Cayman Islands Awarded 2006 World Open Water Champs

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, March 15. THE Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association (CIASA) has been awarded the 4th FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships, to be held in November, 2006. The Cayman Islands follow Honolulu, USA; Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt; and Abu Dhabi, UAE, as hosts of these Championships.

The world swimming body, FINA, confirmed the bid award on Saturday, March 13th, at its meetings in Dubai. At the time of the award, FINA Vice-President Dale Neuburger enthused, "I am very pleased that these championships have been awarded to CIASA and the Cayman Islands. It is a reflection of the confidence that FINA has in the organizational abilities of CIASA and its respect for the unparalleled beauty of Seven Mile Beach. Having visited Grand Cayman on two separate occasions, I was able to give my full support to the bid, and I know it will be a spectacular event."

Upon learning of the successful bid, CIASA President Laurice Fraser commented, "CIASA has a stated objective to host the World Open Water Championships before 2010, and to have this occur this soon is a clear vote of confidence that CIASA has significantly grown its technical and operational capabilities to the requisite level. With the necessary support from the local community, both in sponsorships and volunteers, I am positive that the Cayman Islands will host a sporting event that is beyond comparison."

The bid was undertaken with the express support of the Cayman Islands Government and Hon. Dr. Frank McField, Minister of Community Services, Youth, Sports and Gender Affairs, who was ecstatic when he was notified of the positive outcome of the bid. The Hon. Mr. McKeeva Bush, Leader of Government Business & The Minister of Tourism, Environment, Development and Commerce encouraged the submission, while The Hon. Mr. Gilbert McLean, Minister of Health Services, Agriculture, Aviation and District Administration showed his support by endorsing the provision of medical treatment for all competitors and officials. Also fully backing the endeavor is the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.

The Championships are slated to be held from November 6th-12th, 2006, and will comprise a series of 5K, 10K, and 25K-long sea swims. The central venue for all three distances is Seven Mile Beach. The Festivities will begin with Opening Ceremonies on Monday (Nov. 6th) with races to follow on Tuesday (5K – Nov. 7th), Thursday (10K – Nov. 9th) and Saturday (25K – Nov. 11th). The 25K race is scheduled to take place on a Saturday to maximize local spectator attendance and local volunteer participation. Closing Ceremonies will occur on Sunday, November 12th.

Organized open water swimming competitions began on Grand Cayman in 1980 with a three-mile swim. This swim, now the Beacon Realty 5-Kilometer (5K), is Cayman’s oldest, longest-running swim competition. Over the years, swim enthusiasts added other locations and distances, and the current calendar boasts eight sea swims per year, ranging in distance from 800-meters to 5K. In fact, CIASA was hosting the Cable & Wireless Mobile 800m Sea Swim on Seven Mile Beach at the time of the formal announcement of the bid award by FINA. Additionally, the Flowers One Mile Sea Swim has grown to be an extremely popular event both for locals and overseas competitors. Participation in the Flowers One Mile swim alone is over 600 swimmers and includes Olympic and other world champion swimmers each year.

The bid was prepared by a CIASA Ad-Hoc Committee consisting of Kate Alexander (Committee Chair & Past Chair of the CIASA Open Water Swim Committee), Peter Mackay, (CIASA Treasurer & CIASA Director), Rod McDowall (Immediate Past-President of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association & CITA Director), Jim Fraser (CIASA Director & Member – CIASA Open Water Swim Committee), Vanessa Hansen (CITN Assignment Editor), Enid Longsworth (CIASA Director & CIASA Technical Official), and Joe Stasiuk (CIASA Marketing & Sales Director, and President – Stingray Swim Club). Ms. Annie-Mae Roffey (CIASA Secretary) assisted in coordinating the medical requirements of the bid.

The bid requires transportation from the hotel venues to a pool training facility, currently the 25m Lions Pool. The bid noted that a 50m pool is planned to be completed by 2005.

Media matters will be handled by Government Information Services (GIS) and the Cayman Islands Television Network (CITN).

The planned hotel venues for the World Championships are The Westin Casuarina Resort and Sunshine Suites, and negotiations with both locations will follow.

The mission of CIASA is to promote, develop and oversee the sport of swimming in the Cayman Islands. Swimming is the largest organized sport in Cayman, with over 1,000 children per week enrolled in various swim programs. This represents a three-fold growth since 1995. Children in Cayman progress from Learn-To-Swim to the locally organized Stingray Swim Club, and when qualified, to the Cayman Islands National Junior and Senior Swim Teams. CIASA is also responsible for organizing and sanctioning international open water sea swims held at Seven Mile Beach and within the Cayman Islands.

The Flowers One Mile Sea Swim will take place June 19, 2004 on Seven Mile Beach and will be staged on the same weekend as Stingray Swim Club’s Progressive Distributors International Swim Meet (June 17-20). CIASA will also host World Swimming Week from October 12-17, 2004.

For more details about CIASA, the 4th FINA World Open Water Championships 2006, The Flowers Sea Swims, The Progressive Distributors International Swim Meet, World Swimming Week, and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Joe Stasiuk, CIASA Marketing & Sales Director
(Phone: +1-345-926-2476, E-Mail: joe@cwhiptop.com).

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