Swim captains ready to lead the way

2017 CARIFTA Swim team with Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden.

Cayman’s strong delegation heads to the Bahamas Thursday, 13 April, for the CARIFTA Swimming Championships with two first-time captains ready to lead the way.

John Bodden and Sarah Jackson, both of Stingray Swim Club, were selected by their teammates to lead the group of 31 swimmers at the 15-19 April meet.

“It means a lot because my teammates picked me, so that means they see something in me to lead the team,” Jackson said ahead of the team’s last training session at the Camana Bay Aquatic Centre on Wednesday.

Bodden said he, too, was honoured by the role and wants to lead by example. “Individually, I’m looking to do well and overall, I want the team to do very well and place high in the standings and have everyone supporting each other in their races,” he told CaymanSportsBuzz.com.

Last year, Team Cayman finished seventh overall and second in the open water competition, as they won 15 medals in all: seven gold, four silver and four bronze.

Bodden said he plans to give it his all in every event he competes in but his main objective is repeating his gold-medal performance in the open water 5K.

Jackson, who missed the cut for the CARIFTA team last year, said she is looking forward to helping her team as much as she can. “I’m looking to final in as many events as possible to contribute to the team points,” she said, noting that a relay gold would be something she’d especially enjoy.

Two of the rookies making the trip are 11-year-olds Allyson Belfonte and Stefano Bonati.

“It’s quite exciting, knowing that I’m the youngest as well,” said Belfonte. Bonati added: “It makes me feel good and makes me feel like I’m part of something and I’m going to try my best,” he said, noting that a goal of his was to make finals in his events 50m, 100m, 200m backstroke and 100m, 400m freestyle.

Belfonte outlined her goals for the championships: “I’m looking forward to trying to place in the top 10 in for 100 fly and 200 fly because butterfly is my main stroke. I last swam the 200 fly quite a while ago, so I’m hoping to get a PB in it.”

The full team:

11-12 Girls: Allyson Belfonte, Avery Lambert, Carmella Ylagan, Kyra Rabess, Raya Embury-Brown, Sophie Ackerly, Sophie Ellison, Stephanie Royston.

11-12 Boys: Cory Frederick-Westerborg, Finn Bishop, Jackson Haywood-Crouch, Stefano Bonati, Ethan Smith.

13-14 Girls: Alison Jackson, Emily Link, Holly Stradling, Ria Plunkett, Sabine Ellison.

13-14 Boys: Jake Bailey, Jordan Crooks, Zachary Moore.

15-17 Girls: Ella Plunkett, Lauren Hew, Sam Bailey, Sarah Jackson.

15-17 Boys: Alex Dakers, Eddie Weber, John Bodden, Jonathan Key, Liam Henry, Rory Barrett.

The head coach is Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association (CIASA) technical director, Bailey Weathers. The associate head coaches are Caleb Miller (Camana Bay Aquatic Club) and David Pursley (Stingray Swim Club).

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