Two local swim coaches will attempt a swim across North Sound on Sunday 1 March. Dominic Ross and Jason Schmidt will be swimming to raise funds for their swimmers travelling to the Carifta Games later this year.
The swim measures around 10 kilometres and is not attempted often because of the logistical challenges involved.
‘We’ve been doing some training, maybe not as we should be, but some training, so we’ll be ready to go,’ said Ross.
According to Schmidt, the swim is also a chance for the coaches to motivate their charges.
‘Our hope is if they see us putting forth some effort and struggling a little bit then I think for the next few months of their swimming practice and even in the events at Carifta they are going to swim a little harder,’ he said.
Ross is quick to point out that although this is a continuous open water swim, the distance involved is not foreign to the young swimmers they work with.
‘These kids, a lot of them swim that distance every day in workout in the pool. They swim 10 kilometres or more every day, with the younger ones dong about half of that every day of the week. We want people to be aware of the amount of effort and work they put in to be able to represent Cayman at Carifta.’
Neither coach is a stranger to open water swimming. Schmidt has a number of Ironman triathlons behind his name and the experience of completing one of the most gruelling sporting events ever devised should serve him well.
‘This is about three times the distance of an Ironman swim so you are going to put a little bit more swimming into it. However, the mental aspect going along is pretty much the same,’ said Schmidt.
Ross has extensive, if not recent, open water experience.
‘I’ve been here since I was eight years old and back in those days I used to do all of the open water swimming – the half miles and the one miles and I’ve done the five kilometre swim once when I was about 14, which was a while ago,’ he laughed.
Ross is certain that it will all come back to him ‘maybe halfway across’.
Yet it is not only the physical element that will be important as around four hours of swimming is certain to take a mental toll as well.
‘There is an element of tedium involved in swimming that long repetitively, without a break, without a stop. You’ve got to find something to occupy your mind,’ said Ross.
The swimmers plan to take on fluids and ‘even a little bit of banana here or there’ according to Ross, as nutrition will also be vital if they are to make a successful crossing.
The two plan to get going early and will probably start their crossing from the Kaibo area.
‘It all depends on the current,’ said Schmidt. ‘If the current’s going the other way, which typically it doesn’t, we’ll go from Barkers to Rum Point. But our plan is to go from that area to Barkers, or whatever piece of land we hit first.’
Of course the main concern is whether the water conditions will play along, as a bit of chop can make the task that much harder. Yet both coaches believe it will be a memorable and above all fun experience.
‘It’s not a race, it’s just about endurance, staying focussed and being smart about it,’ said Schmidt.
‘We would be happy to come and collect any donations that anybody wants to make,’ said Ross. ‘If you can’t get out of your office we’ll come by and get it from you,’ he laughed.
Boaters and other watercraft users are asked to keep an eye out for the swimmers on Sunday. Those who want to support the swimmers and cheer them on in their endeavour are asked to follow behind the swimmers so as not to cause a disturbance or obstruction to their progress.