CARIFTA aces needed two times

The Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association has selected its team for the 2015 CARIFTA championships in Barbados. 

The meet is in a 50-meter pool and includes an open water event over Easter weekend, April 4-7. 

Swimmers have been training hard and have improved considerably, confirmed by the large number of CIASA, national and club records which fell last weekend at the national championships. 

Now, with the final qualifying events behind them, the task before CARIFTA technical director Bailey Weathers and club coaches David Pursley and Caleb Miller was not an easy one. 

Based on a review of qualifying times, and athletes’ compliance with training and eligibility requirements, coaches made a recommendation to CIASA and the team roster was agreed and ratified.  

Weathers said, “This has already been an exciting season for so many Cayman Islands swimmers. We have seen an incredible amount of improvement and success, and we are expecting more great swims as well at CARIFTA.” 

Swimmers who will represent the Cayman Islands at the XXX 2015 CARIFTA Swimming Championships are: 

Girls 11-12: Sabine Ellison (Camana Bay Aquatic Club), Alison Jackson (Stingray Swim Club, Emily Link (CBAC), Zororo Mutomba (SSC), Ria Plunkett (SSC) and Holly Stradling (CBAC). 

Boys 11-12: Jordan Crooks (SSC) and Zachary Moore (SSC) 

Girls 13-14: Samantha Bailey (SSC), Stefanie Boothe (SSC), Sarah Jackson (SSC) and Ella Plunkett (SSC) 

Boys 13-14: John Bodden (SSC), Matthew Somerville (CBAC) and Eddie Weber (CBAC) 

Girls 15-17: Lauren Hew (CBAC) and Catriona MacRae (SSC) 

Boys 15-17: Rory Barrett (CBAC), Jonathan Key (SSC), Iain McCallum (SSC) and Cole Morgan (SSC). 

The CARIFTA squad will have a training camp which brings the athletes together as a team for pool training and team-building.  

The Cayman Islands government and Maples have again given immense support, which has helped provide for a technical director, a position largely credited with the recent upsurge in swimming in Cayman, particularly learn-to-swim and competitive swimming. 

CIASA provides much of the funding for this trip, raised at the recent Dine and Splash with Olympians, raffle ticket sales and the inaugural CIASA golf tournament held on Friday.  

However, travel to Barbados is expensive, and with such a large team going, the team and parents will also be pulling together to raise additional money.  

In addition to travel expenses, there will be costs for accommodation, meals and gear. Swimmer are selling raffle tickets to help raise money.  

Michael Lockwood, CIASA president, who was a competitive swimmer in his youth and is now a master’s swimmer, said, “The CARIFTA 2015 qualification times were announced in September 2014, with the qualification process being tweaked just a little to acknowledge the increasing number of swimmers achieving the faster qualification times.  

“This year, swimmers were required to achieve a minimum of two qualification times. Previously, only one time was required. This extra requirement notwithstanding, we have seen some outstanding results, and this year CIASA is proud to announce a team of 21 swimmers will attend CARIFTA XXX.” 

With a potential maximum team size of 32 swimmers, the Cayman Islands team of 21 swimmers is a testament to their hard work and dedication, and with veteran CARIFTA swimmers such as Lauren Hew, Catriona MacRae, Cole Morgan and Iain McCallum on the team, the three first-time competitors will have good mentors in their teammates. “I would like to congratulate all of our swimmers,” said Minister of Sport Osbourne Bodden.  

“Swimming requires incredible commitment, discipline and focus and many early hours at the pool.  

“I also want to thank our athletes’ parents for the support and often referenced the swim-taxi service which they provide. On behalf of the Ministry of Sports and the Cayman Islands government, we wish you all success in Barbados.” 

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Catriona MacRae is one of the most experienced Cayman swimmers making the trip.

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Iain McCallum and Cole Morgan are hoping to medal at CARIFTA. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD
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