The Cayman Islands could have another world class swimmer representing them in major tournaments in the future because a British-based swimmer wants to use his Caymanian status to compete under the flag.
David Ebanks, whose grandfather Levy Austin Ebanks was from West Bay, swam to gold at the British Masters Nationals last month in the 50 metres and 200 metres breaststroke, pulling in two personal best times of 29.38 seconds and 2 minutes 27.19 seconds.
These accomplishments have focused him on qualifying for the 2013 Island Games in Bermuda and possibly the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Born in Harold Wood, Essex, England in 1982, Ebanks started swimming with the Killerwhales Swimming Club in Hornchurch, Essex when he was 10.
He continued swimming, working his way up through the team’s squads – winning his first Essex Championships in 1997 in the 100m breaststroke. He did well at senior level but lost interest.
Ebanks said: “My swimming career fizzled out when I was about 17, but after returning to the pool in 2010 at 28 I realised I could still swim!
“After two months training I beat my lifetime personal best in the 50m and 100m breaststroke at the local Essex Masters Champs – with times of 31.80 and 1:11.7 respectively.”
By October 2010 Ebanks finished seventh at the British Masters Nationals in the 50m breaststroke in 31.23 a time which qualified him for the Island Games July 2011 – Isle of Wight.
Swimming for the Cayman Islands – his Caymanian status was confirmed in 2000 – Ebanks qualified for the 50m final where he swam a personal best of 31.09 and finished fifth.
Continued training saw a new personal best in his 50m breaststroke and a second place finish in the British Masters Nationals in 2011 and a fourth place finish in the 100m breaststroke.
In May 2012 Ebanks competed in the long course British Masters Nationals and finished second in three events – the 50m breaststroke, 30.90; 100m breaststroke in 1:10.97 and the 200m breaststroke in 2:37 in the 200m.
The British Masters Nationals gold medals in the 50m and 200m breaststroke were marred only by a too fast start in the 100m which saw him struggling home in third place in 1:06.90. A bonus swim in the 100 individual medley gave him a third place finish.
Ian Armiger, the Cayman Islands technical director for swimming was delighted with the Ebanks’ swims. “He is dropping time each time he swims and is well on his way,” Armiger said. “If he keeps up this level of training, to qualifying for the Island and Commonwealth Games where he would represent the Cayman Islands.
“This is great news for David and great news for Cayman swimming.”
Ebanks visited Grand Cayman in April where he spent time with his uncle Des, who was born and raised in Essex, England with David’s father Michael but now lives in South Sound with his wife and two children. David also met some of his more distant relatives who still live in West Bay, many of whom knew his grandfather Levy (known locally as BB) very well.