Local swim officials Adam and Amanda Roberts are used to doing things together, having been a couple for nearly 30 years, but the latest development is not one they could have anticipated decades ago in snowy Essex in the United Kingdom.
As Adam prepared to fly to Istanbul, Turkey to officiate at the World Short Course Championships last month, news came through that Amanda had joined him on the FINA list of referees.
Adam has been on the list since 2011, but he readily acknowledges that she is more thorough than him and has been the driving force behind the advancement of officials’ training in recent years.
He said: “She has been tireless in driving forward the training programme, working with Stingray Swim Club, the swimming association myself and Olive Balderamos (Cayman’s other FINA referee and chair of the CIASA Technical Committee) to ensure that the opportunity to receive proper training on island is available to all who are interested.”
Adam and Amanda first became involved with swimming when their children did. Encouraged to take part in the running of swim meets and Stingray by Sara MacKay, the Roberts attended training clinics for officials when they were available in Cayman and shortly after they started standing as officials.
As the their children competed in the pool, Adam and Amanda continued to support the club and made it a personal decision to put officials’ training near the top of their priorities.
Supported throughout by the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association and by Stingray Swim Club, both with encouragement and some financial assistance – with the two organisations splitting the cost of putting on clinics and assisting with overseas trips – the two have dedicated considerable personal time to bringing a professional and accredited level of swim meet officiating to the Cayman Islands.
Both acknowledge the influence through the years of many trainers from different origins: Steven Goldman and Beth Tillman from Florida, and John Eyre and Errol Clarke, who are FINA referees from the Caribbean.
There was also a clinic funded by FINA this year by Neil Booth from the UK.
Adam said: “I am delighted that we now have a solid band of knowledgeable technical officials drawn from both clubs, Stingray and Camana Bay, to cover the meets and assist in the development of the swimmers.
“Cayman can be very proud that the recent Mike Lockwood Memorial Meet had over 20 locally trained technical officials standing on deck.”
Meanwhile, Adam is excited about attending another major championship. In 2011, he was the first swimming official from Cayman to stand at the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“When I was in England during the summer, I made contact with Errol Clarke who was one of the Olympic referees and he asked me if I would be available to go to Istanbul in December. It was really a great thrill and honour to be selected. I am very grateful to all who have supported and encouraged me to reach this level, especially the Stingray Club and the swimming association and the Cayman Islands Government for giving me time off to attend.”
“Not only is Amanda a driving force behind the development of local, qualified and trained Officials here in Cayman, she is also SSC’s vice-president and an enthusiastic, committed and dedicated member of the Cayman Swimming Family,” said Stingray Club president Brenda McGrath. “Congratulations Amanda and thank you to both Adam and Amanda for their continued support of Cayman swimming.”