As it was in 2017 in The Bahamas, so it was again in 2018 in Kingston as the Jamaican girls swept the sprint freestyle titles on the last day of the CARIFTA Championships on April 3.
The 11-12 girls started the Golden streak in record fashion. Starting the relay for Jamaican was Safiya Officer who touched in 29.35 with the chasing pack. First to the wall on the opening leg was Bermuda’s Elan Daley who was in awesome form throughout the competition. That advantage was eaten up by Isabella Sierra, a member of last year’s record setting team who was timed in 29.02.It was the final legs of the relay that changed the structure of the medal podium as Morgan Cogle with a leg of 28.96 and Aliyah Heaven who dropped the hammer with the fastest anchor leg, 28.14 that sealed the victory and record. The total team time was 1:55.47 .
That bettered the Championship and national age group record of 1:55.77 set by P’aige Lewis, Sierra Sabrina Lyn and Zaneta Alvaranga. Trinidad and Tobago won the Silver in 1:57.37. Martinique earned the Bronze in 1:59.54.
The 13-14 category saw the opening leg contested keenly between the Silver medallist in the flat 50 Naele Portecop of Guadeloupe and Bronze medallist Zaneta Alvaranga of Jamaica . It was the French Speaking territory that held the early advantage, with Portecop timed in 27.06 to Zaneta’s 27.65.Second leg swimmer Amore Hunter regained the advantage with a 28.46 clocking. Sabrina Lyn maintained the edge with a time of 28.51. Anchor leg and 50 freestyle Gold medallist Emily MacDonald removed all doubts as to who the winners would be with the fastest split of the relay 26.17 to push the team to a time of 1:50.79 just off the 1:50.77 Championship record .
In the final category the 15-17 age group Shaun Johnson got the proceedings under way with a 27.51 leg. The early advantage however, was held by the Bermudans who front loaded their relay with Bronze medallist Madelyn Moore who was timed in 26.44. Brianna Anderson took control of the event and took the lead for the Black , Green and Gold with a 27.17 effort. Naomi Eaton 27.58, withstood a charge from the Arubans in the form of Anahi Schreuders 27.17.It was now left to Gabrianna Banks to complete the sweep. She did not disappoint. She recorded the fastest split of the night 26.16 to help the Jamaicans to a Gold medal winning time and new national age group record of 1:48.42.
The old national age age group and senior national record of 1:49.07 was set last year.Silver went to Aruba in 1:49.68 and the Bronze to Bermuda in 1:51.09
At the 2008 CARIFTA championships in Aruba the 13-14 Jamaica team of Kendese Nangle Backstroke 1:12.20, Victoria Ho breaststroke 1:20.05, Alexia Royal-Eatmon butterfly and Raynae Hall freestyle 1:03.00 turned in a Gold medal winning performance in the 400 metre medley relay of 4:46.29 .That performance was also a national record effort.
Ten years later in Kingston Jamaica the 13-14 line up for Jamaica read Simone Vale backstroke, Sabrina Lyn breaststroke, Zaneta Alvaranga butterfly and Emily MacDonald freestyle. The team was supposed to be fast but what the quartet produced on Sunday April 1 at the National Aquatic Centre was phenomenal.
It was expected for the young ladies to challenge the record and do sub 4:45. But they went well below that passing 4:42, 4;40, 4:38 and beyond 4:35 to smash the national standard. En route to lowering the Jamaican record the fab four also smashed the 2017 CARIFTA record held by Trinidad and Tobago of 4:36.43. The final total time for the Jamaicans was 4:33.81.
Lead off leg Vale saved the best for last in the 100 metre backstroke .She recorded two personal bests in the 100 metre backstroke from the heats and the relay moving from 1:10.02 to her first sub 1 :10 time of 1:09.46.Up next Lyn added a breaststroke blast of 1:21.13. Alvaranga produced a butterfly split of 1:04.54 and MacDonald dropped the hammer with a split of 58.68.Guadeloupe won the Silver in 4:40.01 and Martinique the Bronze in 4:44.13.
The 13-14 girls posted the fastest female time in the event just bettering the time of their countrywomen in the 15-17 age group that won the Gold 4:33.87.
From the 11-12 age group Zaneta Alvaranga was already the fastest age group swimmer Jamaica had ever produced when she clocked 28.74 to win the Gold at the 2017 CCCAN championships in Trinidad and Tobago in a championship record time. Since entering the 13-14 in January she has lowered the record twice taking from 29.57 then to 29.55 then 29.19. That would not compare to what she would do at the XXXIII CARIFTA Championships on April 1,2018.
In the morning heats she would blast her way to 28.63, the fastest age group time for a Jamaican girl. Following her under the old record was countrywoman and 100 metre butterfly Champion Emily MacDonald who recorded the third fastest time of the morning with an effort of 28.83. The top spot went to Bronze medallist Naele Portecop of Guadeloupe who broke Emma Harvey’s Championship record of 28.44 with a swim of 28.17.
The stage was set for a historic final in the evening. Portecop was determined to be on top of the podium after being denied the Jamaicans. Zaneta was gunning for the her first individual medal of the night. Emily was waiting in the wings with her customary strong finish if her two competitors did not start well.
That would not happen as Alvaranga and Portecop separated themselves from the field and blazed their way to the touchpads. In the end it the difference was a glide by Zaneta compared to a full stroke by Naele.
The times were Portecop in 27.78 and Alvaranga in 27.94. History was created as this was the first time girls were swimming the 50 butterfly under 28 seconds at the CARIFTA Championships. Both girls were under the Youth Olympics A time of 28.09. Only legendary Olympian and World Record holder Alia Atkinson (Athens 2004,Beijing 2008,London 2012 and Rio 2016) has swum the 50 butterfly faster than Zaneta for Jamaica.MacDonald returned a time of 28.89 under the Youth Olympics B time of 29.07 as the medallists from the 100 metre returned to claim podium spots in the 50 metre event. All the medallists are too young to qualify for the Youth Olympics as the age category is from 15-18 but the strength of their times points to the progress of Caribbean swimming
The Jamaican 100 metre butterfly age group national record for 13-14 girls continues to get faster through the efforts of Emily MacDonald and Zaneta Alvaranga, as both young ladies landed the Gold and Silver in the race .
In January MacDonald had laid down the gauntlet with a national record bid at the UANA Cup in Florida when she won the Bronze in that age category in 1:05.86 bettering the 1:06.19 she set in March 2017. Her countrywoman Zaneta would respond to that challenge by setting the marker at 1:05.81 in a time trial at the very last local meet in March to book her spot in the event.
The ladies would take the event to new heights by bringing their times to new lows as both young women bettered the 1:05.81 with their morning swims. Alvaranga punched the clock in 1:05.16 for the third seed while Emily grabbed lane 4 with a time of 1:04.89, They were separated by Guadeloupe’s Naele Portecop who registered a time of 1:04.95.
The final promised to be an exciting affair and it did not disappoint. Emily held an early advantage at the 50 metre turn and withstood strong late challenges from Naele and Zaneta to take Gold in a new national record of 1:04.28.
Zaneta was just a tick behind in a new personal best and also under the hours old record 1:04.49 with a time of 1:04.46 with Portecop taking the Bronze in 1:04.85. All three medallists are closing in on the Youth Olympics B qualifying time of 1:04.21
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 third day of action of the 2018 Walter Rogers Age Group swimming National Championships was highlighted by national record breaking swims by Zaneta Alvaranga of the Kaizen Swim Club in the 50 metre butterfly.
After dominating the 50 metre butterfly event locally and regionally as 11-12 swimmer in 2017 and establishing herself as the CARIFTA region’s number best of all time she continued her unbeaten streak on Friday Feb 16. Competing in her first race in the 13-14 age group she started her career in the new age category on the best possible note by lowering the national record of 29.57 to 29.55.
The previous record was set by age group star Kendese Nangle when she won Silver at the 2008 Caribbean Islands Swimming championships in Kingston.The meet record of 29.68 was held by Emily MacDonald of Swimaz set in 2017 Zaneta would have more in the tank for the final as she reset the record again with a time of 29.19. That performance was the fastest time of the competition and the fastest time ever recorded by a girl at the Championships. That swim by Alvaranga would have won her the Bronze in the event at the 2017 CARIFTA championships.
Draftingthecaribbean spoke to Zaneta after her record breaking swim after the final and got her impressions of her swim
“My goal was to get as close to my ( 2017 Gold medal winning) CCCAN time and I did. I focused on the start so I could get out as have as little armstrokes as possible and have rested shoulders and breathe as little as possible so I would not break streamline.I expected the record because I broke it this morning and I came back prepared to do even better than this morning”. In 2017 Alvaranga was the most prolific female age group record breaker have setting the 11-12 50 metre butterfly record four times and the 100 metre freestyle once.
Brianna Anderson of the Y Speedos would take down another Boothe standard when she recorded 30.07 in the 15 and over butterfly heats.
Boothe had set the record in 2013 at 30.32. In the final Brianna took the Gold in 30.47.
Alvaranga’s 2015 9-10 50 metre butterfly record would fall to Christanya Shirley of the Marlins. She would win the event handily in a time of 33.35 well under the previous meet record of 34.86.
The first day of the 2018 Walter Rogers Age Group Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Jamaica held yesterday Tuesday Feb 13 saw the distance titles being decided.
The fastest performers were Britney Williams of the Swimaz Aquatics Swim club in the 15 and over 800 metre freestyle and Jordane Payne of the Y Speedos Swim Club in 15 and over 1500 metre freestyle.
Williams extended her unbeaten winning streak in the event to five years when she took the title in a time of 10:04.37.
Williams, who is the fastest ever locally trained middle to local distance freestyle swimmer finished ahead of the Y Speedos duo of Naomi Eaton 10:18.31 and Karci Gibson 10:43.94. When draftingthecaribbean spoke to Williams she gave her impression of her performance and building up to CARIFTA
“The race was okay .it was better than the Karl Dalhouse race because I did not feel as tired during and after the event so I am really looking forward to CARIFTA and going sub 10 minutes and hopefully getting a medal”.
Britney’s Golden Years at Age Group Champs
15 and over
15 and over
In the 1500 metre freestyle Payne topped all comers with a time of 18:35.69. He was followed to the wall by teammate Dominic Mullings who punched the clock in 18:48.56. The Y Speedos trifecta was completed by 13-14 Gold medallist Zachary Johnson who dropped more than 20 seconds to be timed in 19:44.98. Payne spoke to draftingthecaribbean after his win
“The 1500 was a very good race, one of my best in Jamaica. It was a very challenging race and I had to be pacing myself but it has put me in a good position to win the high point trophy at this competition”.
Topping the 800 for 13-14 girls race was Zaneta Alvaranga of the Kaizen Swim club who posted a personal best of 10:44.63. Tornadoes swept the top 11-12 positions for girls and boys with Ireland Hunter touching in 11:37.30 for the 800 and Joshua Mair registering 21.12.51 for the 1500.