|“Race for the Conch” swims into success|
|Thursday, 14 July 2011 09:28|
Motivated swimmers took course in the 2nd annual Turks and Caicos “Race for the Conch” Eco-SeaSwim by the official “blowing of a conch shell.”
The races took place July 9 in near perfect conditions in Grace Bay, where the swimmers raced along the beach from the Flamingo Cafe west past Club Med to Grace Bay Club and looped back to the start. The course’s proximity to the beach gave spectators a thrilling close-up look at the competitive field and allowed swimmers to hear the cheers.
This year’s eco-seaswim featured 1-mile and 2.4-mile races, which were spaced 30 minutes apart, and allowed skilled swimmers to race back-to-back in the same morning.
Champion ultra-distance Dominican swimmer Marcos Diaz defended his 2010 1st place finish by once again winning the 1-mile distance for men convincingly in 20 minutes 27 seconds. Close behind was Mario diFilippo from Italy, who came in 2nd at 21 minutes 42 seconds. He was followed by Eric Erenstoft from California with a time of 21 minutes 44 seconds.
Jodi Gomez of Trinidad finished 1st in the women’s 1-mile division, racing to the top in just 25 minutes 25 seconds. She was closely followed by fellow Trinidad resident, Chelsea Mohammed, who finished in 25 minutes 42 seconds. Lissa Heinz from Canada/TCI came in third at 28 minutes 59 seconds.
The co-ed 2.4-mile race was neck and neck, but Marcos Diaz managed a double victory by finishing 1st in a mere 50 minutes 17 seconds.
Kristiana Kalibat from New Jersey came in second overall in 53 minutes 10 seconds. Wally Dicks of Virginia took third overall in 55 minutes 30 seconds.
“We were very pleased with the turnout and top level competition in both races,” said Ben Stubenberg, co-race director. “We were especially glad that so many racers commented on the high quality of race safety in addition to the beautiful course.”
“These two races offered unique challenges in a relatively benign swim environment inside the third largest barrier reef in the world,” said Co-Race Director Chloe Zimmermann. “The Turks and Caicos is definitely on the map as a premier open water swim destination for new and elite swimmers alike.”
The races were preceded by a 100-meter children’s race that aimed to introduce youngsters to open water swimming.
The “Race of the Conch” aspires to develop a strong interest in swimming in the West Indies, raise awareness to protect the reefs and ocean around the islands, and to help the less fortunate through the power and example of sport. These goals are also shared by the West Indies Bluewater Swim Series, of which the TCI is a founding member.
“The Race for the Conch” is the third of four open water swim races in the West Indies series, which includes the Nevis 2.5 StarMile, the St. John Beach-to-Beach Powerswim, and the Maracas Bay Classic coming up Sept. 25.
Next year’s “Race for the Conch” is set for Saturday July 7, 2012.
Photo by Brillant
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