Cayman swimmers ‘chilled’ in open water contest

| 22/08/2012

Alex Swimming (285x300).jpg(CNS): The Niagara Open Water Festival featured the World Junior Open Water Championships and was attended by a team of four from the Cayman Islands made up of swimmers Alex McCallum, Iain McCallum and Tori Flowers, and Coach Katie Lambert. Cayman’s swimmers experienced a number of firsts at the event, including a diving start for an open water swim, ending an open water swim with a touch pad which was out of the water, using feeding sticks and gels for energy in the long swims and water temperatures of 72.3 °F (22.4 °C) – a little lower than Cayman.

The Festival took place over 4 days, had 31 participating countries, over 400 swimmers and 140 officials.

The first Cayman swimmer to compete in the FINA World Junior Open Water Championships, on Friday 17 August was Alex McCallum in a 7.5 km who took to the water, which was 24°C from a dive start.

“He had a great first loop of 3 and was just behind the second pack of swimmers,” said the coach. “Alex held his pace into the second loop and passed one of the 3 swimmers he was with. He stuck through on his last lap and finished with a time of 1:37:20.8.

“It was a great experience and one he will remember forever. He had great support from family and friends cheering for him. It was a fantastic moment for Cayman swimming and with Tori and Iain ready to hit the waters the next day Cayman Swimming anticipated another day of great swimming.”

The next day saw Tori and Iain taking to the waters. Tori Tackled the 7.5 km, finishing in a time of 1:52:52.3. Her race was full of red cards – which made for an exciting race and thankfully none were directed at her! Iain raced in the 5 km and had a great second lap; he even split his race and finished in a time of 1:08:58.2.

The three also competed in a Team Event. In this race they started together and worked as a team to obtain the best time. The team time is when the last swimmer crosses the line.

SWIMMER ————CATEGORY  ————— AGE ——-EVENT ——- TIME
Alex McCallum            Junior Boys                  17-18     7.5 km Race         1:37:20.8
ToriFlowers                Junior Girls                   17-18     7.5 km Race              1:52:52.3
Iain McCallum            Youth Boys                    14-16      5 km Race                 1:08:58.2
Team Event                 Junior                                             3 km Race                 42:48.8

CIASA President Peter MacKay and his wife Sara were in the area visiting family and they drove up to lend their support to the team.  “This was a fantastic learning opportunity for us in every aspect,” said MacKay. “I attended the Technical Meeting with Coach Katie and we both learned a great deal – maybe one day we can host this event in Cayman! CIASA would like to thank the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee for their support of the team with travel. This foresight in supporting the development of our swimmers is to be commended and we are very grateful for it.”

The swimmers extended their thanks to their Coaches back home – Coach Andy whom Alex and Iain train with at Stingray Swim Club in Grand Cayman and Coach Mike whom Tori trains with at Longhorn Aquatics at the University of Texas in Austin. The three also extended a vote of thanks to Coach Katie, who is the Head Coach at the Camana Bay Aquatic Club in Grand Cayman, but was at the Championships with the Cayman Team.
“Her enthusiasm, support, organization and on-site support were key to our successful
swims …” they said.

Reflecting on the Championships, Coach Katie said: “The swimmers agreed that the one right word that summarizes this meet is "experience". In sport, with each performance, we learn from the good and the bad; then we take those ‘learnings’ into our preparations for the next competition. I look forward to seeing these three swimmers continue to grow and excel in Cayman Swimming. As our new Technical Director, Ian Armiger would say in "Fast Swimming."
 

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