After weeks of anticipation and postponements, Dominic Ross finally swam across North Sound on Sunday.
He entered the water at Rum Point dock at 7:00 am and stumbled onto the shore at Barkers Head some three hours and 35 minutes later.
‘It’s something worth doing… it’s definitely worth doing, but I am glad it’s over with. I don’t think I’ll be doing this again,’ said an exhausted Ross as he sank down on the beach at Barkers Head.
Ross, the Cayman Islands National Swim Coach, took up the challenging swim, between six and seven miles in length, in order to raise money for the CARIFTA swim team and to serve as motivation for the swimmers.
After illness and unsuitable water conditions postponed an attempt a number of times, Ross was able to get the event under way on Sunday in spite of the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association awards dinner held the evening before.
Although the conditions may not have been as perfect as he would have liked, Ross admitted that he had been running out of time for the attempt and was becoming somewhat impatient.
This was not the first time a swim across North Sound had been attempted. Some 21 years ago, Victor Thompson and Alfred Ebanks completed the first recorded swim across the Sound.
Drawing on the experience of Thompson and Ebanks, Ross knew that making the attempt without a support crew would be ludicrous.
‘You would never be able to find your way across without a boat. You could get really lost out there,’ said Ross.
He was accompanied by a support crew consisting of Steve and Josephine Bain, along with their children top local swimmers Joshua and Ariana, as well as Seiji Groome.
The support team not only kept Ross on course, but also handed him bananas and bottled water to keep him going while he treaded water.
‘A couple of times I ended up going in completely the wrong direction and they had to turn me around,’ said Ross.
Even though Ross did have the expertise of the previous swimmers to draw on, he admits to underestimating the swim.
‘It was tough, much harder than I thought it would be. I couldn’t feel my arms the last couple of miles.’
In spite of the relatively strong wind on Sunday, Ross found the water conditions were not that bad.
‘In some spots it was a bit wavy, but generally pretty flat, pretty calm,’ he said.
Even in the relatively calm conditions Ross encountered, he still swallowed quite a bit of saltwater.
‘The amount of saltwater that I swallowed made me throw up a couple of times. Other than that it is a nice swim, just a long way for someone in my shape,’ he chuckled.
Ross was quite satisfied with his time, saying that it was more or less what he expected it to be. The swim had originally been scheduled for 1 March, but according to Ross the postponement of the attempt did not really help.
‘The couple of extra weeks did not help at all, it made it worse,’ he smiled.
Even in his exhausted state, Ross was quick to refocus attention on the swim team heading to CARIFTA and for whom the event served as a fundraiser.
‘They’ve been working hard, we’ve got a strong team, and they’re really looking forward to it,’ he said.
A team of 22 swimmers will represent Cayman at the CARIFTA Swimming Championships which is set to take place in Aruba from April 17-20.