Cayman’s swim clubs joined together over the past two weekends to form a unified Cayman swimming team to compete at a dual club level meet with Blue Wave Swimming from Brandon, Florida.
The “Floribbean Swim Fest” meet was open to all age groups and without time standards, which meant that the pool was open to any swimmer, especially those who had never competed in a 50 meter pool.
Swimmers from Stingray Swim Club, Camana Bay Aquatic Club and Seven Mile Swimmers, as well as competitors from the Special Olympic Team, took part in the event.
The meet kicked off just outside Tampa at the Brandon Sports and Aquatics Center on July 21-23, with races in both a 50-meter pool and 25-yard pool. The second part of the meet, held the following weekend, was in Cayman at the Lions 25-meter pool. Swimmers from Blue Wave traveled to Cayman to complete the Caribbean vs. Florida concept of this dual meet.
Blue Wave swimmers Katia Babitzke, Amelia Bitting and Gracie Day said they enjoyed their experience in Cayman. Coach Kyle Trelka said in a press release, “The Blue Wave swimming coaching staff looks forward to organizing more swim events and meets with Cayman. The Cayman coaches are incredibly knowledgeable of the sport and are truly passionate.”
The Floribbean Swim Fest gave all swimmers the unusual opportunity to compete in all three pool sizes over two weekends. Many of Cayman’s swimmers had never raced in the short course 25-yard pool, that is only common in the USA, organizers said.
Cayman’s 25-member team proved untouchable on freestyle in Brandon, winning almost every race in their age category. Cayman won more golds in the relays and had impressive wins in the long-distance races.
Cayman’s swimmers pushed hard from the start of the meet, resulting in 33 personal best times out of 72 swims in the first session.
In her last races in the 8 and Under Girls category, Sierrah Broadbelt of Seven Mile Swimmers, broke her own long-course national record for 100 meter backstroke and set a new long-course national record in the 100 meter breaststroke. She also broke two more national records at the Lions pool in the second half of the meet with two short course records (25m) in 200 meter freestyle and 100 meter backstroke.
Another young competitor, Jorian Neblett, of Stingray Swim Club, obtained a 100 percent record for personal best times in all events in both meets he competed in this summer, in Tampa and at the Floribbean Summer Championships.
Part Two of the Floribbean meet was organized by the Stingray Swim Club at the Lions 25 meter pool in Grand Cayman.
Stingray Assistant Coach Neil Hamp said in a press release, “Our goal to be a world-class program is realistic and obtainable. To achieve this goal, we need to be consistent all year round and this summer championship meet is the greatest step forward we can make in providing opportunities for all swimmers, not just in Stingray, but in all Cayman’s swim clubs to achieve their potential.
“We have already had talks with other teams who are interested and excited to return with the potential to bring new teams in tow.”
The High Point Winners for the Lions Pool meet, by age category, were: Girls 8 & Under – Sierrah Broadbelt, Seven Mile Swimmers; Girls 10 & Under – Kathryn Lambert-Wragg, Seven Mile Swimmers; Boys 10 & Under – Andrew Muyanga, Camana Bay Aquatic Club; Girls 11-12 – Allyson Belfonte, Stingray Swim Club; Boys 11-12 – Jorian Neblett, Stingray Swim Club; Girls 13-14 – Nadia Simmons, Seven Mile Swimmers; Boys 13-14 – Corey Frederick-Westerborg, Stingray Swim Club; Girls 15 & Over – Bianca Reid, Stingray Swim Club: Boys 15 & Over – Jordan Crooks, Camana Bay Aquatic Club.
For the younger age groups, these meets were the last of the season and a chance to rest before the next local meets commence in September, after the summer break.