This weekend will be a big one for Cayman’s college swimmers in the United States and Canada.
Up north, Joel Rombough will be representing the University of Toronto in the Canadian Inter-Universities Sports Championship, the Canadian equivalent of the NCAA’s. Rombough will be representing his school in the 400 metres individual medley as well as the 1500 metre freestyle.
‘This is a big step in Joel’s continued development as he makes his debut at this level,’ said Cayman head coach Dominic Ross.
The event is contested over the 25 metre short course distance with approximately 250 swimmers from 30 schools contesting. It is a very high level event, with a world record having been set at the event in the past and a number of Olympians competing as well.
According to Byron Macdonald, head coach at the University of Toronto, the University of Toronto has won more titles than any other school at the meet, although they have been bested by the University of British Columbia recently.
‘Joel has improved greatly since his arrival at U of T, registering best times in all of his events this season. A good worker in training, he will be vying to score points at the Nationals for the Varsity Blues,’ said Macdonald.
Rombough’s recent local results include winning the Flower Sea Swim in 2008. It is worth noting that Rombough is attending university on an academic scholarship, not a sport scholarship, but still finds time to improve on his swimming.
‘Joel swam an amazing meet a few weeks ago to qualify, dropping huge chunks off his personal best times in both events in order to be able to make the trip to Vancouver with his University of Toronto teammates,’ said Ross.
Down south, Cayman Olympians Shaune Fraser and Brett Fraser will be representing the University of Florida Gators at the Southeastern Conference finals, one of the fastest conferences in university swimming. Last year the Gators finished second behind Auburn in the SEC finals and will are hoping for payback this year.
Shaune Fraser is likely to compete in the freestyle and butterfly events, with younger brother Brett Fraser taking on the backstroke, depending on the requirements of the team. Both Frasers are also experienced relay swimmers and could prove very valuable to their team in this capacity. Relay events count double points in the conference finals, which means that championships are more often than not decided on the results of the relays. Success in the relays is therefore vital should the Gators hope to succeed in their goal of conference domination.
According to Ross, the Frasers have other important goals for the meet as well.
‘Their main aim for the meet will be ensuring qualification for the NCAA Championships,’ he said
Shaune Fraser has already qualified to compete in the season-ending NCAA Championships, which is set to take place at the end of March. However, he is likely to be looking for more qualifying marks, while Brett Fraser will be chasing his first NCAA qualification.
Ross sees the experience these college athletes gain as vital to Cayman’s swimming future.
‘The group of world class athletes and well respected coaches they are able to train with while at the same time getting top quality tertiary education is key to their continued development and of huge benefit to Cayman Swimming,’ he said.
With both Shaune and Brett having represented Cayman in Beijing, the lure of the London 2012 Olympics must also be playing on their minds already.
All three swimmers started their rise to swimming stardom in the Lions Aquatic Centre pool and can serve as a beacon to other up and coming swimmers, showing what is possible with the necessary commitment.