Jordan Crooks Wins First World Championships Medal For Cayman Islands With 50 Free Gold


The Cayman Islands, a tiny Caribbean nation boasting a population of just around 66,000 people, had never won a World Championships medal in swimming prior to today. In fact, their success across all sports has been very limited, given the fact that they’ve never once had an Olympic medalist in their 46-year history of competing at the games.

That all changed with the emergence of Jordan Crooks, a swimmer that currently trains in the United States but was born and raised in the Cayman Islands.

Crooks, an NCAA star swimming for the University of Tennessee, is well-known for his standout short course yards performances. However, the 2022 Short Course World Championships were his breakthrough on the international scene. After a disappointing sixth-place finish in the 100 free, a race where he came in as the top seed and added 0.15 seconds from semifinals, he bounced back in the 50 free. There, he held off defending 2021 world champion Ben Proud, clocking a time of 20.46 to win gold by 0.03 seconds. That gold medal was the first in the Cayman Islands’ history at the World Championships (for both long course and short course).

In the semi-finals of the 50 free, Crooks set his best time of 20.31, which is also the Cayman Islands national record. He also swam a 20.36 in prelims.

Crooks wasn’t the only Caribbean swimmer on the 50 free podium, as Trinidad and Tobago swimmer Dylan Carter finished third. Carter is one out of two World Championships medalists for his country, with the first one being George Bovell.  Considering that swimmers outside of North America, Europe and East Asia are extremely underrepresented on the elite levels of the sports, the fact that 2/3rds of the 50 free medalists at short course worlds are Caribbean swimmers is extremely significant.

That 50 free gold medal was Crooks’ first international accolade, but it also meant more than that, as he had made history for his country in the process.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11 months ago

World champion, even better human being. Don’t know a person more deserving

11 months ago

A generational talent. Underwater monster with racer mentality and Dressel-like physical gifts. Congrats to Jordan!

11 months ago

Congratulations to him and the entire team in Knoxville.

11 months ago

Someone mentioned that there was a small list of swimmers who have won a SC world title then in the same season, won the same event at NCAA’s Crooks might become the first to do this in quite awhile next March in the 50. He has the momentum on his side. Congrats.

11 months ago

Was a privilege to be there to watch that live. Congratulations Jordan.

Swim mom
Reply to  Blueandgold
11 months ago

It really was a privilege to wake up early to watch and cheer!

345 Swammer
11 months ago

Straight outta pros! You did it Jordan! 🙌🙌🙌

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

Read More »