The Barbados Open Water Festival takes place at the end of October or beginning of November each year and has grown to feature a range of competitive and just-for-fun swims. In addition, many swimmers now make a longer trip around the event and join pre-race socials, guided swims and practice swims in the days leading up to the races.
Guided swims include a 2km splash through Carlisle Bay, following a similar route to the races, a 2km swim on the upper west coast from the Port St Charles Yacht Club and a further 2km swim along the south coast.
In total, 597 people from 17 countries took part in four different distance races in Carlisle Bay. Swimmers arrived from England, Canada, Wales, Poland, Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Brazil, Australia, United States, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Netherlands, USVI, Trinidad, Antigua and Barbados.
The most popular event is the 1.5k swim which attracted 336 swimmers, 60 of which opted for a non-timed “Fun Swim” in aid of a local Children’s Charity, the Variety Club of Barbados. A number of swimmers from the 1.5k returned next day to take part in one of the three longer swims of 3.3k, 5k and 10k.
Swimmers ranged in age from six years old to 75+ and included a wide range of abilities from recreational swimmers to Olympians. Naturally, it was the elite swimmers that filled the podium places in most of the events. However, slower swimmers had more time to enjoy the perfect conditions and watch the starfish basking on the bottom or the turtles cruising past.
In addition, the organisers recently found out the event has been nominated for a 2017 World Open Water Swimming Association Performance of the Year Award. They said they were “highly flattered”.
During the Festival a collection of money, non-perishable foods, medical supplies and toiletries was made and donated towards a group helping with the relief effort in nearby Dominica, which was badly damaged by hurricanes this year, while Barbados escaped.
The next Festival is scheduled for 7 to 11 November 2018.
Find out more: www.swimbarbadosvacations.com