Records set at Flowers One-Mile Sea Swim

2017 winner Jordan Wilimovsky exits the water at the finish line.

More than a thousand people plunged into the waters off Seven Mile Beach under scorching sun on Saturday, 10 June, for the 25th annual Flowers One-Mile Sea Swim, with the winners reaching shore in record time.

American Jordan Wilimovsky led the field to the finish near the Westin hotel, completing the race in a course record of 16 minutes and 22 seconds.

“I’m ecstatic. It’s super fun to come out here and do this race every year,” the 23-year-old said moments after reaching dry land for his second time winning the event (2015).

Meantime, Ashley Twichell, another United States swimmer, was the first female across the finish line in 17 minutes 41 seconds. He time was also the fastest

Swimmers exit the water at the end of the one-mile race.

The course was shifted to start at Royal Palms and swim towards the Westin the day before due to swim conditions. With that, the swimmers moved with the current. “It helps you coming in,” Wilimovsky said. “My coach joked that it’s like a lazy river. You just take it up to the beach,” he told reporters.

The event was the vision of Frank Flowers Sr, who wanted to cater to swimmers of any age, ability and background and allow them to compete with famous Olympic swimmers, who show up year after year.

“I was very excited. Needless to say, it met my expectations. The numbers were where I wanted them to be for the 25th anniversary,” Flowers told

A regular participant over the years has been Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association (CIASA) president, Michael Lockwood.

“This is our biggest swim even ever. This event means a lot to us and CIASA is always happy to support Mr Flowers and all of his efforts and it is great to see that this has grown from 50 swimmers to 1,000 in 25 years. And here’s to bigger and better things to come,” he said.

Jonathan Key of Stingray Swim Club was 31st fastest. “It was great. With the current being on you and with 1,200 swimmers in the water, it was a much better start than last year. Just being around 25 other Olympian swimmers, plus Canada’s team, it was a whole lot different and a whole lot more fun,” the 17-year-old said.

When we caught up with Camana Bay Aquatic Club’s Finn Bishop, the 12-year-old appeared pleased to reach the finish. “It was hard. It was really rough,” he said. “I chose to go a bit too shallow, so it was a mistake on my part but overall, I had fun.”

Among the Olympians participating was Lara Butler, who retired from competitive swimming after setting a Cayman Islands record in the 100m backstroke in Rio last August.

“It was a lot harder now that I don’t swim but it was good. I was following along with the younger swimmers but I definitely noticed the difference now that I don’t swim [competitively] anymore,” Butler said as she caught her breath at the finish.

Brett Fraser, who represented the Cayman Islands at Olympic Games in 2008 and 2012, was pleased with his 55th place finish, although for him it was more than just a race. “It’s amazing to come back every year and share this experience with a lot of people that I grew up with and my family and friends,” he said.

All of the proceeds of the registration proceeds of the race will be donated to the local cancer society in honour of Eve Flowers, Frank Sr’s wife, who died of leukaemia last year. A big push for the Flowers family is to raise awareness and funds to one day make it possible for a registry to ensure people in the Caribbean can have a donor match, should the need arise.

Flowers acknowledged that the event would not be possible without the multitudes of volunteers, who help make the event possible each year.

“I have a debt of gratitude to all of them because they do it year after year and they only get a ‘thank you’. It’s a sense of pride that they use and we get so many of the expats that come here and help,” he said.

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