Swimmers stay young at heart

A local swim team is doing its best to keep young.

They all have a passion to swim and keep fit well into the future.

The Cayman Islands Masters Swimming Club (CIMSC), also known as the ‘Hammerhead Club’, has been in existence for some eight years. They have met every Monday and Thursday at 6pm at the Lion’s Pool.

Masters swimming is defined as an organized activity for swim-enthusiasts aged 18 and over. Swimmers of all abilities take part in the local club. They reportedly range in age from 18 to 60.

The club was the creation of former Olympic Gold Medallist Mike Barrowman, current Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association (CIASA) President Peter MacKay and Shane Foster.

According to Bill McFarland, Director of the club, those men felt residents would like to work out regularly in a group at the pool.

‘[Those guys] got together and decided that it would be fun to have organized swim work-outs for adults in the Lions 25m pool.

‘Mike agreed to coach the work-out sessions, as long as the focus was on fun and fitness as opposed to competition. [Also] the costs of the work-out session were kept at an affordable level.’

As McFarland explains, the ‘Hammerhead’ name also had an interesting conception.

In 2006, McFarland says three members of the Cayman Islands adult swimming community decided they wanted to participate in international competitions. They entered the 2006 FINA Masters World Championships, being held in San Francisco, California.

To participate, they had to represent a swim club rather than a nation. Thus they created a swim club and nicknamed it ‘The Hammerheads’.

CIASA support has kept costs down to $3 per swim session. There are about 30 regular attendees at each meeting. Furthermore, the club recently saw its 1,000th participant.

Today, CIMSC members swim mostly for recreation. Members are focused on improving fitness through swimming.

However, as McFarland states, the CIMSC occasionally challenge their younger counterparts, the Stingray Swim Club.

‘Hammerhead members have entered local swim-meets run by the Stingray Swim Club. They have competed against our younger swimmers just for the fun of it.

‘Typically though, due to their excellent level of fitness, training and coaching, our younger swimmers come out on top.’

Furthermore, McFarland says that the CIMSC intends to race in other swim competitions in the future.

‘Apart from participating in the Masters World Championships in 2006, some club members participated in the Cayman Brac 800m Open Water Sea Swim in April 2007.

‘[Also] a few Hammerheads have expressed interest in taking part in the next World Masters Championships being held in Perth, Australia.’

For McFarland, the club’s future will rest on continued growth in participation.

‘We are confident that the Hammerhead swim-club will continue to grow, and will assist in developing sports tourism in the Cayman Islands.

‘The club intends to increase Cayman swimming exposure through the United States Masters Swimming organization. Hopefully we can increase participation in our Open Water swims from US masters swimmers.

‘The development of a new 50m pool in Cayman will open up the possibility for holding regional and international masters swimming competitions here in Cayman.’

For more information email the CIMSC at [email protected].

Comments are closed.