Poirier, Bray claim Stroke & Stride titles

Veronique Poirier won the women's Stroke & Stride.

Veronique Poirier and Stuart Bray claimed the individual titles after the three-race Jaguar Land Rover Stroke & Stride series.

The series wrapped up Wednesday, 17 August after three weeks. Races were held on consecutive Wednesdays starting 3 August. The first race featured a 400-metre swim off Sunset House, followed by a two-mile run along South Church Street. The swims increased by 200 metres each week.

Stuart Bray (black) was the men's winner.

Stuart Bray (black) was the men’s winner.

In the end, Poirier comfortably won the women’s event. Andrea Kilam-Higgo and Jane Hale placed second and third respectively. Heading into the final event, Poirier was tied on points with her sister, Marie-Claude, who was visiting the island but left before the final race.

“She helped me to win,” Poirier told CaymanSportsBuzz.com after collecting her trophy. “It was a good challenge. Every week, it was a good race and a lot of fun.”

Easily one of the fittest athletes on the course each week, the winner still sees room for improvement in her performance. “I do Crossfit all the time and I used to be a good swimmer and it’s just the run that I have to work on,” she said.

Alex McCallum finished second in the men's event.

Iain McCallum finished second in the men’s event.

Bray took the men’s title, holding off a challenge from the McCallum brothers, Iain and Alex, who were second and third in the standings, and consistently among the first swimmers out of the water.

“I think there are a lot of people who are either very good runners or very good swimmers. I’m about average at both,” Bray told CaymanSportsBuzz.com.

He noted the swims were particularly challenging, especially on the final race-day.

“Down here, the swims are different every time. The first couple of weeks weren’t too bad but today it was a little rougher. The current was in a different direction than normal, so going out was extremely difficult and hard to breathe, and also hard to see where the buoys were. Coming back was fine. It was definitely the toughest today,” Bray explained.

Team 345's Dominic Dyer and Marius Acker with TRAC Automotive's Dan Neal (centre).

Team 345’s Dominic Dyer and Marius Acker with TRAC Automotive’s Dan Neal (centre).

Two-time defending men’s champion, Matthew Courtis, did not compete but that did not take the lessen the sweetness of victory for Bray.

“It feels really good. He wasn’t there this year…so it was great to win it. It’s been going for a lot of years, so it’s one of the biggest participated events on the island and it feels good to have won it.”

Team Ando leapfrogged Team Swipe in the final race to win the mixed team division, while Splash N Dash won the women’s team division. Marius Acker and Dominic Dyer joined forces as Team 345 to win the men’s team title ahead of California Connection and TRAC 2.


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