Flowers make skin care a priority

The Flowers Mile Sea Swim is approaching, and the world’s richest open water swim is likely to top previous years in terms of excitement, fundraising and enjoyment.  

The most innovative aspect of this year’s Flowers Sea Swim is that the organizers will be working with the Cayman Islands Cancer Society in an attempt to break the world record for the most simultaneous sunscreen applications to raise skin cancer awareness.  

“We are only weeks away so our team is full speed ahead getting everything put together,” said organizer Dara Flowers-Burke. “This year will be bigger and better than ever with more prizes and surprises.”  

The 23rd staging of the event is on June 13. The biggest headache for the organizers is restricting the number of entrants to 900. Such is the popularity of the event that participants vary from infants to age 80 years young, ranging in skill from novice and first-timer to gold medal Olympians and world championship open water specialists.  

Flowers-Burke joked that preparations “are going swimmingly.” Along with her father Frank, she is the driving force behind the event’s immense popularity.  

She added that they are strictly adhering to limit participant numbers this year to 900 due to safety reasons. She noted that “participants need to get registered as soon as possible so they don’t miss the cut-off.” 

With more than $100,000 in cash and random prizes, everyone has a 20 percent chance of winning a random prize, including smartphones, hotel stays, restaurant vouchers, spa visits and airline tickets to places such as Miami, New York, Panama, Rome, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, London, Dublin, Rio de Janeiro and Toronto. All finishers receive a T-shirt and a full goody bag. 

The Walk and Watch program will also be offered again, ideal for the non-swimmers who want to contribute to a worthy cause. 

The list of elite entrants is again impressive. They include regular visitor Ian Crocker, a five-time Olympic medalist. He is also a former world record holder.  

Other Olympians, world record holders and international open water specialists confirmed are Peter Vanderkaay, David Tarwater, Scott Goldblatt, Darren Mew, Chip Peterson, Joey Pedraza, Jordan Wilimovsky, Brendan Casey, Megan Jendrick, Cassandra Lily Patten, Brooke Bennet, Kristina Ann Kowal, Aisha Thornton, Stephanie Peacock and Caymanians Heather Roffey and the Fraser brothers Brett and Shaune.  

Flowers-Burke said that this year they are excited to partner with the Special Olympics Cayman Islands as the event’s official charity.  

The Special Olympics World Games are in Los Angeles in July, and Cayman is sending a massive team. More than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will compete in 25 sports.  

She added, “All registration proceeds will go directly to benefit this very worthwhile cause.”  

Andrew Smilley is in the Special Olympics team.


Dara Flowers-Burke and Frank Flowers organize the sea swim.


Shaune and Brett Fraser are among the top athletes who will compete in the open sea swim.


The Flowers Sea Swim is restricted this year to 900 entrants due to safety concerns. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD