Open water standout athlete Will Sellars, claimed first place at the annual Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association Flow 800 metres Sea Swim, out-swimming 117 other participants.
The event, which was held on Saturday (May 14), had been halted since 2019 after several cancelations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It also marked the first CIASA local open water event since February’s 5K Open Water National Championships.
“We’re really excited again to bring this back,” said Flow Marketing Manager Alyssa Christian. “It has been a couple of years, thanks to COVID. So we’re really just excited to
be out here, be part of the community, see our customers and friends and interact again.”
Sellars, who trains under Seven Mile Swimmers, finished the race held along Governor’s Beach in a time of ten minutes, 29 seconds.
It marked his second local open water victory this year, having won the annual 800m CUC Sea Swim in January.
Kyra Rabess finished fourth overall and was the top female finisher with a time of 10:39.64.
Rabess was no doubt a heavy favorite coming into the race, after she delivered multiple history-making performances at last month’s CARIFTA Swimming Championships, where she collected eight medals, including a gold in the 5K open-water course.
Sellars, Thomas Ferguson and Connor MacDonald – all finished within 1.4 seconds of one another. It was Sellars who edged Ferguson by less than three-tenths of a second to place first with a time of 10-minutes, 29.27 seconds. Ferguson took second in 10:29.58, followed by MacDonald in 10:30.61.
Harper Barrowman swam her way to a second-place finish in the female category ahead of Raya Embury-Brown, who respectively won the last event in 2019.
Age group winners for male swimmers included: Aadhyaan Agarwal (8 & under); Colt Higgo (9-10); Gabriel Bispath (11-12); Dominic Gunn (13-14); Sellars (15-19); Matthew Javier (20-29); John Michael Junio (30-39); Patrick Harfield (40-49); Marius Acker (50-59); Wayne Hannum (60-69) and Frank Flowers (70 & over).
Female age group winners included: Emilia Pywell (8 & under); Daniella Whiteman (9-10); Riley Watson (11-12); Lola Haworth (13-14); Rabess (15-19); Kanza Bodden (20-29); Jennifer Powell (30-39); Andrea Kilam-Higgo (40-49); Victoria Hollinworth-Havlin (50-59).
“It’s awesome,” Christian said. “You see people of all different swim levels. I mean, you’ve got the little kids to the CARIFTA swimmers to Special Olympics. You’ve got a plethora of age ranges and I think it’s just so cool everybody doing the same thing with the same goal at different levels and abilities.”
Also on hand for the event was Oly Rush, the ultra-long-distance swimmer who this week became the first person to swim around Grand Cayman. Rush, who encouraged those in attendance to continue pursuing their swimming goals, swam 65 miles around the island in just more than 36 hours to raise funds for Plastic Free Cayman and awareness about ocean pollution.
Up next on the CIASA open water calendar is the Butterfield 800-Meter Sea Swim, the final tune-up before the Flowers Swim. The Butterfield 800 takes place May 28 at Governor’s Beach. Registration begins at 3 p.m. and the race starts at 4 p.m. Click here for more information.
Registration is open for the Flowers 1-Mile Sea Swim, where 12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte is among a strong field of international standouts set to compete along with local Olympians like Brett and Shaune Fraser, Heather Roffey, Andrew Mackay, Lara and Geoff Butler, Darren Mew and more.