The appointment of Bryce Gunning as the first full-time swim coach for the Sister Islands provides an immediate boost to the development of swimming on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
Gunning, who took on his new job last month, is a marine biologist and worked for the Department of Environment in 2015 as a sea turtle intern. However, his experience as a swim instructor in Vancouver, Canada earned him the top spot in the Sister Islands programme.
“It’s amazing,” Gunning told the Cayman Compass about his appointment. “What a tight-knit community and everyone that I’ve met has welcomed me with opened arms and fully embraced me.”
Gunning took over from Michael Hundt, who had coached part time for several years.
Sister Islands Sports Director Harold Sanford was optimistic with the arrival of Gunning.
“I unreservedly welcome Mr. Bryce Gunning to Sister Island Sports,” said Sanford, in a press release announcing the hiring of the coach. “With him as part of our team we can begin to expand the Learn-to-Swim Programme, create a Talent Development Programme called ‘White Tip’ for competitive swimmers and start hosting several swim meets annually in our new 25m pool.”
Swimmers from Little Cayman will go to the Brac to train and compete.
Gunning agreed there is much he can bring to the table and is pleased with his athletes’ abilities and potential.
“It’s so funny because I work with so many kids back home, but I’ve never met anyone who wants to work as hard and follow directions as much as these kids here,” said Gunning.
“I really wanted them to get on a national level,” he added. “There are no small steps in swimming but I want them to be on the world stage as soon as possible.”
While Gunning acknowledges his swimmers’ strengths, he also sees some faults, but says he plans to bring out the best in the athletes.
“The struggles are definitely consistency because practising once a week just isn’t enough,” he said. “I am glad that I can offer training three times a week to refine their talent. I always tell them hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
With no new date set for the CARIFTA Swimming Championships, after the 26 March-7 April timeframe was postponed, officials from the Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association said they are planning to host a meet in the Brac in April.