Special Olympics athletes will once again take centre stage in Cayman’s waters.
On Saturday, 25 May, the Butterfield 800 Metre Swim will feature Special Olympics athletes competing alongside residents on Seven Mile Beach. The race, in its 11th straight year, sees registration at 3pm with swimmers launching from Governor’s Beach at 4pm. The first finishers are expected to reach the finish line at Public Beach about 10 minutes later.
The Special Olympics clinics ahead of Saturday’s race will take place next week using both the Lions Aquatic Center pool and the Camana Bay pool, home to the Camana Bay Aquatic Club. The sessions focus on teaching pool open water swim training techniques and give competitors a chance to walk and test the course ahead of the swim.
This will mark the second straight year that the partnership between Special Olympics Cayman Islands, Butterfield Bank and the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association has extended to open water swimming.
Last year’s race saw the first international clinic on open water swimming for Special Olympics athletes. It was so successful that Special Olympics International, the global governing body, wants more of the combination between pool and ocean swimming.
For 2013, the Butterfield 800m Swim will welcome 12 visiting athletes, seven local athletes and a total of 32 people swimming under the Special Olympics banner. The visitors are expected to represent nine countries in the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the US (via Florida and Virginia), Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Those numbers will be an increase from 2012, when 20 swimmers from four countries competed and a total of 102 people tackled the Butterfield swim.
As usual, the event is a good warm up for the annual Flowers Sea Swim, Cayman’s biggest race, on 15 June. Butterfield swim organisers are encouraging residents to walk the beach next Saturday waving flags in support.