Swimming has always made a big, eh,
splash in Cayman and that was again the case on Saturday for the Butterfield
800 metres Sea Swim.
If it’s not the lure of the pizza
and giveaways afterwards then just the chance of being part of these marvellous
events is a big attraction.
Pre-race talk centred around the
world record attempt for most bikini wearers in one place. Cayman’s organisers
are excited that early expectations are that they are going to smash the
existing 278 when it is held at Public Beach on Thursday 17 June.
Jim Fraser gave pre-race
instructions and swimming association president Bill McFarland ensured
everything was in place before taking part himself.
The organizers benefited from the
assistance of Sprint, for delivery of the towels, and Pizza Hut’s food
contribution, as well as numerous volunteers, in staging the sea swims.
Olympians Shaune and Brett Fraser
came out this time and even though the result was predictable at least the 180
other participants could boast that they were in the same race as world class
Shaune, 22, blazed a trail from
Governor’s Beach to Public Beach in 9 minutes 24 seconds, two seconds ahead of
younger brother Brett.
Geoffrey Butler may the faster
sibling now after years in older sister Lara’s slipstream. He finished third in
9:50 and Seiji Groome was fourth in 9:56.
Lara was fifth overall in 10:08 and
then came Coral Tomascik (10:55), Elliot Vernon (10:55), Andrew Smilley
(11P:15) and Marius Acker (11:23).
This was the eighth running of the
annual Butterfield sponsored event and seen as the perfect warm up to the
Flowers One Mile Sea Swim on 19 June when around 800 will compete.
Frank Flowers was at this one,
still as fit as a fiddle, happy that he has maintained his amazing record of
running – albeit on a treadmill – every day for the past 34 years.
Even when he was gravely ill in
hospital Flowers disconnected the wires and managed to do a run to ensure he
continued his incredible record of consecutive days of running.
So an 800m swim was a doddle for
the philanthropic businessman who will swim his event next month with children
Dara Flowers-Burke and Frank Jnr.
The Frasers have promised to show
for the Flowers event too, as they did last year.
Shaune said: “The Butterfield swim
was fun. It was my first half mile race in a long time. Brett was right there
and it was fun to be racing him like always.
“I knew he was right behind me so I
just saved a little for the end in case he had a little bit left.
“He’s getting close to catching me.
In a regular pool I think he’s a better swimmer than me in the 100m freestyle.
Last summer he was really close in the 100m free so this summer we’ll see.”
Shaune will soon graduate with a
degree in finance. His collegiate career recently finished and he had the
satisfaction of being honoured as the University of Florida’s top athlete.
This weekend he is competing in the
Charlotte Grand Prix against the mighty Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. After
Flowers, it’s the Caribbean and Central America Championships in July and then
the Commonwealth Games in India in October.
Since the Fraser brothers first
started swimming as toddlers, Cayman’s swimming scene has gone from strength to
Shaune said: “The sport has a great
group of support staff. The Cayman Islands swimming association does a great
job with supporting us and the younger kids.
“They are always trying to develop
the younger kids and have helped Brett and I get into the collegiate ranks and
even international level.
“Lochte came here for the Flowers
last year but didn’t swim but I don’t think his coach is going to let him come
back this time because he has a grand prix meet that weekend in Santa Clara,
‘But we’ve got another group coming
down who are going to the Commonwealth Games. One of them is Gemma Spofforth.
She broke the world record in the 100m back stroke. There are a couple of
others coming down. So there should be about seven or eight of us training and
doing the Flowers Sea Swim.”
Brett, 20, said: “Hopefully I’ll
beat Shaune in a month’s time when we’re back down for the Flowers swim. I’m
sort of more of a sprinter but I love racing in the sea swims. It’s been the
same environment since we were young and it’s a good race feel. I love the half
mile ones because they’re short and sweet.”
For more information
on the bikini world record attempt, email: [email protected]