The Pete Ribbins Consolidated Water Meet, hosted by the Stingray Swim Club at the Lions Aquatic Centre served again as the final meet at which swimmers could qualify for the 2012 CARIFTA National Junior Swim Team.
Excitement and swimmers were in abundance at one of the largest meets hosted in recent times. It ran over four days, over 140 swimmers took part, competing in 98 scheduled events and coming from three clubs and swim schools – Stingray, Camana Bay Aquatic Club and Treasure Island Swim School.
Watching on Sunday morning were members of the late Pete Ribbins’ family, wife Siobhan, daughter Emily and son Joe. “It is absolutely delightful to see so many children participating in swimming and working so hard to excel,” said Siobhan.
“The Pete Ribbins Memorial Consolidated Water Meet was a resounding success by all accounts,” said Stingray President Brenda McGrath. “For many of the older swimmers this meet was their last chance to post qualifying times for the CARIFTA Swimming Championships, in the Bahamas from 12-15 April. The competition was fast and furious and the meet was punctuated by the highs of qualifying and the lows of just missing a time.”
For younger swimmers, this meet provided the opportunity to compete in the longer distance events which are not on offer at the faster paced burner and sprint meets such as 200 metres and 400m races.
And for some of the swimmers from Treasure Island Swim School – it was the first time they had ever competed in a 25m race, and when you don’t quite stand a metre tall … swimming 25m really is a huge challenge.
McGrath said: “The meet was a wonderful opportunity for a number of swimmers to improve their times in the lead up to CARIFTA. Of special note was Katie Klein, swimming in the Girls 11-12 200m freestyle who achieved an ‘A’ time with an incredible new personal best of 2 minutes 30.85 seconds. The meet was a great success and our swimmers did us proud. As a club we are proud to be athlete driven, coach directed and parent supported after all, this is what competitive swimming is all about!””
Another who did well was Ali Jackson who swam the Girls 10 & Under 100m backstroke for the first time and attained a BB time of 1:35.86 and special mention of Caitriona Macrae who pushed through in an exciting race to win the Girls 13-14 100m nackstroke in an A time of 1:12.60 to win by 0.38 of a second.
Coach Marie Shepheard was delighted with the performance of her young swimmers, She said: “Of the 33 Treasure Island swimmers who participated, 27 were competing in the Under-6 age group for their first ever meet. We had some great results. Many of our swimmers were only four years old and our youngest was only three. Watching them grow from non swimmers to competitors is hugely rewarding and when you also consider that we are equipping the children of Cayman with a life skill there really isn’t much more that needs to be said.”
Coach Katie Lambert, Camana Bay Aquatic Club Associate Head Coach, said: “I’m proud of all our swimmers, who continue to make leaps and bounds at every meet. Eddie Weber swam the 400m freestyle for the first time and finished with an outstanding time of 5:48:02 and Coral Tomascik dropped an amazing seven seconds off her 400 individual medley personal best with a record breaking time of 5:25:77. A very special mention goes to Riley Doyle and Tate Marr, who competed in 50m events for the first time.”
High Points Awards winners were: In the girls division High Points winners were: U6 – Marisa Poole (SSC); U8 Stephanie Roysten (CBAC); U10 Zororo Mutomba (CBAC); U12 – Lauren Hew (CBAC); U14 – Coral Tomascik (CBAC) and 15 and Over Danielle Boothe (CBAC). In the boys division: U6 – Lachlin Lambert (CBAC); U8 – Corey Westerborg (SSC); U10 – Zachary Moore(CBAC); U12 – Sam Burnstein (CBAC); U14 – Simon Butler (SSC) and 15 and Over Andrew Smilley (SSC).
McGrath added: “We were delighted to have the Ribbins’ family with us on Sunday, the long standing commitment of Consolidated Water to Stingray and to swimming in general has made a significant contribution to the development of swimming in the Cayman Islands and we are, as always, most grateful for their support. The meet ran beautifully and we must acknowledge and thank all the volunteers officials, led by Mrs Olive Balderamos; our Event Manager, Ms. Melanie Solomon; all our parent timers and volunteers, and the Stingray Swim Club parents who provided music, sold refreshments, manned the medals table and took pictures. The meet is for the swimmers, but we could not do it without the parents, guardians, friends and family who volunteer and make the meet a possibility.”
The meet was a resounding success and it was fitting too, that it rounded out the career of Coach Dominic Ross’s tenure as Senior Swim Coach at the Lions club. After 12 years of overseeing Government’s Learn to Swim programme and rebuilding the competitive swim programme at the Lions in the post Ivan years, where he also coached many of Stingray’s members, coach Ross has taken a new assignment as Associate Head Coach at Camana Bay Aquatic Club.
McGrath said: “Coach Dom will be missed but it is not good bye as we know we will see him on deck at the Lions club again soon and we know that his priority will always be to see Cayman swimming grow from strength to strength. We were delighted to have had such a great turn out and we look forward to seeing everyone again for the KPMG Burner Meet on 31 March.