A total of 44 swimmers braved a torrential downpour Saturday (2 March) as Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association (CIASA) club Caymanite Synchro held its first ever competitive artistic swimming meet.
Head Coach Alissa Moberg said the ‘Caymanite Invitational’ saw 29 swimmers from ages 11-12 alone; a sign of continued growth and interest in the sport.
“It’s all about building roots in a sport where kids are craving creativity,” said Moberg. ” We are setting our sights on the UANA & Pan American Championships this summer. With that, we will open up trials for the 12-and under age group.”
The remaining 15 swimmers ages 13 to 18 battled for just seven spots to perform ‘small routines’ on Cayman’s second ever artistic swimming squad as part of CIASA’s delegation for the 34th CARIFTA Championships in Barbados 20-23 April.
“This meet determined who would be our top soloists and duets, and swim for points at CARIFTA, which is huge,” said Moberg. “Everyone was gunning for it.”
For Abbie Carnahan, a 2018 CARIFTA bronze medalist in duet, the sight of more eggbeaters in the pool is a welcome addition for this ‘Caymanite’ original.
“I’m so happy there’s so many more people that are interested in synchro,” said Carnahan. “I just really want our team to keep growing, and keeping improving, and become well known for synchro in the Caribbean, and other places.”
Artistic Swimming has attracted some of Cayman’s top swimmers like CIASA record holder and CARIFTA qualifier Lila Higgo.
“I only started synchro this year” said Higgo. “I swam competitively my whole life, this is my first real meet, so I was really happy with my score.”
For others, like 12-year old standout Jillian Crooks, it’s an opportunity to conquer another challenge against the region’s best. After a five-medal performance in her CARIFTA debut last year, Crooks says she has more to prove.
“My goals this is year are to get Junior Olympic cuts, and an Olympic B-time,” said Crooks. “I want to try to beat more records, and hopefully get a scholarship when I get older.”
With a team stacked full of talent, can the 2019 squad best last year’s four-medal debut performance at this year’s CARIFTA Championships? We will soon find out.
Here are the seven swimmers that will represent Cayman for Artistic Swimming in both solos and duets at the 34th CARIFTA Championships in Barbados:
Madison Van Duynhoven