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HomeNewsArchivesSt. Croix Youth Tops Again in Beach-to-Beach Power Swim

St. Croix Youth Tops Again in Beach-to-Beach Power Swim

May 27, 2007 – For the second year in a row, St. Croix resident Annie Myrvang, 16, swam home with top honors in the fourth annual Friends of V.I. National Park's Beach-to-Beach Power Swim held Sunday on St. John.
"It was pretty good – hard, but a lot of fun," she said, just after crossing the finish line for the long-course swimmers at Hawksnest Bay.
She said she liked the 3.5-mile course from Maho Bay to Hawksnest Bay because it was open water. She swam it in one hour, 20 minutes.
Myrvang, who is home schooled, is a member of the Dolphins Swim Team on St. Croix and also a member of the territory's swim team.
She was one of 142 people to compete in three classes. The intermediate-course swimmers went 2.5 miles from Maho Bay to Trunk Bay. The short-course swimmers had a one-mile course from Maho Bay to Cinnamon Bay.
St. Thomas resident Dave Nielsam, 27, was second across the finish on the long course with a time of one hour, 21 minutes and 10 seconds.
"It was a lot better than the practice swim," he said, noting that he ran out of energy on that swim last week.
He said he was strong for the entire race.
Nielsam said his job as a photographer with V.I. Ecotours keeps him in shape for events like this one. And he said in his younger years, he was a competitive swimmer.
Barb Crowder, 49, who said she swam competitively at the national level, was third on the long course with a time of one hour, 22 minutes and 10 seconds. She won the first Beach-to-Beach in 2004.
"It was kind of wavy," she said of the water for this year's swim.
Crowder, who lives in Las Gatos, Calif., has a home on St. John.
She said to prepare, she did her normal 3,000- to 3,500-yard swim four times a week.
St. Croix resident Bob Halk, 35, was fourth on the long course.
"It was good. It was a beautiful morning, and the conditions were great," he said.
He swam in the company of Louise Wearmouth, 38, well-known around the region as a competitive athlete when her last name was DePuy. She's moved to Tortola but is getting back in the competitive arena.
Wearmouth came in fifth for the long-course swimmers.
"I'm just starting to bike and swim again, but training is slow going," she said.
Damara Merten Farwell of St. John was the first across the finish on the intermediate course with a time of one hour, two minutes and 26 seconds.
Caroline Kupfer of St. Croix won the short course with a time of 25 minutes and 28 seconds.
Relay team winners were Alfredo del Olmo of St. John and Marcelo del Olmo of Argentina with a time of one hour, 53 minutes and 12 seconds.
While it was a day for the swimmers to shine, it was also a time for families to come out in support.
Both Myrvang and Nielsam had relatives waiting at the finish for them.
Joanne Myrvang was working as a timekeeper. She said in addition to her daughter, her husband, Steve, was also swimming.
"It's a great day for it," she said.
Karen Nielsen of Phoenix was on hand to see her son-in-law, Nielsam, cross the finish. She said her daughter, Kendra Nielsam, was also swimming.
"They're all swimmers. I'm not much of a swimmer, so this is more fun for me," she said, as she helped get things organized at the finish line.
Friends development director Karen Brady said that the event is growing a bit each year. She said the first year 130 people participated.
The event raises money to fund Friends' activities. Brady said that last year, the event raised about $6,000.
"The goal is $10,000," she said.
She said the event is a natural for the Friends because it's in park waters and includes two of the park's most special features – the beaches and the water.
The Beach-to-Beach Power Swim depends on 85 volunteers to make it happen.
Safety is a paramount concern. Brady said there were 25 kayaks out paddling alongside the swimmers, as well as a power boat in each bay with an emergency medical technician on board and two park patrol boats stationed along the course.
Additionally, St. John Rescue and the St. John Amateur Radio Club members were on hand to assist.
Look at the results later this week on the Friends Web site at www.friendsvinp.org.
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