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Van Rutten Repeats as Bonaire EcoSwim Champ -- December 7, 2002

By Holly Sherwin

BONAIRE, N.A., December 7. IT was a beautiful day with light winds when 31 enthusiastic swimmers
entered the crystal-clear waters of Bonaire.

However, the conditions turned to white-capped waves and moderate wind as they churned across the channel
while navigating the 5K course in the second annual Bonaire EcoSwim.

The winner of the event was Vincent Van Rutten from Curacao who finished with a large lead in a time of 1:11.21. The 15 year old ace also won last year's
event.

Exhausted from the waves and wind, Van Rutten commented "It's like 'The Perfect Storm'". Behind Van Rutten was Jill Gellatly, who posted a time of 1:15.21. She came out the water talking about the sea turtles and fish that she watched while she bounced over the spectacular coral reefs.

Gellatly was also the winner of the 1-mile swim that she used as a warm up before the 5K race.

In third place, Carol Carr finished with a time of 1:16.57 seconds and in fourth place was Tim Kennedy with a time of 1:22.06, both seasoned open-water swimmers. Fifth place was taken by Brian Furlong who barely made it to the swim from Philadelphia due to the severe winter storm that swept through the day before the race.

A few swimmers were pulled from the water because they swam so far off course due to the strong currents and waves. One swimmer, Doug Hellerson, who went off course but managed to stay in the race commented "I think I went to Aruba and back"!

As the last swimmers exited the water, the skies opened up to a drenching sun shower, which was, indeed, the perfect storm.

For more information on next years EcoSwim and other open-water events, contact the race organizer at info@randynutt.com or visit the website at www.randynutt.com.