The overcast clouds threatened but did not burst until later as the first open water sea swim of the new season went off without a hitch.
The 29th 800 meters Foster’s Food Fair sponsored swim attracted 138 entrants from Public Beach to Governor’s Beach, and all but one finished on Saturday.
It was a great turn out in perfect swimming conditions and another well organized, smoothly run event of one of the longest annual sports events in the Cayman Islands.
There were plenty of new faces mixed with the familiar ones, bolstered by the increasing numbers joining the Camana Bay Aquatic Club.
The long Foster family support continued with Woody and Chi Chi swimming. Ever-smiling Woody gave out colorful awards.
Woody Foster said: “The Foster’s Food Fair Sea Swim is important to the Fosters for a couple of reasons. First, it promotes good health and fitness and allows us to interact with members of our community that we might not normally see.
“Second, for sentimental reasons as my dad started this so many years ago because he loved to swim ….
“My immediate family dropped out of swimming this event, for no particular reason, but have rejoined about four years ago. Rejoining the actual swim has been fantastic and we plan on continuing the tradition for many years to come.”
Among new faces spectating were Governor Helen Kilpatrick and Brad Hannah, the new head coach at Camana Bay Aquatic Club, with his new-born baby in his arms.
Also attending his first local sea swim was Bailey Weathers, the recently appointed technical director for all of Cayman swimming. His wife Sue wasted no time contributing, as she helped work the finish line.
Also, there was Ryan Mushin, who is now heading the government’s program at the Lion Pool.
The winner was Matthew Courtis in 10 minutes, four seconds, who fresh off competing in the World Juniors finished with a commanding lead. He is off to Oxford University and looking forward to swimming there. With Courtis, Alex McCallum and Geoff Butler all at school and university in the U.K., it leaves the field open for the next wave of developing swimmers.
Second finisher was Cole Morgan (10:34), who seems to grow every time he competes.
Andrew Smilley (10:39), looking strong and smooth as usual, was third and Iain McCallum (10:50) was fourth, followed by Darren Mew (11:19).
Then seven adept youngsters approached the finish line funnel together and they had to battle it out as there are no lane lines in open water swimming.
The order was Jonathan Key, Katie Klein, Eddie Weber, Ashley Theaker, Brandon Williams, Danielle Boothe and Catriona Macrae. Klein (11:31) was the first female finisher, second was Theaker (11:33) and Boothe was third, one second behind.
The race director was Olive Balderamos and the usual stalwarts, who set up equipment, swim, and then take everything down again, were Jim Fraser, Bill McFarland and Michael Lockwood Jr.
Injured swimmer Coral Tomascik had a unique view on a stand up paddleboard.
There was the usual great support from Red Sail Sports watercraft and Red Cross personnel. Everyone tucked into the Subway-supplied sandwiches after.
Frank Flowers of Flowers Water was there as always, providing his wholehearted support through his manpower, who set up the tents and big time-clock at the finish. He also donated ice and water for each swimmer.