National swim championships being held this week

Swimmers in action at last year's national championships.

Swimmers hoping to qualify for CARIFTA will be taking part in the Cayman Islands National Swim Championships from Thursday to Sunday at the pool at the Camana Bay Sports Complex.

The swim meet, hosted by the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association, will provide Cayman’s top swimmers with an opportunity to swim their fastest as they attempt to qualify for CARIFTA, which will be held in Martinique at the end of next month.

Younger swimmers can also compete in the meet, with morning preliminaries and evening finals.

Michael Lockwood, CIASA president, said, “It is an exciting time for CIASA to see our swimmers participate and compete in the Nationals. The swimmers have been training hard for many months and it is wonderful to witness all of their hard work coming to fruition.

“I would encourage everyone to come out and to support our swimmers.”

The morning preliminary sessions will start at 8:15 a.m. (Thursday and Friday) and at 8:30 a.m. (Saturday and Sunday). Evening finals sessions start at 4:45 p.m.

Full results will be posted on

Pete Ribbins Consolidated Water Meet

Last weekend, swimmers also took part in CARIFTA qualifying rounds in the Pete Ribbins Consolidated Water Meet.

The event, a qualifying meet for members of the National Junior Swim Team, was hosted by the Stingray Swim Club of Grand Cayman at the Lions Aquatic Centre.

Swimmers dive into the backstroke at the Pete Ribbins Consolidated Water Meet.
Swimmers dive into the backstroke at the Pete Ribbins Consolidated Water Meet.

In addition to Stingray swimmers, Camana Bay Aquatic Club, Seven Mile Swimmers, Cayman Islands Special Olympics and a number of swim schools also took part.

Taking place over three days, Jan. 29-31, the meet had one night session, and four day sessions. A number of CARIFTA qualifying swims were completed, but the final CARIFTA Swimming 2016 team selection will not take place until after the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association’s national championships, and the 5K Qualifying Sea Swim on Saturday, Feb. 20.

During last weekend’s meet, the longer distance events, 800m and 1,500m freestyle, took place on Friday evening, with the middle distance, 200m and 400m events and the team relays, being held on Saturday and Sunday.

Stingray’s coaching team of David Pursley and Tim Leonhart, said the meet served a great purpose leading into the CIASA national championships and the final stages of the season.

“As coaches, we were able to identify both physiological and technical adjustments that need to be made moving forward,” Coach Pursley said. “The best way to find out where the athletes are in training is to step them up on the blocks and watch them respond to the challenge.

“A little more speed work and rest in the coming weeks will go a long way for our senior swimmers.”

He said the younger age groups saw one of the most evenly matched competitions between the three teams over the weekend. “The relays in the younger age groups really brought spirit and enthusiasm to the sessions. You could see some healthy rivalries being formed in the 10 and under sessions that will help fuel them for years to come,” he added.

Meet director Brenda McGrath thanked the many volunteers who made the meet possible, “Each session requires over 30 volunteers to officiate, time and run concessions – we could not produce these meets, allowing our swimmers to gain experience and swim official times without our volunteers and we are extremely thankful to all of them for coming out and working, and we thank the parents who came out to cheer on the swimmers too.”

High Points Awards were won by:

Girls: 8 & Under, Lila Higgo, CBAC; 9-10, Allyson Belfonte, SSC; 11-12, Sabine Ellison,

CBAC; 13-14, Ali Jackson, SSC; 15 & Over, Lauren Hew, CBAC.

Boys: 8 & Under, Dominic Gunn, SSC; 9-10, Stefano Bonati, CBAC; 11-12, Corey Westerborg, SSC; 13-14, Jordan Crooks, SSC; and 15 & Over, Cole Morgan, SSC.