Swimming in Landon’s memory

Pastor Randy Von Kanel with SSC Swmmers.

Nearly a decade and a half since his death, Landon Von Kanel’s name and memory remains fresh on the minds of Cayman’s swimming community. For those competing in the many meets held at Lions Aquatic Centre, the lane four starting block is dedicated in his memory and for the past three years, swimmers gather annually for the Landon Von Kanel Memorial Swim Meet.

The former Stingray Swim Club member and national swimmer was the first gold medallist in international competition in the history of Cayman Islands swimming, winning both the 200m and 400m freestyle at the CARIFTA Games in Trinidad in 1996. His life was cut short in car accident in the United States in 2001.

Those first medals by Landon (two gold and two silver) and two of his best friends and teammates, Shauna Powell (two gold and one silver) and Tina Abbott (two silver), were the first of many more to come as they inspired the swimmers who followed to believe they could achieve their dreams.

As time goes on, neither Landon, nor his spirit and commitment, is forgotten, as the 2017 meet in his honour was hosted by his former club from 1-4 June under the scorching sun.

“This meet is important for SSC and the swimming community on so many levels. From a community stand point it is important to remember those that paved the way for the success that has been Cayman Swimming and Stingray Swim Club. Landon’s story is an inspiration to all our swimmers,” said Stingray Head Coach David Pursley.

“From a performance stand point it is important for the clubs because it is the only on island meet that we attend before heading off to our end of summer championship meets in late July and early August. With so few opportunities to compete it was important that we took advantage of all four days, and we did just that. The pool was packed with competitors every session. The meet gave us the tune up we needed and the progress report to put things in perspective,” Pursley added.

High points awards went to: Girls: 6&Under, Zimmie McGrath (CBAC); 7-8, Sierrah Broadbelt (SMS); 9-10, Jillian Crooks (CBAC), 11-12, Kyra Rabess (SSC); 13-14, Ali Jackson (SSC) / Avery Lambert (CBAC) and 15-17, Sarah Jackson (SSC). Boys: 6& Under, Noah Watson (SSC), 7-8, Luke Higgo (CBAC) 9-10 Phin Ellison (CBAC); 11-12 Finn Bishop (CBAC); 13-14 Corey Westerborg-Frederick (SSC) and 15-17 Cole Morgan (SSC).

L-R: Sarah Jackson, Corey Frederick-Westerborg, Phin Ellison, Jillian Crooks, Kyra Rabess, Ali Jackson, Finn Bishop.


Meantime, Pursley credited Landon’s father, Pastor Randy Von Kanel, as being a tremendous supporter for the athletes from day one when he helped to build Stingray Swim Club.  He continues to support and inspire our swimmers as he teaches them the value of sport and tells the history of swimming on island every year.

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