Cayman’s athletes have faced quite the predicament over the past few months during the COVID-19 pandemic — how do you train and stay fit with pools, gyms, fields and gatherings all off limits?
For some, that has meant online challenges and competitions.
For Stingray Swim Club, it means taking daily workouts online.
“Athletes need something to strive for to keep the motivation to train,” Stingray head coach coach David Pursley said in a press release from the club. “If I was going to expect rigorous training from them, I needed to make it competitive with incentives. So far the response has been awesome, and I hope the energy from the team continues.”
The club has created a points system for its swimmers, who are broken out into groups by age and experience level. They are rewarded for completing exercises, special assignments or other tasks that may or may not be directly related to competition — like who can do the best impression of coach Pursley. The weekly winner of each category gets a tub of ice cream.
So far, winners of the weekly contests include: Jake Bailey, Michelle Bailey, Angela Bard, Owen Bard, Taylor Bloxham, Alex Dakers, Sammy Haworth, Chase Watson, Noah Watson, Riley Watson and SSC president Marlene West.
“My favourite part of the challenge is seeing the swimmers creative side. Sometimes, even with all the hours we spend together, as a coach you miss what is really behind the cap and goggles. The challenges are bringing the swimmers out of their comfort zone and giving them an opportunity to showcase their creativity,” Pursley said.
Stingray’s Lockdown Challenge and virtual workouts have earned international attention, as Pursley was invited by the Amateur Swimming Union of the Americas to discuss the dryland training he has designed for all age groups, according to the club’s statement.
“The SSC Board is truly thankful for the herculean efforts of our Head Coach. It has simply been amazing seeing the efforts and talent our swimmers have,” West said.
Pursley has also drawn on connections to the international swimming community, giving Stingray members the opportunity to attend virtual meetings with guest speakers including former Olympic swimmers.
“I think we have made the most of the lockdown so far, but there is no doubt the swimmers are ready to be back in the water in some form or another. The energy for these challenges has been tremendous but certainly won’t last forever,” Pursley said.