Members of the Stingray Swim Club were recognized and celebrated earlier this summer at the annual banquet.

Swimmers, volunteers and coaches are awarded for their hard work throughout the year.

The popular “Paper Plate” Awards were hand designed and created by the club’s coaches, David Pursley and Neil Hamp for each for the clubs member. These awards recognize the unique qualities of each swimmer and are based on a single moment, an entire practice or multiple occasions, according to organizers.

The Spirit Award marks the winners’ attendance, sportsmanship, positive attitude, compassion, work ethic at practice, team spirit and leadership qualities. This year, the Spirit Awards went to Marquelia Sanderson (bronze), Casey Coles (silver), Abbey Walton (gold), Elana Sinclair (senior) and Abigial Codner (high school development).

The Most Improved Award is given by the coaches to the swimmer in each group who demonstrates the most improvement from the beginning of the swim year. This award encompasses not only improvements in times, but also training habits, attendance, attitude and a swimmer’s willingness to learn. The 2018 Most Improved Award recipients were Sashka Parker (bronze), Abriann Cooper (silver), Jorian Neblett (gold) and Kyra Rabess (senior).

The Swimmer of the Year Award, which recognizes the club member with the highest percentage of overall improvement in all disciplines performed throughout the year, went to John Bodden. In this award, a swimmer’s best times at the beginning of the year are compared to the best times performed throughout that year and weighted against age group time standards.

The Shepheard’s Cup is donated by Coach Marie, Coach Charlotte and Peter Shepheard as a legacy to their son and brother Leo, who died tragically at the age of 19 in a car accident. “With the Shepheard family’s encouragement, presenting this cup comes with an important message to our swimmers, some of whom are starting to drive, about road safety,” organizers said in a press release.

This year, the Shepheard Cup was awarded to Liam Henry, who the club described as a swimmer “who has been committed, enthusiastic and passionate about swimming. This swimmer doesn’t always place first, but does outstandingly well; he represents club and country with pride at home and overseas and is generally great to be around the pool and to have on the team.”

The Parent Award is given to parents who volunteer to donate their time and talents. This year’s recipient was Simon Gunn, who “has single-handedly thought up and organized past fundraisers, assisted with the organization and running of every swim meet this year, was consulted with on the website on numerous occasions and continues to support our fundraisers by printing tickets, picking up donations, handing out tickets, and doing all the heavy lifting literally,” organizers said.

From left, Nicholas Havlin, Dominic Gunn and Jack Terrel share a joke looking at Jack’s Paper Plate Award.

Two of the club’s members, Zachary Moore and “Little” John Bodden, have left to attend school in the U.S. Zachary is at St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Florida, where he is finishing his high school education, and John is joining Stingray teammate Cole Morgan at McKendree University in Illinois.

A look back at the summer

Stingrays’ senior swimmers started the summer by attending a two-week training camp at the University of Northern Colorado. Led by UNC’s head coach and assistant head coach, and supported by Stingray’s head coach David Pursley, the swimmers trained hard, attended informative lectures and found time to go hiking and take a swim in a glacier lake.

Stingray swimmers represented Cayman, as part of the Cayman National Swim Team at Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation in Aruba, joined with members of Cayman’s other two swim clubs – Camana Bay Aquatic Club and Seven Mile Swimmers – to compete as Cayman Swim Clubs in two international meets; and took part in the domestic end of season summer meet at the Lions Aquatic Center.

The local end-of-season summer finale meet took place for the second year.

“It provides those swimmers who may not be in a position to travel to an overseas meet with a goal meet to train for and focus on,” said Kathy Jackson, Stingray Swim Club president.

“I think this meet is great. It keep the kids swimming – and training – through the summer. The physical activity is great and the ability to stay fit for the next swim season, even while enjoying the long summer holidays is just great,” said Duke Sullivan, Seven Mile Swimmers parent and Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association director.

The summer finale high points winners were:

Girls 6&U Elena Kish, Darren Mew Sport & Fitness; 7-8 Riley Watson, Stingray Swim Club; 9-10 Jessica Drysdale, Seven Mile Swimmers; 11-12 Jillian Crooks, Camana Bay Aquatic Club; 13-14 Sophie Ackerley, Seven Mile Swimmers; and 15&O Alison Jackson, Stingray Swim Club.

Boys 6&U Noah Watson, Stingray Swim Club; 7-8 Chase Watson, Stingray Swim Club; 9-10 Andre Massias, Seven Mile Swimmers; 11-12 Ramon Rayos del Sol, Camana Bay Aquatic Club; 13-14 Jorian Neblett, Stingray Swim Club; and 15&O Keannu McKenzie, Stingray Swim Club.

The new swim season kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 8, with beach training followed by a potluck breakfast.

For more information about the club, visit

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.