January 26, 2018
Swimmers start 2018 with a splash
Grand Cayman, 26 January 2018: In sports a quick reflex and fast start is always good – and that is just what the 2018 competitive swim year experienced with two meets taking place in the first three weeks of January, and a number of swimmers travelling overseas to represent Cayman at the inaugural UANA Cup.
First at the blocks was the combination Friday Night Lights and EY Sprint Meet, taking place Friday 5 and Saturday 6 January – a great opportunity early in the year to get back in to the “swim of things” after the holiday period.
Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights gives swimmers, 11 and older, the opportunity to swim in the longer events
… and saw Stingray’s Alison Jackson win the first officiated women’s 1500m Freestyle in the
Cayman Islands. Other events contested at Friday Night Lights include the 800m Freestyle and 400m IM and Freestyle events. Winners of the FINA high points were Alison Jackson for her 1500m Freestyle with 565 points and John Bodden for his 800m Freestyle with 506 points.
EY Sprint Meet
The EY Sprint meet took place in less than ideal weather conditions, but rain doesn’t stop swimmers and it was great to see so many young swimmers on deck, cheering on their team mates and having fun in a competitive environment.
EY Partner Rohan Small was at the pool early in the day and, as the rain came in, made his way over to the stands where he sat with the swimmers for a while. “EY is committed to building our communities which also means helping to support the next generation. It is not only making them work-ready, but it also a question of investing in skill-building activities such as sports which help our young people develop commitment, dedication, focus and teaming. All of these will serve them well in their adult, professional lives and within the community.”
EY High Points winners – male: 6 & Under, Noah Watson, Stingray Swim Club; 7-8, Charlie
Dickson, Seven Mile Swimmers; 9-10, Jan Morris, Seven Mile Swimmers; 11-12, Jake Alberga,
Stingray Swim Club; 13-14 Corey Frederick-Westerborg, Stingray Swim Club and 15 & Over John
Bodden, Stingray Swim Club. Female High Points: 7-8, Lea Neverilova, Seven Mile Swimmers, 910 Teagan Nash, Seven Mile Swimmers; 11-12, Allyson Belfonte, Stingray Swim; 13-14 Kyra Rabess, Stingray Swim Club and 15 & Over Alison Jackson, Stingray Swim Club.
Consolidated Water Pete Ribbins Memorial
A long-standing partnership with Consolidated Water allows the swimming community to recognise Pete Ribbins – an accomplished athlete in his own right who believed in the power of sports. “In the early days of swimming in Cayman Pete was an active supporter of the programme and of Stingray Swim Club. He knew that learning to swimming could not only save lives, but also help children – his own included – develop in to healthy and focused young adults,” said Manuel Thomaz, General Manager, Cayman Water. “We are proud to continue this partnership with Stingray Swim Club and to remember Pete in a way which we know would make him proud.”
Over three days swimmers competed in all events – sprint, middle and long distance – and is usual at this time of year saw some exciting swims as young athletes made qualifying times for Cayman’s Junior Swim Team.
After a busy start to the year, Stingray’s Head Coach David Pursley had this to say: "the January meets play a massive role in the development of our swimmers. Christmas break is a unique time of year for swimmers. When their peers are often vacationing and unwinding from the grind of school, the swimmers take a different approach. We take advantage of the extra time away from school and really ramp up the training. The meets in January come right after an intense block of training when the swimmers are tired, broken down and their bodies not yet ready to race. It takes a special mental fortitude to succeed in the January meets.
There will be times at the end of the 5 day Prelims/Finals meets in April when they will need to step up and race tired, and these meets prepare them both physically and mentally to race under less than ideal circumstances. We had some outstanding performances in the meets this month and I am pleased at how the swimmers responded to the challenge."
Events such as three day swim meets take a great deal of volunteer hours. CIASA’s fully trained officials are all volunteers and their presence on deck allows swimmers’ times to be acknowledged as valid qualifying times for the Junior National team,” said Meet Director Lucy Muyanga. “Thank you to our officials, and to all the parents who volunteer and make swim meets possible.”
Consolidated Water High Points winners – male: 6&Under, Noah Watson, Stingray Swim Club; 7-
8, Luke Higgo, Camana Bay Aquatic Club; 9-10, Phin Ellison, Camana Bay Aquatic Club; 11-12, Jake Alberga, Stingray Swim Club; 13-14, Finn Bishop, Camana Bay Aquatic Club and 15&Over, Liam Henry, Stingray Swim Club.
Female high points: 6 & Under, Leila Coak; 7-8 Lea Neverilova, Seven Mile Swimmers; 9-10, Lila Higgo, Camana Bay Aquatic Club; 11-12, Allyson Belfonte, Stingray Swim Club; 13-14, Kyra Rabess, Stingray Swim Club and 15&Over, Abigail Codner, Stingray Swim Club.
Team standings saw the Camana Bay Aquatic Club girls coming out on top with 319 points and
Stingray Swim Club’s boys coming in first with 400 points. Overall champions were Stingray Swim Club with a combined 688 points, Camana Bay Aquatic Club came in second with 579 points and Seven Mile Swimmers third with 348 points.
The inaugural UANA Swimming Cup (Union Americana de Natacion) saw swimmers from 33 countries from the Caribbean, and South and Central America competing. The Cayman Islands was represented and Stingray Swim Club swimmers – Jake Bailey, Corey Frederick-Westerborg, Samantha Bailey, Raya Embury-Brown, Alison Jackson, Sarah Jackson, Ella Plunkett, Ria Plunkett and Stephanie Royston were part of the team.
Next on Stingray’s calendar are the CIASA Nationals (February 15-18), Shamrock Splash (March 17) and the XXXIII CARIFTA Swimming Championship in Kingston, Jamaica (March 31 – April 8).