Cayman swimming trio preparing for World Championships

Cayman's World Championships trio L-R: Alison Jackson, Alex McCallum, Lauren Hew

Three swimmers are preparing to represent the Cayman Islands at the 13th FINA World Swimming Championships in Ontario, Canada from 6-11 December.

Lauren Hew, Ali Jackson and Alex McCallum, have achieved the Cayman Islands FINA qualifying times and will join over 900 swimmers, representing 170 national federations.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our swimmers to gain international experience against the world’s best and to develop the necessary building blocks to progress to the next stage of their swimming career,” said Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association’s (CIASA) Technical Director, Bailey Weathers.

“We would like to thank the Cayman Islands Olympics Committee (CIOC) and Davenport Development for their continued support of CIASA and our swimmers.”

Hew, 17, will compete in the 100m and 200m Backstroke (1:03.90/ 2:18.51) and 200m Freestyle (2:04.61). “I love my island and take so much pride in representing the country. Nothing is more honourable than having the opportunity to represent my home,” she said.

She has competed in two world championships- Doha, Qatar in 2014 and Kazan, Russia in 2015. She has also competed in numerous CARIFTA Swimming Championships and Islands Games competitions, and Commonwealth and Junior Commonwealth Games.

Hew said she has learnt something new at each of these meets that helps her develop as a swimmer and improve her ability to compete.  Commenting on her Kazan experience, she said: “I experienced one of the best atmospheres ever. I was able to watch several World records be broken and also see up close some of the world’s best swimmers in their element.”

Alex McCallum, who recently completed university, has had similar opportunities to represent Cayman on the world’s swimming scene. He competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Island Games as well as many CARIFTA Games. This will be his first World Championship.

His top three events that he will be competing in are 50m and 100m Backstroke (27.65, 58.86) and 100m Freestyle (52.95).  McCallum comments, “I always feel proud representing Cayman overseas since we are such a small Island and it’s an honour to show everyone what we’re capable of doing.”

Hew and McCallum are excited to welcome rookie,14 year-old Alison Jackson to the team and feel that they will be able to offer her guidance based on their own personal experiences.

Jackson, has made her own waves in the Caribbean having attended many CARIFTA Games and earning the respect of her fellow competitors by placing in the top eight and, in some cases, winning many of her races.

Jackson’s top three events that she will be swimming are 50m and 100m Freestyle (27.01, 59.64) and 100 Individual Medley (1.12.81). She is very excited to be attending her first World Championships.

“I will be able to see professional swimmers race and be able to race against them which is something I wouldn’t experience at any other meet I’ve been to before. It means a lot for me to be able to travel to a meet outside of the Caribbean and represent Cayman on a global scale. Also travelling with Alex and Lauren, who have been to global scale meets and know how to act and know the ropes – they will help me to represent my country to the best of my ability,” Jackson said.

All three swimmers have had the opportunity to train with and in some cases be part of a team with recent Caymanian Olympians, Lara and Geoff Butler. This experience has been invaluable providing many mentorship opportunities and friendship.

“I am sad that I won’t have Geoffrey and Lara with us on this trip because they were two awesome, not only swimmers, but persons that guided me from my first international competition, Glasgow 2014, through to one of their last international competitions, Kazan 2015,” Hew said.

“I think that we are fortunate that even from our small nation we have such amazing athletes like the Fraser brothers to learn from who have proven that we can make a name for ourselves through our accomplishments,” she added.

Meantime, McCallum said: “Looking up to and being able to train closely with Caymanian Olympians is really special and gives us higher goals and expectations to reach for.”

CIASA President Michael Lockwood told the swimmers: “On behalf of CIASA and our swim community, we wish you the very best as you represent your country at this prestigious event- have fun and swim fast!”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.