With the pandemic enforced postponement of the traditional Easter focus meets, including CARIFTA Swimming, the Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association’s (CIASA) Board Members, Acting Technical Director and Club coaches put their collective heads together to come up with a way to keep Cayman’s swimmers engaged and motivated.
The result? Two swim camps. One stroke clinic. 70 eligible swimmers.
“Cayman’s swimmers are fortunate as we have been training and competing locally since last summer,” said Michael Lockwood, CIASA President. “The rest of the world is now getting vaccinated, and as we – and the rest of the swimming world – are coming out of the COVID-19 environment CIASA’s board of directors wanted to encourage and excite our swimmers– helping (some of) them to start preparing for international events scheduled for the summer and fall of 2021.”
The National Junior Team Pool Swimming Camp took place in Cayman Brac April 7 to 10 at the country’s newest 25m pool. Comprised of 26 swimmers (14 men and 12 women), 3 coaches (Coach Hayley, Camana Bay Aquatic Club (CBAC); Coach Darren, Seven Mile Swimmers and Coach Jackson, Stingray Swim Club) and 2 managers the focus was on team and skill development and some team building activities included sightseeing and a visit to the caves. Meanwhile, in Grand Cayman the National Development Team Pool Swimming Stroke Clinic took place at the pool at the Camana Bay Sports Centre with a focus on skill and technique development – 24 swimmers (11 men and 13 women) 1 coach (Coach Grant, CBAC) and 3 senior swimmers (Stephanie Royston, Jillian Crooks and Jordan Crooks) assisting.
Then this past weekend (April 22-25, the Junior National Artistic Team travelled to Cayman Brac, where they also availed themselves of the new 25m pool for training. 20 swimmers along with CBAC’s Coach Alissa and Coach Romina spent the first two days training, and on the third day filmed for two upcoming virtual competitions– an unanticipated opportunity that was introduced due to the pandemic travel restrictions and border closures around the world.
The 13-15 Duet of Allie Capasso and Lila Higgo filmed their submission for the upcoming virtual CARIFTA meet set to air at the beginning of June, and teammates from the Junior, 13-15 and 12&Under categories will be submitting their routines later this month.
Amber Barnes, Abbie Carnahan and Madison van Duynhoven submitted a Junior Free Duet (Barnes, Carnahan) as well as a Junior Technical Duet (Barnes, van Duynhoven) for the Artistic Swimming World Series hosted by Artistic Swimming Canada. They will be competing alongside athletes from USA, Canada, Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Australia and Korea. “This is an incredible opportunity for our athletes and our federation, to be seen by international judges and to support the virtual event format put forth by FINA. We are honoured to be able to enter an event at this level,” said Coach Alissa The event will be scored May 8-9 and aired on FINAtv, May 29-30.
Coach Bailey, Acting Technical Director thanked the coaches, team managers, parents and swimmers, “Feedback from swimmers and coaches alike has been great and we are delighted at how many of our swimmers had the opportunity not only to train, but for those who visited Cayman Brac to get a little sightseeing in too.”
Next up for Cayman’s swimmers – in addition to the virtual artistic swimming competitions, is the 2021 UANA Qualifier taking place in Clermont, Fl – April 29 – May 2. Jordan Crooks, Jillian Crooks, Lila Higgo, Harper Barrowman, Avery Lambert, Lauren Hew and James Allison are representing the Cayman Islands.
This meet is a sanctioned qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics so our swimmers will be hoping to set personal bests that will see them qualifying for the Olympics later this summer. The team will be accompanied by acting Technical Director, Bailey Weathers.