‘This is really awesome’

Butterfield Bank Sea Swim raises some $600 for Cayman Loves Children

The little brother is not looking so little anymore.

While Shaune Fraser has been busy competing in the Olympic Games, crushing American high school competition and earning a scholarship to the University of Florida, his younger sibling Brett has quietly transformed himself into a champion swimmer as well.

Brett certainly wasn’t lost in anyone’s shadow when he cruised to a convincing win in the Butterfield Bank 800 Meter Sea Swim Saturday. Fraser clocked 9:36. Joel Rombough was second in 9:41 and Olympian Andrew Mackay finished third in 9:56.

Butterfield Bank Sea Swim

Stroking toward the finish. Photo: Guy P. Harrison

Heather Roffey, another Caymanian Olympian, was an impressive fourth overall (10:01) and the first woman to finish. Young Peter Stasiuk swam a strong race to finish in fifth place.

The 2006 edition of Butterfield Bank’s annual race drew a large field of 116 swimmers into the inviting waters of Seven Mile Beach. The course started at Governor’s Beach and finished at Public Beach. Kayakers patrolled the waters for safety and pizza awaited the athletes at the end. Top finishers in various age-groups were awarded irresistibly cute bobble-head trophies (at right). After the splashing stopped, several swimmers expressed their appreciation for such a ‘fun’ and ‘well-organized’ event.

‘This is really awesome,’ said Dara Flowers. ‘Sea swims are unique. They are almost therapeutic because there is no chaos once you get going. It’s quiet, peaceful and it’s so gorgeous here on Seven Mile Beach, of course. And swimming for a cause makes it even better.’

That cause was Cayman Loves Children. The Butterfield Bank Sea Swim organizers made the decision to donate $5 from every entry fee to the local charity group. Cayman Loves Children works to raise awareness and raise funds for the world’s poorest children, those who face death and suffering in the developing world. All money raised by the group is sent to UNICEF. Race organizer Bill McFarland estimates that some $600 will be handed over to Cayman Loves Children later this week once additional donations are tallied. (See page 27 for a glimpse of what $600 means to children in poverty)

‘We are really pleased that we had such a positive reception to the idea of supporting Cayman Loves Children,’ said McFarland. ‘The swim community was happy to get behind it.’

Two founding members of Cayman Loves Children, Marzeta Bodden and Andrew Mackay (third overall in the race), were on hand at the post-race gathering to thank the swimmers, organizers and Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association for their compassion.

‘Thank you for your generosity,’ Bodden said. ‘This money will do a lot of good for children who need it most.’

During a promotional appearance on the television show Daybreak last week, Bodden explained that Cayman Loves Children members are fully aware that there are poor people in the Cayman Islands and many families here are still struggling after Hurricane Ivan. However, she believes there is still enough kindness in the hearts of Caymanian people to care about children in poverty who face suffering and death every day.

McFarland says sea swims in the Cayman Islands have the potential for tremendous growth in popularity. He cites the friendly atmosphere that dominates the Cayman swim scene and the attractive environment of Seven Mile Beach.

Cayman’s swimmers barely have time to dry off as the big Flowers Sea Swim is set for 17 June. This year the one-mile race will raise funds for Habitat for Humanity. More than $90,000 worth of random prizes will be given away to participants. Visit www.flowersseaswim.com for more information.