For swimmers, summer is the opportunity to get some uninterrupted training and intense competition in. But before getting serious, Stingray Swim Club’s swimmers, friends and families gathered at Ristorante Pappagallo for their annual awards banquet, to celebrate a successful 2018-2019 swim season. Then it was back to the pool for training and competition.
Awards Banquet: 23 June 2019
With over 100 in attendance, the gathering - aptly described as a fever of Stingrays – officially welcomed Asst. Coach Macon Crowder, celebrated achievements, said farewell and good luck to departing Seniors and had fun raising money for their club in the “Lip Sink” challenge.
Coach Macon Crowder joined the club in April and is already a fixture on deck. “He has made a huge impact,” said Stingray’s Head Coach, David Pursley. “Coming to us from North Carolina where he was the Site Director and Assistant Coach for the YMCA of the Triangle Area Swim Team, and a former Division 1 swimmer himself; Coach Macon knows what it takes to succeed in the pool. His experience with competitive age groupers allowed him to get comfortable with our Silver and Gold swimmers immediately.”
Coach David and Coach Macon presented members of the Bronze, Silver, Gold and High School development squads with the now famous Paper Plate Awards; and then presented the awards for Spirit, Most Improved and Swimmer of the Year (awards that were locally sourced this year from Squirrelly):
• Bronze Spirit: Daniella Whiteman
• High School Development Spirit: Dayana Powery
• Bronze Most Improved: Noah Watson
• High School Development Most Improved: Matthew Javier
• Silver Spirit: Kassandra Adapa
• Gold Spirit: Andrew Muyanga
• Silver Most Improved: Jade Allen
• Gold Most Improved: Jack Clark-Terrell
• Senior Spirit: Krishna Adapa
• Swimmer of the Year: Raya Embury-Brown
• Senior Most Improved: Kyra Rabess
The Shepheard Cup, donated by former Cayman Islands Government and Stingray coach, Marie Shepard in memory of her son – is presented to the swimmer who is an all-round ambassador for swimming and for Stingray Swim Club, and the 2019 recipient is Sarah Jackson.
Returning college swimmers from McKendree University - Cole Morgan, John Bodden and Kenneth Glidden, were welcomed home for the summer. “Having our returning college swimmers train with us over the summers is always a highlight,” said Pursley. “The younger swimmers look up to them, and they inspire the seniors who are in their final years and working towards swimming in college too.”
Then Coach David recognised the seniors who are heading off to college in the fall: Alex Dakers, Bath, UK; Liam Henry, Indian River State College, Florida; Sam Bailey, Ohio State University, and Sarah Jackson, University of Northern Colorado. Also recognised were John Bodden and Kenneth Glidden who decided to head off to college after last year’s banquet and will both be sophmores at McKendree University this fall.
It was a whirlwind of a summer for Stingray Swim Club, whose athletes represented Cayman in five different countries, and at six different international competitions. Swimmers left the pool with personal best times, regional medals, two national records and experience on the biggest stages of our sport.
Head Coach David Pursley said, “It was an exciting summer for Cayman swimming, and I think the return of Brett Fraser will bring renewed inspiration in the charge forward. The short summer season requires experience and a higher level of care for the body; and mentally and physically our athletes were challenged to compete in high pressure situations on multiple occasions. We handled the pressure tremendously and learned a great deal in terms of handling stress and taking extra care of the body with the physical toll.”
He also emphasized that the biggest impact on Stingray’s summer successes was the return of its college swimmers in the summer and the competitive edge they provided in practice with their great work ethic. Cole Morgan and John Bodden also contributed greatly to Stingray’s summer successes. Cole reached the podium at Island Games and John had a tremendous swim to reach the semi-finals at the Pan American games.
Stingray’s summer ended at the ISCA Championships in St. Petersburg, Florida where after, four more seniors transitioned from club swimming to university.
Stingray’s younger swimmers were able to see the work the more experienced swimmers put in everyday and they too had an excellent end to the summer in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After a very trying 30-hour delay in Ft. Lauderdale, they stepped up to compete on little to no sleep and walked away with victories, personal bests, and a whole lot of fun memories.
And not to be left out, Stingray was proud to see Pat McCallum (open water) and Adam Roberts (pool) officiating at the FINA Long Course World Champsionships.
A little time off, allowing swimmers to prepare for the long season ahead when they get back to basics. Stingray’s next focused international competition takes place in April 2020.
Pursley concluded, “We couldn't be more excited for the up and comers and know they will take the torch with passion and commitment. For now we are focusing on honing our racing skills here at the Lion's Aquatic Centre. Our season opener is the Cayman National Sprint meet on September 21st. We have been back in the water for three weeks, and the excitement and drive are already there!”
The meet takes place at the Lions Aquatic Center, and the first swimmers take to the blocks at 9:45am. Entry is free and the public is invited and encouraged to come out and support Cayman’s young swimmers.
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