Courtis hopes to soar at Oxford

Matthew Courtis was first featured in these pages six years ago, at age 12, as an exceptional sailor.

Since then, he has established himself as a talented swimmer, promising triathlete capable of challenging Cayman’s best and a super-smart kid who is soon off to one of the world’s most renowned educational institutions.

Courtis competed in the third and final Fidelity Fun Run with his mother Caroline on Saturday, a two-mile event that brings out elite runners along with walkers, strollers and even owners with dogs.

Courtis won the first Stroke and Stride in August by a clear three minutes. But he could not compete in the following two because he was swimming for Barbados at the Youth World Championship in Dubai.

There he achieved personal bests in the 400-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley, 50-meter butterfly and 200-meter butterfly.

Sporting excellence is coupled with academic brilliance too because the Stingray Swim Club member is off to Oxford University in England next week with intentions to pursue a career in aerospace engineering.

“Matthew was extremely excited to receive an offer from Oxford and to achieve the required grades to be accepted,” his father, Tim Courtis, said.

“Needless to say, Caroline and I are very proud of this achievement.”

Courtis plans to swim on the university team, of which Justine Schluntz is the head coach, and he is looking forward to joining the team.

“Swimming-wise, he hopes to destroy Cambridge University,” joked Tim. “He hopes to continue to improve his times and compete at the British University Games and the British Championships.”

Courtis was the clear winner during last week’s Foster’s 800-meter sea swim, which was again well organized by the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association.

Swimming association president Peter MacKay was unable to attend, but said he heard good things about it.

MacKay was in Mexico City at a FINA regional meeting over the weekend. Mexico is hosting the 2017 world championships in Guadalajara at its fabulous new pool complex.

The next Cayman open water swim is scheduled for Oct. 12, the 25th annual Caribbean Utilities Company 800-meter and the swimming association hopes for an even better turn out than the 138 entrants at the Foster’s event.