Minister of Sports Dr. Frank McField presented Cayman’s national swim team captain, Michael Lockwood Jr., with the flag at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex VIP Lounge Saturday.
The 17-athlete team left the island Tuesday to compete at the 2005 CARIFTA Swim in Curaçao, the Lesser Antilles.
The event is scheduled take to place at Sentro Deportivo Korsow 31 March-3 April.
Eighteen Caribbean islands, including the Cayman Islands, are expected to participate: Antigua & Barbuda, Antilles Guyane Francaises, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands and US Virgin Islands.
Dr. McField explained the importance of the flag presentation ceremony.
‘You are bestowed with the highest honour an athlete can achieve – you will be representing your country. This means you will not be swimming just for yourselves; you will be competing for your country,’ he said.
Director of Youth and Sports Dalton Watler talked about the importance of building national pride.
‘Most of our athletes have dual citizenship, and it is time for our athletes to be proud of the Cayman Islands, to learn the Cayman way,’ he said. “The flag is an important symbol for athletes because it is a part of their home and family. It is something so nice, so wonderful, when a person sees his or her country’s flag flying at an event.”
Mr. Watler also gave a demonstration on how to fold, hold, carry and the flag.
Laurice Fraser, president of the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association, said she was proud of how Cayman swimmers managed to overcome the obstacles that were imposed on them as a result of hurricane Ivan.
“Despite everything we have been through post-Ivan, it is nice to see that we have 17 athletes going to this event. I am proud that our student athletes have managed to remain focused to train,’ she said.
Mrs. Fraser also noted that it was harder than usual to secure sponsorship and thanked those who assisted. ‘I would like to thank Cable & Wireless, Cayman Airways and Speedo, who have always been there for us,’ she said.
Head coach for the Cayman Islands swim team Dominic Ross, who will lead the Cayman team for the first time, said he was pleased with the team
“It is a special feeling to be leading this team to CARIFTA. This group of athletes has worked extremely hard and shown amazing dedication and commitment through trying times. Last Thursday was the best day I have had for some time. To have all 17 of our team members training together in the same pool at the same time despite everything that they have gone through helped me to realise just what a special group of people they are. It has been an exciting and uplifting week to finally have them all back at home where they belong. I have no doubt whatsoever that every one of them will swim their hearts out and give everything they have in Curaçao. They will do themselves, their families, their coaches and the people of the Cayman Islands proud. We will return home having proven to the rest of the Caribbean that it will take more than a little storm to stop Cayman.”