Cayman gets 1st Olympic-length swimming pool

The 50-meter pool at Vela is Cayman’s first Olympic-length pool. - PHOTOs:TANEOS RAMSAY

The first Olympic-length swimming pool in the Cayman Islands was unveiled and filled on Wednesday.

The pool is part of a new private condo development in South Sound by Davenport Development, called Vela, and will be one of three Olympic-length pools once all three phases of the project are complete.

The pool will not be open to the public, but it is garnering interest in the swimming community. At least one family has already chosen to live there because the children are keen swimmers.

The first phase of the development, valued at $25 million and sitting on 110,000 square feet of property, features the two-lane, 50 meter pool.

The 4 feet, 9 inch deep pool was filled Wednesday for the first time with 120,000 gallons of salt water.

With there being “no chemicals, no chlorine, it’s better for the skin [for both] kids and adults,” said Davenport Development’s co-owner Paul Pearson. Built by pool specialist, Watermania, a Guatemalan company, the swimming pool project took four and a half months to complete.

Mr. Pearson said the addition of the Olympic-length pool was inspired by Frank Flowers and his daughter, Dara Flowers-Burke.

From left, deliveryman Noel Huslin of CL Flowers & Sons, Ken Thompson of Davenport Development, Frank Flowers of Flowers Group Ltd., and Paul Pearson of Davenport Development fill the Vela Olympic-length pool.
From left, deliveryman Noel Huslin of CL Flowers & Sons, Ken Thompson of Davenport Development, Frank Flowers of Flowers Group Ltd., and Paul Pearson of Davenport Development fill the Vela Olympic-length pool.

Mr. Pearson said Davenport decided to introduce Olympic-length pools “because we could,” adding, “Well, Frank and Dara had asked me for a number of years to build the pools this size.”

“It is a certified Olympic pool,” said Mr. Flowers, whose companies provided the Vela project with both water and insulated concrete form blocks.

Mr. Flowers described Davenport’s choice in using salt water in the pool as “next generation technology.” “They’ve gone green,” he added.

Competitive swimmers in Cayman have long called for an Olympic-size pool, as exposure in a 50-meter pool would allow them to build endurance and speed.

Currently, swimmers train in pools that are considerably shorter, such the Lions and Camana Bay pools, both of which are 25 meters long, with eight and six lanes respectively.

While there will be no public access to the private pool, Mr. Pearson said that as Davenport is a major supporter of the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association, residents of Vela who are swimming club members could invite their friends to use the pool.

According to Chilian Wong-Ellison, a mother of three young swimmers, including 13-year-old Carifta medalist Sabine Ellison, the pool was a big part of her family’s decision to purchase a unit at Vela.

“They’re excited about any pool,” she said, “but they thought the 50m was brilliant.”

“It is definitely an asset for any swimmer in any participating event to have access to a 50m pool,” said Mrs. Wong-Ellison, whose daughter brought home five Carifta medals in March. “I can see the benefits of swimming through my kids,” she said. “I can also see for myself the health benefits of swimming.”

The former director of the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association went on to say that having a 50 meter pool with two lanes, “is a step in the right direction of that ultimate dream of a 50m pool sports complex on island.”

Phase one of Vela is scheduled to open in July or August. Groundbreaking for phase two is expected in August.

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  1. Kudos to no chemicals pool, but the question remains why to build not one but three gigantic pools which would be most definately underused? Because we could is kind of a silly explanation on the tiny island surrounded by water with limited landspace. I was always curious about salt pools, so I looked it up and found these Salt Pool Facts:
    Salt pools are still sanitized using chlorine. A salt chlorine generator turns salt into chlorine to sanitize the pool water. Chlorine produced from a salt chlorine generator is less harsh on skin and eyes and has no chlorine odors. Salt pool water is known for its silky-smooth feelinga saltwater pool is not a chemical free pool, or even a chlorine free pool. Salt water is not capable of providing any sanitation for pool water without electrolysis. This chlorine has an identical chemical structure as purchased chlorine, and it has the same benefits and problems as purchased chlorine.

  2. So the world turns.

    I remember home hunting here 35 years ago and a Realtor showed me Villas of the Galleon.

    We stood on the beach and I asked him, “Where’s the pool?”

    He turned around and swept his arm towards the ocean, “There’s the pool”.