It may have been pouring in George Town on Saturday afternoon but just a couple of miles away the open water swimmers were breathing a sigh of relief as it stayed dried.
In fact, the overcast conditions and calm waters gave perfect conditions for the 21st staging of the annual CUC Sea Swim. The crocs stayed away too!
CUC boss Richard Hew and wife Sandy represented the organisers and they were joined by 153 others in the largest entry yet of the 800 metre event.
This is the second biggest open water swim on the Cayman calendar behind the Flowers version and considering the poor weather in the build up and the fact that the half-term school break loses potential entrants to off island activities, it was another hugely successful meet.
The island’s top resident swimmer is Seiji Groome but for the second year running he had to concede supremacy to visiting American Adam Voss who returned with his family for a Cayman holiday.
Voss won in 10 minutes and 5 seconds. His dad Peter did well to finish eleventh, the fastest in his age group of 40-49-year-olds.
Groome was second in 10.35, Lara Butler came third in 10.42, a couple of strokes ahead of her brother Geoffrey and then it was Alex McCallum.
Sixth was Daniel Berndt, eighth was Danielle Boothe, just ahead of Coral Tomascik, Marius Acker was tenth and Jasper Mikkelsen came 12th.
Richard Hew was impressed with the turnout. He came 50th and Sandy was just behind. ‘Anything over 120 I think is a good number for this event, so we’re very pleased.
‘Swimming is a natural sport for Cayman so we like to support it. It brings a lot of youth out. A lot of them went by me early in the race – and the not so young as well. It’s a great family event as well.
‘One day we hope that we will be part of having the World Open Water Championships here. We don’t know when that will be but we look forward to that when it eventually happens.’
Voss was proud of retaining his title. His parents own a condo here so swimming the CUC event has become a regular fixture.
The family come from Muncie in Indiana every March and October for a break.
Adam, 16, is a competitive swimmer at home but he was not confident of winning again. ‘I was just hoping to be in the top five or so.’
Peter, 48, has been coming here for 11 years. Like many regular visitors once he came he fell in love with Cayman.
Peter used to be a triathlete but gave up six years ago. He’d love to do a triathlon here but the difficulty and expense of bringing his own bike and having to run in the blazing sun puts him off somewhat. They will be back for the next year’s CUC.
Bill McFarland is president of the Cayman Islands Open Water Swimming Association.
He said: ‘I’m very pleased with the numbers. The weather is one thing but the water was just like a swimming pool, it was perfectly clear and no sign of a crocodile!
‘Great swimming conditions, it was very fast. One hundred and fifty-five people is an outstanding showing. Adam winning again is good in the fact that we need fresh blood from outside the island for our local talent to have something to compete against.
‘It’s pleasing to have good swimmers from the States come down and give us a bit of a challenge. I even got beat by his dad. I was 17th overall but second in my age group to Peter Voss. I promise not to sabotage him next year.’