(CMR) Jillian Crooks (16) set a new CARIFTA games record on Sunday, swimming 26.08 seconds to win the 50-meter freestyle sprint finals at the Swimming Championships in Curacao. This is the fastest time swam over the distance in the history of the championships.
Crooks also lowered the 15-year 100m Freestyle record of 56.77 to 56.54 before further shattering it to 56.44 in the finals. In fact, she left the games with five records in the Girls 15-17 category, four individual records, and one relay record. She left the games with seven gold medals and two silver.
The Cayman Islands displayed exceptional talent at both the CARIFTA Swimming and the track and field championship finishing second in the final medal table with an impressive haul of 53 medals, including 25 golds. The Bahamas was first with 85 medals, including 37 golds.
Also adding to Cayman's medal count was Harper Barrowman, who added gold in 400m freestyle to her previous winning performances in the 800m, 200m, and 1500m distances. Teammate James Allison ran his streak to the medal stand three nights in a row by claiming silver in the 15-17-year-old men’s age group in the same event. Impressive 400m performances were also turned in by Cassidy Coles, Lev Fahy, and Chase Watson in the 11-12-year-old age groups.
Sierrah Broadbelt and teammate Riley Watson produced a spectacular “double play,” going one, two in the 200m backstroke final. Broadbelt, after sweeping the Butterfly, Backstroke, and Individual Medley series in the 13–14-year-old age group, also secured bronze in her 50m Freestyle final.
Higgo kept the fireworks going, racing away from the field to win gold in the 15-17-year-old age group backstroke final. Anna Oldfield gained valuable experience, placing 6th in her 11-12 age group. Will Sellars and Lev Fahy collected silver and bronze medals, respectively, in their age groups with tremendous efforts. Earlier in the day, Tate Marr swam well in his 200m heat, narrowly missing a spot in the finals.
The 100m Breaststroke series produced no medals, but Rufy Lovett, Kaitlyn Sullivan, and Jordan Lisle all shaved times off their preliminary swims and kept the momentum going.
Late-night drama came in the form of the 4 x 50 Freestyle relay. Sofia Bonati anchored the gold-winning 15-17-year-old relay team along with Crooks, Higgo, and Barrowman. They received an assist from teammate Ava Butler, who was stellar in the qualifying heat earlier in the day. The 13-14 girls, Broadbelt, Watson, Oldfield, and Lisle bagged a bronze with the 11-12 relay team of Cassidy Coles, Anna Oldfield, Lucy Butler, and Francesca Altamura, performing admirably in their heat, barely edged out in their quest for the medal stand. The boys' 11-12 relay team of Fahy, Bispath, Bain and Watson secured another silver medal for Team Cayman Islands and banked more valuable points.
Teagan Nash won the girls' 15-17 200-meter butterfly finals Saturday night, a highlight as Cayman won 13 medals Saturday, adding to the 13 won Friday.
Jamaica dominated track and field, finishing at the top with 78 medals, including 40 gold, 19 silver, and 12 bronze. However, the Caymanian athletes also performed stellar track and field performances.
Grenada will host the CARIFTA games in 2024, while Trinidad & Tobago will host in 2025.
The Cayman Islands pool, artistic, and open water swim teams will be welcomed home from the 2023 CARIFTA Swimming Championships today, Tuesday, 11 April, at the Owen Roberts International Airport.