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One Fine Morning Off The Cayman Coast

Nov 11, 2012  - Craig Lord

There are days when you just know you've made the right move. British coach Ian Armiger will have surely felt that this weekend as he surveyed a different kind of burning deck: the Grand Cayman coast.

Having left Loughborough University after a long and successful tenure, Armiger has taken up a role as Technical Director of Cayman Swimming. As you can see from pictures @swimnewscom, the conditions are a far cry from the damp of November in northern Europe.

The Annual Pirates Festival 5km race was the occasion and if you're going to do 5km, the turquoise ocean off Seven Mile Beach is just about the best place you could do it. If the waters are idyllic, the sprint finish of Olympic Champion Oussama Mellouli - visiting Cayman to relax and shake off the tension of Olympic year - was not and the Tunisian had to settle for pieces of silver not gold.

The major spoils went to Cayman's Alex McCallum, a man aiming to attend Armiger's old haunt at Loughborough University next autumn and already able to say that he was the first chap to beat Mellouli after the big moment back in The Serpentine in London. The pair swam stroke for stroke, McCallum finding the clearer line in the dash for the pad and triumph by 1sec after Mellouli, a generous pace-maker throughout, made the wrong move, his tactical error leaving him beached in unfamiliar waters long enough for McCallum to make a decisive break.

Keeping it in the family, Iain McCallum took third place, while the women's race went to US open water ace Ashley Twichell over fellow-American Lexi Kelly, Cayman's Danielle Boothe finishing third.

"We are building a fine programme in Cayman and our swimmers are inspired when world class swimmers visit … this is another step forward in confidence and belief," said Armiger, a sandy spring in his step.