CARIFTA hopefuls make a splash

With the CARIFTA swimming championships only a month away and the team to be announced this week, competition at the Lions Pool had an extra edge – which accounts for so many records being broken.

The Dart-sponsored Cayman Islands National Swimming Championships, took place over three days at the pool and there was a sea swim on Sunday. Competitors faced some of Cayman’s coldest weather in a long time.

They were in pursuit of national titles and for those old enough, CARIFTA qualifying times.

“The second annual Cayman Islands National Championships provided all those who braved the cold with the opportunity to witness the very best of our young athletes,” said Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association president Michael Lockwood.

“Over the four days of competition, we saw some really fast swimming, multiple new CARIFTA qualifying cuts were achieved every day, new CIASA and national records and Lions Pool records were set, and all the competing clubs will also have to update their records documents.”

Amongst all the new records, three of note are those which previously belonged to Olympians Andrew MacKay and Shaune Fraser.

In the Boys 11-12 100 meters freestyle, Jordon Crooks of Stingray Swim Club, swam in 1 minute, 02.63 seconds, a CIASA/national record. The previous record holder was Andrew Mackay (1:03.10 in 1998).

In the Boys 11-12 50m freestyle, Crooks completed the swim in 27.88 seconds, the same time Shaune Fraser swam it in 2001. Both will hold the record jointly.

In the Boys 13-14 200m freestyle, Eddie Weber of Camana Bay Aquatic Club completed in 2:01.92, CIASA record. The previous holder was Shaune Fraser in 2:04.89 in 2002. Weber lowered that time to 2:00.18 in the finals, another CIASA record.

Family and friends turned out in numbers to cheer on the swimmers, as did Chris Duggan, Dart’s vice president, community development, Collin Anglin, director of sport, Ryan Mushin, sports department senior swimming instructor, Peter MacKay, CIASA past president and Frankie Flowers, CIASA director. They all handed out medals.

There were strong swims from the likes of Iain McCallum, Cole Morgan, Alison Jackson, Lauren Hew and Catriona MacRae. Ria Plunkett of the Stingray Swim Club put in a strong showing at the nationals making several CARIFTA cuts and she also competed in the 5K open water.

Rory Barrett of the Camana Bay Aquatic Club swam several personal best times and made CARIFTA cuts in a number of events.

Lockwood also presented fully deserved awards to Sheena Frederick-Westerborg, volunteer of the year, Sara MacKay, open water volunteer of the year, Peter MacKay, for lifetime achievement and Flowers for service to the community.

Duggan said, “I was delighted to be a part of the evening session on Friday and to see the athletes competing.

“The parents, friends and family supporting and the many, many volunteers on deck officiating, timing and doing everything else that is needed for the meet to take place. A true community effort that Dart was proud to support.”

Rounding out the busy swim schedule was a 5K open water swim in near perfect conditions.

This swim also served as a CARIFTA qualifier and saw 20 swimmers take to the water, all of them completing the four loops, each of 1,250m. First home were Stingray’s John Bodden (1 hour, 09.55 seconds) and first female, Catriona MacRae (1:13.33).

Jake Bailey (1:35.06) also of Stingray Swim Club who at 11 years old was the youngest swimmer completing the 5K swim, deserves a mention.

CARIFTA Swimming 2015 takes place in Barbados this year and starts over the Easter weekend from March 27.