Butler misses spot in final

Photo by: Jade Webster, CIOC Press Representative

Geoffrey Butler, the first Cayman Islands athlete to compete at the Rio Olympics, won his opening heat in the men’s 400m freestyle on Saturday, 6 August. However, he was not among the fastest swimmers overall and missed a spot in the final.

Swimming in lane four in the first heat, Butler, 20, lined up against two other swimmers from Andorra and Pakistan. He easily won the heat in a time of 4:07.87 but that far from one of the top times in all the heats, so the first-time Olympian was eliminated.

“It was slower than my PB [personal best], so it was a bit disappointing,” Butler said afterward and was not immediately sure what went wrong for him. “It might have been that I went out too fast and did not have enough energy for the rest of the race or I did not go out fast enough and had too much left in the tank.”

Despite that, the Olympic experience in Rio de Janeiro is one that will stay with the young athlete for the rest of his life.  “It was an awesome experience. I could hear my heart beating in my ears even before I went on the blocks. It was an incredible moment,” he said.

A small Cayman contingent was on hand for his race, including his biggest cheerleader, his sister and fellow Olympian, Lara Butler.

“I could hear Lara at the end and that was great. It felt good. I always have Lara [present] for all my big races. She has been there for all my best swims,” he said. “It’s always great, reassuring to hear her.”

So what’s next for the 2013 Cayman Islands swimmer of the year? “Just enjoy summer,” he said. After which he’ll return to university in the UK. Before all of that, however, he’ll be poolside when his sister makes her Olympic debut in the women’s 100m backstroke Sunday morning (7 August) at around 11:00 a.m. in the Cayman Islands.

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