Triple gold for Brac swimmer

| 26/06/2009

(CNS): A young swimmer from Cayman Brac brought home three gold medals from the Grand Canyon State Games’ International Summer Games, held 19 through 21 June, competing in the 11 to 12 year old age group against girls up to 23 months older than her. Martha Rivers who turned 11 last month, won gold in the 50 Yard Backstroke (37.52), the 50 Yard Breaststroke (42.50) and 50 Yard Freestyle (31.79). Her participation was made possible through the Global Academy for International Athletics and the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC). More than 7,000 persons of all age and ability levels competed in 33 sports in these 2009 Summer Games in Arizona, the largest amateur sports festival in the US.

The Global Academy’s William Maxwell contacted all 96 national Olympic committees that have never won an Olympic medal, and requested that they send athletes in various sports, and the CIOC was the only one that responded to the communications, a release from the committee stated. This was the Global Academy’s second effort to organize children’s trials specifically to identify and encourage potential Olympians at much younger ages than most nations are accustomed to. The first effort garnered 28 children from eight nations; meanwhile China is building sports academies to house and train 200,000 children per year.

Rivers was provided with individual coaching by two time Olympian Michael Troy and performance psychologist Chris Dorris for three days prior to the competition day. Each morning she had a short mental exercise programme, followed by some brief explanation of how elite athletes and others prepare to succeed at their chosen tasks, then she had one to 1½ hours swim training with coach Troy. Most afternoons were free to sightsee, shop or relax, hosted by members of the Global Sports Academy committee.

Rivers has been swimming since age four and has won events at meets in the Caribbean as well as in Florida swimming for the Cayman Islands Stingray Swim Club. Maxwell stated in his final report that she has all the natural attributes of a successful athlete. A detailed “prescription” for future training will be prepared and forwarded to her coaches in Cayman with recommendations for age and ability appropriate training routines. He stated that it takes enormous sacrifice and discipline, as well as natural giftedness, to be an elite athlete; all have that potential in some domain, but few achieve that elite status because it is very arduous to do so.

According to the CIOC, the Grand Canyon State Games’ showed that behind every winner are hundreds of well-organized volunteers, who rarely receive the appreciation they deserve, and there must also be a strong family support system. Rivers was accompanied by her mother, Anne Jackson, who said she hopes Martha will be supported at home in Cayman Brac to achieve her goals in the sport of swimming.


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  1. Tehri-Ann Brown says:

    Congratulations Martha!!! You go girl!!

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. Martha Rivers says:

    Thank you all.


    It was great meeting you Chris, I hope to see you again. ( Ain’t Bad, Just Is)


    Thanks Tami and family for the support


    Thanks SASI I really appreciate it


    Thanks Anonymous for the congrats



  4. The Dilberts says:

    Outstanding job Martha!  We are all sp proud of you.  Tami your biggest fan, second to your Mom of course, said "I bet she wins golds!"

    Your potential, talent, hardwork and determination will make you a great oplympic gold medialist one day.


    Mazel Tov and Shalom!

  5. Chris Dorris says:

    Martha! Way to go, Super Star! I’ll be watching (jealously, from the sweltering heat of the Arizona desert) as your Dream unfolds!

    Congrats on a stellar performance!


  6. SASI says:


    Congrats Martha and Anne!!!!


    On Behalf of the Sports Association of the Sister Islands and myself we wish to congratulate Martha on a job well done!!


    Martha was singled out a few years ago for the Talent Development Programme(formerly Elite Program) that SASI was developing and we have long supported her in her swimming endeavours as we saw the great potential. 


    We are excited that the hard work of her coaches at the Stingray Swim Club, her mother Anne and the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee has paid off and we look forward to excelling onward and upward in her future with Swimming.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Martha – we are so proud of you here in the Brac and your MOM too as I know she supports you in this journey.