Swimmers learn from Olympians

| 21/01/2013

Conor_First_400m (240x300).jpg(CIASA): Splash, Dash and Dine 2013 has been heralded a success by its organizers, the Cayman Islands Amateurs Swimming Association (CIASA). Olympic swimmers Liam Tancock (Great Britain), Caitlin McClatchey (Great Britain) and Conor Dwyer (USA) were in Grand Cayman, January 10-13 putting on clinics, leading sea swims and taking part in a fund raising brunch. CIASA is a volunteer, not for profit association dedicated to furthering the interests of all aquatic sports in the Cayman Islands. Funds raised are used for further educational and technical training of officials, coaches and senior/elite swimmers; for the Junior Cayman Islands CARIFTA Swimming Team; for the popular Sea Swim Series and for the development of the sport of swimming throughout the Cayman Islands.


The Splash: the clinics were capped to 30 swimmers per session to ensure that those participating had a quality experience where they were able to listen and learn. The 12&  over swimmers attended on Thursday 10th and were hosted at the Camana Bay Aquatic Club (CBAC) pool; while the Under 12 swimmers attended on Friday 11th at the Lions Aquatic Center (LAC).

At each session the Olympians gave attendees a motivational speech followed by a Q&A and opportunity to see, touch and hold the Olympians medals. Then they all got in to the pool and took part in skills sessions. One of the stand out moments was watching Liam Tancock, 50m World Record Holder, demonstrate his backstroke start and then seeing Cayman’s young swimmers immediately work on changing their own starts.

The Dash: the Care Pharmacy sea swims took place just off world famous Seven Mile Beach and saw Liam Tancock taking part in his first ever open water swim. Spoiled by the experience he admitted he might not do another one until he is back in Cayman.

To encourage swimmers of all ages and abilities to take part in the sea swims, there were two distances, a 200m and a 400m swim. Tancock won the 200m distance in a time of 02:15; while Dwyer – having heard of local swimmer Alex McCallum’s win over Olympic Gold Medal 10K winner Oussama Mellouli in the Pirates Week 5K – went out fast over the first 50m and then held his lead to the Finish Line, crossing in a time of 04:20. McCallum came in second and Caitlin McClatchey crossed the line in third. Veteran sea swim swimmer HE Duncan Taylor also swam and was delighted to be a part of this historic sea swim.

The starving swimmers were fed post-race with healthy Subway sandwiches donated by CIASA Sponsor Subway and were also treated to ice cream donated by Island Opportunities. Participants in the sea swims also had the opportunity to have their photos taken on the beach with the visiting Olympians.

And Dine: the Brunch took place at the Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort and attendees took part in a Silent and LIVE Auction, a raffle and a great brunch. CIASA Directors Brenda McGrath and Dr. Sook Yin; Community Volunteer Extraordinaire Sara Mackay and all members of the Fund Raising Committee organized a fantastic event; Master of Ceremonies Ian Armiger kept the programme moving along in a timely manner; and Auctioneer Jay Earhart, appropriately dressed in a tuxedo…with swim shorts…took charge of the Live Auction.

The highest item to go in the LIVE auction was an Olympic comforter/bedspread from London 2012 which was signed by the Cayman Islands Olympic Team and then the three visiting Olympians signed it as well and which fetched the handsome price of CI$1,050.00.

There were a number of other great items in both the Silent and LIVE auctions including signed Olympic attire; swim caps signed by US and UK swimmers; an autographed Olympic Experiences Book; gift certificates for local restaurants, watersports activities and stores and Pan Am Games memorabilia autographed by Shaune and Brett Fraser.

The Brunch was attended by Cayman’s swimming community and was attended by representatives of swimming’s major sponsors: CIG’s Duncan Taylor and Minister of Sports, Mark Scotland and Maples and Calder Partner Mark Matthews. And at the end of the four days there were winners all around: CIASA raised over CI$10K; the Cayman Islands has three new Olympic Fans and the Cayman Swimming Family enjoyed four days of Olympic storytelling, swimming tips and techniques, camaraderie and family.

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