The annual Butterfield 800 metres swim had another great turnout, much boosted by the recently formed Camana Bay Aquatic Club, which is attending in increasing numbers with every event it seems.
The keen little swimmers, under the watchful eye of coach Katie Lambert, are not good enough to threaten the established order though and there were no surprises in the top ten in this one. The vast supply of t-shirts, Domino’s pizza and Gatorade helped entice everyone down on one of the hottest days this year.
Geoffrey Butler stormed home in 9 minutes 29.20 seconds, followed by the ever improving Alex McCallum (9:31.33). Geoff’s sister Lara (9:49.71) was next and Seiji Groome (10:03.90) fourth. The youngest Butler sibling, Simon (10:18.11) was fifth which confirmed that they are the dominant swimming family on island and only the Fraser brothers, Shaune and Brett, can boast superiority. Elliot Vernon (10:23.43) finished sixth, ahead of Coral Tomascik (10:45.43).
Lexie Kelly (10:58.86) was the first adult home in eighth place. The 24-year-old Californian has seamlessly slotted into the swimming community here since being hired by Frank Flowers as the coordinator for the Flowers One Mile Sea Swim on 18 June. He typically swam this one and as always was grumbling that his time wasn’t as good as before. Still did well for a man in his sixties.
Danielle Boothe (11:07.31) was ninth and super triathlete Marius Acker (11:18.08) was the only other adult to break up the CARIFTA stars.
Butterfield executive Bill McFarland swam as usual and was pleased with the immense turnout considering it was held over the public holiday weekend on 14 May. He is a former president of the swimming association and was heavily involved in this one.
“It went extremely well,” he said. “Given the long weekend we were concerned that we wouldn’t see a large complement of competitors.
“As it stood, we had over 140 swimmers in the water. Conditions were perfect – water was clear, and there was little current or chop as the wind was light and offshore. It made for fast times for those that cared to race as opposed to just participate.
“From an organisational and sponsor perspective – as I represented both being a Butterfield employee – we couldn’t have asked for a “Personally I came in 13th overall, with only two masters swimmers in front of me – Lexie and Marius. Good to see a woman bringing it home in the ‘older’ swimmer category.
“I was very pleased with my performance. My goal is to bust through sub-12 minutes and I came very close to doing so given the favourable conditions.
“I was really pleased to see the Camana Bay Aquatic team out to support the Butterfield swim. I got a buzz out of their positive energy. They were a very enthusiastic bunch and very supportive of their teammates’ efforts in the swim.
“One of the members of their team came up to me after the swim and said: ‘You guys really put on a good swim meet.’ Comments like that make volunteering to run the open water events very satisfying.”
Highlights for McFarland were the number of competitors, the great swim conditions making for fast times, the enthusiasm of the competitors – largely because of the Camana Bay team – and the sponsorship of Butterfield.