It’s been 21 years since the duo of Victor Thompson and Alfred Ebanks swam across the North Sound. Swim coaches Dominic Ross and Jason Schmidt are going to attempt it again, in support of getting young athletes to the CARIFTA Swim Championships in Aruba in April.
The sponsored swim by the two coaches takes place on Sunday morning 1 March. The swim was first attempted in 1987 when Victor and Alfred did it for the challenge, raising substantial funds for the West Bay Progressive Youth Club.
The approximate 10-kilometre distance across the North Sound will not be easy to swim.
‘It was very tough,’ recalled Mr. Thompson.
Coach Dom put the length of the swim in perspective.
‘This is about the same distance our senior group swims in training in one day,’ he said. ‘But doing it in open water, with currents, no breaks, no pool end to push off of every 25 meters, will be tough… especially on this old body.’
Coach Jason said the grueling swim would be worth the effort if it raised money for Cayman’s young swimmers.
‘I am willing to punish my body by doing this swim, to help the kids get to CARIFTA,’ he said. ‘A six to seven mile open water swim is going to be tough, really tough, with three to four hours of constant swimming and we will need to put in a lot of time training this month as it is less than a month away.’
A group of developing athletes aged 11-17 are already working hard to qualify for the national team that goes each year to CARIFTA. They and other competitive swimmers will be soliciting sponsors for their coaches’ long swim.
Coach Dom and Coach Jason will set off early in the morning, supervised by a police boat and another boat providing safety, navigation and hydration.
A well co-coordinated support crew is key, remembers Victor.
‘We could not have done it without the boats,’ he said. ‘We got caught in a squall and would’ve lost our way. We lost all visibility except the rowboat.’
Other watercraft will be asked to give them a wide berth that Sunday morning.
‘We prefer not to breathe fumes!’ Coach Dom said.
Both Dom and Jason are 34 years old. When Albert and Victor made their swim across the North Sound, they were 34 and 35 years old respectively.
The start of the swim will be at the Kaibo/Rum Point area, with the two coaches attempting to swim to either the Barkers Beach or Morgan’s Harbour area, depending on the current.