CLEARWATER, Fla. DENIS Crean made a late charge to win a closely contested Seventh Annual 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. Rough seas and an unseasonably cool 68F degree water temperature proved to be extremely challenging for the 13 solo swimmers and 13 relay teams that entered the event.
Crean, 43, from Washington D.C., competing in his first race over 4 miles, was able to beat out a seasoned field of open water swimmers. Six other solo swimmers finished the gruelling 24 mile swim less than an hour behind the champion. Denis Crean's official time was 9 hours, 20 minutes, 15 seconds.
The women were led by Nancy Steadman Martin, 49, of Oceanport, New Jersey. Her time of 10 hours, 6 minutes was registered after a close duel with Michelle Davidson that lasted most of the day.
Southern Californians Bill Ireland, 44, Forrest Nelson, 38, and Craig Taylor, 51, set a new record for completing the course as a three-person relay team with a time of 8 hours, 14 minutes.
Results – Solo Men
9:20.15 – Denis Crean, 43, Washington, DC – His late surge to pass early leader Marcos Diaz between the Howard Frankland Bridge and the finish line earned him the soloist championship. Official Placement: 1st Place, Men's 40-44 age group.
9:28.22 – Marcos Diaz, 29, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – Led the entire field until he suffered exhaustion and hypothermia near the Gandy Bridge. His time was about 25 minutes slower than he swam Tampa Bay in 2002. Official Placement: 1st Place, Men's 25-29 age group.
9:32.39 – Richard Flambard, 35, Jersey, United Kingdom- Channel Island champion ends up just behind the leaders to finish as third soloist. Official Placement: 1st Place, Men's 39-39 age group.
9:40.00 – Dave Parcells, 44, Madison, Connecticut – Completed his record-setting 6th swim of Tampa Bay. Parcells' next endurance marathon will be a triple crossing of the English Channel in August 2004. Official Placement: 2nd Place, Men's 40-44 age group.
10:05.50 – Gilles Chalandon, 47, New York City, New York – Fifth soloist overall. Official Placement: 1st Place, Men's 45-49 age group.
12:15.22 – Joe Wolf, 36, Denver, Colorado – He was able to complete his first marathon swim, even though he had to overcome "a little puking" early in the day. Official Placement: 2nd Place, Men's 35-39 age group.
DNF – Kevin Flynn, 43, Westempton, New Jersey had hoped to finish his first marathon swim, but withdrew at the Howard Frankland Bridge after swimming 12 hours. Kevin said, "I did not complete the race, but I considered my swim a success as I went farther than I expected on my first attempt at a marathon swim. I decided before the race to get into a rhythm and hold a steady pace, I did not try to push my speed. I made the Gandy bridge in 9 hrs, in between the bridges I spent 3 hrs fighting the outgoing tide and was pulled from the water close to the Howard Frankland Bridge when the sun was setting. I could not have gone as far as I did without a great crew to help. I had two kayakers, Matt Price had participated in the swim before and took control on what needed to be done from his experience. Matt's friend, James, was great in encouraging me, especially when trying to push through the outgoing tide. My wife Denice was a great help from the power boat as was Jake Draughon who was driving the boat and keeping me safe. It was a great experience."
DNF – Joseph Van Horn, 68, Canton, Ohio – Withdrew near the Gandy Bridge due to exhaustion and the change in the tides.
DNF – Hal Clarendon, 58, Gainesville, Florida – On his fifth attempt to swim Tampa Bay, he swam as far in six hours as he did in eleven hours in 2003.
Results – Solo Women
10:06.44 – Nancy Steadman Martin, 49, Oceanport, New Jersey – Finished 6th overall, and first woman overall. Official Placement: 1st Place, Women's 45-49 age group.
10:30.16 – Michelle Davidson, 33, Oakhurst, New Jersey – Finished 7th overall, and was first woman runner-up. Official Placement: 1st Place, Women's 30-34 age group.
DNF – Laura Colette, 40, San Jose, California – Forced to withdraw at the Gandy Bridge due to the change in the tide.
DNF – Rose Rice Fields, 30, Poulsbo, Washington – Withdrew at the St. Petersburg Pier due to rough conditions.
Results – Relays
8:14.33 – SoCal Kao lele – Set a new record for swimming as a 3-person relay. Craig Taylor recounted their experience: "We had a great time with the event – great fun & great competition. All three of us felt we swam well, & the conditions seemed to suit us. Cooler water temps & some chop (pretty good chop earlier in the event) – conditions we do well in. Our goal was to break 9 hours, but as we approached the first bridge, we began to suspect that we would be under that goal. The 8:14 time was beyond our expectations. As we approached the halfway point, Marcos Diaz' boat was slightly ahead of us – he did a great job the first half of the swim – but we saw we were gaining fairly quickly & felt he was likely having a few problems. From there, we moved a little east of him & away, but could not see any other boats. From just before the first bridge to the finish, we concentrated on swimming well & keeping legs that maximized our (dwindling) energy levels. Passing the 2nd bridge & eyeing the finish line was a great sight." Relay members: Bill Ireland, 44, Forrest Nelson, 38, and Craig Taylor, 51, of Laguna Niguel, California. Official Placement: 1st Place, 3 Man relay.
8:54.00 – Rip Tide – Another strong performance for the 2 man relay champions. Relay members: Brian Rimel, 37, and Tim Kennedy, 47, of St. Petersburg, Florida and the St. Petersburg Masters Swim Team. Official Placement: 1st Place, 2 Man Relay.
9:46.19 All Action, No Motion – Enjoyed their day on the water just as much as they enjoyed their nights on the town. Relay members: James Scott, 31, and Mark Rosenberg, 39 of London, England. Official Placement: 2nd Place, 2 Man Relay.
9:58.01 – # 9 Relay Team – Bay area relay team makes a good showing in their second consecutive completion of Tampa Bay. Relay members: Mike Embry, 56, John Neukamm, 43, David Kirkam, 49, Jim Zinner, 48, Barton Cobb, 49 from Tampa, Florida. Official Placement: 1st Place, 5 Man Relay.
9:59.22 – Tampa Bay Aquatic Club – Fifth consecutive success for TBAC. Relay members: Joe Solak, 39, Clara Reynolds, 34, and Tom Rawls, 36 from Tampa, Florida. Official Placement: 1st Place, 3 Person Mixed Relay.
10:23.53 – Brighton Beach Memoirs – May return next year for solo swims. Relay members: Cristian Vergara, 45, Bonnie Schwartz, 24, Lori Carena, 50, and James Meier, 59, of New York City, New York Metro Swim Club.Official Placement: 1st Place, 4 Person Mixed Relay.
10:30.15 – The Eulers – Father/son team completes the swim in the first relay of its kind. Relay members: Dr. Herbert Euler, 36, and Dr. Konrad Euler, 68, of St. Petersburg, Florida swimming for the St. Petersburg Masters Swim Team. Official Placement: 2nd Place, 2 Man Relay.
12:26.07 – Jersey Long Distance Swim Club – Second year for the Channel Island open water veterans. Relay members: Sally Minty-Gravett, 46, Charlie Gravett, 60, Katharine Clark, 19, and Dario Parmesan, 40. ADDENDUM 5.1.04 Email from Charlie Gravett after spending an extra week in Tampa in the hospital: "Hi Guy's; I don't want to labour the point as I'm sure most of you couldn't give a monkey's but now I'm back on the 'Rock' I find our E-mails bursting with good wishes from so many of you. I have safely returned from the 'Green Apple Tango' World Championships without the option of a Vikings funeral. Thanks to a sound travel Insurance Policy I was treated like Royalty, or at any rate a moderately acceptable Limey by the American health system at St Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. They were as superb in their understanding of my plight as their jealous husbandry of their municipal sewerage system as they were thorough in their clinical investigations and remedial treatment. From the Emergency Services who scrapped me off the boardwalk and turned my arms into dart-boards, the specialist cardiologists and infectious disease doctors who scratched their collective heads and tried to fathom out why anyone would travel half way round the world to swim in their shark, sting-ray, crocodile infested waters and to the nurses who just couldn't do enough and shared a few laughs with me. Thanks. Thanks to Ron Collins for a great swim – initially! All Tampa Bay swimmers get their monies worth out of that boy, it's a great swim and our congratulations to all solo swimmers who completed the 24 miles and us relay squads of varying numerical composites who had a little more time to enjoy the skylines and sights. His escorting of Sally through the 'flesh-pots' of the Tampa Bay night whilst I lay 'suffering' was as gallant as a guy can get! His reward is a collective round of applause as the sun sets and a crowded pub find it necessary to clap the sun going down; only in America! Thanks to Bad Boy Parcells who showed such concern with his frequent phone calls, he's hoping for the code to get into the Guinness fridge, but the code will die with me mate! To my mates who formed the Jersey squad, thanks for all your efforts in and out of the water and for your support of Sal and thanks to the E-mailers, texters, phone callers et al. To all my aquatic mates – thanks a lot, we had a ball – eventually!" Official Placement: 2nd Place,
4 Person Mixed Relay.
13:04.29 – TRI Swimming – Longest swim of the day. Relay members: Tim Moore, 51, Tiger Mills, 49, Diane Sweetapple, 46, Janell Cory, 49, and Dawn Clark, 38 representing the St. Pete Maddogs Triathlon Team of St. Petersburg, Florida. Official Placement: 1st Place, 5 Person Mixed Relay.
DNF – A Beauty and 3 Beasts – Withdrew at the Howard Frankland Bridge due to the change in the tide. Relay members: John Cox, 69, Robert Beach, 73, David McCord, 55, Pam Geiger, 51 from the St. Petersburg Masters swim team.
DNF – Joe's Groupers -Withdrew due to inclement conditions at the St. Petersburg Pier. Relay members: Barbra Lewis, 42, Anne Coen, 61, Bill Van Horn, 65, from Canton, Ohio swimming for the O*H*I*O Masters Swim Team..
DNF – Shoals Sharks – Withdrew from race due to darkness with only 2 miles to go. Relay members: Rick Elliott, 51, Rachel Giles, 24, Jay Powers, 43, Bradford Lynch, 46, John Landon, 55, and Tim Zeulke, 45 from Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
DNF – Tampa Tarpons – Mechanical problems prevented them from starting the race. Relay members: Kevin Norris, 42, Nancy Lyn Ash, 30, and Chad Carson, 33 from Tampa, Florida.
Complete information including all results and event history is available at www.distancematters.com.