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In Front of FLAMINGO CAFE, Grace Bay Beach Access between Club Med and Ocean Club East
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2012 News


Big red starfish, huge conch shells, and the occasional eagle ray gliding along the bottom are potential distractions for the participants of the third annual “Race for the Conch” Eco-SeaSwim, which took place on July 7. The event featured 2.4 mile and 1 mile races, as well as a 100 meter Children’s Swim. The starts are signaled by, what else, the blowing of a conch shell, and the trophy prizes are locally carved and polished conch shells. To keep the fun going, awards ceremony is at sunset on the beach followed by beach party with live local music.

The calm waters in July are perfect for newcomers anxious to give the sport a try in a benign environment. But the event offers plenty of challenge for experienced swimmers and consistently attracts world class competitors. Marcos Diaz, Open Water Man of the Year 2010 from the Dominican Republic, blazed across through the arches of the beach finish the 2.4 mile in 42:20 to win, this second straight victory. Wally Dicks and Sean Crockett, both from the US, finished 2nd and 3rd.

Mr. Diaz decided not to race the 1 mile event, which he had won the previous two years, which left the field wide open for a new winner. Local Providenciales resident from the UK Dan Redmond stormed in at 20:28 to take first in the Men’s Division. He was followed by Clay Britt and Eric Erenstoft, both from the US, finishing 2nd and 3rd.

The women’s 1 mile race was tight as Ann Lobello from the US slipped under the finish arches in 27:03 to take first, barely edging out Kerin Crockett, also from the US, by just two seconds. Providenciales resident from the UK, Nicola Jordan, took 3rd.

In creative twist to open water swim racing, the 1 mile event features a “Resort Cup” where 3 person teams from the hotels on island compete for their own special conch trophy. Regent Palms had the fastest combined time to win the 2012 Resort Cup for the second straight year.

The Children's Swim brought out 17 youngsters ages 12 and under to show their stuff in the 100 meters course. This swim has become an integral part of the "Race for the Conch" as it introduces kids to open water swimming and provides an organized forum and safe environment for them to participate and gain confidence.

Race Directors Ben Stubenberg and Chloe Zimmermann pointed out how gratifying it is to get repeat swimmers coming from US, Canada, and other parts of the Caribbean, as well as a strong showing by locals. It’s especially fun to have tourists discover the race after arriving on vacation and enthusiastically signing up on the beach on race day. They very much become part of the island scene and want to come back.

This year the race committee sponsored the participation of two Haitian fire fighters for the 1 mile race, the first time anyone from Haiti has swum in an organized open water competition. Race Directors have been committed to improving swimming capabilities in Haiti, particularly among firefighters to support marine rescue operations, for some time.

Next “Race for the Conch” is on Saturday July 6, 2013.

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