When the CCCAN open water swimming competition concluded in Aruba history was created for Jamaica as Daniel Mair became the first ever medallist in this discipline .This as he won the Silver medal in the 12-13 age group in the 3K event held at Mangel Halto.
Prior to this the only medals won in age group competition was Dominic Walter who won the Silver in the 5 K event at the now defunct Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships at the 2010 edition in Cuba in a time of 104.5.33 ,Michelle Dols who earned a Silver medal in the 2015 in the 5K event at CARIFTA in Barbados and Annabella Lyn who won CARIFTA Bronze at home in Jamaica in the same event this year.
When draftingthecaribbean contacted Mair on July 18 he spoke about qualification for the competition as well events of the day of the swim from getting off the bus to the actual race
“The truth is I really wasn’t trying to qualify for CCCAN Open Water. In an effort to improve on my 1500 metre freestyle free I achieved a time that qualified me for the open water event. So training for the open water event had to be somewhat of a crash course as it was going to be my first time. I trained at Port Royal three Sunday mornings with a group of adults who knew how to swim open water, and sometimes with competitive swimmers. We swam between 1,000-3,000 metres up and down the shoreline. I also did one session in the pool where I learned how to start, turnaround the buoys and spot . One of my main objectives during training was getting over my fear of what lives in the sea and I would say after my first training session in the ocean I quickly overcame that fear. I am 100% sure that these sessions helped my performance”.
“When I got out of the bus and went to look at the course, it was a lot larger than I expected and honestly that made me very nervous. Also that morning I had to go through many different stages to get ready for the race. For instance, I had to go to a medical check, cut my nails, get my number put on me, Vaseline my body, put my tracker on, and all of this was happening very fast and everybody was frantic and trying to get everything done.It was a bit distracting at the time but a few minutes before the race I just tuned everything out and focused on my race and doing my best”.
EVOLUTION OF THE RACE
“So as I mentioned already the track looked very large in real life, it was a rectangle and one lap around it would be equal to 1 km so we had to do three laps And at the time it seemed like a lot. My start was not very good because I didn’t know what was going on so when they blew the whistle to go I was confused and started at the back of the pack. As I settled I was able to secure a second place spot. First place seemed out of reach because the person in first place had gone way before me from the start. In the first quarter of the first lap I was racing a Trinidadian girl and she fell back quite quickly and after she fell back Aruban Ronald Fun caught up to me and for about two laps we were staying head to head. He was in front of me sometimes, I was in front of him sometimes but after the second lap he fell back and I went forward. After the second lap I felt really good, I started to warm up and as a result my legs started to feel energized and ready to kick so I kicked and pulled and I just went all out on the third lap and when I saw the finish on the last quarter I just went full speed and when I touched that pad I gave it my all”.
“When I got out of the ocean and walked back up to my coach and mom I was glad that the race was finally over and I could rest because CCCAN was now officially over. I went up to my coach and my mom and sat down, took some deep breaths, drank some water and relaxed and I looked over to my coach. She showed me my time and my placement and I asked her if that was a silver medal and she said yes. I was very happy. Later on I was awarded the medal and that’s when it clicked. That I had won an individual medal at CCCAN and that every long, hard distance set that I had done in training had finally paid off”.
The medal podium saw Trinidad and Tobago’s Nikoli Blackman topping the event with a time of 45.15.01 , Mair the Silver in 48.11.73 and Fun the Bronze in 48.55.95.