More than 900 people, including former Olympic champions and world record holders, have signed up for the Flowers Sea Swim this weekend.
The annual mile-long swim, with random prizes worth more than $100,000, is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start at The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman beach with the leading pack expected to cross the finish line at the Royal Palms in less than 20 minutes.
The event features swimmers of all ages and standards, with the slowest competitors expected to cross the line before a 75-minute cut off time.
Dara Flowers-Burke, one of the organizers, said stormy weather which has pounded the Cayman Islands for the past 10 days was starting to ease in time for the event.
“People had to wade through the car park to come and register last week, but we are expecting clear skies and a beautiful race on Saturday.
“There might be a slight chop in the ocean, but nothing the swimmers can’t handle,” said Mrs. Flowers-Burke who will be competing herself, despite being seven month’s pregnant.
Among the Olympic champions in the field will be Ian Crocker, 32, who set a world record at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 when he was 18; Peter Vanderkay, who has won four Olympic medals including a bronze in the 400m freestyle at London 2012; and Scott Goldblatt, who won relay gold in Athens 2004 with the U.S. team. Olympians Brett and Shaune Fraser will carry the flag for Cayman in the men’s race. Heather Roffey, Cayman’s first female Olympic swimmer in Athens, is among the leading female competitors.
Megan Jendrick, Brooke Bennett and Kristina Kowal, all Olympic gold medalists, will also be in Cayman for the event. Last year’s race was won by Mateusz Sawrymowicz in 18 minutes, 9 seconds. In second place was Keri-Anne Payne with Jake Zakale third. Mrs. Flowers said the retired Olympic champions would face a strong challenge from up and coming swimmers who were still training hard. She said the event, which will feature 934 swimmers, was as much about participation as anything else.
“We have met our goals in terms of registration,” she said. “The tents are being set up today and tomorrow and we are looking forward to a great event.
“We have all sorts of great random prizes. One in five competitors wins a prize.”