After four days of intense competition, the Cayman Islands Aquatic Association (CIASA) National Championships ended last Tuesday evening with eight records. Swimmers that took part were from Camana Bay Aquatic Club, Stingray Swim Club, Seven Mile Swimmers and John Gray Swim Team (JGST).
Held at the Camana Bay Aquatic Centre; around 200 swimmers, including Olympian Jillian Crooks, raced in morning preliminaries to qualify for evening finals. As the last-chance qualifier for CARIFTA 2023, (regional age-group junior championship, Curacao) the meet attracted a capacity crowd. Attendees included Deputy Premier, Hon. Chris Saunders and Minister for Youth & Sports, Hon. Bernie Bush.
Outstanding form secured Crooks gold in her 50m, 100m, and 200m Freestyle races, as well as winning the 50m and 200m Backstroke, and the 50m and 100m Butterfly. Crooks’ dominance was further highlighted by setting new National and CIASA records in the 50m Backstroke, 100m Butterfly, and 50m Freestyle. However, the University of Tennessee sophomore’s winning streak was briefly halted on Tuesday evening by 14-year-old Sierrah Broadbelt, who out-touched the Olympian to win gold and National Record in the 200m Butterfly. Broadbelt also smashed the existing record, later gaining another in the 50m Butterfly.
Another edge-of-your-seat race was Connor MacDonald’s 1500m Freestyle race on Day One. His performance set the celebratory tone of the National Championships, earning him a 20-second personal best and a CARIFTA qualifying time.
With several participants securing CARIFTA-qualifying times, all of John Gray Swim Team’s participants earned personal bests.
“It was an extremely fruitful meet and showed that all their training had been worth it. Krystal Campbell showed tremendous heart, courage and mental determination swimming in the 13-14 year old category. Her hard work paid off winning our only gold for the women in the 50m Breaststroke and a bronze in the 200m Breaststroke,” said Department of Sports Head Coach for Swimming and JGST’s Coach, Ryan Mushin.
The meet also saw two Chinese swimmers Zicheng Wang and Ziyang Zhang compete. Both are coached by former Cayman Swim Coach Dave Kelsheimer.