Can it really be that time again? Yes, indeed – the Flowers Sea Swim is celebrating 27 years this Saturday along Seven Mile Beach, when swimmers of all ages and nationalities take to the open water in a flurry of arms and legs.
Last year’s race boasted almost 1,000 registrants. Participants vary in age from 8 to 80 years old and in skill from novices and first-timers to experienced athletes.
What began as a small social event has evolved into a world-renowned sporting occasion, featuring Olympic gold medal participants and champion open water specialists with their eye on the prize. And what prizes there are! This is the world’s richest open water event with over $100,000 in cash and random prizes up for grabs. The odds of winning something are 1-in-7, meaning to don’t have to be the fastest to walk away with something. Previous giveaways have included phones, iPads, hotel stays and dozens of airline tickets to premier destinations such as Miami, New York, Panama, Rome, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, London, Dublin, Rio De Janeiro, and Toronto. All finishers receive a T-shirt and goody bag filled with great stuff.
Even if you are not a swimmer, you can get in on the action by walking along the beach parallel to the race. It means everyone has a chance to be a part of the atmosphere that makes the Flowers Sea Swim so popular.
There are a number of events associated with the Sea Swim – it is a full weekend of activities. Here is the lowdown so you don’t miss a moment:
One Mile Swim
This is where it all started – a one mile swim in the waters off Seven Mile Beach. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The course runs from The Ritz-Carlton to Royal Palms with markers at different points to keep the swimmers on track. Check-in is between noon and 1:45pm on race day, then after participants have gone through the head count, they are into the water, ready for a 2:30pm start. It is always advised that those swimming the mile for more recreational purposes should stay near the back of the back, lest they get overrun by the competitive swimmers.
Everyone is given 75 minutes to complete the course, after which time the race is officially closed and it is time for the prize-giving. Will someone break the world record this year? We’ll just have to wait and see. Entry fee is US$60.
Ms. Penny Walk & Watch
The Walk & Watch is named after the late swim coach Penny McDowall and happens at the same time as the one mile sea swim. The first 100 walkers to check in on race day receive a free T-shirt. Check-in starts at 1pm at The Ritz-Carlton beach and runs until 1:45pm. Entry fee is US$25. All those registered are also eligible to win random prizes and there will be refreshments and music at the finish line.
Union Americana De Natacion Masters 3k and 10k
The scenic 3k and 10k races will take place on Monday following the Flowers One Mile Sea Swim on Saturday. For those experienced swimmers really looking for a challenge, they can warm up with the one mile then shift into high gear for the longer distances two days later. Again, all participants are guaranteed 1-in-7 random prize odds. There are trips to Toronto, New York and all Cayman Airways destinations, along with other random prizes such as a gym membership from Anytime Fitness, electronic devices from Flow and lots of other exciting gifts. Race check-in is 5am at Royal Palms. The Male 3k and 10k start at 7am and the Female 3k and 10k start at 7:05am. Entry fee is US$80 for the 3k and 10k.
Trophies will be awarded to male and female first, second and third place winners and age group certificates will be presented to all age groups winners.
The overall male and female winners for the 3k and 10k will receive a free round trip ticket from North America to the 2020 Flowers Sea Swim, along with one week’s hotel accommodation and car rental. Each finisher that completes the course within the cutoff time will receive a medal and goodie bag.
For more information on all the events and to register online, visit www.flowersseaswim.com.