing in on being the fastest 13-14 swimmer from the English speaking CARIFTA region OF all time.
Since last summer the Freeport Aquatics swimmer has blazed a trail to become the fastest regional swimmer this season in the 13-14 age category. At the inaugural UANA Cup in Coral Springs Florida he was the top CARIFTA swimmer as he won Silver in a time of 24.57, the Gold went to Mexican Victor Salcedo Carrillo who out touched him with a 24.56.
At the CARIFTA Championships in Kingston Jamaica he took the Gold medal in a then personal best of 24.27 . He took the title convincingly as he was more than half a second ahead of the field . In that race he was just short of the national and CARIFTA record of 24.25 set by countryman Izaak Bastian.
At the 2018 Rev national he would make no mistake as he clocked a new PB, Championship record and age group national record of 24.06. In the final he was in scintillating form as he took the title in a time of 23.79. Lowered in the process was the Bastian’s 2016 meet record of 24.56.
The next milestone is getting past the 23.77 of Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua Romany which stands as the fastest performance by a 13-14 swimmer from the English speaking CARIFTA region.
Already the top seed in the race for the upcoming CCCAN Championships in Aruba he is now faster the meet record of 24.10 held by Venezuela’s Olympian Crox Acuña (Beijing 2008 and London 2012).
50 metre freestyle
DQ 25.18 heats
24.57 Silver *
The national age group record in the 100 metre freestyle would not be spared as it went down as well. In the heats of the event he had splits of 26.24 and 27.72 for a total time of 53.96 to go under 54 seconds for the first time. The old national and Championship record of 54.25 had belonged to Kevon Lockhart. In the final he even split the race 27.60 and 27.51 to win in a time of 55.11.
The 200 metre freestyle saw another easy win for Taylor as he took Gold in 2:03.33 (split time 1:00.47) to be just outside the Championship record of 2:03.28 by John Bradley .
Swimming for exhibition he broke the 50 metre butterfly meet record and age group record of 26.16 and 26.18 respectively by Bastian with a blast of 26.09. His club mate Rommel Ferguson would lower that in the final with time of 25.98.
The 100 metre butterfly final would be a battle between the clubmates. Ferguson struck the first blow when he went out to a lead of 28.52 to Taylor’s 29.97. But in great display of negative splitting Lamar had the only sub 30 seconds split of 29.75 to lead his teammate to the wall 59.75 to 59.95. That would be the first time under the 1 minute mark for both swimmers.
100 metre butterfly
The sprint back stroke events the 50 and 100 metres saw him winning Gold in 28.05 and 1:01.57 respectively.
50 metre backstroke
The 100 metre backstroke effort lowered the Championship record of 1:01.82 held by DaVante Carey. A sub minute performance in the event could be on the cards for Lamar as his splits at CARIFTA and REV nationals suggest that he could be much faster
CARIFTA 30.94 and 30.47 Gold 1:01.41
Rev Nationals 30.11 and 31.46 Gold 1:01.57.
The 1999 national record of 1:00.82 is held by Olympian Chris Vythoulkas (Athens 2004) .
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Lamar he gave us his impression of nationals
“I feel really good about breaking the national records. I came to Nationals with the goals of setting the national marks in the 50 and the 100 freestyle and if I was lucky even more. It felt amazing to go 53 in the heats of the 100 metre freestyle. After my DQ in the 200 individual medley I felt I had to play it safe and that caused me to slow down a lot.So I just came up early (before the 15 metre mark and played it safe). In the 50 metre freestyle I knew that people were watching me on the 15 metre mark so in the heats I popped up early and went as fast as I could. In the final I stayed down a little longer and came up right before the 15 metre. I felt really good about the time and how I broke the record. In my mind during training for Nationals my goals were to better all my times and go under 24 and 54 for my 50 and 100 freestyle. I do have to say I was a little disappointed with my 50 freestyle time as I wanted to get the Youth Olympics Games A cut of 23.56″.
The future of swimming in The Bahamas continues to look bright as seen in the performances of the competitors at the 2018 REV National Swimming Championships which ran June 16-19. One of the top swimmers at the Championships was Nigel Forbes of the Tritons . He won Seven Gold medals in the 11-12 age group while setting new national marks in four events and lowering the Championship record in five races.
In his first race he lowered the meet record in the 200 metre breaststroke with a swim of 2:39.42 . That bettered the old mark of 2:41.45 set by Olympian Dustin Tynes (Rio 2016).He is now within reach of the 2014 national record of 2:38.61 set by local and regional star Izaak Bastian
200 metre breaststroke
In the 100 metre butterfly he dismissed the competition by more than seven seconds to land Gold in a new Personal best of 1:03.27. That broke the 2007 championship record of 1:03.79 set by Evante Gibson in 2007. It also brings him closer to the national record of 1:02.83 set by Samuel Gibson in 2014 . His newly minted PB would also move him from the second seed to the number one swimmer at the upcoming CCCAN Championships in Aruba . The CCCAN Championship record stands at 1:01.83.
100 metre butterfly
His next event , the 400 metre IM he was equally as dismissive as he was more than 20 seconds ahead of the competition as he took Gold in a new Championship and national record time of 5:18.05.He owned the old national record of 5:20.46 which he set in April of this year and the meet record of 5:26.52 was set by Kevon Lockhart in 2015.
The 50 metre butterfly saw him putting on an excellent display of sprinting in both the heats and the finals. The morning preliminaries saw him lowering his personal best and the Championship record of 28.28 held by DaVante Carey and Ian Pinder when they tied for Gold in 2015. The final saw him getting past the another 2007 Gibson national record of 27.77 with a blistering 27.67. That reaffirmed his favourite’s tag and number one seeding for CCCAN. It also brings him within touching distance of being the fastest 11-12 English speaking CARIFTA region swimmer in the event. That accolade belongs to Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympian Dylan Carter (Rio 2016) with his 27.34 blast from 2009.The CCCAN record is 27.30.
50 metre butterfly
28.68 Bronze *
*Top CARIFTA region swimmer
The 200 metre butterfly was the only event he did not set a record in it.He took the title by over 10 seconds stopping the clock in 2:28.42.
Regular service however resumed in the 50 metre breaststroke as he lowered his personal best from 33.74 to 33.34 in the heats. Clearly he had a lot more in the tank as he was in scorching form in the final .He broke the meet and national record of 32.94 regional standout Izaak Bastian with a 32.54 clocking besting the field by over four seconds. He again is the number one seed for CCCAN where the meet record stands at 32.42.
50 metre breaststroke
When draftingthecaribbean contacted him on June 18 he spoke his national record breaking swims in the 50 metre butterfly and 50 metre breaststroke
“It feels good .I know I have been training hard to get these records and now I have finally broken them”.
For his final record breaking act Forbes again lowered his personal best of 1:14.90 to 1:14.40 in the morning heats of the 100 metre breaststroke.The final saw him blasting away the Championship record 1:13.67 (Bastian 2014) and national record 1:12.26 (Tynes 2009) with a time of 1:12.24 split time 33.58. As the clear favourite and top seed in the event he is in reach of the CCCAN record of 1:12.18
Curacao’s Chadé Nercisio and Jamaica’s Zaneta Alvaranga continued to fine tune their preparations for the 33rd CARIFTA Championships in Kingston Jamaica with record breaking butterfly swims for their nations.
Chadé established herself as the number one female age group swimmer in the CARIFTA region in the 50 metre butterfly in 2017 when she clocked 27.59 to win the Gold medal in the 15-17 age group at the 2017 CCCAN championships in Trinidad and Tobago. At the recently concluded Southern Zone Sectional Championships in Plantation, Florida the East Coast Swim Club representative put clear water between herself and the field in the Championship final of the race when she took the Gold in a new Senior national and 15-17 record of 27.55.Silver went to Alena Kraus of Makos Aquatic Club in 28.24.
Curacao’s “Warrior Princess” is already faster than the existing CARIFTA record of 28.12 by Martinique’s Mika Heideyer . When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Nercisio she gave her thoughts on the race and her preparation for CARIFTA
“I did not know I would go that fast in the 50 metre butterfly. I had other races the day before but they did not go as well as expected so when I swam 27.55 in the 50 I was so happy I dropped .04. I wasn’t expecting it and it did not feel as fast as the time was so it was definitely a big surprise.I am not going to be tapering for CARIFTA but I am going to be trying to do my best times without a taper to see where I am for the CAC (Central American and Caribbean Games) July 19 to August 3”.
Jamaica’s Alvaranga in 2017 broke the 11-12 50 metre butterfly record four times .So far this year she has the 13-14 record twice to put the mark at 29.19 at the Walter Age Group Championships held in February. She would complete the trifecta of record butterfly swims when eclipsed the 100 metre butterfly record of Emily MacDonald of 1:05.86 when she stopped the clock in 1:05.81. The old record was sent just in UANA Cup in Florida which shows the progression of the sport at the age group level. She gave her thoughts about her record swim and her readiness for CARIFTA.
“I feel good about breaking the 100 metre butterfly national age group record in my first year in 13-14.I felt a little bit nervous at the start but I was confident that I would do well. In the race I felt in control because I swam a practice pace that I rehearsed in training”.
The swimming portion of the CARIFTA Championships run from March 31 to April 3 at the National Aquatic Centre.
The first club meet of 2018 in Jamaica saw a number of meet records falling by the way side on the Day One of the 23rd edition of the Karl Dalhouse Memorial Invitational Feb 2. As swimmers search for spots on the 2018 CARIFTA team it would be Britney Williams of the Swimaz Aquatics Club and Dominic Mullings of the Y Speedos Swim Club that defended their titles and set new marks in the distance events .
Williams, who is Jamaica’s fastest locally trained distance swimmer since Olympian Belinda Phillips (Munich 1972) made it two from two when she won the 800 metre freestyle in the 13- 24 age group for the second consecutive year. She won comprehensively in a new meet record of 10:14.67 more than 20 seconds ahead of her nearest rival. Her old 2017 standard stood at 10:22.37.Whe she spoke after the race she had the following thoughts
“It was not the best race I could have done based on my fitness level and the training I have been doing with my coach but it was ok I broke my meet record from last year. I need to work on my turns, start and finish. Going into CARIFTA my coach Lynval Lowe will be working on that. Preparation for CARIFTA is going really well. The times I did at the UANA Cup qualified me so I have to ensure I am in the top two now. I am looking forward what I will do at CARIFTA when I am tapered and in full competition mode”. Williams was a member of the 2017 CARIFTA “Golden Girls” that won all the relays in the 15-17 age group in The Bahamas.
Mullings also broke his 2017 meet record in the 1500 metre freestyle in 18:36.67. That bettered his old standard of 18:39.54.He also won by over ten seconds. He spoke about the race to Draftingthecaribbean last night
“I think I did well I did a personal best and broke the record which is pretty good for me. I am working on qualifying for CARIFTA I have not made any of the qualifying marks as yet but I am currently trying my best and I think it is going to be a good season”.
Christanya Shirley of the Marlins Swim club set new meet records in the 9-10 50 metre butterfly and 100 metre freestyle races with swims of 33.06 and 1:09.88 respectively.
Jordan Hines and Zaneta Alvaranga were crowned the fastest swimmers of the meet with their wins in the 50 metre freestyle races in the 13-124 age group. Alvaranga of the Kaizen Swim club took the title in 27.53. Hines of the Tornadoes Swim club won in 25.01.
Posting two victories on the night were Victoria van der Leer who the 8 and under girls 100 metre freestyle and 50 metre butterfly in personal best efforts of 1:30.54 and 46.01. Josh Johnson in the 9-10 age group recorded a personal best in the 100 metre freestyle in 1:13.50 and then took the 50 metre butterfly in 36.97.
The final day of competition at the UANA Cup at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex on Jan 21 saw Keianna Moss of The Bahamas and Zoe Anthony of Trinidad and Tobago earning medals .
Moss added to the 100 metre backstroke Bronze she had won earlier in the competition when she won the Silver in the 50 metre backstroke in 33.71. The Gold went to Luiza Lima of Brazil in 33.30 and the Bronze to Emilia Julieta Gutierrez Merino of Mexico in 34.16. When draftingthecaribbean spoke to her after the race she had the following thoughts
“In the 50 backstroke I got Silver I executed my race how my coach wanted me to but on my start I went a little too deep. I missed by PB by hundredths of a second. I am proud to bring home the Silver for The Bahamas”.
Zoe Anthony of Trinidad and Tobago showed grit and determination to win her first medal of the competition in the last individual race of the meet , the 50 metre butterfly .Anthony had a number near misses before stepping on to the medal podium stopping the clock in 31.44 to win Bronze. Silver went to Paraguay’s Astrid Caballero in 31.42 and the Gold to Mexican Sofia Laureano Perez in 30.14. Anthony was the best placed CARIFTA region garnering 29 points to place 6th overall.When draftingthecaribbean spoke to the versatile youngster she gave her impression of her performances in Florida
“I certainly felt relieved to finish in third place in the 50 fly you don’t want to attend a swim meet of this calibre and go home empty handed I had three 4th places finished in the 400 free, 200 free and a heartbreaker in the 100 freestyle (she was out touched for the Bronze by 0.25 of a second) so my third place finish was indeed very satisfying. Overall the meet was a tough one for me. The competition from the Mexicans and Brazilians was really challenging and the weather on Day One was a significant challenge. My times were much slower than normal for the 400 free and 200IM but overall it was a fantastic experience”.