The annual Pete Ribbins Memorial Consolidated Water meet wrapped up this past Sunday (17 January) morning at the Lions Aquatic Centre after three days of swimming.
Over 100 swimmers from Stingray Swim Club (SSC), Camana Bay Aquatic Club, Seven Mile Swimmers and other groups competed with hopes of joining athletes already qualified for 2021 CARIFTA Swimming Championships.
Athletes like Coco McGrath, who made the 200m Breaststroke Carifta standard, after swimming three minutes, four seconds last season. “I’m really excited and excited to race new people,” McGrath told Cay 03 Sports.
While uncertainty still looms around sporting disciplines worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARIFTA Championships is still slated to take place April 3-6, 2021, in Barbados.
McGrath said she is looking forward to competing against some of the region’s best amateur swimmers in three months time.
“I am expecting it to go pretty well and I think it will be really good because it will be more intense racing and it will be much harder and I think my teammates definitely prepared me for that,” said McGrath.
Over 15 swimmers unofficially will be heading to Barbados to represent the Cayman Islands. That include swimmers who qualified last year before the meet’s original date was postponed.
“Swimmers who qualified for CARIFTA last year will still be eligible to compete once they are in the same age group,” said SSC Head Coach David Pursley.
Pursley said the Pete Ribbins Memorial meet was one of a few opportunities left for athletes to make the CARIFTA team.
“We only have one more chance I think for us to qualify,” said Pursley. “So if CARIFTA does happen later on in the season, this is a pretty important meet for a lot of kids that are right on the crest of getting those times.”
However, several swimmers from coach Pursley’s team did not exceed expectations and will have to try harder the next time they hit the pool.
“I was expecting a little bit more faster times to be honest but when you first start your speed transition you don’t know what you’re going to get,” said Pursley.
The next stop for local swimmers will be the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association National Championships.
“We should in next month or so start making plans going into Easter but we have nationals coming up in February and then during Easter break we will have a meet whether it’s CARIFTA overseas, or a meet here.”