Led by coach Paula Swaby and CARIFTA team captain Alex McCallum, nine junior team swimmers took to the waters of the International Swimming Hall of Fame Pools in Fort Lauderdale at the end of June, taking on over 1,000 other young swimmers from across the USA and Caribbean at the International Age Group Invitational.
Competing over four days, they amassed 38 personal best times between them in a much needed long course competition, the Olympic-sized pool in which all major swimming events are held for which there is still a need for Cayman’s youngsters to travel overseas to experience.
CARIFTA medallist Catriona Macrae advanced to two finals finishing fifth in the 50 metre backstroke and sixth in the 100m backstroke. Danielle Boothe and younger sister Stefanie were also strong enough to advance to the finals, Danielle in the 50m butterfly and Stefanie in the 100m breaststroke.
The event, run in two back to back 50 metre pools, gave some insight to the young team as to the level and depth of competition that is out there, the end result for all of them being the motivation to return home, train consistently hard and return next season fitter, stronger and faster than before.
The remainder of the team consisted of CARIFTA swimmers Bethany Cleaver, Ashley Theaker, Isabella Tognazzo and Coral Tomascik as well as newcomer to the international scene Kavanagh Lambert, all of whom posted at least two personal best times each during the course of the competition.
Coach Dominic Ross said: “Thanks go to the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association and of course the parents of the swimmers for supporting this trip.”