Zulu wants venue in town

The Zulu 2-mile swim was a great success which is why main sponsor Andreas ‘Zulu’ Kettner has big plans for next year’s event.

This time, as always it was from Governor’s Beach last Saturday morning but Zulu believes that if it’s moved to George Town Harbour next year, the event will be bigger and better.

‘I’m hoping to get clearance to stage it in the harbour next time because more spectators are likely to turn out,’ he said. ‘It will also help the local businesses, especially the coffee shops and restaurants.

‘To me, it’s a shame that the swimmers put so much time and effort into this event yet only a handful of spectators get to see them.’

People of all ages competed in the tough event, which was won by Seiji Groome, 15. Youngest swimmer Coral Tomascik, only 11. Despite her age, she is a relative veteran. ‘This was my third time,’ she said. ‘I was eight when I did my first two-mile swim.’ Good for you, girl.

Most of the top 20 finishers were teenagers but seasoned swimmers at the other end of the scale included Rodger Yeomans and Victor Thompson who deserve props for turning out for virtually every event year after year.

Yeomans is actually a triathlete, one of many who used this event as a useful tune up for the Turtle Tri next month. Other triathletes at the Zulu swim included Jasper Mikkelsen, Dave Walker, Tony ‘The Duffer’ Watts and Nicola Moore.

TV presenter James Bebafeld is a regular competitor too, so he’s not just a pretty face.

‘I did this for general fitness and also for an upcoming triathlon, the Turtle Olympic distance,’ Bebafeld said.

‘I have a big swimming background pretty much from when I could walk in Australia. I continued open water swimming when arriving in Cayman in 1993 and triathlons about three years later.

‘That’s just because I can’t shake the belly from just swimming alone.

‘The running is the most difficult, especially for a big framed guy like myself. When you come from a swimming background, it’s very difficult to do well in triathlon.

‘If you’ve had a running background, say cross-country running or cycling background, it’s much easier to survive on the swim. But to be an efficient runner is what doing triathlons is all about but open water swimming is a different mentality altogether.’

The course was set a bit different compared to past years, starting at Governor’s Beach, swimming north to public beach with a turn south towards the Ritz-Carlton and turning north towards Governor’s Beach. That circuit completed one mile and so the swimmers had to continue a second time to finish the trying distance event.

The swimmers were escorted by the Marine Section of the Royal Cayman Islands Police along with many kayakers. Some members of the Cayman Island Red Cross took to the shore to ensure the utmost safety in the water.

After the race, the swimmers enjoyed Red Bull sports drinks supplied by Zulu Distributors, as well as Fiji Bottled Water and other nutritious breakfast foods.

After they were presented the awards to the first three finishers in each age group, a few random prizes were gifted to the competitors donated by different local companies. The swim was another success for the Zulu Distributors Group and the swimming community hopes to see their sponsorship return for future swims.