(CNS Local Life): The Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association (CIASA) hosted the fourth annual Cayman Islands National Swimming Championship 16-19 February at the Camana Bay Aquatic Centre, with the open-water 5K taking place earlier in the month. A number of swimmers made qualifying times across the course of the weekend in order to be considered for selection on upcoming national junior, senior and development squads, and CIASA will soon be announcing who has made the full CARIFTA swimming team.
When starting the nationals four years ago, and with the full support of the coaches from CIASA’s affiliated swim clubs, it was decided to run the meet in a four-day, preliminary and finals format. What this means is that swimmers compete in preliminary heats in the morning and then those who qualify for finals come back that night to vie for a place on the podium.
Bailey Weathers, CIASA technical director, explained that the format, which is used for many international competitions, offers Cayman’s swimmers an experience that “simply can’t be replicated in any other way. To give the swimmers this opportunity, two days of the meet are school days and so the support and cooperation that the schools provide their student athletes – allowing them to arrive at school late for those two days – is significant, so on behalf of swimming I extend my thanks to the schools for their support”.
CARIFTA Championships, CCCAN Championships, Island Games and the World Masters Championships all use this format, Weathers said, adding that by competing in a similar fashion, Cayman’s swimmers can better develop strategies which will allow them to swim fast “enough” in the preliminary heats, thus getting to the finals, and then faster in the finals.
“Our goal is to get Cayman swimming into as many finals as possible and this is a step in the right direction towards preparing our swimmers to do so,” he said.
The National Championships is also the last local meet at which Cayman’s CARIFTA hopefuls can qualify for that competition’s pool or open-water events, while also allowing swimmers enough time to work with their coaches on detailed training plans for all 2017 competitions.
The 32nd CARIFTA Swimming Championships will be held in the Bahamas, 15-19 April.
CIASA president Michael Lockwood said, “The National Swimming Championships has become an important competition for our swimmers since its inception in 2013. It is a well-attended event by the swimming community and affords our swimmers a chance to experience what international competitions are like. The competition cannot be put on without the overwhelming support of our community and, in particular, our parents, sponsors, partners and volunteers.”