The CARIFTA swim team is in Barbados this weekend competing in the annual tournament and they hope to improve on their terrific medal haul of last year and head coach Dominic Ross has high expectations. The 18-member team has worked hard both in the pool and in raising money for the trip. Their recent 24-sponsored swim raised over $10,000 towards the trip. There are two other Cayman swimmers representing other countries; Matthew Courtis for Barbados and Danielle Boothe for Jamaica.
The 2011 Cayman Islands CARIFTA team captain, Butler heads to Barbados for her sixth CARIFTA appearance with high expectations and lofty goals. Lara looks to improve on her gold medal winning performance of last year by challenging the best of the region in a few more events on this occasion. The Cayman Prep and High School student will again be strong in the individual medley events as expected but may have a surprise for her competitors in one or two other events as well.
Returning for her second team appearance, Narborough will prove a pivotal player in the strength of the 11-12 girls relays. The Cayman Prep student also looks poised for a chance at her first individual final at CARIFTA if all goes to plan as she tackles the tough 200 metres butterfly and 400 metre individual medley.
Diving in at the top end of the 11-12 age group and with a year of CARIFTA experience behind her, Tognazzo is a potential for advancement to the finals of a few events this time around. Her progress over the past 12 months has been quite clear and she is expected to put in strong performances in both her individual events and relay swims. She attends Grace Christian Academy.
Going in to her third CARIFTA, Cleaver looks set to improve upon her personal best times. The Cayman Prep student will compete in the ultra competitive 13-14 age group for the first time and is expected to have strong showings in the shorter to middle distance freestyle events on which her training has been focused.
Morgan is a CIS student, qualifying as the only Cayman representative in the boys 11-12 age group, he will compete in a variety of events. With one eye on the future, expect Morgan to improve upon last year’s performances as he continues with his development.
Bolstered by his bronze medal winning performance in the 1500m free last year, Geoffrey goes in to CARIFTA 2011 well prepared and confident in his abilities. Improvements in Geoffrey’s training and consistency throughout the year will prove to be of great benefit this time around as he continues to prepare himself for the next level of competition. Medals might be hard to come by in his first year in the 15-17 age group but his focus will, as always, be on personal excellence.
Simon dives in to the 13-14 age group for the first time in his third CARIFTA team appearance. Competing in various events, the Cayman Prep student hopes to continue his recent improvements in the pool in what will prove a challenging year competition wise given the depth of talent in the region at this age. Look for Simon to make some big time drops across the board.
Asher van Zanten
Attending high school and training in Georgia currently, van Zanten joins the team again, for his fourth consecutive CARIFTA swimming championships. He is expected to be strong in the breaststroke events and will also compete in both of the individual medley events and as a relay team member in the 13-14 boys age bracket. Van Zanten is a previous CARIFTA finalist and looks poised to make a charge at the finals again this year.
Macrae will make her second CARIFTA appearance in Barbados, this time at the top end of the 11-12 girls age group. A strong swimmer in all four of the strokes she is expected to do well in the individual medley events. This time around you may even see the Cayman Prep student advancing out of the preliminary heats and in to the evening finals, as the experience and confidence she picked up in Jamaica last year comes to the fore, she may even have a surprise or two up her sleeve.
A Cayman Prep student preparing for his fourth CARIFTA, Vernon has stepped up his training and is ready to do battle in the 13-14 age category once again. The competition will be tough as always but he has made some big strides recently, particularly in his middle distance freestyle events and is expected to put in solid performances again.
Having picked up her first CARIFTA medal (bronze in the 800m free) in Jamaica last year, Tori returns to the team full of confidence and ready to take on the rest of the Caribbean. She will again tackle that event, which along with the 400m Freestyle will likely be her strongest. This year will see Texas based Tori take on the 15-17 girls age group for the first time so she will be expecting some fierce competition.
A former CARIFTA gold medallist who picked up a bronze last year, Groome is back on the team for what will be his seventh and final CARIFTAS. As the most experienced team member, Groome will be relied upon by the youngsters for support and advice throughout four days of competition. This year will again see him compete in the breaststroke and individual medleys, with one or two other being added to his repertoire.
Elected by his teammates as this year’s vice-captain, McCallum returns for his fifth CARIFTAS. His priorities will lie with the distance freestyle events where he is expected to show significant improvement given his consistent hard work and focus during training. McCallum is a sixth form student at Cayman Prep.
Following her double gold winning performance last year in Jamaica, Tomascik needs little introduction. The step up in the fiercely competitive 13-14 age group will however prove a challenging task. Look out for Tomascik, a student at St. Ignatius, in some of the evening finals however as her hard work and dedication should see her through the preliminary heats in a number of events again.
Theaker attends the John Grey High School and will be representing the Cayman Islands for the first time in Barbados. Her strengths currently lie in the freestyle events, however her abilities cross over to the other strokes and she will also be tackling the 100m butterfly as she continues to develop for the future.
A superstar in the making both in the pool and on the silver screen, Solomon joins the team for the first time having improved immensely in the past year. Her first CARIFTA will see her tackling the three breastroke events 50m, 100m and 200m and she may well play a part in a relay or two in the 11-12 gilrs age group. She is a St Ignatius student.
Klein has qualified for her first CARIFTAS. She will gain valuable experience from this trip, competing in some of the sprint events in the 11-12 age category. She is a student at CIS with a bright future ahead of her in the pool.
After a year’s absence, Matt will be making his return to the team for his second CARIFTA experience. Currently based in Texas, he will be competing in the 13-14 age group in the breastroke and as a member of the relay teams.