John Gray swimmer wins gold at CIASA National Championships

The Cayman Islands National Swimming Championship meet was a huge success.

Just over a week ago, the John Gray Swim Team participated in the Island’s National meet where the team received personal best times for their events.

The meet was a grueling four days in length and held both prelims and finals sessions from February 18th thru the 21st.

Coach Ryan Mushin, said the purpose of his team is to provide more opportunities to the younger generation through sports and to evoke a deep team spirit and sense of sportsmanship amongst his swimmers.

Coach Mushin said, “That the John Gray Swim Team is just the beginning of the race and that the Department of Sports aquatic team will continue to achieve their goal to make swimming a more accessible sport to everyone in the Cayman Islands.”

In regards to their most recent competition, The National Championships, it was an extremely fruitful meet and showed that all their hard training had been worth it. Not only did they participate but the team also medaled helping put John Gray Swim Club on the swimming map.

Earning the most points for the team was Krystal Campbell, who showed tremendous heart, courage and mental determination, competing for the first time in the 13-14 year old category.

Thinking she would be out swum competing against older competitors Campbell quickly realized that her hard work would pay off. And it did, winning the meet’s only gold for the women in the 50 meter breaststroke and winning a bronze medal for the team in the girls 13-14 200 meter breaststroke.

However, not to be shadowed by Campbell, team leader and veteran Genesis Scott represented the club with two personal best times. Not only did she PB, she guided the new swimmers using her previous experiences, her kind heart and lead by example attitude and sportsmanship to lead her teammates to the “water.” One teammate being Victoria Carvalho who showed her will to improve and grow as a swimmer in the 50 meter breaststroke and 50 meter freestyle.

Not far off her feet was fellow team member and friend Alana Edwards. Swimming by example and having a friend to lean on allowed Edward to match Carvalho with a personal best time.

It takes a village they say, and the JGSC men with the help of that village had fun while swimming fast. Fast swimming, while executing legal technique was the team goal.

Paving the way for the team was Veteran team members, Brandon McLaughlin, Rayne Harding and Rylan Bennett-Carter. Each young man raced their hearts out, earning personal best times in all their events.

McLaughlin was on the top of his game qualifying for finals in both of his events, the Men’s 15-17, 50 meter butterfly & 100 meter backstroke.

Riding that wave of success was Jaydon Williams, swimming all 4 days of the Cayman National Championship while earning best times in all 4 of his events. Williams, who has the best practice attendance on the team is the true definition of, “Hard Work Pays Off!”

The last day of competition wasn’t any different for the JGSC team and its rookie swimmers. JGHS track star Dreshawn Welsh showed he is a multi-sport athlete competing in the 11-12 age group in the 50 meter freestyle. Welsh showed he can race in the pool as well as the track, swimming a personal best, dropping 7 seconds in the event.

During the meet there were some proud moments for the team, most remarkably being the fact that they were able to represent their high school at an officiated swim meet and compete against other teams.

Coach Mushin said he couldn’t be happier with the young men and women of the John Gray Swim Club. Starting a new sport late in life is never easy, especially when you are competing against the top swimmers in Cayman.”

He said, “Their dedication to the sport continues to impress and inspire. These young men and women show up in the morning, before school and work hard. They are not forced to practice or attend, yet from 7:15- 8:00 am Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning you can find upward to 35 JGHS students taking the plunge and working hard to improve.”

Amazingly enough, their hard work before school in the pool spills into the classroom. Through sport their parents and teachers notice a considerable improvement in their behavior, time management and focus during the day.

We would like to thank PricewaterhouseCoopers, PWC as our first sponsor and support, Coach Kirlew Watson, Coach William Balderamos, Coach Caroline Reid, the Cayman Islands Amateur Aquatic Association, Honorable Minister Bernie Bush and his team, and the Department of Sports, Assistant Director Ms. Emily Kelly, Coach Chester Hurlston, Coach Bryce Thompson and Coach Joanna Manderson for the help and support for the John Gray Swim Club as we navigate the waters on our new aquatic journey.

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