83.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 17, 2024


Oct. 18, 2002 – This year's St. Croix Coral Reef Swim will bring at least 300 people to the island, organizing committee member Chris Goodier said.
"It's a good deal for St. Croix," she said
The seventh annual five-mile race from Buck Island to the Buccaneer Hotel's Mermaid Beach takes to the water at 7 a.m. Oct. 27. Participants will reach Buck Island by boat, swim across two miles of open water and continue along St. Croix's shoreline to the Buccaneer.
For the first time this year, organizers added a 10-mile Bucc to Buck and Back Again swim. It runs from the Buccaneer to Buck Island and back to the Buccaneer and will start at 6 a.m. Thursday.
Goodier said the event attracts people from all over the world. Last year, a Japanese swimmer got the award for traveling the farthest. About 30 local swimmers are included in the 160 entries.
Goodier said off-island participants bring their families and friends to the event. They stay at the Buccaneer and other hotels, in rental houses and with friends, she said.
"This event not only gives St. Croix international exposure, it helps fill hotel rooms, restaurants, taxis and tours during the slow pre-season period," said Buccaneer manager Elizabeth Armstrong.
Since registration is closed, residents and visitors who didn't sign up to swim can watch the finish at the Buccaneer's Mermaid Beach. Goodier said steel pan players will provide entertainment and DJ Roger W. Morgan will announce the swimmers as they exit the water and run through the palm-fringed finish line.
Last year, the first place solo award went to Alex Kostich, 31, of Burbank, Calif., who also won the two previous years. He won with a time of 1:44:13. Kostich, a former Pan American Games gold medal winner, will return in hopes of making it a four-peat, Goodier said.
Other swimmers to watch include Morgan Locke, 16, who took third last year with a time of 1:48:09, and James Barber, 42. Barber is a master swimmer from Indianapolis and will swim in both events.
Champion swimmers Jill Gellatly from Texas and Laureen Welting from San Francisco, a previous winner in the women's division, are also expected to compete this year.
Goodier said local volunteers make the event happen. She said about 80 kayakers will be out in the water to ensure the swimmers' safety.
Race categories for the five-mile swim include male solo, female solo, male solo with fins, female solo with fins, and a three-person mixed relay team. A junior division consists of male and female solo swimmers under age 18.
Winners receive custom-designed bracelets from the St. Croix-based Caribbean Bracelet Co.
Sponsors include Mongoose Radio, Isle 95 and Sunny 99.5 FM, Bellows International, HOVENSA, Coca-Cola, Cruzan Rum, Endurance Sports, V.I. Family Sports and Fitness Center, the St. Croix Yacht Club and Paint St. Croix.

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