Swimming heroes Brett and Shaune Fraser gave an invaluable insight into what it takes to reach the pinnacle of the sport to a group of enthusiastic kids at the Camana Bay swimming pool.
Around 65 youngsters gathered for a couple of hours on Friday for tips on technique, training and competing from Shaune, 23, and Brett, 22, who between them won a gold, silver and bronze at the Pan Am Games last month, the best ever showing by Caymanian athletes at the Games in any sport.
The brothers were joined by their parents Jim and Laurice and little brother Kyle who is 16 and was indifferent to competitive swimming. Kyle is now focused on getting in next year’s CARIFTA team and eventually emulating his siblings who are in serious training for the London Olympics in July.
Dr Sook Yin is the swimming association’s chief fundraiser. She got Shaune and Brett to return from the Pan Am Games in Mexico with fluffy toy mascots which helped raise cash and the kids also happily paid to be photographed with their heroes.
Shaune said after: “It definitely reminds me of when I was younger and coach Dave Kelsheimer had a lot of Olympians come over. It’s always a nice feeling to give back and share your experiences with the people down here. The kids were asking good questions and listened intently. We tried to help them out with some of the things we learnt as kids and hopefully they can grow up and be as successful or if not more successful than us.”
Brett said: “It’s great that Kyle has decided to take up swimming as a sport. Me and Shaune definitely try to lead by example so hopefully he’ll get into the programme, get dedicated and we’ll see what happens. The possibilities are endless for us three.
“Cayman definitely has the talent for kids to emulate us. We were happy to come and do the clinic today, something we’ve always wanted to do. There just needs to be a schedule. The programmes they have now if they continue to flourish I don’t see any reason why Cayman cannot continue to produce world class athletes.”
Their presence was certainly appreciated by coaches, officials and parents alike. Tom McCallum, President of the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association, said: “They were amazing. I reflected back when they were teenagers and were listening to gold medal winners on the pool deck. We’ve had over 20 gold medallists in the past thanks to coaches Kelsheimer and Dominic Ross. I was reflecting with their father how they got the inspiration from gold medallists. But it’s a whole different level when they are Caymanian gold medallists.”
Camana Bay club swimming coach Katie Lambert said: “I think them coming here is fantastic. The kids are really excited to see future London Olympians and have a chance to race them and get in the water. Real memories they’ll have for sure for a long time. Today they learnt more about the journey and how much hard work has to go into achieving something. They got in the water and did a few technique things as well and took that into having a few fun races at the end.”