Flowers create 80-mile swim

Ultra-distance swimming reaches new levels every year and the organisers of the Flowers Sea Swim have come up with their own event to rival any in the world.

Bridging the Cayman Islands – an 80-mile historic attempt to swim between Grand Cayman and Little Cayman Islands – will take place in the days leading up to the Flowers Sea Swim in June.

World renowned marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey will attempt to make history yet again, adding this inter-island event to her amazing list of marathon swimming accomplishments. Inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, she is a world record holder and pioneer in long-distance swimming. Her experience and knowledge of the sport will be essential for this swim which could take up to 40 hours.

Palfrey is unrivalled in her list of incredibly long and arduous swims, including being the first person to swim from Santa Barbara Island to Point Vincente on the Los Angeles coast and the first woman to swim the Alenuihaha Channel from Hawaii (Big Island) to Maui. The Australian has also made gigantic swims in Gibraltar, New Zealand and Tampa as well as many other exhausting swims.

Steven Munatones, the USA swimming coach, said: “Penny is the most adventurous, successful and toughest marathon swimmer in the world today. If anyone can complete this swim, it’s Penny.”

Dara Flowers-Burke said: “Penny is going to try this swim without any shark cages for protection nor breaks and it will take between 30 and 40 hours. It’s for charity and will be done around 9 June, just before the Flowers One Mile Sea Swim which is on 18 June. The Flowers Swim is going to be bigger and better than before.” 
Dara’s father Frank said: “We want to help promote sports tourism here and the charity that will benefit will be Meals on Wheels. We’re also aware of the attention this will help bring to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman and help make the world know they exist.’

Palfrey will set off from East End to Little Cayman and will have a sonic wave shark repellent for protection as well as a safety crew to ensure she is totally looked after if in distress. She will also swim the One Mile event which promises to attract many more top level swimmers keen to beat the course record and win tens of thousands of dollars in prize money.

Last year’s race boasted over 700 competitors. Participants range in age from 8 to 80 years old and range in skill from novices and first-timers to gold medal Olympians and world championship open water specialists..

The race is the world’s richest open water event with over $100,000 in cash and random prizes and guaranteed 1-in-5 random prize odds for finishers. This year, giveaways include round trip tickets on Cayman Airways, Digicel phones, Red Sail Sports activities and restaurant vouchers.

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The Flowers Sea Swim is the richest in the world. – PHOTO: RON SHILLINGFORD

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