Every athlete representing the Cayman Islands during 2022 certainly deserves all the praise and recognition for their contributions at a national level. However, there are a few who separated themselves from the pack with outstanding achievements and performances.
From setting national records to winning major events, Cay03Sports will list the country’s top 5 performers across a variety of disciplines based on editorial opinion.
5. Sierrah Broadbelt
Sierrah Broadbelt has solidified herself from an early age as a force in aquatics. The 13-year-old made no exception in 2022 when it came to improving and collecting medals for her efforts.
Broadbelt, won three medals, including a gold at the Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation Swimming and Open Water Championships. Prior to that, the East Ender who stems from prominent Caymanian lineage had a historic performance during the 2022 CARIFTA Games, where she also claimed gold.
She then became the youngest athlete to represent Cayman at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where she swam multiple personal best times.
Broadbelt closed out her season at the Christmas Open in Kingston, Jamaica, where she swam the open 200-metre butterfly in a new meet record and PB of 2:25.20. Her time shattered the 2018 mark of 2:34.52 by Jamaican standout Sabrina Lyn. It also moves her within range of a PanAm B standard qualifying time of 2:23.61.
4. Jillian Crooks
The Cayman Islands’ youngest Olympian and no doubt the fastest female swimmer in the Island’s history, Jillian Crooks made good on her performances in the pool for 2022.
Since the beginning of the season Jillian, who trains with TAC Titans has broken over 15 national short and long course records once or twice – most of them her own.
She notably swam a lifetime best in both the 50 and 100 freestyle events during the Big Southern Classic where she dipped under 23.0 for the first time in her career, stopping the clock at 22.83 in 50 finals. She followed that by an even larger drop in the 100, dropping over a second to finish at 48.86.
She went on to compete at the FINA World Championships (short course) in Melbourne, Australia, where she turned in multiple national records again.
She competed in the 50m fly, where she swam 26.40 seconds to set a new national record, besting her previous time of 27.44. She went on to swim the 100m free, where she clocked 54.20, lowering her previous national time of 55.34 and placed 26th overall out of 63 athletes.
3. Mason Duval
It has been long said that team-sports within the Cayman Islands has a lesser chance of succeeding when compared to individual sports. However, that doesn’t stop one from chasing the dream of competing in pro league while representing his/her country.
That’s the case for 21-year-old Caymanian Mason Duval who is on the verge of becoming the first athlete from the Cayman Islands to play in Major League Soccer following a successful year at Elon University in North Carolina.
Duval is currently in the MLS draft after he and his team won the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) regular season conference title. He finished the CAA Conference as the team’s leading striker, and he is tied for second in the league with the most goals scored.
During the season he was awarded CAA offensive player of the week and made the College Soccer News Team of the week. He also earned All-CAA recognition.
While he was netting history for his school, Duval also made time during 2022 to play for his country during the World Cup qualifiers and CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers.
Topping off his year, Duval was named the Player of the Year by Inside Caribbean Football.
2. Aaron Jarvis
Aaron Jarvis has solidified his place as the best current golfer from the Cayman Islands after a monumental 2022 where he competed in local, school and international events.
In January, Jarvis, 20, became the first Caymanian not only to make the podium but also to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.
In April, based on that win, he then became the first golfer from Cayman to compete in the US Masters where he finished at 155, 11 over par.
He continued to make a name for himself in the golfing world when he competed in the Open Championship, placing higher than the legendary Tiger Woods and claiming a medal as the second-best amateur golfer of the tournament.
1. Jordan Crooks
Swimmer Jordan Crooks has had the most successful 2022 of any Caymanian athlete, putting him first on the list. The University of Tennessee sophomore won the SEC title in the 50-yard freestyle at the 2022 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships, clocking a record-breaking time of 18.53 seconds, besting the previous record of 18.67 seconds set by Olympian Caeleb Dressel in 2015.
Crooks, who is considered to be the fastest freshman in NCAA history, continued to exceed expectations in 2022, when he clocked 18.27 in the 50 free, which moved him second all-time behind Dressel.
The 20-year-old swimming sensation then went on to win a historic gold medal for Cayman at the 16th FINA World Swimming Championships in Melbourne, Australia to top off a record-breaking year.
His gold medal came after he won the 50m freestyle event in 20.46 seconds, beating Britain’s Benjamin Proud (20.49) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter (20.72) to become Cayman’s first world champion in any sport and the fastest swimmer in the world.
To cap it all off, Crooks won the 2022 Central American and Caribbean Male Swimmer of the Year Swammy award and also the King Charles III’s first New Year Honours for world-class achievement in swimming.
While five competitors truly stood-out over the last 12 months, there were several others who also represented in elite form when it was time to prove athletes from the Cayman Islands can hang with the best of the best.
Some of those athletes include: Rasheem Brown (Track and field), Joshua O’Garro (Basketball), Julian Jervis (Squash), Alison Jackson (Swimming), Joshewa Frederick (Football), Charlotte Webster (Sailing), Kyffin Simpson (Indy Racing), Andrew Stone (Track and field) Molly Kehoe (Football, Flag and Rugby) Robert Thompson Jr. (Bodybuilding), Igor Magalhaes (Gymnastics), and Davonte Howell (Track and field).