Tue | Aug 22, 2017

US-based swimmer gives Ja big boost

Published:Monday | June 29, 2015 | 6:00 AMLivingston Scott
Allan Roy Marsh

Vice-president of swimming in the Amateur Swimming Association

of Jamaica, Allan Roy Marsh, says Justin Plaschka's recent

performance at the XXIX

Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships (CCCAN) in Barbados has been

a great boost to the local men's programme.

Plaschka won gold in the men's 18 and over 100 metres freestyle and the 50m and 100m butterfly events, and Marsh expects the new Jamaican swim sensation, Plaschka, to lead a new generation of competitive, talented young male swimmers onto the world stage.

His first gold-medal swim came in the boys' 18 and over 100 metres freestyle with a time of 52:09 seconds. In a nail-biting

finish, he out-touched Saint Lucia's Adrian Augier by the slimmest of margins - one-hundredth of a second - and Isaac Beitia of Panama, who was third in 52:74.

Less than one hour later, Plaschka won his second gold medal of the evening in the 50 metres butterfly with a winning time of 24.89, defeating the defending champion and CCCAN record holder Joshua McLeod of Trinidad and Tobago into second place, 25.05. Plaschka's swim is a new senior national record, erasing the previous record of 25.32 held by Masai Zebe-Chaka.

significant performance

"This is our first gold medal since 2011 (at the bi-annual) championship). Justin's performance overall was quite significant. Winning three gold medals was important, as well as setting two national senior records," he commented

The Notre Dame freshman, who is of a German father and Jamaican mother, has been

creating waves in the United States for the last few years, and had signalled his intention to represent the Caribbean nation for some time but, according to Marsh, time never allowed him until now.

"It's the first time he is actually representing Jamaica in international competition. He contacted us about two years ago about representing us, and there were various opportunities for him to, but it just could not fit in with his school schedule.

"He came down about a month ago for a swim meet and did quite well, and for this competition, he wanted to represent us, and this is the first time he got the opportunity," he explained.

The veteran swimming administrator says Plaschka has reached his peak for the season, and thinks he is in a good stead to qualify for the World Championship. He also pointed that there is a crop of young swimmers, currently the same age as Plaschka, who can give Jamaica a competitive relay team at the next World Champs.

"He has the potential to do

better, and he has different

competitions coming up, the

Rio Olympics and World Championships. But we have a nice cadre of male swimmers age 17-19 - Nico Campbell, Sidrell Williams, Timothy Wynter, Keanan Dols are all good swimmers - and like Justin, they are all the same age, which is great as it makes it possible for us to have a competitive relay team at the next Olympics based on how they are all improving, so it's all very positive for Jamaican swimming," he added.