Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Kristina Evelyn has worked hard to put the Barbados Open Water Festival on the global swimming map.

But she has not done it singlehandedly.

Her husband Zary, her parents, her children, her cousins and her friends have also lent a helping hand. “Even the gentleman who cuts our lawn were at the beach working,” explains the 46-year-old. “When there isn’t a team to turn to all of the tasks associated with the event basically fall to my husband or myself. That can be challenging. As we now approach our sixth event, we do have a list of folks who are great helpers at the actual event.”

Kristina looks after the marketing and lots of other details while Zary puts significant efforts into getting sponsors, recruiting volunteers, dealing with the race roster, setting up the course, dealing with the beach bar that is our home base, and a multitude of other details. “There are always so many details to look after. It’s a joint effort.

It has been gratifying that our long hours have paid off with many swimmers visiting from all over the world.“

Kristina and Zary receive help from two tourism bodies in Barbados with their overseas marketing efforts and the assistance from two-time American Olympian Alex Meyer. “We will miss him this year. He was a joy to have around, made friends with local swimmers, always had time for the local junior swimmers.”

David Heron will fill Meyer’s shoes. “We look forward to having David and having Taylor Abbott return. Having a few elite swimmers adds some excitement and is inspiring to all of the other swimmers. Eney Jones is always a fine addition, keeps the younger swimmers on their toes for sure, and has a nice rivalry going with a few of our local masters swimmers too.”

With the Carlisle Bay where the 1.5 km, 2 km practice swim, 3.33 km, 5 km and 10 km races are held in Bridgetown, swimmers enjoy a beautiful natural harbor and marine park bordered by a long white sand beach.

I have enjoyed that we have many swimmers who have returned, several of them four or five times. There are so many options for open water events so it’s really satisfying to know that many want to come back over and over. It’s led to such a wonderful camaraderie as many of the swimmers already know each other from meeting here in previous years. The word of mouth PR from the growing group of faithful swimmers has also been beneficial in bringing us new swimmers every year.”

For more information on the Barbados Open Water Festival on November 1st-5th, visit swimbarbadosvacations.com or Facebook.

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