Bahamian Olympian Joanna Evans was in sparkling form for the University of Texas at the recently concluded BIG 12 Championships winning 4 Gold medals. The meet which was contested from February 22 to February 25 at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center at the University of Texas saw the sophomore ascending to the top of the podium in the 800 yard freestyle relay and the 200, 500 and 1650 yard freestyle.
In the 800 yard freestyle relay the Longhorns won in a time of 7:00.70.That relay performance was the 6th fastest in the Texas history. The relay team of Madisyn Cox 1:45.09, Evans 1:44.27, Claire Adams 1:44.95 and Karosas Tasija 1:46.39 crushed the competition as they won by over 10 seconds. In 2016 Joanna swam on the B team for exhibition purposes only and split 1:45.92. Her 2017 split of 1:44.27 was the fastest split at the BIG 12’s since 2012.
That relay performance would be a precursor for her win in the 500 yard freestyle. She would repeat as the BIG 12 Champion in the event in a new Championship record adding to her crown won in her freshman year. That year she took the title in 4:39.97 and won by a margin just over 2 seconds. This year she won by almost 4 seconds in 4:36.97. Evans was faster over each 100 yards as seen in the splits below
|2017 splits||2016 splits|
With her victory a number of milestones were achieved. She bettered her personal best of 4:39.51 set in December 2016. She bettered the 2011 championship record of Olympian Camille Adams (2012, 2016) of Texas A& M of 4:37.81. Also lowered was the 1992 school record of 4:37.73 by Olympian Erika Hansen (1988,1992).Bettered as well was the CARIFTA region’s best time in the event at the collegiate level set in 2001 by Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson (2000 and 2004) when competing for the University of Florida. The Freeport native is now the region’s best in the 500 yard freestyle as 400 metre freestyle (50 metre pool).
The 200 yard freestyle saw her stepping up from the Silver to take the Gold in a time of 1:44.41.That bettered her personal best of 1:45.07 set in January. Evans was again faster on both 100’s from last year as seen below
|2017 splits||2016 splits|
Her last event of the competition saw her putting clear water between herself and the field and winning in a new personal best of 16:05.11.The winning margin was more than 15 seconds. Joanna had won the 2016 title in a time of 16:13.39.
When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Evans she spoke about her wins and the expectations heading into the Conference Championships
“So basically we hadn’t really tapered because NCAAs are right around the corner, so we had decided to take it one day at a time. I was most happy with my 500, that was a sweet time drop, but my other races were best times which you can never complain about”.
She also spoke about the mindset heading to the NCAA Division I Championships which will be held from March 15-18 at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana and the events she will be competing in
“I just want to lower my times from this meet and see how high it can take me. I’ll be in the 200, 500 and mile (1650 yard) freestyle events”.
With the publication of the psych sheet by the NCAA Joanna is ranked 8th in the 500 yard freestyle,18th in the 200 yard freestyle and 22nd in the 1650 yard freestyle.
She also elaborated on the team spirit heading into the Championships in Indiana
“Everyone is excited. This meet has definitely given everyone some momentum heading into the last couple weeks of the season”.
The Longhorns won the competition with 991 points.