After a successful showing in Jamaica, the stage is set for more CARIFTA glory next year.
The Cayman Islands national junior swim team travelled to Kingston over the Easter weekend for the 2013 CARIFTA Swimming Championships and earned 14 medals. Cayman claimed three gold, four silvers and five bronze in the swimming pool with two bronze in CARIFTA’s inaugural open water 5K swimming event.
Those results are most pleasing to Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association President Peter MacKay.
“I am delighted with the result,” MacKay said. “The insight and expertise which our technical director Ian Armiger is bringing to the competitive programme is showing great results after just seven months and I personally am already looking forward to CARIFTA 2014.
“This strategic view of swimming is also being applied to our Learn to Swim, Sea Swims and School programmes and the next year will, once again, see significant improvements in the quality and quantity of swimmers across the whole Cayman Islands.”
In all, there were 69 personal best time posted, 28 appearances in the finals and an overall finishing place of 10th. The first gold medals were won when team captain Geoffrey Butler (15-17), who was also making his final CARIFTA appearance this year, convincingly won the 1500 metre freestyle in a time of 16:30.55 – a new PB of over five seconds from his previous life time best in that event.
Kavanagh Lambert (11-12) took gold in the 200M breaststroke using her incredible strength off the wall in her turns and her speed to come home in a time of 2:52.81.
The team’ third gold medal came from Lauren Hew (13-14) in the closing event of the meet in the 200M backstroke in a time of 2:31.73. With Cayman team manager and mum Sandy Hew in the stands alongside father Richard Hew, it was indeed a proud moment for her family and her country.
For national coach Ian Armiger, the times posted by the swimmers was most impressive.
“This was extremely satisfying as we had raised qualifying times, making it harder to qualify for the team and the swimmer stepped up and met them head on.
“Part of our continuing goal to return Cayman to fast swimming in the competitive arena will see the continued evaluation of qualifying times so that we can continue to bring out the best in our athletes.”
Individual silver medal were won by Geoffrey Butler in the 400 Individual Medley in 4:50.79, 200IM and 400M Free in 4:08.60 and Cole Morgan (13-14) in the 200M back in 2:18.30.
Individual bronze medals were won by Geoffrey Butler in the 200M Free at 1:59.47, Samantha Bailey in the 100M Back in 1:15.77, Coral Tomacik in the 100M Back in 1:09.98, Kavanagh Lambert in the 400IM in 5:42.78 and 100M Breast in 1:22.46.
The open water 5K bronze medals were won by Geoffrey Butler and Catriona MacRae.
These successes would be harder to come by without the support of sponsors such as Maples, Cayman Airways, Subway and the Cayman Islands Government and the ultimate sponsors: their parents.