When we think about the 2012 London Olympics 10K Marathon Swim, we wonder if the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association is going to have a top medal contender to compete against the world's best open water swimmers.
David Davies of the UK, Thomas Lurz of Germany and Valerio Cleri of Italy may be among the favorites to medal in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, but Shaune Fraser is the type of swimmer with a great background who can be a real contender.
Shaune Fraser? Who's he? Never heard of him?
In the pool swimming world, the University of Florida junior just won two events at the NCAA Swimming Championships. Shaune? is originally from George Town in the Cayman Islands
Shaune has blazing speed: 19.3 in the 50-yard freestyle, 42.4 in the 100-yard freestyle, 1:31.7 in the 200-yard freestyle and 1:40.7 in the 200 butterfly. So if he were able to stay close to the leaders, he would be more than enough to claim a gold medal.
Shaune has the Olympic experience having represented the Cayman Islands in two Olympics (2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing) despite being only 20 years old.
Shaune has the endurance having swum a 4:26.2 in the 500-yard freestyle and a 3:55.0 in the 400-yard individual medley.
But, what about the open water?
Shaune has done numerous ocean swims since the age of 8 and can navigate, draft and position himself in the open water with the best of them, albiet he has not had the experience in dealing with the best FINA open water swimmers.
Without a doubt, he certainly has the potential.
"[The 2009 NCAA Championships] was Shaune’s breakthrough meet," said his father Jim Fraser. "His 200–yard fly was a big drop in time for him and was probably a bigger achievement than his silver medal at the Pan Am Games two years ago. The [Cayman Islands] community has been very much behind Shaune since he was born. They've watched him grow up and monitored his progress since he started sea swims at the age of eight and been very supportive over the years, following his results. Shaune’s so pleased. He now has a level of confidence whereby he knows he can compete against the world’s best. In my opinion he showed a level of mental toughness that he has never shown in the past. He now has a mental edge which shows some maturity."
So who does Shaune race in the 2012 London Olympics: Michael Phelps in the 200 freestyle and 200 butterfly ... or David Davies in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim?
Lower photo by Peter Bick for Swimming World Magazine.