Cayman Islands swimmers end with 50 medals

L-R: Samantha Bailey, John Bodden, Ria Plunkett.

Call it an even 50! The Cayman Islands picked up three medals in open water races Wednesday, 19 April, to increase their medal tally at the 2017 CARIFTA Swimming Championships in the Bahamas.

After an impressive performance in the pool, where local swimmers took home 16 gold medals, 14 silver, and 17 bronze, eight of them took to the open water. Though the conditions were less than ideal, three of those swimmers made the podium.

John Bodden, who won gold last year, finished second this time around to collect a silver in the Boys 15-17 event. Ria Plunkett equalled her 2016 placing and takes home a bronze medal from the Girls 13-14 swim, while Samantha Bailey won bronze in the Girls 15-17. spoke with Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association (CIASA) president Michael Lockwood about the team’s overall performance, having won the most medals by the Islands at any CARIFTA Championships, surpassing the 46 won in 2004.

“I think ‘wow’ pretty much sums it up. I’m very proud of the team in terms of their performance and it’s good to see that all their hard work has been paying off and that they’re at the level they want and need to be,” he said.

Lockwood described the swimmers’ feat as inspirational: “Even for the younger swimmers, who were probably watching the results from home because they can now get excited about being part of the team as they get older.”

He attributed the success to the hard work of the swimmers, their club coaches and CIASA technical director Bailey Weathers in recent years.

“One of the things about swimming is that you can’t just expect overnight results and there’s a lot of seeds that need to be planted a couple of years in advance to get to the type of performances that we saw this past weekend. So, it boils down to their own determination and hard work, and what the coaches have been able to bring to them,” he said.

The team returns home Thursday afternoon. will have more on the team’s historic performance.

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