Stingrays got all dressed up

Stingray swimmers ended 2013 with speed, fun and continued hard work – characteristics its members and coach are so well known for.

Eighteen senior and gold level swimmers, accompanied by the Stingray’s head coach Andy Copley, tour manager Christine Maltman and a number of parents, traveled to Kingston, Jamaica to take part in the Christmas Open Swimming Championships.

The travel team, sponsored in part by Cayman Airways and Dart Cayman Islands, hauled in 51 medals in total. Stingray won 18 gold medals and five new swimmers qualified for CARIFTA. Alison Jackson reached her ninth qualifying CARIFTA time and Stingray set four meet records.

Stingray has already matched last year’s team total of 10 athletes who have achieved CARIFTA qualifying times and five of those were not on the 2013 CARIFTA team.

Ella Plunkett set new meet records in 100 meters and 200m backstroke, Cole Morgan in the 200m backstroke and Samantha Bailey in the 200m freestyle.

Iain McCallum is another Stingray with multiple CARIFTA qualifying times.

Coach Copley was pleased with the team’s performance. “Overall, the season was a success for our senior swimmers and this meet was a fun culmination of all the work that was done,” he said.

“Many of the swimmers hit their mark spot on at the meet. Others hit it a few weeks earlier at the Mike Lockwood Memorial and hung on for strong swims in Jamaica.

“There are a few other kids who are just now coming back to life and getting back to where they were when we broke for summer. I’m looking for them to make big strides in the New Year, leading toward the national championship meet in February.”

Copley added, “I’m most pleased with our number of CARIFTA qualifiers though. We’ve got five new kids qualified and Stingray can realistically get several more swimmers in the fold. I’m excited for what the next few months hold.”

After that, bringing the first training cycle of the 2013-14 season to a close for Stingray Swim Club was the always competitive and highly entertaining Reds v Greens Christmas Inter Squad.

With the two teams occupying opposite sides of the pool, it was apparent early on that both teams had brought their festive spirit with them.

Prizes from Logic – an Apple TV – and LIME – a $100 iTunes Card, It’s Your Party – a three hour party Slip and Slide, meant that the fancy dress costume had multiple serious contenders this year.

Although first prize went to Electra McErlean, who literally plugged herself in and was a Christmas tree with lights, there were a couple of swimmers who tried to hide behind their teammates as their parents took to the pool deck in their Christmas attire.

A hotly contested dance contest behind the blocks saw Charlie McDowall impress the judges and win first prize and, perhaps most surprising of all, was that the loudest parent supporter award went to the generally quiet and somewhat reserved Chris Hayman.

It all came down to the final mixed relay of the night, with both teams having three teams entered. The greens had to win all three of the relays to win by one point – and, with green team pride propelling them forward, they made it.

A club pot luck, Christmas Carol singing and social followed. The next competition is on Saturday, Feb. 1 for the Island Heritage Sprint Meet at the Lions Aquatic Centre.

“It was a wonderful evening,” said Stingray president Amanda Roberts. “Our club has had a great start to the 2013-14 season and, on behalf of the entire club, I wish all of our sponsors, supporters, friend and family a safe a happy new year.”

For information on Stingray Swim Club or the Summer Swim Camp, visit www.caymanswimming.com or email [email protected]

Eighteen senior and gold level swimmers, accompanied by the Stingray’s head coach Andy Copley, tour manager Christine Maltman and a number of parents, traveled to Kingston, Jamaica to take part in the Christmas Open Swimming Championships.

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