One of the best swimmers on the Sister Islands is blazing a trail abroad.
The Grand Canyon State Games, the organsers of the largest amateur sports festival in America, along with the Global Academy for International Athletics invited the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee to identify and send to Phoenix one or more 8-, 9- or 10-year children with the greatest potential for qualifying for the Olympics in the future.
GCSG and the Global Academy are making an exceptional effort to focus upon teams from 88 nations that have never won an Olympic medal.
The national sporting associations in Cayman were asked to nominate possible candidates for this opportunity and as a result Martha Rivers from Cayman Brac was chosen to train and compete in the sport of Swimming.
Martha was born 14 May 1998 at Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac and resides with her mom Anne Jackson, dad Mikol McLaughlin and her older brother Anthony Rivers on the Southside of Cayman Brac.
Martha has been swimming since she was four in the learn-to-swim programme and has been coached by Mike Hundt in the 15 meter pool on Cayman Brac.
She has acquired many awards over the years including a high point award in a swim meet in Grand Cayman and The Lion’s Club Outstanding Swimmer Award for two years in a row at the Annual Cayman Brac Meet.
Martha is no stranger to hard work and dedication. She practices a minimum of three days a week. She has trained with Coach Nick Baker (former US Olympic swim coach) as well as the Stingray Swim Club in the Grand Cayman Islands.
As a member of the Stingray Club, little Martha has travelled to Jamaica and Sarasota, Florida to compete in international competitions in 50 Meter pools. These 50 metre pools are over three times larger than her practice pool on Cayman Brac.
Martha, with her mother as chaperone, travelled to Phoenix from Grand Cayman on Monday and is slated to return this Sunday. While there she will receive coaching in areas such as mental fitness and physical training in addition to competing in swimming events and sightseeing.