19-year-old John Bodden capped off a solid overall performance in the pool Saturday (10 August) with his third personal best of the XVIII Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
The McKendree University sophomore and Stingray Swim Club standout clocked 16:16.31 to place 16th overall out of 18 swimmers in one of three straight finals in the Men’s 1500-metre Freestyle, smashing his previous best of 16:36.96 that earned him silver at the 2018 CARIFTA Championships.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Bodden. “Being able to compete for the Cayman Islands is something that I’ve always wanted to do, and being able to get three personal bests in all three of my events is a good way to start it. I dropped 20 seconds off my personal best from the 2018 CARIFTA. I didn’t think I was going to go that fast, but it was a good swim.”
Bodden will now shift his focus to training for his second season with the Bearcats with a long-term plan of representing Cayman again in international competition over the next five years.
“Hopefully, I will make the Division Two team, and score there, said Bodden. “This opened my eyes to the level of competition. I don’t think 2020 is in my realm for this next circuit, but 2024 is definitely a target with Commonwealth, CCCAN and Islands Games all in between them.”
A memorable experience for Cayman’s gentle giant in his Pan Am debut that he says enriched him both in and out of the pool.
“It feels good because I have always seen other athletes go and compete. My friends have played soccer and ran track, so to be able to do this has been pretty amazing. There’s a lot of different cultures here, and experience everyone has been the best part.”