Next to the Flowers family, Peter MacKay is a name synonymous with the Flowers Sea Swim.
The president of the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association has served as race director practically since inception. With the swim celebrating 20 years in 2012, MacKay drew many parallels between the various editions.
“This swim has grown and grown over the years,” MacKay said. “I remember many years where we didn’t know until the last moment if we would exceed the total of swimmers from the previous year, something that organizer Frank Flowers was keen to do. Now it is full before the deadline, such that quite a few people wanted to swim but couldn’t because all places were taken. That is a great place to be in. “It has taken a lot of hard work, by a lot of people, to get us to that point but the swim is now very much established and hopefully we will have even more swimmers coming from overseas. The ladies winner this year, Luane Rowe, came down by herself as she had heard about the swim. Hopefully more and more elite swimmers will do the same.
“Meeting Olympians over the years, several of whom have become good friends such as Neil Walker and B.J. Bedford, has been great. They are very down-to-earth people who never brag about their accomplishments.
“Trying to calm Frank Flowers down that the swim wasn’t going to be a disaster, because he wasn’t getting the number of swimmers he wanted, only to do so at the end when everyone registered was something. Once, we got the swim coach to swim on the day just to get to the magic number. Frank is less stressed about that these days as we easily get the numbers.”
Outside of his commitment to the association and the Flowers event, MacKay has given much to swimming. Among his achievements is producing a local Olympian in son Andrew MacKay. As the Flowers swim looks ahead to a 21st year, MacKay’s focus remains on benefitting the Cayman community at large.
“It is great to see so many people coming out to swim in such a great event, including his Excellency, Governor Duncan Taylor. Swimming is great exercise and we would hope that more people will take it up and swim in our shorter 800 metre races. The prizes in the Flowers Sea Swim are great but doing it for exercise and one’s health is more important.”