Island Heritage meet produces record times in the pool

The Island Heritage Sprint Plus swim earlier this month attracted more than 150 swimmers from Cayman’s local clubs. 

Stingray Swim Club, Camana Bay Aquatic Club and Team Treasure Island took part and the meet was characterized by personal bests (PBs), CARIFTA times achieved or lowered, and events swam for the first time. The Sprint Plus, still a relatively new format in Cayman, allows swimmers to compete in the usual 25-meter (Under-6 and Under-8 swimmers) and 50m sprint events, as well as the longer 100m and 200m sprints or middle distance events. 

Stingray’s head coach Andy Copley was encouraged by the results – especially those of some of the club’s younger swimmers – earlier this month. 

“The hard work our swimmers are putting in at the pool is starting to translate into strong results for them in swim meets,” Copley said.  

Twelve swimmers recorded a 100 percent PB strike rate and a number of our swimmers had some really great swims: Allyson Belfonte, first overall in the 25m freestyle (18.19); Sophie Hayman, first in the 50m free with a two-second drop (36.61); Olivia Plunkett had a six-second drop in the 50m breaststroke (51.82); John Bodden dropped nine seconds in the 200m free (2:20.75); Alex Dakers had a massive 17-second drop in the 100m backstroke, and Alison Jackson earned new CARIFTA cuts in the 100m free (1:06.73) and the 200m Individual Medley (2:48.18).” 

Latina Young, Island Heritage’s marketing and communications coordinator, attended the event and was impressed with the number of athletes taking part, the organization of the officials and the fast swimming taking place in the pool. 

“Island Heritage recognizes the importance of investing in the training and development of our young athletes,” Young said. “By supporting these swim meets, we are giving these swimmers the opportunity to achieve their aspirations of being gold medalists. Watching these young athletes swim and understanding how much they have to train every week is impressive. It represents the level of commitment and dedication that we want to continue to encourage in our young people.” 

For the second year in a row, Island Heritage’s High Points awards were unique stingrays carved in marble and purchased locally from Pure Art. 

The High Points winners were: Girls 6 and Under – Sofia Bonati (CBAC); 7-8 Allyson Belfonte (SSC); 9-10 Sabine Ellison (CBAC); 11-12 Alison Jackson (SSC); 13-14 Lauren Hew (CBAC); 15 and Over Danielle Boothe (CBAC). Boys 6 and Under Cian Anderson (CBAC); 7-8 Stefano Bonati (CBAC); 9-10 Corey Westerborg (SSC); 11-12 Zachary Moore (CBAC); 13-14 Rory Barrett (CBAC) and 15 and Over Iain McCallum (SSC). 

Stingray president Amanda Roberts noted that the meet was successful both from a swimming and an officiating perspective.  

“There was a full complement of Cayman Islands Amateur Swim Association-certified technical officials on deck judging the competition, together with several of the newly certified CIASA timers. Having such a well-staffed meet also gave the opportunity for novice timers and technical officials to train for their certification or be assessed to move up a level.” 

Swim officials are all volunteers who put in a significant number of hours in the classroom and on deck to officiate, thereby enabling the swimmers to have their qualifying times and records formally recognized at home and overseas. It also helps the swimmers focus on the rules for each stroke and correct their mistakes prior to heading out for an international competition.  

“On behalf of Stingray Swim Club, I want to say a big thank you to all the CIASA officials and other volunteers, and of course, to our sponsor, Island Heritage,” Roberts said. 

Stingray members will next see action in the CIASA National Championships on Feb. 20 to 23 at the Camana Bay Aquatic Centre pool. After that will be the Walter Rogers Age Group National Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, at the National Stadium pool. This is a long-course event and will see some swimmers competing in a 50m pool for the first time, while others will be hoping to either obtain or drop CARIFTA qualifying times for CARIFTA 2014, which takes place in Aruba from April 22 to 26. 

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Alison Jackson was among those to post impressive times.

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A number of youngsters came away with medals.