Stingrays excel as brave little Marisa steals the show

The Stingray Swim Club took a small group of swimmers under the leadership of coach Marie Shepheard and tour manager Derrick Westerborg to Sarasota over the long weekend to participate in the Sarasota Sharks Memorial Swim Meet.

The ages ranged from five to 21 and while Catriona Macrae was the only current CARIFTA team member on the team, there was experience in former CARIFTA swimmers Iain McCallum and Andrew Smilley along with Lois Moody, 14, and Quinton Ebanks, 13, making up the senior part of the team.

Macrae carried on her fantastic CARIFTA form picking up three gold medals and two bronzes. Other medals went to Corey Westerborg who got a silver in the 50 metre backstroke and a bronze, together with a Stingray club record in the 50 metre freestyle and Iain McCallum a bronze in the 200 metre butterfly.

Samantha Rowland got a bronze in the 200m breaststroke – an event where Macrae won the gold – in her first effort in a 50 metre pool. Stingray swimmers also placed (finishing in the fourth to eighth slots) in 15 other races. Apart from all the swimming, the team took the opportunity to celebrate Iain Macrae’s tenth birthday on the Saturday, while the senior swimmers went on an eco-kayak trip and the young ones did alligator mini-golf.

Marisa Poole, who will not turn six until October, became the youngest Stingray member to race in a 50m pool, while Will Roberts whose record she took was also there competing. It was announced that she was the youngest competitor at the meet and she stole everyone’s heart, at times a tiny lone head in an enormous pool; but she was there to race and claimed fifth spot in the 8 & under 50m breaststroke.

Apart from Samantha and Marisa, other swimmers new to a 50m pool were Sam Bailey, Jonathan Anderson and Douglas Rowland. There was a healthy contingent of under 10 boys and they were able to put out a relay team both days (Jonathan, Will, Corey, Douglas and Iain Macrae all swam) and it was a real thrill to see Jonathan hunting down and passing a Florida swimmer on the last leg in Sunday’s race to claim fourth spot, mirroring the effort of Saturday’s team.

There was plenty of enthusiasm, everyone trying really hard and swimming well and lots of personal best times, but the biggest thrill came right at the end of the meet when it was discovered that Stingray had come second overall out of 11 teams competing – behind the home team – and came home with an impressive trophy.

Next up is the Lions Meet this Saturday followed by the Caledonian Group Meet on 15 June.

For information about the Stingray Swim 
Club go to Full results of the Sarasota meet can be found at