Flowers 
splashes for 21st time

The Flowers One Mile Sea Swim is not only the world’s richest event of its kind, it is one of the most established, celebrating its 21st year in a couple of weeks.  

On 15 June, Cayman’s most celebrated sporting event makes another splash from the beach front at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman with 900 participants.  

Depending on the ocean currents, it finishes either at Royal Palms or Surfside Beach and Restaurant. 

Organiser Dara Flowers-Burke said: “Our awesome goody bags include a Flowers Sea Swim T-shirt, Flowers sports water bottle, Digicel hats, Brasserie coffee mugs and randomly placed vouchers including upgrades to business class from Cayman Airways, discount coupons for TCBY, and other great surprises.” 

Participants vary in age from 8 to 80 and in skill from novices and first-timers to gold medal Olympians and world championship open water specialists from around the globe.  

The unique draw of the Flowers Sea Swim is not only its flawless course conditions along Cayman’s beautiful Seven Mile Beach, but the numerous random prizes.  

The odds to win a random prize are 1-in-5 and previous giveaways have included BlackBerrys, iPads, hotel stays, and dozens of airline tickets to premier destinations such as Miami, New York, Panama, Rome, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, London, Dublin, Rio de Janerio and Toronto.  

All finishers receive a T-shirt and goody bag filled with prizes and surprises. 

The Walk & Watch programme will also be offered again. The walking programme is ideal for the non-swimmer who wants to take part in the excitement of the Flowers Mile and contribute to a worthy cause at the same time. 

All registration proceeds are donated to the Feed Our Future charity, which provides healthy meals to needy schoolchildren in the Cayman Islands. 

Each year, the Flowers Sea Swim attracts Olympic and world record-holding athletes, in addition to other notable guests in the swimming world. 

This time, there is no shortage of world class names, including Cayman’s own Olympic stars Fraser brothers, Shaune and Brett, and former Olympians Andrew MacKay and Heather Roffey.  

Others lined up include Rebecca Soni, who is a breaststroke specialist and six-time Olympic medallist, Gary Hall Jr and his father Gary Hall Sr, who have a host of Olympic medals and countless records between them. There will also be top class paralympian Jessica Long and Connor Dwyer, who won gold with the US team in the 4×200 metre freestyle relay team at the 2012 London Olympics. 

Megan Jendrick, another Olympic gold medallist is also included, as is Ian Crocker, another multiple Olympic medallist who loves coming here, and Brooke Bennett, who is a three-time Olympic champion. In addition, other former world class competitors and champs Scott Goldblatt, Kristina Kowal, Rada Owen, Joey Pedraza and Luane Rowe are scheduled to attend. 

Local coach Darren Mew is a two-time Olympian for Great Britain, who had an 18-year international career winning multiple honours. He also is set to participate.  

This year, prizes include airline tickets to Miami, New York, Las Vegas, Rome, London, Dublin, Los Angeles, Rio De Janerio, Atlanta and Toronto. 

Trophies are awarded to the top four women’s and top four men’s finishers. Each swimmer who finishes the race in the allotted time receives a medal. Winning man and woman receive return tickets to defend their title. 

There is an offer of $8,000 to anyone who breaks the record for the world’s fastest recorded ocean mile, $4,000 is awarded for setting a new event record. The times to beat are: Men’s world record: 16:00 minutes; Women’s world record: 17 minutes 21 seconds; Men’s event record: 17:18; Women’s event record: 17:47. 

Registration ends 12 June. To register visit www.flowersseaswim.com 

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The beach front at the Ritz-Carlton is always packed. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD
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