As if we needed any further excuse for diving into Seven Mile’s crystalline waters, the Flowers Sea Swim returns for its 25th anniversary on June 10.
The calm, clear sea and balmy weather make for a flawless course, placing Flowers in the World’s Top 13 Open Water Swims. It’s also the richest open water event out there, with over $100,000 in cash and random prizes up for grabs. Previous giveaways have included mobile phones, iPads and hotel stays. The odds of winning one of these random prizes are 1-in-7. Even those who don’t score a prize still walk away with a T-shirt and goody bag.
One Mile Sea Swim
The classic one-mile swim will begin at the Kimpton Seafire Resort and finish at The Ritz-Carlton, with the prize-giving ceremony held at the Westin. Swimmers of all strokes are welcome, with participants ranging from eight to 80 years old, including novices who just want to get across the finish line, to gold medal Olympians and world championship open water specialists. Priced at $32 per entrant, all registration proceeds are donated to the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.
5k and 10k
For those seeking an extra challenge, Flowers also holds international 5k and 10k races. Starting at the Westin on June 12, both local and visiting swimming aficionados aged 14+ are encouraged to take part (the entry fee is $60).
“We will be introducing time chips for all the 5 and 10k athletes this year, making this a truly international event,” says Dara Flowers Burke, who heads up Flowers Sea Swim Marketing.
Again, many generous random prizes stand to be won by competitors, in addition to an American holiday prize for the overall winners, trophies for the top three places and a bonus US$5,000 for anyone who breaks the current 10k course record.
Last year, the Flowers Sea Swim attracted over 1,000 registrants. Non-swimmers can support the race and soak up the atmosphere by signing up for the Walk & Watch option for $20. All registered walkers are eligible for random prizes and the first 100 to check in on race day receive a free T-shirt.
Besides enjoying a day out on Seven Mile Beach, the event offers a rare chance to see Olympic swimmers in action. Some 25 Olympians have signed up this year. Cayman’s very own Brett and Shaune Fraser, Heather Roffey, and Geoffrey and Lara Butler will compete against American Olympic gold medal-winner Ian Crocker and Australia’s open-water world record holder Penny Palfrey.
Adding to the excitement, Cayman will also host the 2017 UANA Open Water Swimming Championships this year, which will see delegates from North, South and Central America visiting the island to compete in several events from June 9 – 12.
“This year is our 25th anniversary and it will be the biggest and best yet with an incredible amount of random prizes, Olympic swimmers and lots of surprises,” Dara says. “The race route has changed too, so that will be a fun, new experience for everyone.”
And her favorite part of the event? “I love the start of the race. I am not a competitive swimmer, so I swim for fun and the start is so exciting with everyone waiting anxiously to begin. When the signal horn goes off and all the splashing starts with a sea of a thousand or more swimmers, it’s so exhilarating!”