Disabled swimmer snorkels between Sister Islands

| 24/06/2013

P6200617 (270x300).jpg(CNS): Arizona resident and visitor to the Cayman Islands Adriane Grimaldi snorkelled her way between Cayman Brac and Little Cayman last week in 3 hours and 40 minutes. A distance of five miles, the journey is a tough one for any swimmer. Grimaldi’s water adventure was all the more difficult as she has only one hand and swims using just her feet. Visiting the islands with the Dive Pirates, a scuba diving group who regularly stay at the Brac Reef Resort, Grimaldi may be the first swimmer with a disability to complete the crossing between the Sister Islands.

Born without a right hand, Grimaldi, who has had no formal training, uses the snorkel fins on her feet instead of the traditional arm motion.  This is her 7th long distance swim and previous ocean adventures have included a 6 mile swim around the small island of Klein Bonaire in the Caribbean Sea and also a 1.5 mile swim from Alcatraz to the San Francisco Bay in California. 

She has a goal of swimming five seas before she is 50, and with the Pacific, Atlantic, the South Pacific and the Caribbean already ticked off the list, Grimaldi said she hopes to do a long distance swim in the Adriatic Sea to complete her goal.

P6200659 (266x300).jpgGrimaldi said that she swims not only for the love of swimming but also as an inspiration to kids in a group she started in 2001 called Special Blessings, a support group for Arizona children with limb differences. She has 33 families that are part of the support group, which also provides support for adults, including those who have suffered limb loss due to diabetes, motorcycle accidents and veterans with limb loss. 

“I’ve never let beingborn with one hand slow me down. It’s all about attitude. If you set your mind to it, you can achieve it,” Grimaldi said.


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  1. noname says:

    My apologies – I could not have done it without Caroline from Cool Breeze Charters and both Dwayne and the other young man on his day off who gave their time and expertise that day. They all put a lot of time into this endeavor and keeping me safe and for that I am thankful. Just to clarify from someone's earlier post – I contracted them to be a guide for this swim and it was always set for Thursday – I did not ask them to clear their schedule that whole week  – that was their choice and they were having boat issues and was told they used someone else's boat.  Again, I am thankful for what they did – there was a lot put into it behind the scenes and couldn't have done it without them.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Inspiring article but it would have been nice if she made mention of the two young men who took the time to volunteer free of charge to accompany her by boat on this trip to ensure that she was safe from potential predators and be there if she ran into difficulties and who also transported her back to the Brac.

  3. CaymanQT says:


    The reporter missed part of the story.   Thanks should go to Cool Breeze Charters of`Cayman Brac.  Dwayne Fredericks helped this swimmer plan her trip and donated a day of his time and his boat to follow her and ensure her safety.     I had tried to charter Dwayne and his boat for that day but was out of luck because he had volunteered not only that day but put everything on hold that week so as to be available on the best day for the swim.


    It's people and businesses like Dwayne and Cool Breeze Charters that make the Brac such a special place.


    Thank you, Cool Breeze Charters!

  4. Anonymous says:

    This lady (who I met and spoke to on several occasions) was a real inspiration! Also well done to Dwayne Frederick of Cool Breeze Charters in Cayman Brac who liaised with Adriane both before she arrived and whilst she was on island in order to ensure that she could do this swim and for volunteering his time and knowledge in order to guide her across to Little Cayman.