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Crooks is top of the world

Front Pages 17 Dec, 2022 1 Comments Follow News

Crooks is top of the world

Crooks is top of the world

The Cayman Islands can now boast a world champion swimmer amongst its sporting legends; take a bow Jordan Crooks, the men’s 50-metre freestyle king. Sporting history for the Cayman Islands was made as the 20-year-old Caymanian won gold at the FINA World Championships (25 metres pool) in Melbourne, Australia.

This is by far the greatest achievement of any sports person representing Cayman in any sport. The fact that not so long ago Cayman used to struggle to win medals at CARIFTA is testament to how dramatically and impressively this tiny country has come through its fantastic swimming programme.

Crooks started out in an unseeded preliminary 50m freestyle heat where he established the fastest semi-final qualifying time of 20.36 seconds. This time is the fifth fastest ever in this event. Later that afternoon in the semi-finals, a composed Crooks turned in a blistering 20.31 seconds, assuring him the top seed in the finals.

His gold medal swim early Saturday morning was against Olympic medallists and reigning champions. The pressure was intense from start to finish and Jordan hit the wall first in 20.46 seconds to make history. He finished a finger tip ahead of UK’s Ben Proud (20.49) and the Trinidadian Dylan Carter (20.72).

Minister Bernie Bush said: “On behalf of the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Culture & Heritage (YSCH), the Cayman Islands Government and Caymanians everywhere I wish to extend congratulations to swimmer Jordan Crooks on this historic achievement. Watching Jordan win gold was nothing short of impressive and phenomenal. This young Caymanian's stellar achievements over the past week has made him the fastest man in this event! We are with you Jordan and wishing you continued success on the road to the 2024 Paris Olympics."

Jordan started his exhausting week of the world championship campaign in the 100m freestyle as an unseeded competitor. He went on to post the fastest preliminary time – a blazing 45.61 seconds, a personal best as well as a new national record. In the semis he secured a finals place as the fastest qualifier in 45.55 seconds. In the finals he went out in a blistering 21.31 seconds and led for the first 75m but was unable to hold off the defending world champion – Kyle Chalmers – and finished in 45.77 seconds, in tied sixth place.

And while Jordan was impacting as a serious contender for the 2024 summer Olympics, sister Jillian – who swam the 50m butterfly and 100m free - impressed too. Jillian set two new national records, in the 50m butterfly in 26.40 seconds and the 100m free in 54.20 seconds.

Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association president Steve Broadbelt said: “Jordan’s shown he can swim at world record pace and is now the new world champion in the elite world of swimming. After the 100m freestyle, the president of World Aquatics Husain Al-Musallam asked to meet Jordan. He, along with the president of Pan Am Aquatics Maureen Croes met with Jordan, Jillian and Cayman Swimming’s Technical Director and National Coach Jacky Pellerin and, after congratulating our swimmers he spoke of his support for the continued development of swimming in the Cayman Islands, and in the CARIFTA and Pan Am Aquatics regions."

Minister Bush added: “Applause and congratulations must also go to Jillian Crooks on her outstanding performances at FINA. The Olympian is truly a phenom in her own right, once more proving that these swimming siblings are a formidable duo. Much credit must also to their parents on their unending dedication to their success. I must also thank CIASA on its continued commitment and support to our swimmers.”

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Fiona Foster

18 Dec, 2022

A truly remarkable young pair. Many congratulations to them and their team. Their parents must be incredibly proud.
Well done!