Muhammad Ali was famous for fulfilling his predictions on what round he would beat his opponents. Cayman’s teenage swimmer Seiji Groome may not be in the league of The Greatest but at least his bold prediction came true this time.
Groome was second behind Special Olympics star Andrew Smilley last week in the 800 metres sea swim and predicted he would get his revenge in the Annual Pirates’ Week 5k Sea Swim on Saturday.
The 14-year-old prodigy duly powered home in a winning time of 1 hour 10 minutes 9 secs, with Smilley, 17, several minutes behind placing sixth. Zack Myrie was second in 1 hr 11 mins 52 secs and Summer Flowers third and as in the 800m, she was the first female home.
A triumphant Groome said: ‘I was keeping up with Smilley and I guess he would be sprinting but after a while he slowed and I just passed him. I led the pack after that for the rest of the swim.’
A gracious Smilley admitted that he is more of a sprinter and the longer distances don’t suit him. ‘I don’t like the long distances. They’re too tiring.’
Groome didn’t do the 10km on Monday, that was too exhausting. ‘I’m not up for that challenge yet.’
His dad Dunstan is proud but knows there is a long way to go. ‘Well yes, I’m kinda proud of Seiji, but still expect from him some greater performances. He still needs to push a lot more. When you look at it, the competition here might not be as intense as other countries and therefore he needs more exposure to really see what his potential is.
‘The London Olympics in 2012 has always been his goal from the time he started competitive swimming. He’ll be 19 by then. He’s coming along nicely. He’s got some time to get there but the biggest factor is that it’s a mental thing. You have to be mentally prepared to swim at that level. The early stages you can afford to play around and not really be too focused, but he’s focusing now and really starting to show a lot of improvement.’
Groome will be competing in the Mike Lockwood Memorial Meet a the Lions Aquatic Centre this week and his next international experience comes early next month in a meet he had to qualify for in Toronto. Eight Caymanians are going to compete in Canada from 5-10 December.