It is billed as the world’s richest open water sea swim with more than $100,000 of prizes and rewards for breaking records, but it’s much more than that.
The whole community comes together for the Flowers One Mile Sea Swim every June and the 22nd staging surpassed all the others in numbers on Saturday. A total of 970 registered and 886 actually swam from the Ritz-Carlton to Royal Palms.
In blazing sunshine and with the calmest of seas, the setting was perfect for such an event. Visitors from all over the world come to Cayman specifically to partake.
One woman was seen hobbling on crutches to get in and she had the crutches waiting for her when she finished the swim. Apparently, she recently broke her leg and was still recovering, but there was no way she was going to miss the Flowers swim.
It was won by former world champion Mateusz Sawrymowicz in 18 minutes, 9 seconds. In second place was Keri-Anne Payne, way ahead of all the other females. Jake Zakale was third overall.
Cayman had a strong representation from its top swimmers, with Olympians Heather Roffey, Shaune and Brett Fraser leading the way.
Organizers Frank Flowers and his daughter Dara Flowers-Burke found the energy, despite all their commitments, to swim the course as they always do, with dad finishing in 307th place. Dara was 482nd. Frank Jr. also swam.
Placings were pretty irrelevant, it was all about having fun and raising money for a good cause. All registration proceeds were donated to the Feed Our Future charity which provides healthy meals to needy children in the Cayman Islands.
One in five participants went home with a variety of random prizes.
Mrs. Flowers-Burke said, “Our team is ecstatic about the success of the 22nd annual Flowers Sea Swim. We want to especially thank the swimmers, walkers, volunteers, sponsors and spectators for their continued support.
She added, “We are so happy to be donating funds to help provide thousands of healthy lunches to school children in the Cayman Islands. Next year we look forward to welcoming 1,000 swimmers.”
Visit the Cayman Compass Facebook page to vote on pictures taken at the Compass’s photo tent at the Flowers sea swim on Saturday. The person whose photo gets the most “Likes” wins a grand prize of a private beach cabana dinner for 10 at Royal Palms. Entry deadline is June 22.