Sea swimmers raise cash for Carifta 2012

| 30/01/2012

CARIFTA Fundraising Start (240x265).jpg(CIASA): A group of Cayman Islands swimmers took to the seas this past weekend to raise funds for the team’s trip to the CARIFTA Swimming 2012 in Nassau, Bahamas between 12 and 15 April. The swim has been completed but members of the community can still sponsor the team up until 4 February. Although focused and training hard for upcoming qualifying Swim Meets, the swimmers come together for this fundraiser to achieve a common goal – raise funds for the trip; but also to begin the bonding process which will see them leave club affiliations behind as they become the Cayman Islands CARIFTA Team in April.

At 8am the beach just north of The Wharf was abuzz with excitement as swimmers prepped, put on sun screen, greased up and made sure their goggles and caps were in good order. The group of 30 plus swimmers made their way to the old Pageant Beach Sea Pool and the first leg of the 5-1/2 mile relay began.

Coach Dominic Ross joked that, “this is an easy swim … after all … we all know that Seven Mile Beach is really only 5-1/2 miles long!”

However, when all was said and done the swimmers, some of whom are only 11 years old – put in a mammoth effort and swam the entire length in relay teams; while a couple of the older, more seasoned swimmers such as Geoffrey Butler and Andrew Smiley* swam the whole 5-1/2 miles solo.

Dr. Sook Yin, a longstanding CIASA Director and a “permanent” part of the swim team’s professional care commented:  “On behalf of CIASA I want to thank all of the potential CARIFTA swimmers for being such good sports and swimming the long open water course from George Town to West Bay. There were some grumbles along the way, but they all pitched in and did it – and the kids were all smiles at the end.

“I want to thank the parents too who walked the course, loaded down with water, Gatorade, towels suntan lotion  and hats – while walking barefoot on the mostly white sand but also negotiating iron shore and slippery rocks for 3.5 hours!”

While the swimmers are, of course, instrumental in an event such as this, it could not happen without the volunteer support team. Open Water Safety veteran Dagmar Wojcicki organized and managed the water safety team; NAME, marshaled the course via jet ski and Coach Dom, NAME and mother – son team, Michelle and Jake Bailey kayaked – keeping the pod of swimmers safely together and pulling out the younger ones when they couldn't keep up or the swells became a little too much.

CIASA also extends thanks to Red Sails Sports for the kayaks and jet ski; swim parents and club executives who organized the sandwiches; baked the goodies and made sure there was water and Gatorade along the way for swimmers, parents and the safety team.

CARIFTA Fundraising Start (400x241).jpgAnd last but not least CIASA thanks Coach Dom, Coach Katie and Coach Paula who, between them organized the event, and organized and motivated the swimmers both while they were swimming and walking the beach.

Swimmers are reminded to hand in all outstanding sponsorship money by the 3rd of February, along with their sponsorship form, to their coach; and members of the community are reminded to find a swimmer and sponsor them!

Next on the swim calendar is the Stingray Swim Club trip to Jamaica for the Water Rodgers Age Group Swimming National Championships, February 16-19th.

*An accomplished open water swimmer, Andrew Smiley is too old to compete at CARIFTA but used this swim as a great training opportunity.

Category: Sports

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