CARIFTA Championships: Day Four Finals Recap

​By: Lani Cabrera

The 2017 CARIFTA Swimming Championships continued to showcase fast and record-breaking times on the final day of competition at the Betty Kelly Kenning National Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas, on Tuesday.
The first event of the night, the 400m freestyle, featured some impressive marks. In the 11-12 girls' age group, Bermuda's Payton Zelkin and Cayman's Avery Lambert continued to have a great meet and once again dominated the field with times of 4:43.68 and 4:44.00, respectively.
In the boys' heat, it was a race right to the finish when Stephen Mulongo of Guadeloupe clocked in a time of 4:36.55, just out-touching Nigel Forbes of Bahamas, who stopped the clock in 4:36.93.
Both the boys' and girls' winners in the 13-14 age group smoked the field, finishing way ahead of their competitors. For the girls, it was Jada Chatoor of Trinidad and Tobago (4:34.41), and for the boys it was Romeo Boileau of Guadeloupe (4:13.99), taking yet another freestyle event title.
The 15-17 girls' race was another fight to the finish between Lauren Hew of the Cayman Islands and Hannah Gill of Barbados. The two battled it out to the touch, but in the end it was Hew who got the win, finishing in 4:28.83 ahead of Gill's 4:28.92.
Patrick Groters ​of Aruba continued his winning streak, defeating the rest of the field by almost six seconds, when he finished in 4:02.62 to claim the boys' 15-17 crown.
Nothing but fast swims in the 50m free event. Bermuda's Elan Daley and Jamaica's Zaneta Alvaranga fought for the girls' 11-12 title and CARIFTA record, but in the end it was Daley, touching in 27.50, just 0.06 of a second ahead of Alvaranga (27.56).

Nathaniel Thomas garnered the first-place points for Jamaica in the boys' 11-12 age group, winning in 26.52, just ahead of Sam Williamson of Bermuda, who clocked in 26.68.

Cayman's Ali Jackson took her third sprint freestyle title after she won the 13-14 age group in 26.97, being the only swimmer to break 27 seconds. The boys' heat was won by French Guiana's Seifiann Malac in 24.74, who took a couple split seconds off his morning swim to finish just ahead of Antigua's Lleyton Martin (24.94).
Trinidad and Tobago captured both victories in the boys' and girls' 15-17 50m freestyle event, with Jeron Thompson (23.61) and Amira Pilgrim (26.73) winning their heats.
The 100m breaststroke was another event to not be missed as some more CARIFTA records were shattered. In the 11-12 boys event, Williamson showed his strength again when he took down the old CARIFTA record with a time of 1:13.04. Another record fell in the girls 15-17 age group, when Bahamian star Lilly Higgs took down her previous record in a time of 1:11.92.

Another impressive swim in this event came from the boys' 13-14 age group from Nkosi Dundwoody​, who was the only swimmer in his heat to break the 1:10 barrier, finishing in 1:09.98.

In the boys' 15-17 age group, the Bahamas touched 1-2 with ​Izaak Bastian​ leading the way in 1:04.68 -- a fantastic time for the 15-year-old. His teammate ​Tyler Russel​l claimed the silver in 1:06.30.
Lambert returned to the pool, this time taking the title in the girls' 11-12 200m backstroke. She shed more than two seconds off of her prelims swim to win the event in 2:34.53. Barbados continued to have a strong showing in the 13-14 age group, when national-record holder Danielle Titus won the girls' race in 2:26.66, and Tristan Pragnell came from behind to win the boys' race in 2:18.49.

In the 15-17 age group, Hew and Groters finished off their CARIFTA careers with victories in their last individual events of the meet. Hew clocked in with a 2:25.68, and Groters finished in yet another CARIFTA-record time of 2:04.44.
The final event of the meet, 200m freestyle relay, consisted of fast swims all round. The Jamaican 11-12 ladies set the tone for this event, shedding almost two seconds off the previous record, when the team of Paig'e Lewis, Isabella SierraSabrina Lyn​, and Alvaranga clocked in in 1:55.77. Jamaica went on to have a sweep in all of the girls' relay events of the night.

Yet another record came crashing down out of the 13-14 girls, when the team of Gabrianna BanksSimone ValeBrianna Anderson, and Emily MacDonald posted a time of 1:50.77, almost three seconds ahead of the field.

The 15-17 girls of Jamaica hit a four-peat in the relays when the team of Angara SinclairBryanna RenaurtShaun Johnson, and Anjui Barrett broke the 1:50 barrier, coming in with a time of 1:49.07.

After four days of competition, the Bahamas boys' team defended its home turf to claim the CARIFTA crown with 459 points, ahead of Guadeloupe (361.5 points) and Barbados (345 points). On the girls' side, Cayman Islands reigned victorious with 408 points followed by Trinidad and Tobago (332 points) and Jamaica (328.5 points).
For full results, visit the meet's official site.

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