Fraser: Camaraderie will be key

Brett Fraser knows his way in and around the pool on the some of the world’s biggest stages.

With multiple appearances at the Olympic Games among his many career highlights, there is no setting too big for the George Town native. For Fraser, the pressure to qualify for the upcoming Commonwealth Games and steady the Cayman Islands’ medal assault is instead replaced by a desire to see his fellow Caymanian athletes face their opposition this summer together.

“With any big event you go to, you really focus on a loving environment,” Fraser said. “Everyone has prepared as best they can in their respective disciplines and it’s about coming together as one. Everyone has to be working toward the same goal as a team. The support shown toward the whole team will be important. People have to go and support one another as one.”

The XX Commonwealth Games open in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 23 and runs until August 3. The Cayman Islands will send its largest team to date, with athletes represented across seven sports: athletics, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, shooting, squash and swimming.

The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee has not announced the official team members, opting to wait until the qualifying window closes this month. However, a number of athletes have been informally announced by local governing sports bodies.

For example, the Cayman Islands Boxing Association has said boxer Tafari Ebanks will make the trek and use the Games to boost his qualifying efforts for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The Cayman Islands Cycling Association said Michele Smith qualified to cycle the road race and individual time trial events. According to the Cayman Islands Gymnastics Association, Bethany Dikau met the qualifying standard for the all-around event at a meet last December.

The inclusion of Fraser, 24, would provide an added boost to Cayman’s medal prospects. Cydonie Mothersill-Stephens, married to Trinidadian sprinter Ato Stephens, claimed Cayman’s first and only gold medal in athletics, winning the 200 meter event at the 2010 Games in Delhi, India. Mothersill-Stephens, 36, has officially announced she will not be competing this year with her focus shifting towards her daughter, Sophie, who was born prematurely last June.

Both Fraser and Mothersill-Stephens took part in last month’s Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay in Cayman. The relay began at the residence of Governor Helen Kilpatrick on West Bay Road before passing through each district in Grand Cayman.

Ultimately, Fraser has his focus not on matching Cayman’s sprint queen in Scotland, but on training in New York City.

“I moved to New York in September 2013 and I’ve been training with the New York Athletic Club, which is a high-performance swimming club. Everyone there is a top swimmer, some were at the London 2012 Olympics and there are a lot of older athletes. It’s just that they don’t have the same profile as Ryan Lochte at the University of Florida.

“I plan on competing in Scotland, I expect to qualify within the next few weeks. I intend to be back in Cayman for the Flowers Sea Swim this summer.”  

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