Local girl Lani Cabrera will be one of four Olympians involved in the Barbados Open Water Festival. (FP)
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CANADIAN Olympians Katie Brambley and Tera Van Beilen, US Olympian and former world champion (25K) Alex Meyer and Barbadian Olympian Lani Cabrera will ‘Swim The Bay’ at the Barbados Open Water Festival on Saturday and Sunday.
Final preparations are under way for the fifth and largest Barbados Open Water Festival to date.
Organisers are expecting more than 400 entries across the three races (1.5K, 5K, 10K) in Carlisle Bay.
In addition to the Olympians, the entries include recreational swimmers, competitive masters swimmers, national representatives, junior swimmers and water polo players from at least 12 countries.
Entries have been received from Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden, The Netherlands, Israel and Brazil, as well as Curacao, Trinidad and Antigua.
This year, the festival will offer a 10K distance for the first time in addition to the 1.5K and 5K distances. The 10K is the Olympic distance for the open water swim. Thirty swimmers are entered for the distance, with five Barbadians in the line-up.
Organisers said the Water Festival had expanded beyond expectations after it was conceptualised in 2011 through a casual conversation between local masters swimmers.
“Originally, the festival started as a one-day event but has evolved into five days of swimming, including three days of informal practice swims and two days of competitive swimming,” organisers said in a press release this week.
In its relatively short history, the festival has hosted an impressive list of well-known swimmers such as Meyer, the elite United States open water swimmer; junior world champion Taylor Abbott and former pro triathlete and famed American Masters swimmer Eney Jones, who have swum multiple times.
Masters legend Jane Asher of the United Kingdom, British masters champion Stuart McLellan, American masters swimmer Darcy Le Fountain, triple crown holder Erica Moffat and Australian world record-holder (85-89) Dorothy Dickey have also participated in the event.
This year’s festival will host Canadian Rob Kent, well-known leader of the Lake Ontario swim team and the Global Swim Series. Kent will compete in the 10K.
The 1.5K race and the Just For Fun 1.5K will take place on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. while the 5K and 10K races will start at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
All races start and finish in front of the Copacabana Beach Bar. (PR/EZS)