Seven of Cayman’s top swimming prospects left the island Wednesday to compete at the Unión Americana de Natación Qualifier this weekend in Clermont, Florida.

Avery Lambert, Lauren Hew, Jillian Crooks, Jordan Crooks, Harper Bowerman, James Allison and Lila Higgo will face off against some of the world’s elites as they attempt to  qualify for major swim meets like the Tokyo Olympics and Junior PanAm Games.

Cayman swimming national coach Bailey Weathers told the Cayman Compass Wednesday evening from Florida that the meet has been a long time coming.

“I think this is an important meet for us,” said Weathers. “With a long pool not being within the Cayman Islands, we have to leave the country in order to give the swimmers an opportunity to qualify, and the COVID situation has stopped us from doing that for over 14 months.”

The Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association issued a statement that, while the hope is for swimmers to produce fast times, assuring that safety protocols are followed while the athletes are in Florida is the priority.

Swimmers will begin competition on Thursday, 29 April, with their preliminary rounds starting at 9am.

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