The Cayman Islands is set to close out its international swimming campaign with four athletes (Alison Jackson, James Allison, Lauren Hew and Liam Henry) representing at the 15th FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
However, Caymanian swimmer Jordan Crooks did not make the cut during the selection process, despite being the only swimmer to achieve a B standard time for the event earlier this year.
Crooks, 19, who holds the national record in 50 metre backstroke with a time of 26.94, recently competed at the 2021 Junior Pan American Games in late November where he finished fourth in the 100m free finals.
Other than three time Olympian Brett Fraser who is semi-retired; Crooks has the highest FINA points, making him the Cayman Islands top active swimmer.
According to the Cayman Islands Aquatic Sport Association, Crooks was not selected following recommendations from CIASA Technical Director, Jacky Pellerin that swimmers are allowed to attend either the Junior PanAms or the FINA SC World Championships, “not both.”
That decision was met with a statement from Jordan’s mother Faith Crooks, who blasted CIASA for what she calls a “dishonest selection process.”
“This was not communicated at the beginning of the qualification period,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “What was done in this selection process is a travesty to the rules of the sport…This was done in secret. None of it made sense.”
Faith, who in fact joined the CIASA board in November this year, added that her quarrel for fairness is not about Jordan but for all swimmers.
“My son is capable of swimming, he knows the sport very well,” she said “I didn’t know an athlete could get penalised for training hard and improving their times…I know my role should not include quarrelling for benefits for my children. When I see wrong decisions…I will stand up for ALL our swimmers.”
CIASA responded, noting that their decision to have Jordan sit out for the SC World Championships, was done in his “best interest.”
“Our intention is not to discourage swimmers but to make decisions based on what are safe environments, and best options to help them be successful,” CIASA stated. “Going to a single meet and swimming well is far more likely to encourage a swimmer than going to two meets and performing poorly at one or both.”
Adding, “No one is being penalised. Penalising would be the case if we required them to do both meets, without a reason to do so, knowing full well it will be detrimental to their success at one or both of the meets as well as the rest of the season. CIASA wants swimmers to be fully prepared and ready to represent the Cayman Islands when they compete internationally.”
In addition, Jackson, Allison, Hew and Henry will begin competing in the Etihad Arena from 16-21 Dec. Results for the championships will be published respectively.