Bodden, Hew reflect on opening swims at Pan Am Games

Photos by Jade Webster, CIOC Press Attache

Cayman Islands swimmers John Bodden and Lauren Hew have reflected on their first races at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Bodden set two personal best times and made a final, while Hew was off her best and failed to advance to the final in her first event.

Bodden was the first to enter the pool at the aquatic centre on 6 August. He won his heat and set a new personal best time of 4:04.34 in the men’s 400m freestyle preliminaries, finishing ahead of Graham Chartoor of Trinidad & Tobago and Daniel Scott of Guyana. He advanced to the B Final, where he finished with a time of 4:10.70, placing him 16th overall.

John Bodden

The Stingray Swim Club athlete also set a new personal best time of 2:08.22 in the 200m butterfly but did not advance from the heats.

“I swam pretty good today, so I’m excited,” Bodden said. “I was pretty nervous. I could feel the butterflies in my stomach but I knew that I had to push back, so I used that as [motivation] to swim faster,” said Bodden, who has just completed his freshman year at McKendree University in Illinois.

Meantime, Hew, competed in the women’s 200m freestyle on 7 August. She finished 21st overall in 2:14.50, well off her national record time of 2:05.98 that she set at the Carifta Games in 2017.

“I’m pretty unhappy with my time in the 200m freestyle. It can be really frustrating when you add time at an event, especially that much,” said Hew, who is preparing for her sophomore year at Florida State University.

Lauren Hew

She added that she has not been close to her best time in the event for several months but expects that to change after a recent switch to training with a group specialising in mid-distances.

“I’m feeling a lot better about my training. I just moved to that group in the beginning of summer, so it’s going to take some time for that new training to take effect. But there’s always a bright side to things. I looked pretty strong in the beginning of the race, so that’s a good sign going into the 100 [freestyle],” Hew said.

The 19-year-old remained upbeat while looking ahead to her two other events despite her disappointment in her opening race.

“Just because I had one bad race doesn’t mean that the others aren’t going to be great, and so I’m just going to be focusing on staying positive and having a good mindset going into the 100 and 50 free and seeing what I can do there,” Hew said.

She is back in action on Thursday, 8 August for the 100m freestyle and then a day later for the 50m freestyle. Cayman’s other swimmer, Brett Fraser, begins his Pan Am Games competition on Thursday in the men’s 100m freestyle before diving in for the 50m freestyle on Friday. Bodden returns to the pool on Saturday 10 August for the 1,500m freestyle.

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