Cayman’s single largest competitive swimming event of the year, the annual Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association National Championship, was hosted at the Camana Bay Aquatic Center from Feb. 15-18. Qualifying heats are swam every morning, with finals each evening and medal ceremonies at the end of each day.
Swimmers competed in the following age group categories: 8 and Under; 9-10 years; 11-12 years; 13-14 years; and 15-17 years in both male and female races.
“The Nationals are designed to simulate the CARIFTA Games schedule, so our swimmers know what to expect in April,” Bailey Weathers, CIASA‘s technical director, said.
The event is the last opportunity CIASA’s swimmers have to achieve qualifying times for CARIFTA.
CIASA President Michael Lockwood said, “The main reason we have this event is to give our swimmers a taste of the prelims and finals format, giving them the opportunity to race in the morning to qualify and then compete in the finals every afternoon. The Nationals are good experience to help prepare our swimmers for international meets that follow the same format, such as CARIFTA.”
CIASA Director Steve Broadbelt explained, “The only technical difference between the CIASA Nationals and CARIFTA is the size of the pool. CARIFTA is always hosted at a 50 meter pool and we are not able to prepare our swimmers for that until we build a 50 meter pool in Cayman.”
MLA David Wight, councilor for the Ministry of Sports, gave his remarks at the opening ceremony, saying, “It is wonderful to see the efforts in this country to raise children who feel powerful and confident in the water.” He gave thanks to the coaches, praised the swimmers, and added, “Remember to always give it your all, there will be days that you may not win, but being a winner is about your attitude in and out of the water.”
Several national and CIASA records were broken at the event.
“New records have become harder and harder to achieve after 20 years of very accomplished swimmers, which make these new records very impressive,” Technical Director Weathers said.
The following swimmers broke swimming records at the CIASA Nationals: Jillian Crooks; Sabine Ellison; Allyson Belfonte; Lila Higgo; Jake Alberga; and Stefano Bonati.
Parents with children interested in competitive swimming should contact one of Cayman’s swim clubs for more information. Visit www.ciasa.ky.