Swimming in honour of her father

From left, Jake Bailey, Alex Dakers, Raya Embury-Brown, Kyra Rabess and Elana Sinclair. - Photo: Seaford Russell Jr.

Swimmer Raya Embury-Brown this weekend will attempt to swim 10 kilometres across the North Sound in honour of her late father, Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Brown.

Brown was known to many as a police officer, football referee and business owner. On 11 Aug. 2019, he was killed in a boating collision.

Swimmers schedule to take part in the North Sound Memorial Crossing
Alex Dakers
Elana Sinclair
Jake Bailey
Kyra Rabess
Raya Embury-Brown

“I feel really honoured to be able to do the swim… in memory of my dad,” Embury-Brown said.

The second of Brown’s three children, Embury-Brown holds multiple national swimming records and has claimed hardware at several overseas meets, including the CARIFTA Games. She’s set to make the journey with four of her teammates.

“I feel really honoured to be able to do the swim… in memory of my dad and I’m excited to take on the challenge.”

“My coach actually suggested it to me, and I thought it was a great idea and I was willing from the start,” said Embury-Brown. “I feel really honoured to be able to do the swim, [it’s] my first 10K in memory of my dad and I’m excited to take on the challenge because we’ve never done anything like this before. So, for this year it’s just to complete it.”

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Kyra Rabess will be among the swimmers taking part in the North Sound Memorial Crossing and she will try to keep pace with best friend Embury-Brown. Rabess said she has watched her friend heal since her father died.

“Surprisingly she handled it really well,” said Rabess. “They were some points where she did break down a little bit, but she held it together. She’s been trying to support her mom, trying to support her brother and obviously my family is trying to support them. So it was really nice to see her and help her get through that time.”

While the swim will honour the memory of Brown, it also aims to raise $15,000. The funds will sponsor future Stingray Swim Club members who do not have the financial ability to participate in competitive swimming.

“Stingray provides assurances that the time children spend in swimming will be quality time offering guidance not only in their development as athletes but also as young members of society,” said a press release from the club.

SSC head coach David Pursley said the 10K memorial sea swim will test his athletes but he is confident in the five athletes who will take on the challenge.

“This swim is certainly one of the most meaningful events that I have been a part of since arriving in Cayman,” said Pursley. “The support the team has for each other is so strong and this swim is a testament to it. It is not a small feat to swim across the North Sound but all four were more than happy to do it in support of Raya. I’m really happy we found a way to honour Manny.”

Embury-Brown has continued to train with her teammates at the Lions Pool and in the sea. When asked if she had any concerns in swimming 10 kilometres across the open sea, she said, “I haven’t had any worries or concerns yet. I think it’s just going to be fun, it’s not that deep so maybe it’ll be a few nurse sharks but not anything too bad.”

The swim is set to start at about 6am at Starfish Point and end at George Town Yacht Club around 8:30am. The Department of Environment will follow the five swimmers in a boat as they cross the North Sound. SSC invites the community to show up to welcome the arriving swimmers at the end of their 10K journey.

Those interested in donating can do so through Stingray Swim Club’s Butterfield Bank account (#1361415940019) or Cayman National Bank account (#01108031).

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