Brett Fraser came up just short of making history for the Cayman Islands in Glasgow, but he is far from dismayed.
In fact, Fraser, 24, feels upbeat about his chances in the 50 meter freestyle at the XX Commonwealth Games in Scotland.
He starts off swimming in heat nine, out of lane six, on Monday at 11:03 a.m. Scotland time (5:03 a.m. in Cayman). Fraser said falling short of a medal by coming fifth in the 50m butterfly final in 23.66 seconds inspires him.
“It’s always nice to medal and be on the podium,” he said. “But not medaling serves as motivation for me to continue to train that much harder and strive to be there at the next competition.
“I thought it went pretty well. Right now, I can’t really think of too many things that I did incorrectly. When I came into the warm-ups, we ran through the race, simulated it a few times and it went just as smoothly as we had practiced. I’m very happy with that swim.”
He was just behind England’s Adam Barrett (23.43 seconds), bronze medalist Chad le Clos of South Africa (23.36 seconds), South Africa’s Roland Schoeman (23.13 seconds) and winner Benjamin Proud of England, whose time of 22.93 seconds also set a new Games record.
The George Town resident went into the final at the Tollcross International Swimming Center after posting a time of 24.01 seconds in last Thursday’s heats and 23.96 seconds in the semifinals. Fraser said the close finish pushed him to train harder.
“That’s going to serve as a great motivation again for me going forward into the 50m freestyle. I’m going to spend the next few days fine tuning what I practiced for many years and just go for it on Monday.”
Cayman’s other swimmers – Geoffrey Butler, Lara Butler, David Ebanks, Lauren Hew and Alex McCallum – produced some positive results in their heats.
Geoffrey Butler was second in the 200m free at 1:57.13, Lara Butler was eighth in the 100m backstroke at 1:08.37, Ebanks was second in the 100m breaststroke at 1:08.36, Hew placed sixth in the 100m backstroke at 1:07.34 and McCallum was eighth in the 50m backstroke at 28.27 seconds.
In spite of his high finish, Geoffrey Butler missed out on a berth in the semifinals due to his time. Next up is the 1500m free on Monday when he will swim out of lane eight in heat two at 11:57 a.m. Scotland time (5:57 a.m. Cayman time). He hopes his performance carries over.
“Well, I knocked off just over a second of my best time so it’s good to have that here,” Geoffrey Butler said. “I went out strong and just tried to hold on to finish the swim, it was good. My main event will be the one on Monday so we’ll see how that will go.”
Ebanks, based out of Essex, England, also missed out on the semis due to his time. The medical sales representative swam the 50m back on Sunday.
“Well, I’m kind of a little disappointed,” Ebanks said. “It was a lifetime best but I feel like I could have maybe gone out a little bit quicker, attacked it a little bit more.
“Overall, I can’t be too upset – my main race is on Sunday. I had a good week at Loughborough and then a week here building up to the first day of swimming. So yeah, it’s been going well.”
Hew, Cayman’s youngest athlete at 14, will be in action Monday in heat five of the 50m back, swimming out of lane seven at 11:16 a.m. Scotland time (5:16 a.m.). She was listed as a reserve for the 100m back semis, which she says was a great accomplishment.
“It was just a bit over my personal best,” Hew said. “I was pretty nervous, but I think for my first race at such a big competition is pretty good.
“I was training at Loughborough University for a couple days and then I got into the village and started training in this pool. I’ve never been in such an amazing pool, so it was really good to train here and I felt really good coming into the competition.
“I think I’m going to do pretty well in the 50m back. I feel really good. I’ve been doing a lot of that in practice lately.”