PHOENIX, Arizona, December 17. MASTERS swimmer and triathlete Denise Stapley outplayed, outwitted and outlasted 17 players to win the $1 million prize and honor of being named sole Survivor in the CBS show's 25th edition.
Stapley, a sex therapist by trade, participated in a live tribal council Sunday evening with “Facts of Life” actor Lisa Welchel and former “Survivor” contestant Michael Skupin. She managed the win in a way that is non-traditional on “Survivor,” by making very few enemies. Though she found herself present at every Tribal Council since the beginning — and therefore subject to removal each week — Stapley was never truly in danger of elimination, thanks to her kind nature.
Stapley is a registered Masters swimmer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, training with the Milky Way Masters Swim Team in order to improve her triathlon performance. To date, Stapley has not competed in Masters swimming competitions, with no results listed for her name on the United States Masters Swimming website.
Stapley was not the only “Survivor” contestant with Masters swimming credentials. Roberta Saint-Amour, who was eliminated on the October 31 episode, competed in Masters meets in 2008 and 2009, posting a couple of No. 1 times in freestyle and backstroke.
Watch the final tribal council vote: