Cayman’s global sea swim reputation was boosted again on Saturday, this time by the Foster’s Food Fair event.
The 800 metres swimfrom Governor’s Harbour to Public Beach had a record turnout of 194 swimmers, a fitting number on its 25th anniversary.
Competitors ranged in ages from three to the very mature and like all the other sea swims there was a great atmosphere – especially when the hard work was done and the pizza dished out. It was fitting support for a silver anniversary.
Only the Foster’s Sea Swim in June is bigger and to show what a community spirit sea swims generate, promoters of other races turned up. Frank Flowers swam and so did CUC’s Richard Hew with his family.
Foster’s Food Fair’s faithful support of open water swimming in the Cayman Islands has been one of the longest continual sponsorships of any sporting event on the island, and their race has become one of the most popular swims in Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Assocation’s open water calendar.
CIASA expected around 125 entrants – similar to last year’s – but got many more. There was a big entrance from the Foster family who had trained hard. Three generations actually swam.
The Foster family members who swam were Woody, William, Chi Chi, Harrison, Shane and Taylor.
Last year’s defending champion Seiji Groome returned and retained his title comfortably although Lara Butler in second place was never far behind.
Third was Lara’s brother Geoffrey, fourth Alex McCallum, fifth Johan Heath, then Jasper Mikkelsen, followed by Daniel Boothe.
Eighth was Mark Matthews, ninth Coral Tomascik and Amber Myrie tenth.
Groome’s time was over 10 minutes, more than a minute slower than last year but he was just happy with the win because the water was incredibly choppy.
Shane Foster said: ‘It feels special that the community has come out and supported this event again. Foster’s Food Fair is totally committed to a community event like this and we hope to be doing it for another 25 years.’
Bill McFarland is the president of the CIASA. He was really pleased to see such a great turn out on such a significant anniversary.
‘It was really cool seeing all three generations of the Foster family out in the water participating and almost 200 swimmers in the water – amazing,’ he said.
‘I have been thinking about why we had such a great turn out. At the time I was a bit overwhelmed with the numbers. Obviously open water swimming is growing in popularity – largely because of the outstanding open water swim conditions here in Cayman coupled with well organised events.
‘I think the key to this growth in popularity is the Flowers One Mile Sea Swim in June, which serves to introduce a number of people to the sport – which carries over to our regular events.
‘We predict even greater growth due to the efforts of Kate Alexander, who is working to increase awareness of Open Water swimming in the Cayman Islands around the world, specifically in the United States.
‘We are hoping that we will be able to increase tourism by drawing swimmers down to enjoy our events from overseas.
‘This initiative is the brain child of Frank Flowers. Whatever the reason, we in the swim association are pleased that people are discovering our sport and coming out to enjoy our events.’