World Champion Alex Meyer receive his prize from Event Director, Zary Evelyn after winning the 5 km race of the 3rd Barbados Open Water Festival.
World champion, Alex Meyer, swam to victory in the 5km race of the 3rd Barbados Open Water Festival on Sunday in Carlisle Bay. The 2010 World Champion (25 km) and current US National 5km champion, Meyer, finished in 55 minutes 51 seconds and was never threatened by Taylor Abbott, the 2014 FINA World Junior Champion who completed the race in 57 minutes 46 seconds. The talented young Abbott gave a spirited performance but was no match for the speedy and more experienced Meyer.
Despite the presence of these swimming elites, the Barbados Open Water Festival is primarily an event for regular swimmers, who relish the opportunity to swim in the warm clear waters of Carlisle Bay as well as line up against the likes of Meyer. In total, 237 swimmers from multiple countries faced the starter to compete in the 1.5km and 5km races in the bay. A crowd of spectators gathered to witness this historic event that saw two open water world champions and other accomplished open water swimmers competing in the magnificent Carlisle Bay. Meyer, whose easy-going personality and quiet confidence had already earned him fans in the local swim community erupted from the water and calmly walked up the beach to the finish arch amid boisterous applause and cheering from all in attendance.
Lindsay Vrooman, US National Swim Team member and member of Badger Swim Club in New York, had an outstanding swim to place third overall and first in the Ladies 5km event (58 minutes, 15 seconds). Vrooman’s club mate Anina Lund was second in the 5km race in 1:02:34 ahead of Barbados’ top female open water swimmer Lexi Clark (1:02:46) who finished a highly creditable third. Former professional triathlete, Eney Jones, was fourth and US Masters Swimmer Christina Cairns was fifth.
The team from Badger Swim Club had other successes as Ian Bidwell took third in the Mens 5km (58:19) and Jack Collins was fourth (58:20). Trinidad’s Christian Marsden, the 2013 winner, performed well but had to settle for fifth position (58:21). In an exciting finish Marsden was two seconds behind Bidwell and a mere second behind Collins. A stand out performance by Nicholas Hall of Barbados saw him narrowly miss a top five finish (58:22).
The local swim fraternity has much to be proud about with the standings in the 1.5km race. The 1.5km events were dominated by Barbadian National Junior Swimmers with Jack Kirby and Danielle Titus claiming top honours in 19:22 and 19:31 respectively. In the Mens event Jack Kirby was closely followed by Jonathan Manning, Nkosi Dunwoody and Simon Wilkie of Barbados with Ed Tsuzuki, a US Masters Swimmer, claiming fifth position. On the Ladies side, Rebecca Lashley and Ashley Weekes of Barbados were second and third respectively, Izabella Bors (UK) was fourth and Keilani Talma (Bdos) rounded out the top five.
“We had perfect conditions for the swim,” said Kristina Evelyn, one of the organizers. “And special mention must be made of the two most mature competitors, the energetic Jane Asher, 83, an acclaimed masters swimmer of the UK and the soft-spoken Jerome Reid, 84, a Barbadian, who both completed the 1.5km event.”
Winners received a variety of prizes in all of the 26 age categories from 12 and Under to 55+ from local and international sponsors including airline tickets, cel phones, tablets, hotel stays and dining vouchers. The three youngest competitors (7 years old) were awarded prizes as was the Parker Family of Canada who had five family members in the race.
This third Barbados event saw a rapid growth in the number of competitors and the level of competition. The wide range of ages, abilities and nationalities (USA, UK, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Trinidad, Grenada, St Vincent & Antigua) made for an interesting and intriguing event for all. Several of the 2013 swimmers returned from the US and Canada. Local swimmers benefitted from an open water clinic hosted by Alex Meyer the day before the event. New friendships and lasting memories were made during a day enjoyed by all. The 2015 event is tentatively planned for November 8th.
The Barbados Open Water Festival is hosted in Carlisle Bay, a magnificent, yet tranquil, crescent shaped bay with placid and clear waters with no undertow located off the south-west region of the island. The Bay is a designated Marine Park, teeming with a proliferation of sea life including turtles, sea horses and tropical fish and is bordered by one mile of white sand beach. The historic bay now lies in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site: "Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison", an honour bestowed on Barbados in 2011.
Check out a short video clip showing our gorgeous open water swim location: Carlisle Bay! Some of our junior open water swimmers were racing when the video was done.
Check out some of the International coverage received:
Apart from swimming, Barbados is a world-renowned vacation destination and for good reason. It is as rich in culture and history as it is in beauty. There are a plethora of activities, attractions and events in Barbados suited for all ages and preferences. From historic synagogues, churches, museums and grand plantation houses to safari tours, rum distilleries, cave exploration, tropical gardens and submarine dives. At varying times of the year many types of sporting events such as horse racing, polo, sailing regattas, cricket and golf can be enjoyed. If energy and time remain the island boasts a vibrant nightlife with several popular bars and nightclubs dotted along the south and west coasts.
There is dining for all tastes and budgets, from a rustic night out at a fish fry at a local fish market to fine dining at top-notch restaurants overlooking the ocean. When choosing your holiday accommodation you will be spoiled for choice in Barbados, as there is something for everyone from luxurious hotels and condominiums to self-catering apartments, guesthouses and beach cottages. See our Partner Hotels on this site.
Actually, visitors highlight the friendliness of Barbadians as the island's greatest and most pleasing asset. The fantastic scenery, modern comforts and friendly people have earned Barbados the highest repeat visitor factor in the region.
Keep swimming and book your flight, Barbados awaits you!