Brett Fraser and Lauren Hew are only halfway through their summer of top-flight competition.
Hew and Fraser represented Cayman at the FINA Swimming World Championships in South Korea, and after a brief stopover at home, they will be headed to Peru to compete in the Pan American Games.
Fraser and Hew are expected to spend Wednesday in Cayman and then head to Peru for the regional competition that could help them get a leg up in qualifications for the 2020 Olympics.
Bailey Weathers, technical director for the Cayman Islands Amateur Swim Association, said Monday that he was proud of the way Cayman’s swimmers – which also included Jordan Crooks and Raya Embury-Brown – competed at the World Championships over the last week.
“I’m very happy. Brett and Lauren weren’t rested. They weren’t peaking for the meet,” he said. “Jordan swam a lifetime best in both of his events and Raya swam a lifetime best in her longer event.
“I expected them to be more nervous than they were. You can get nervous or you can get excited.”
Crooks, who was competing in his first world championships, swam a 52.36 in the 100m freestyle and a 1:56.23 in the 200m freestyle. Embury-Brown was also making her debut on the grand stage, and she responded by swimming a 4:38.17 in the 400m freestyle and a 9:22.69 in the 800m freestyle.
Hew, who is currently enrolled at Florida State University, posted a 59.57 in the 100m freestyle and a 27.26 in the 50m freestyle. The four Cayman swimmers posted a 3:44.54 time in the mixed 100m freestyle, a time that allowed them to finish 24th out of 35 competing teams.
Fraser, meanwhile, swam a 23.12 in the 50m freestyle, and he’s still trying to find the form that allowed him to win a gold medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games in the 200m freestyle. Fraser, 29, took an extended break from competitive swimming and is hoping to peak at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“We want to swim well and it will be a jumping off point for next year,” said Weathers of his hopes for the Pan American Games. “With Brett being out of the water for three years, it’s probably unrealistic to expect him to medal. We’d like him to swim in some semi-final or finals heats.”
The tough part logistically was their travel schedule. The Cayman team could not continue swimming in the pools in Gwanju, South Korea and could not travel straight to Lima. So they flew home to Cayman and were expected to stay for a day before heading to Peru and the Pan Am Games.
Hew and Fraser will be joined John Bodden as Cayman’s swimming contingent in Peru, and they will have some time to settle in before they hit competitive action. Hew will swim the 200m freestyle on 7 Aug., the 100m freestyle on 8 Aug. and the 50m freestyle on 9 Aug.
Fraser will swim in the 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle on 8 Aug. and the 50m freestyle on 9 Aug. Bodden will compete in the 400m freestyle and the 200m butterfly on 6 Aug., and he will come back a few days later to swim in the 1500m freestyle on 10 Aug.
Weathers said that the swimmers will not know if they have qualified for the Olympics until early next year, and he just wants them to enjoy the competitive atmosphere and swim their best in Peru.