The seventh annual Barbados Open Water Festival will take place from 7 to 10 November and a record number of swimmers are expected to attend. In 2017, the festival attracted 625 swimmers across its four events of 1.5k, 3.3k, 5k and 10k, of which 80% were overseas visitors. This year, an even higher proportion of swimmers from around the world are due to take part
Kristina Evelyn, a Director of the Festival, says that this year, as usual, a large proportion of the visitors are coming from Canada, the United States and the England. In addition, she’s looking forward to welcoming for the first time swimmers from Wales, Switzerland, Argentina, Singapore, South Africa and Nicaragua along with returning swimmers from Ireland, Brazil, Trinidad, Antigua and Germany.
In addition to the races, the festival features a number of social events including a non-competitive guided open water swim, which has become increasingly popular each year.
One returning swimmer, Cameron Bellamy, is causing particular excitement. Earlier this year, Cameron spent 27 hours swimming 66km around the coast of Barbados in an attempt to totally circumnavigate the island. He has promised to return and have another go at the full 96km distance, although whether or not he will make the attempt following this year’s festival is still to be confirmed.
Other swimmers making repeat appearances include previous multiple-time winner, American Eney Jones, last year’s 3.3K winner Nikoli Blackman of Trinidad (who has been taking part since 2013 when he was only 8 years old), Bill Ireland of California, who has competed in open water swimming events for the past 48 years and Rick Peters, the three-time winner of the Jonathan Morgan Memorial Trophy for highest placed Barbadian Masters Swimmer in the 5K and a participant in every Festival since the inaugural event in 2013.
Entries for the 2018 Festival close on 6 November.