Kids dive in for Niagara challenge

Three swimmers will represent the Cayman Islands in the first FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships being held in Niagara, Canada on 16-19 August. 

Brothers Alex and Iain McCallum (Stingray Swim Club) and Tori Flowers (Longhorn Aquatics at the University of Texas in Austin) – will be accompanied by Camana Bay Aquatic Club’s Head Coach Katie Lambert and arrived in Canada on Tuesday. 

Coach Lambert had this to say about the venue when compared to the athletes’ normal open water experience, “The venue is a man-made lake – the Welland International Flatwater Centre and Recreational Waterway.  

“It is very different from our athletes’ usual open water swim course, the Caribbean Sea off Cayman’s world famous Seven Mile Beach, but the three of them have been training hard and are up for the challenge. I am delighted to have this opportunity to work with these athletes and am very much looking forward to it.” 

The event website, niagaraopenwater2012.com, provides a wealth of information on the event and describes the courses in the following manner: “With nearly eight kilometres of uninterrupted flatwater and consistent depth and basin-like characteristics, as well as some of the most placid and beautiful flatwater in the world, the Welland International Flatwater Centre and Recreational Waterway is the perfect location for the swimming championships.  

“The course for open water swimming is more than 100m wide with multiple access points for safety. Paved asphalt trails for viewing and safety considerations border each side of the course which is supplied with clean, fresh water of the highest quality. Every aspect of this unique venue meets or exceeds all existing international standards for open water swimming.” 

Updates will be provided as the championships get underway. The following are some interesting facts about the waterway: 

– Width: 125-135m wide 

– Depth: 9.2m depth over full distance 

– Sides: Uniform slope; docking facilities extend the length of the racing area for easy embarkment 

– Current: Negligible to none – scientifically measured and confirmed 

– Water Quality: Excellent quality freshwater – source of municipal drinking supply 

– Average Water Temperature: 21-24 degrees Celsius in August 

– Other: Sheltered from the prevailing southwest winds; paved walking paths along both sides of the race area with full visibility for spectators, suitable for rollerblading or biking, nothing will be provided – please bring your own gear 

The schedule for the event is as follows: 15 August, Athlete Development Clinic 8am-11am. The course will also be open for training from 3pm-6pm; 16 August, the course will be open for training along with the pool at Brock University with the opening ceremonies at 8pm-10pm; 17 August sees a 7am warm-up then at 9am-11:30am there is the Junior Boys (17-18) 7.5km race featuring Alex McCallum; at 11.30-1.30pm there is a warm down/warm-up with an awards ceremony at 5.30pm; on 18 August 7am-8.30am is warm-up, 9am-11.30am Junior Girls (17-18 yrs) 7.5km race with Tori Flowers, 11.30am-1.30pm warm-up, 2.30pm-4.30pm Youth Boys (14-16yr) 5km race with Iain McCallum, 5.30pm awards; on 19 August 9am-11am technical meeting for team events, 11am-5pm warm-up/warm down, 4pm-5pm Team Event Juniors with Iain and Alex McCallum, 6.30pm-7.30pm Closing Ceremonies and 7.30pm BBQ Dinner for everyone. 

Cayman’s athletes will leave Canada on 20 August. None of them will be returning to Cayman, they will be taking family vacations at that point.  

The trio will be looking to emulate the performance of brothers Shaune and Brett Fraser, who competed at the 2012 London Olympics and ended up ranked among the world’s top 20 swimmers in a number of events. Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association President Peter MacKay states the youngsters are in a position to earn more national kudos. 

“We are delighted that Coach Katie has agreed to work with the four athletes who will be representing the Cayman Islands in this prestigious, first ever FINA World Junior Open Water Championships,” MacKay said. “With the incredible venue for open water swimming that the Cayman Islands has, off Seven Mile Beach, the possibility of one day hosting this event here is an exciting one.” 

 

For more information, contact Kathy Jackson on [email protected] 

Iain McCallum

Iain McCallum is a solid talent.