As 7-year-old Ashley Christian stepped out of the water onto the soft sands of Governor’s Beach, she glanced back to take it all in.
“I was challenging myself,” said Christian, who was participating in her first Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association (CIASA) open water event when she took off in Saturday’s (28 Feb.) 34th-annual CUC 800-metre Sea Swim.
“I was scared I was going to lose but my mom said that even if I don’t win, I can be proud that I finished.”
Thomas Ferguson was the first to finish while Harper Barrowman was the top female finisher. It was a day of fun and development for Cayman Swimming, which saw 103 swimmers register for the 800; while a number of younger or less-experienced swimmers took on the 400-metre course, including Christian.
“We’re thrilled to see young swimmers coming out to try their first open water swim,” said CIASA President Stephen Broadbelt. “These swims are all about having fun, bringing the community together and developing a love for the sport regardless of ability or experience.”
Ferguson, who finished first in the Foster’s 800 event in November, placed first in the CUC 800 by clocking a time of 10-minutes, 47.02 seconds. That was more than two seconds better than Will Sellars, who finished second in 10:49.05, edging third-place Dominic Hilton (10:50.02). Jordan Lisle (10:55.99) and Connor MacDonald (11:01.67) rounded out the top five.
Barrowman (11:02.49) placed sixth overall, followed by Sierrah Broadbelt (11:14.02), Riley Watson (11:20.05) and Lola Haworth (11:33.14).
The event marked the first of four CIASA open water events for 2023.
“CUC has always been involved in all sorts of sports, particularly sports that involve kids,” said Sacha Tibbetts, CUC’s Vice President of Customer Service & Technology. “It was a great turnout today — all walks of life, a cross section of the entire island and it’s great to just get all of those folks together and doing something that’s healthy and fun.”
The next event on CIASA’s open water calendar is the Flow 34th Annual 800-metre Sea Swim, slated for Saturday, 13 May.