Imagine being 12-years old, on your third ever swim trip, racing at 9pm in a big pool in a foreign country, trying to qualify for your first national team, and half way thru your race, the lights go out. You are swimming in total darkness, feeling blind.
It happened to one of our swimmers recently at the Walter Rogers Age Group Champion-ships in Jamaica.
Seventeen Stingray swimmers traveled to their first in-ternational compe-tition since last summer for the Cayman based swim-mers. They’ve been training as hard as ever, and needed the boost that only real competition gives. Some were there for their first 50 meter pool experi-ence, some to make Carifta qualifying times, all to do their best.
Considering all that has been go-ing on in our lives, it was amazing to watch these young athletes, led by Coach Dominic Ross, rise to the occasion and place third overall out of ten teams com-peting. Eighteen Carifta qualifying times were attained, 75.5% or 117 of 155 total swims were personal best times.
Not just the Carifta-eligible swam all out: six young athletes achieved personal best swims in 100% of their events; Geoffrey Butler, Lara Butler, Sai Eccles, Seiji Groome, Alex McCallum, and Al-exa Robertson.
Joel Rombough broke a Stingray Swim Club record: the 50metre Breaststroke event for 13-14 yr boys, in a time of 37.13
An especially poignant episode of the trip was when Leon Elliott, trying to make the Carifta team for the first time at 17 yrs old, finished the 100m freestyle event just .11 of a sec-ond off the Carifta qualifying time. (He already had one qualifying time, two are needed.) Coach ‘Dom’ quickly ar-ranged a time trial for another shot at it. With teammates Michael Lockwood and Jen-nifer Powell rac-ing him, and the rest of the team cheering him on, Leon
produced a time a full second under that necessary. Celebration time.
The swimmer caught in darkness did finish her race, and it was also re-swum later.