In 2004, Christal made history as the first female swimmer to represent Antigua and Barbuda at the Olympics. The 28-year-old adventure guide and travel writer lists as her sports, swimming (pool and open water), stand-up paddling (instructor) and the occasional triathlon. Christal relished the chance to join Team Antigua Island Girls. A few years ago, an encounter with a group traversing the Caribbean in a dugout canoe, retracing the steps of the Amerindians, piqued her interest and set her on a quest for a seafarer adventure. “I immediately jumped at the chance,” she said. In addition to rowing to be the best among the women’s division, Christal sees the TWAC2018 challenge as the opportunity for her to test her mettle and to come out on the other side of the cross-Atlantic row physically and emotionally stronger.
Letter from Christal Clashing
For team and country
It’s hard not to see the impact the TWAC rowing teams have had in Antigua. All around are cars sporting the rowing team stickers, each day there are comments from persons full of excitement and there is a palpable sense of pride of having a local all-female team representing the country.
There are few endeavors that capture the nation’s imagination such as events like these. Before the rowers, there was the Olympics and before that cricket, each heralding a social statement and signaling a change in the times. With Antigua’s rowing teams, we’re ushering a new era of national pioneers. Pioneers in adventure with a statement that says that once again, we can rise to challenge the best in the world.
I feel that this has always been my calling. To do something grand, adventurous and daring. It is this spirit of adventure that’s been within me since the age of six when I decided I wanted to be the first female swimmer to represent Antigua and Barbuda at the Olympics. It is this same spirit that led me to achieve that goal when I was 14 years old.
Another 14 years later, this spirit still stirs within me. This time I’m able to go after the grand and the adventurous with a team of dynamic and equally unique women. Rowing across the Atlantic will test us in ways that we didn’t even think possible but this is the appeal of this challenge. To test my mettle, and do so with some of the most daring women in Antigua.
Since beginning our training in February 2018, we’ve taken on each new challenge in stride. We’re pushing ourselves, learning from our mistakes and building on the knowledge of the teams that came before us. Every month, we go longer, harder and smarter in training, be it on the water, in the gym, or in the classroom.
As we work hard to make our dream a reality, we can’t do this without your support, monetary or in kind. We have close to US$150,000 to raise by mid-August to get us to the starting line, and money to raise for our charity of choice, Cottage of Hope.
Many on our team are mothers, and we are all daughters and sisters. We have chosen to support a charity that supports girls and young women transition from difficult and traumatic situations. I feel strongly that this is the right choice for us and hope that we can be an inspiration for women and girls in the Caribbean region who have their personal obstacles to overcome.
We appeal to you to not only help us get to the start line but to help us provide the financial resources that help young women to rebuild their lives.
As the Team Antigua Island Girls, we thank-you for your support thus far and look forward to counting you as one of our greatest supporters.