Big show at Lions Aquatic Center

The Stingray Swim Club staged its biggest swim meet in years and the weather, which had looked so ominous all week, stayed fine over all three days of competition. The Mike Lockwood Memorial Meet, traditionally staged during Pirates Week, attracted over 70 visiting swimmers from three Jamaican clubs and over120 athletes competed over the week-end. The Club was lucky that long-time supporters of Cayman swimming Foster Brothers again provided very generous sponsorship; Woody Foster opened the meet on Saturday morning.

Winners at the Mike Lockwood Memorial Swim Meet

Woody Foster of Fosters Food Fair and Ella Kay Lockwood share the joy with the high point age group winners at the Mike Lockwood Memorial Swim Meet. Fosters Food Fair has been a sponsor of the annual international swim meet for many years. Ella Kay Lockwoods late husband, Mike Lockwood, was one of the major contributors to the construction of the Lions Aquatic Centre as well as a founder and longest serving chairperson of Pirates Week.

The first challenge was preparing the pool for the evening session on Friday; up stepped an old friend of swimming Cable & Wireless who lent the Club a bucket truck which enabled the electricians from Cayman Electrical Services (who provided their expertise and materials) to get the floodlights working at the pool for the first time since Ivan, which had badly damaged the lighting system. Andrea Fa’amoe, C&W Corporate Communications Manager, commented, ‘We just learned that the overhead lights at the swimming pool were still not functioning after Ivan, and as a major sponsor of Cayman Swimming, we were more than willing to provide one of our bucket trucks to allow them to be repaired. We are thrilled that the Stingray Swim Club will be now able to stage their Friday evening session of their swim meet with the many visiting swimmers from Jamaica. Good luck and we wish everyone a successful meet.’

The meet is named after the late Mike Lockwood, an avid supporter of both swimming and Pirates Week, and his son Michael gave the opening prayer before his widow, Ella Kay, spoke movingly in thanking the Club for remembering him in this way. Owing to the large number of swimmers, and in an effort to get our local swimmers ready for overseas trips, the Club used ‘over-the-top’ starts on Saturday and Sunday, where starting swimmers dive from the blocks while the competitors from the last event are still in the pool. It is a credit to our volunteer officials and the adaptability of our swimmers that this was accomplished for the first time without a problem.

The competition was fierce but friendly, not least among the Jamaican clubs, and there were also some great individual battles; Robert Marshall of Speedos and Kevaughn Campbell of Dolphins shared the first two places in all their races and both swam inside the old pool record for the 8 & under 50 metre breaststroke (Asher van Zanten set a new Club record in the same event); Robert Marshall edged that race and the high points award. Speedo David Bromfield capped a wonderful three days’ swimming by taking the pool record in the 11-12 100 metre breaststroke; David and Tornado Dominic Walter were the only winners in that age-group and these two 12 year-olds also tackled the daunting 1500 meters freestyle on Friday night.

Local swimmer Amanda Shum dominated her age group after a year spent swimming in Calgary; Brett Fraser took a break from swimming recently, but it hardly showed as he stormed back into CARIFTA contention winning seven races.

As a thankyou to the visiting teams for coming, Stingray Swim Club treated them to a meal at the Lone Star Restaurant, who generously agreed to host the event, and made a presentation of a t-shirt to one swimmer from each team and SSC swim caps to two from each team; in a reciprocal gesture that embodies the friendship of swimming, the Dolphins SC gave t-shirts to two lucky SSC swimmers. After a traumatic year following Ivan, this meet showed that Cayman swimming and the Stingray Swim Club are alive and well and what better way than re-establishing our close ties with Jamaica. They brought not only the swimmers and their enthusiastic supporters but also business as most flew on Cayman Airways and stayed at the Comfort Suites, as well as renting cars.

The meet ended as it began with Woody Foster, Managing Director of Foster’s Food Fair, sharing the stage with Ella Kay Lockwood as they handed out the awards; he commented, ‘You could feel and see the high energy level that was present in the swimmers, coaches, volunteers, parents and spectators. The event was easily one of the most enjoyable events I have ever had the pleasure of attending. Foster’s Food Fair are very proud of our sponsorship of the meet and congratulate all that made it a tremendous success.’

Full results are available on the SSC website, www.caymanswimming.com