As if we needed any more of a reason to dip our toes into the tropical waters of this island paradise, the Flowers Sea Swim returns on Saturday for its 26th anniversary. The beautiful, briny sea of the Cayman Islands makes for the perfect open water swimming competition, ranking the Flowers Sea Swim in the top 13 Open Water Swims across the world.

Internationally famous Seven Mile Beach attracts swimmers of all levels, ages and backgrounds – from complete novices to gold medal Olympians – to compete and bask in the warm sunshine and hospitality for which the island is famous. With more than $100,000-worth of cash, hotel stays, getaway flights and other awesome prizes up for grabs, the Flowers Sea Swim is recognized as a highlight of the Cayman sporting calendar.

One Mile Sea Swim

The Flowers One Mile Sea Swim takes place on Saturday, beginning at 2:30 p.m. The race will start from The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman on Seven Mile Beach and end at Royal Palms Beach Club, although water and wind conditions on the day could see a reversal in the start and finish points (check on the day of the event for any last-minute changes). By far one of the more popular events, swimmers and supporters will flock to the beaches in their hundreds to take part.

Parking will be limited so it is advised that you carpool or take public transport to avoid congestion and parking trouble. For those who are driving, they are asked to park on Safehaven Drive or in the Royal Palms car park or Lawrence Boulevard (just off Marquee Plaza).

Swimmers from all over the world are welcome to take place, with participants from 8 to 80 years old, but places are limited this year to only 1,000 contestants. The closing ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. once the event has finished, with awards for the top four male and female swimmers.

5K and 10K Swim

For those seeking a bit more of a challenge, Flowers will also be hosting the international 5K and 10K race on Monday. Now in its sixth year, contestants competing in the 5K and 10K challenge will have an early start in the cool morning water. Local and visiting aficionados are encouraged to participate in both the mile swim on the Saturday and the 5K or 10K event on the Monday morning, completing a weekend of swimming.

Getting ready to race.

At an entry cost of $60, swimmers aged 14+ are eligible to enter the race alongside some of the world’s best Olympian swimmers. Flowers is offering a prize of US$5,000 to anyone who can break the current 10K record of 1:57:44 (male), held by Mateusz Sawrymowicz or 2:05:39 (female), held by Zsofia Balazs. Trophies will be awarded to the first, second and third place overall winners for male and female contestants, and age group certificates for all age group winners.

In keeping up with the Flowers tradition of guaranteeing 1-in-7 random prizes, contestants in the mile or 5K/10K race can win prizes for participating, including trips to Toronto, New York and all other Cayman Airways destinations. Other random prizes include gym memberships from Anytime Fitness, electronic devices from FLOW, and lots of other exciting goodies.

Pinnacle Media Photo Booth Competition

Pinnacle Media will once again be hosting the Flowers Sea Swim Photo Booth Contest. People will be able to get their photo taken at the booth, which will then go on Facebook for just shy of a week.The person who gets the most likes on their photo will receive a “Westin Experience,” which includes a two-night staycation for two, dinner with wine pairing, drinks at the Catboat Bar, and one-hour massages at the luxurious Hibiscus Spa.

Walk & Watch

The Walk & Watch option allows non-swimmers to get involved and participate in all the excitement of this fun-filled event. Ideal for family members and friends, all registered walkers are eligible to win random prizes and the first 100 to check in on race day will receive a free T-shirt. “We are thrilled for the Flowers Sea Swim to enter its 26th Year and we can’t wait for race day!” says Dara Flowers-Burke, director at Flowers Group.

“Every year, the event grows bigger and bigger with more prizes and participants from all ‘strokes’ of life. We are so honored to donate all the registration proceeds to the Crisis Centre, who are doing incredible work in our local community.”

All proceeds for these events will go towards the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre. For prices and registration information, visit www.flowersseaswim.com/get-registered-now/.