The latest news about the Caribbean’s open water swimming scene is that four top races have formed the West Indies Bluewater Swim Series for 2011.
These races span and reflect the diversity of the West Indies with Turks & Caicos in the north (just south of the Bahamas), Cayman to the west, Nevis in the middle, and Trinidad to the south (just north of Venezuela).
As the popularity and participation in open water swim racing continues to grow world-wide, the West Indies Swim Series aims to grow with it and foster the excitement, inclusiveness and goodwill that are so much a part of the sport.
In this spirit, the West Indies Swim Series welcomes all swimmers whether they want to win or swim to do their personal best. Indeed, all of these races have the common quality of attracting some of the best swimmers in the world, including several Olympians, while keeping them open to all who enjoy the special challenge and camaraderie of open water events.
Each race will continue to be run independently with its own unique character and distinctive attractions, but through the West Indies Swim Series will jointly elevate and promote the region as a world class destination for competition and training.
On 27 March the series begins with the StarMile2.5 Nevis-St. Kitts Cross Channel Swim, a rare and exciting inter-island swim/life experience. Nevis offers old-style Caribbean tranquillity in tandem with one of the most dynamic sports environments in the region, a place where international elite athletes go to train and compete with outstanding, fun-loving local talent.
On 18 June, the ever popular Flowers One Mile Sea Swim takes swimmers through crystal clear water and past tropical fish along majestic Seven Mile Beach in the Cayman Islands. On this fast course, swimmers range from 8 to 80. Last year there were over 800 entrants. It is organised by dynamic father and daughter duo Frank Flowers and Dara Flowers-Burke. Novices going for their first big swim mix with Olympic medallists for a spirited, friendly race. This race offers what is easily the biggest random prize drawing anywhere.
On 9 July, the Turks & Caicos hosts the ‘Race for the Conch’ Eco-SeaSwim in the spectacularly clear, calm, turquoise waters of Grace Bay on the island of Providenciales. World champions swim alongside visitors and locals through beautiful marine life with plenty of camaraderie. This environmentally tuned event features a one mile and 2.4 mile race and a 100 metre children’s swim.
On 25 September, it’s the Maracas Bay Open Water Classic in Trinidad at the base of a breathtaking rainforest sloping down from the island’s northern mountains for a most exotic setting. This long-running, welcoming race, where top ranked international swimmers compete against active and talented local swim clubs, features 2.5km and 5km distances, and a 700m children’s swim.
A West Indies Bluewater Championship Race is being created for 2012 that will draw qualifiers from the top swimmers from the West Indies Swim Series as well as provide an open race venue for all swimmers.
The four founding race organidations of the West Indies Swim Series recognise that great open water swim racing should also stand for something more. With that purpose in mind, the West Indies Swim Series will support and encourage more West Indians to learn to swim while identifying and developing local talent for international competition.
This series will spotlight the need to protect the oceans and reefs that are critical to the sport and an essential part of the region’s common heritage. The West Indies Swim Series will also be an advocate for helping those in greatest need in this special part of the world through the positive influence of sport.
For more information, go to www.westindiesswimseries.com or contact [email protected] to learn more.