June 18, 2011
WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
Boca Raton masters swimmer Dale LeClair and Canadian teenager Cameron McKnight won the 12.5-Mile Florida Keys Community College Swim Around Key West on Saturday.
LeClair, 41, a member of the GOLD Masters team, won the women’s title in 5 hours, 4 minutes and 20 seconds.
McKnight, 18, of Waterloo, Ontario, won the overall and men’s title in 4 hours, 11 minutes and 11 seconds.
McKnight was the youngest solo swimmer in the field. He swims at the University of Waterloo. He won the race two years ago.
About 150 swimmers, ages 18-65, in the solo (35 swimmers) and relay divisions (two to six people) competed in the event.
The course, that began at Smathers Beach, was a clockwise open water route that circled the island and included both the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico waters.
The race, sponsored by the Bone Island Swim Club and event coordinator Lori Bosco, is the only sanctioned, insured and U.S. Coast Guard-permitted race around Key West.
Former FGC Swimmer Shines For USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon Project 2012 program member Manny Huerta of Miami was top U.S. male finisher at the third event of the 2011 ITU World Championship Series in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
Huerta, who was with the lead pack for most of the race, battled rainy conditions to place 24th overall and finish as the top U.S. male. He finished in 1 hour, 54 minutes and 4 seconds ahead of No. 2 American Greg Bennett of Boulder, Colo., who placed 25th in 1:54:10.
Huerta swam with clubs in Miami, trained with swim coach Boris Fernandez and at Florida Atlantic University.
Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee won the men’s race in 1:51:54, 44 seconds ahead of the field.
The women’s race is scheduled for Sunday with Laura Reback Bennett of North Palm Beach and Boulder among favorites. She will be joined by U.S. teammates Sarah Groff, Sarah Haskins and Jillian Peterson. Reback Bennett grew up swimming in the Florida Gold Coast with North Palm Beach coach Dick Cavanah.
The first qualifier event for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in London on Aug. 6-7.
Local Lifeguard Aguilar Accomplishes Paddleboard Feat
Miami Beach lifeguard Cynthia Aguilar, an endurance athlete, successfully became the first solo prone paddle boarder to complete a 103.2-mile voyage across the Florida Straits from northern Cuba to Key West on Thursday.
When verified it should set a record for the longest non-stop prone paddle. It took her 29 hours and 12 minutes. Aguilar never slept during her voyage. She wore sleeves on her arms to avoid jellyfish stings.
Aguilar, 28, an Ocean-Minded Brand Ambassador, celebrated with her Nicaraguan parents by dousing her paddleboard with champagne on the beach in Key West. It was her second attempt at the feat. Last September she tried the venture, but strong currents and jellyfish stings forced her to stop.
“Everybody here kept me going to prove that anything is possible no matter what,” Aguilar said. “You’re knocked down, you get up, you keep fighting, you keep paddling no matter what.
“This year the gods, the ocean and Mother Nature were on our side. We made it hours before we were even expected. We were planning to be here by 5 and it’s not even 1. Touching land was the happiest moment I’ve had in a long time.”
Her accomplishment will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, a non-profit that grants wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.
“I’m trying to give the kids hope, but I’m also trying to inspire as many people as possible,” said Aguilar, who has been swimming since she was a baby. “I’m hoping that everyone who hears about this will be driven to make an impact and have hope that they can do something, even something little, that will make a big difference for someone else.”
Aguilar has her own website, Keep Paddlin.
GOLD Coast Masters Strike World Records
GOLD Coast Masters broke three world records recently at the Bumpy Jones Classic in Sarasota.
Maureen Hughes, Pat Sargeant, Danielle Ogier and Jeannie Mitchell of GOLD broke three masters records (240-279 age group) in the 400 medley relay (5:51.60), 400 freestyle relay (5:10.93) and 800 freestyle relay (11:30.92). The previous records were 5:52.38, 5:18.54 and 12:05.24 respectively.
Eight world masters relay records were broken during the meet.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org