Andrew Smilley seems to be unbeatable right now so it was no surprise when he won another swimming race on Saturday.
Only this time the Special Olympics double gold medallist was not in the pool but competing in the CUC 800 metres swim from Governor’s Beach to Public Beach on West Bay Road.
It was the nineteenth staging of the annual event and even though dark clouds circled there was little chance of stopping the 90-odd participants of all ages and abilities.
Organiser Bill McFarland said: ‘Although trophies were awarded for the top three male and female finishers in all age categories, the emphasis for the CUC 800m sea swim has historically been about participation.’
That was certainly so. Every participant received a T-shirt, refreshments supplied by Gatorade and Le Bleu and pizza at the end of the race.
Smilley, 17, said: ‘I sprinted at the end to make sure I won.’ He finished about 10 metres ahead of training partner at the Lions Pool, Seiji Groome, 14 who said. ‘I thought I was going to beat Andrew at the end but there were all these waves pushing and pulling me all over the place. I actually ran into a breeze.
‘I’ve beaten himself and I’m out to get revenge. I’ll probably do the 5km this weekend and I think I can beat him because I’m better in the long, long ones.’
Generally, teenagers are faster swimmers than adults because they have less body mass to pull along, which is why most of the early finishers were in their teens. The first female was another teenager, Summer Flowers, who was third overall.
Cheeky Groome added: ‘I understand why adults don’t win because they’re older and arthiritis is probably catching them, you know.’
Coach Dominic Ross said: ‘Andrew’s been training very hard since he returned from the Special Olympics and it was always out there for him if he wanted it. Seiji’s been working hard as well and he’s got a bright future in the sport. He’s actually won one of these before so second place is probably a little bit of a disappointment. They’ve been going at each other in training all week, pushing each other and we’ve been sort of playing it up a little bit to try and get them to give each other a good race and it worked out well.
‘There’ll be a few other people in the 5km race as well so we’ll see how it goes.’