Little Rivers makes a big splash

Imagine being 11 years old and
already etching your way in your country’s history books. Well, that’s just
what Martha Susan Rivers is doing.

In February 2007, she became the
first Cayman Bracker to receive a high-point award for swimming in Grand Cayman
when she won the age seven to eight division.

This year, she again made history
when she earned a spot on the national swim and became the first swimmer from
Cayman Brac to do so. She is travelling to Jamaica to compete at the CARIFTA
Swim Meet this weekend. 

It’s no surprise then that the
Cayman Islands Sports Department selected Rivers as one of the athletes to
profile for Honouring Women Month.

Merta Day, Women’s Coordinator for
the Sports Department, said: “The focus for HWM this year is women who have
made or are making history.

“Martha is doing that and at such a
young age. We at the Sports Development feel she is deserving of this
recognition because of the inspiration that her achievements can bring to other
girls. They can see for themselves that once you work hard anything is possible.”

Rivers started swimming at four in
the Learn to Swim programme, coached by Mike Hundt at the 15 metre pool on Cayman
Brac. 

In the spring of 2006 she received
the Lions Club’s Outstanding Swimmer award at their annual meet on Cayman
Brac. 

The following year, Rivers travelled
to Orlando, Florida for a week to attend Peek Performance Swim Camp with coach
Nick Baker, a former US Olympic swim coach.

She won the Lions Swim Meet as a
primary school student in both 2008 and 2009.

When Hurricane Paloma hit the Brac
in 2008, Rivers took the opportunity to train with the Stringrays Swim Club on
Grand Cayman. Due to the intense training, she was able to improve her
times. 

In June 2009, the Cayman Islands
Olympic Committee sent her to Arizona to train with former Olympic swimmer and
gold medallist, Mike Troy and compete at the Arizona State Games. 

Rivers returned home with three
gold medals. That same year she once again travelled to Peek Performance Swim
Camp for additional training in December.

She tries to practise a minimum of
three days per week but says she finds it very demanding to balance academics
and athletics.  Nevertheless, she is an
honour roll student and placed third at the 2008/09 Spelling Bee on Cayman
Brac.

Rivers graduated from Creek and
Spot Bay Primary School last June and entered Cayman Brac High School last
September. She regularly competes in the National Children’s Festival of the
Arts and has received medals in creative writing and dance.

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