2022 Swammy Awards: CAC Male Swimmer of the Year – Jordan Crooks

To see all of our 2022 Swammy Awards, click here.


Jordan Crooks started off the year with a bang in short-course yards (SCY) before ending it with an impressive short-course meter (SCM) debut last week. 

The 20-year-old sprint specialist from the Cayman Islands made a habit out of exceeding expectations in 2022. Last season during the spring, Crooks became the fastest NCAA freshman in the 50-yard freestyle with an 18.53 at SECs before clocking the quickest 100 free time for a freshman (41.16) at NCAAs. His momentum continued to build throughout his sophomore season at the University Tennessee, throwing down an 18.27 in the 50 free last month that moved him into a tie with Cal’s Bjorn Seeliger for No. 2 all-time behind Caeleb Dressel

Crooks was only getting warmed up for his international breakout at last week’s Short Course World Championships. After a disappointing sixth-place finish in the 100 free, he bounced back to win the 50 free, holding off defending champion Ben Proud by .03 seconds. The victory marked the first Worlds medal in Cayman Islands’ history — long course or short course. Along the way, Crooks posted a personal-best 20.31 in the 50 free semis, coming just .15 seconds shy of Dressel’s world record in the event. 

Although he missed out on a medal in the 100 free, he still broke a national record with a 45.55 in the semifinals. The previous Cayman Islands mark belonged to Shaune Fraser with a time of 47.61 that had stood untouched since 2010. 

Crooks’ SCM national records in the 50 free and 100 free set in Melbourne bring his tally to three this after he lowered the Cayman Islands mark in the LCM 50 free at Worlds in June. His time of 22.20 in prelims took down Brett Fraser’s previous record from 2011. 

He’s still learning how to save his fastest swims for when it matters most, but his legacy back home is now undeniable. 

“The Cayman Islands is a very special place,” Crooks said. “I wouldn’t have grown up in any other place. I am very grateful for everything they have done for me as a person and swimmer.

“I hope it shows any little kid out there that may doubt themselves and may think that because they don’t have a specific resource that they might not be able to do it that it is possible,” he added. “There is no set way of doing things. You can carve your own path.”

The Cayman Islands, a tiny nation of about 66,000 people, has never boasted an Olympic medalist in any sport across 46 years of competition, but that could change at the Paris 2024 Olympics if Crooks keeps improving.

Honorable Mentions

Dylan Carter, Trinidad and Tobago – The 26-year-old USC graduate experienced a career resurgence this year as he refocused his training on 50s instead of longer-distance events. Carter caught fire during the World Cup series, completing a perfect 9-for-9 run and finishing as the top earner overall with $160,000. His ninth World Cup title of the series marked a new U.S. Open record, resetting Caeleb Dressel’s 50 fly mark with a 21.99 in Indianapolis. At Short Course Worlds last week, he claimed bronze in the 50 free behind Crooks, putting a pair of Caribbean swimmers on the podium. Carter is one of two Worlds medalists from Trinidad and Tobago along with George Bovell. 

Lamar Taylor, Bahamas – The 19-year-old became the first Bahamian to qualify for a Commonwealth Games final in the pool with a 22.45 in the 50 free semis. Taylor ended up placing seventh in the final in 22.51. This year, he set seven national records, including three at Short Course Worlds, two at the World Cup stop last month in Indianapolis, one at the Commonwealth Games, and one at the Bahamian Championships in July. Taylor is currently a junior at Henderson State. 

Previous Winners

  • 2021 – Dylan Carter
  • 2020 – Dylan Carter
  • 2019 – Ricardo Vargas
  • 2018 – Dylan Carter
  • 2017 – Mauro Castillo-Luna, Mexico
  • 2016 – Marcelo Acosta, El Salvador
  • 2015 – (Vacant — combined South American and CAC Award, Thiago Pereira of Brazil won)
  • 2014 – George Bovell, Trinidad and Tobago

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3 months ago

Oooh Dylan carter got edged.. after the FINA World Cup domination I was expecting him to dominate at the SC world champs…

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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