By Christopher Tobutt
The Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association and CUC’S 31ST 800m and 400m swim got off with a great big splash on Saturday 11 Jan. It’s always a fun event, and open to everyone. There were plenty of people registering for the 4pm race.
The 800m got off the starting line first. It was a good swim out to two big yellow buoys, 400m up the beach, and then round and back to the finish line. It’s fun, but also it’s a serious chance for anyone who wants to take their swimming to the next level, either in local competitions or college-level, or maybe even Olympics, such as the winner, 16-year old Jake Baily, with a time of 10 minutes and 32 seconds. “I think I did pretty well. It was a great start. I held the pace for the whole time, and finished strong,” said Jake, “I train every day, for at least two hours a day and I also do a lot of long distance, go up to five or 10 K,” he said. Will Sellars was second with a time of 10.39, and Alana Sinclair was third, with a time of 10 minutes 44 seconds.
The 400 m children’s race got going just as the last of the 800 racers were onto the home stretch. One proud mom had two of her kids, Amelia Whyte, 10, and Solomon Whyte 12, finish first and third respectively. “They did a great job,” she said, “They train twice a week with Seven Mile Swimmers.”
Richard Hew, CUC’s President and CEO said: “It’s a good clean healthy competition for all ages, but in particular for the kids and our youth so we see all our top swimmers starting at a young age with the 400m and 800m competitions. Swimming is a great sport for us here, as we all know we are surrounded by beautiful waters and we’ve had very good success swimming at a competitive level and also recreationally with a number of young, and old swimmers, coming out each year.”
The volunteers are so dedicated and it is good to remember they are giving up their Saturday afternoons for something they believe in. As always with these events, safety comes first and there were several safety officials in kayaks and on paddle-boards all along the course. There was also a pre-race safety briefing from the swimming coach, who told all the competitors that if they, for any reason, felt they needed help they should get the attention of one of the officials in the water, and that the same was true for anyone they felt might be in difficulties.
Ed Weber, a volunteer and former CIASA board-member, said: “I’ve had two children who grew up on the island swimming competitively and representing Cayman internationally. The Swim Association is important to us so we want to continue coming out and supporting events like CUC sea swim, Fosters sea swim and the whole series they have ending up with the Flowers one mile sea swim in June.”