In the international swimming
community the new Olympic 10K event has garnered a lot of buzz. Many swimmers
are taking part in open water swimming events with an eye toward the 2012
Olympics in London.
That fact came to the fore this
month at the 18th annual Flowers Sea Swim event. More than 770 swimmers took
part and just about all of the top finishers spoke about preparing for the
Olympic 10K event.
Among them was Caymanian Olympic
swim hero Shaune Fraser, 22. Known for his exploits in traditional pool events
like the 200m butterfly, the George Town native states the 10K is not out of
“I just wanted to see how swimming
in this format would work out and see where that takes me. From here it is back
to school in Florida and more swimming. Outside of that I’ll be training for a
couple of major competitions like the Commonwealth Games, the Pan-Pacific Games
and the Central American and Caribbean Games.”
The winner of last year’s event,
Fraser was the first Caymanian competitor home this time around placing sixth
overall in a time of 17.58. That time across the one-mile open water course
from Tiki Beach to the Ritz-Carlton resort was good enough for fifth in the
men’s segment and third place in the male 20-24 category.
Shaune’s brother, fellow Olympian
and fellow University of Florida swimmer Brett Fraser was not far behind.
Brett, 20, posted a time of 18.21, good enough for seventh overall, sixth in
the men’s division and fourth in the male 20-24 age division. As in years past
the Flowers event turned out to be a true family affair for the Fraser family.
Father Jim Fraser served as one of the race officials and could be seen
organising the start aboard a jet ski.
As far as the Olympic 10K event is
concerned, Shaune and other Cayman swimmers could see an uphill journey.
Consideration for the 10K event is not straight-forward. The 10K swim debuted
at the Olympics two years ago in Beijing and the competitors were chosen based
on the results of the World Open Water Championships, global open water
rankings from FINA (international swimming’s governing body) and Olympic qualifiers
held in Beijing before the Olympics. More information on the process can be
found at www.10kswim.com.
In addition to Fraser, this year’s
Flowers Sea Swim winners Alex Meyer and Eva Fabian (both American) are eyeing
the Olympics. New York native Meyer (who set the new overall event record at
17.18) states he is already part of the US national team and is training in
Boston for a 25K event in the World Open Water Swimming Championships in July
and a 10K swim. New Hampshire resident Fabian (who was the top female finisher
at 17.47) also plans to attend those championships in Canada and from there try
to join Meyer on the 2012 US Olympic team.
Ultimately Shaune is happy to have
been home once again.
“This is the first time since last
year I’ve swam in Cayman. It was awesome and it was a good swim. Frankie
(Flowers Sr.) always puts on a good event.”