New meet posthumously honours young swimmer

| 04/06/2015
Cayman News Service

Landon Von Kanel

(CNS): The first-ever Landon Von Kanel Memorial Invitational Swim Meet will take place 4-7 June at the Lions Aquatic Centre. Presented by Coldwell Banker Cayman and the Von Kanel family, the meet is in memory of Landon, a former Stingray Swim Club swimmer who died in a car accident in the US in 2001.

A native Mississippian, and the son of Pastor Randy Von Kanel and his wife Cindy, Landon spent his primary and early secondary years at home in the Cayman Islands where he excelled in swimming at the Lions Pool and in the Caribbean. He became the first gold medalist in international competition in the history of Cayman Islands swimming, winning both the 200m and 400m Free at the CARIFTA Games in Trinidad in 1996.

Those first medals by Landon (two gold and two silver) and two of his best friends and teammates, Shauna Powell (two gold and one silver) and Tina Abbott (two silver), were the first of many more to come as they inspired the swimmers who followed to believe they could achieve their dreams.

At this weekend’s event, Cayman’s competitive age group swim clubs will be vying for the opportunity to post personal bests, break records and put their rivals on notice of what is to come next year. The mixed-schedule races means there is something for every swimmer – sprinters, middle distance and long distance; and the four-day schedule enables numerous opportunities for fans to come out to support the competitors. Entry is free for the event.

The competition marks the first swim meet hosted in Landon’s memory and organisers are looking for it to become an annual invitational event. It is classified as invitational in the hopes it will encourage excellence in swimming and foster cross-cultural experiences between Caymanian and international swimmers. Landon represented both in his achievements in the water and in his personable, winsome manner of making friends with fellow swimmers in the Cayman Islands, across the Caribbean, and in the US.

JC Calhoun of sponsor Coldwell Banker Cayman explained why his company is supporting this new event. “I have always believed that young people’s surroundings play a large part in who they become as adults.  That is why I founded Little League and why Coldwell Banker continues to support youth programmes which promote sportsmanship, accountability and discipline along with competition.  As a result we are pleased to sponsor this event held in memory of such a fine young man,” he said.

The meet closes out a highly successful season under Stingray head coach David Pursley, and follows on from last month’s fast-paced Vigoro Friday Night Lights and Lions Sprint Meet.

Swimming action starts at 6pm on 4 June and 5:30pm on 5 June, with races on 6 and 7 June taking place in two sessions. Session I (girls 11 and over, and boys 13 and over) starts at 8:15am with Session II beginning 30 minutes after the first session ends.

Heading into summer, Stingray Swim Club has a full schedule of training ahead as swimmers prepare for the Island Games in Jersey; PanAm Games in Toronto; the CIASA-organised National Development Swim Team training camp in Fort Myers, Florida; and the Endless Summer Swim Meet in Clearwater, Florida.

For more information, visit the Stingray Swim Club website or email SSC.

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Category: Sports, Swimming

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