Swimmer Hew makes history for Cayman

| 02/08/2017
CNS Local Life

Lauren Hew and swim coach Bailey Weathers

(CNS Local Life): Though she did not come away with a medal, Lauren Hew, the lone swimmer representing Cayman at the just-completed FINA World Championships, notched several firsts for herself and her country. For one, Hew’s performance in the pool took the Cayman Islands into the top 50 female swimmers in the world championships.The competition, held in Budapest, Hungary 14-30 July, brought together 1,000 swimmers from 182 nations.

The FINA World Championships alternate biannually between 25m and 50m course, with this year’s event marking the 17th annual long-course competition.

Hew,17, also made her mark by giving the Cayman Islands the best placing it has ever had in the women’s 100m backstroke (50th overall). She also placed fourth among swimmers of the CCCAN (Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation) region.

In addition, Hew’s 200m freestyle swim marked the first time a woman from the Cayman Islands has competed in that race at the long course world championships.

She described her races and what it was like to compete at the event. “My times weren’t quite what I expected, but at a high level meet where I only swam two events the main goal isn’t necessarily to get a best time but more to gain experience,” she said. “The atmosphere at meets like this isn’t something you get to experience often, so I have been soaking it in and I am grateful that CIASA (Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association) provides me with these opportunities.”

From Budapest, Hew travelled to Nashville, Tennessee, for the USA Swimming Futures Championships, taking place 3-6 August. Ahead of the FINA championships she competed at the Island Games in Gotland, Sweden. Hew is training and taking part in these various competitions in the build-up to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia next year. Her long-term goals include the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

She explained one reason she has relocated to the US was to take advantage of the training facilities at her boarding school, Saint Andrew’s, in South Florida. “Another reason was that I didn’t want to be complacent with being one of the top swimmers in Cayman and lose motivation to improve. I knew that surrounding myself with swimmers who really challenged me and had the same drive or a greater one than myself is what I needed and what I was missing out on. Having that extra push this year has really helped me to improve and also grow as an athlete because I am surrounded by hard workers.”

CNS Local Life

Adam Roberts

Joining Hew in Budapest was Adam Roberts, who serves as one of the highest-ranking swimming officials in the Cayman Islands. His presence at the competition marked the first time that a Cayman referee was selected by FINA as a technical official for the championships.

“The FINA World Championships are the biggest event I have ever attended as an official,” Roberts said. “The venue is superb, with towering banks of seating and the organisation is very impressive. There is a tremendous sense of calm on the pool deck and everyone is devoted to their task from the referee to the basket carriers; there is so much going on behind the scene so that all is smooth on the deck.”

He also spoke of seeing world records set, something he had never experienced before. “This is the first time I have been on deck for a world record and to see four in one day is lucky beyond belief. The crowd in the arena is amazing, with a real knowledge and appreciation of swimming,” he said.

“Great Britain’s Adam Peaty seems a particular overseas favourite. The noise when (Hungarian Olympic champion) Katinka Hosszu won her gold medal and Peaty twice broke the world record for 50m breaststroke, was actually painful on the ear.”

He singled out those who made his involvement at the event possible. “I would like to thank my mentors, Errol Clarke and Steven Goldman, who persuaded me that this was a worthwhile use of my time, to CIASA for their support and to CI Government for giving me the time off to attend.”

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Category: Sports, Swimming

Comments (2)

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  1. frangipani says:

    It’s about time the Government helps the Swimming Association to get a 50 metre pool. There is money for everything else. Come on now!! time for a pool!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations, well done.