Four of Cayman’s swimming records were broken last weekend in Clermont, Florida, as the islands’ elite swimmers hit the pool at the Unión Americana de Natación Olympic Qualifier.
Seven competitors represented Cayman at the swim meet, and while the athletes did not make the podium, several Cayman national and Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association records were broken.
Jillian Crooks stole the show, breaking two senior national records. Crooks, 14, became the first Caymanian female swimmer to swim under 29 seconds in the 50-metre butterfly. She clocked in at 28.72 seconds, topping previous record holder Lauren Hew’s 29.38.
“The 2021 UANA Tokyo Qualifier meet was amazing,” Crooks told the Cayman Compass. “This meet was my first international competition in a 50-metre pool since January 2020. I am happy that the UANA team organised this meet to give us a chance to race in a 50-metre pool.”
She went on to claim the national record in the 100m freestyle with a time of 58.08 seconds and setting a new national record in the 13-14 age group for the 200 freestyle, clocking in at 2:09.17. Crooks thanked everyone that contributed to her success thus far.
“I could not have done this without the support of my family, my church family, and my mom’s prayer group, coach Caleb, coach Grant, coach Bailey, aunty Sheena, uncle Derrick Westerborg, aunt Sally Brooker, Samuel Plouffe, Dr. Alwin Almeida, and Ms. Vanessa Williams,” said Crooks. “I know God is in control of all I do.”
Her older brother, Jordan Crooks, also shattered some records of his own. He set a new national record in the 50m backstroke, besting Olympian Brett Fraser’s time of 27.79 set in 2007, by .85 seconds.
“It was nice to compete in a 50-metre pool again after such a long break caused by the pandemic,” Jordan told the Compass. “This meet afforded me a great experience. Racing against new and old competition also helped to push me throughout the weekend. I am thankful to those who have supported me over the years to accomplish the personal best times that I achieved at this meet.”
Camana Bay Aquatic Club’s Avery Lambert claimed the senior 1500 freestyle CIASA record, after swimming 17:44.79, outdoing former record holder Kaitlyn Elphinstone’s record of 17:49.01 set 21 years ago.
Lambert’s teammate Lila Higgo claimed a 13-14 CIASA record in 200m backstroke event, finishing her race with a time of 2:25.68.