CLEARWATER, Fla., April 22. DAVE Parcells was the first solo swimmer to finish the gruelling 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim on Saturday, April 19, with a swim that makes him the new "King of Tampa Bay." His total of five successful swims puts Parcells into Tampa Bay history books as the one with the most successful swims of the 24 mile length of Tampa Bay. It was his first victory, after finishing as high as third in his four previous swims of the event.
The top woman finisher was Kathleen Wilson, who overcame shoulder injury and a change in tide that made her last four hours in the water painful and treacherous.
In the competitive relay divisions, The Mullets out-distanced the entire field, followed closely by a suprisingly fit team of reuniteding ex-varsity swimmers from Shippensburg State College.
The event is sanctioned by United States Masters Swimming (USMS) and is held in celebration of Earth Day to recognize the renourishment and revitalization of Florida's largest estuary.
As usual, most of the competitors and their crews reported that they saw numerous dolphin and manta rays during their trek from the southern to the northern end of Tampa Bay. This year, seven individual swimmers and seven relay teams competed for honors.
10:24.20 – Dave Parcells, 44, of Madison, Connecticut had another great Tampa Bay swim as he continues to use the event as a springboard for other challenging swims. Last year, he swam Tampa Bay to help him prepare for his successful attempt to become the fourth American, 16th person worldwide and the oldest person in history to successfully complete a double crossing of the English Channel (21 hours, 30 minutes). Dave is happy that he gets to add another epic tale to his storied distance swimming career, and plans to return in 2004 to compete in his sixth consecutive Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. Crew Members: Chad Siple and Marvin Siple. Official Placement: 1st Place, Men's 40-44 age group.
12:26.30 – Kathleen Wilson, 39, Charleston, South Carolina said, "I really did enjoy myself in that sick way that we all relish. My swim went well for many hours, motoring along with a good pilot, good crew and happy swimmer. About 30 minutes before the Gandy Bridge, I started experiencing shoulder pain, and something that has never happened to me on a long swim, even during the very high stress swimming dealing with French currents. I asked for some pain medication and found that the better form I maintained, the less pain.
"As the hours wore on, nothing worked anymore and upon hitting rougher waters between the bridges, I was becoming very unhappy, in fact miserable. I did employ new tactics learned in the English Channel and managed to cure myself of my prairie dog tendency to stick my head up, looking around only to discover that nothing appeared to be closer. Terrific way to make a miserable swimmer even more miserable. I didn't look around and it did help.
"During the last several hours, I did something that I have never done before: I broke my stroke and swam a little breastroke and one arm free. I needed a few seconds of pain relief. Crew chief and husband Fred called my coach in Charleston for a few words of wisdom, inspiration, something nice to say to me and they couldn't think of anything. 'Remember Cape Gris Nez!' was it. (I try very hard to forget Cape Gris Nez.)
"They actually for a split second considered the possibility that I would quit. It was dismissed just as quickly when it simply drew laughs from my teammates in Charleston. They understand the personality that they are dealing with – not exactly normal.
"I staggered on with no right arm left and finally made it to the beach with a feeling of relief and some frustration knowing that I lost gobs of time. I did manage to solve a number of the world's great problems while swimming, as well as a few of my own."
Support crew: The Glasure Group (Jack, Stu, Becca, Nicolette, Katie) According to Jack Glasure, it was "Another totally awesome event to witness from the best seat in the house, my boat. The Glasure Group crew was proud to lead the solo woman champion again. The weather was ideal this year, and the current was no factor, other than a short stretch of brisk NE wind just North of the Howard Frankland. We took a 30 degree heading from Pinellas Point and hit the beach on the Courtney Campbell Causeway right on the money. A straight shot. It helped to study a satellite image of Tampa Bay and to run the course with the swimmer and her crew two days before the race. "
Kathleen kept a brisk rate of 80 strokes per minute for the first 8 hours, then 75 strokes for the final 4 hours. Official Placement: 1st Place, Women's 35-39 age group.
12:35.15 – Pat Marzulli, 54, of Indian Rocks Beach, Florida became the second oldest competitor to successfully complete the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. He has participated as a relay swimmer and has been a member of the event's support crew since the inaugural event in 1999, but this was his first attempt as a soloist. Marzulli was "just happy to finish," and plans to continue his participation in the event, along with wife Martine. He competes at United States Masters Swimming events representing the St. Petersburg Masters swim team. Crew: Maud Orlando, Mrs. Pat Marzulli, and Creighton Pruitt. Official Placement: 1st Place, Men's 50-54 age group.
14:23.00 – Laura Colette, 38, of San Jose, California returned to Tampa after successfully completing the swim in 2002 (13 hours, 20 minutes). This year, she suffered through intestinal pains and a strong outgoing tide to eventually make it to her second consecutive completion of the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. In doing so, her time was the longest ever for a successful completion of the event. Crew: Dave Figliola and kayaker Mike Fisher. Official Placement: 2nd Place, Women's 35-39 age group.
DNF – Hal Clarendon, 57, of Gainesville, Florida was making his fourth attempt to complete the swim, but said that he, "got within striking distance of the Gandy bridge when the sea picked up and darkness and tide turned against me. I outswam my previous efforts, staying in the water eleven hours, eleven minutes and 27 seconds. I will spend this next year increasing my speed. A wonderful swim, with a wonderful crew. Ryan kept me going, and boatmaster Steve and my son, Jack, made this adventure a memory of a lifetime. We'll do something in our next issue of Outdoor Adventure Magazine. Thanks for a chance to step beyond the ordinary and everyday life." Crew: Steve Fisher, Jack Clarendon, and Ryan Woodruff.
DNF – Matt Price, 22, of West Point, New York suffered shoulder injury and withdrew as he approached the Gandy Bridge. He returns West Point to finish his final year as a cadet at the United States Military Academy. He is scheduled to swim the English Channel in July 2003. Crew: Clark East and Delores Dios.
DNF – Kevin Norris, 41, of Tampa, Florida was forced to withdraw as he approached the Gandy Bridge after suffering hypothermia and exhaustion. This is his first attempt to swim a marathon swim distance, and managed to set a new personal distance record. Crew: Fred Uzro and Paul Marring.
8:54.15 – The Mullets ran away from the field as they caught the strong incoming tide as they swam wide around Pinellas Point. The top-seeded trio hammered their way north to post the day's fastest time, arriving at the finish line just minutes before their goal of nine hours. The team was comprised of Brian Rimel and Tim Kennedy of St. Petersburg, Florida, and Jill Gellatly of Houston, Texas. Rimel said, "I wanted to take a moment to tell you that you and your support group did a wonderful job in orchestrating this weekend’s swim. I look forward to competing again in’04, as do my team mates!" Crew: Kern Davis. Official Placement: 1st Place, Mixed 3 person relay.
9:12.40 – Shippensburg State College, Old School showed suprising form as they posted the second fastest time of the day. Local swimmer Chris Burke hosted a reunion for his college teammates 20 years after competing as varsity swimmers at Shippensburg State College in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. They were Chris Burke, 41, David Whitehead, 41, Doug German, 39, Mark McCormick, 39, Rob Spence 40, and Wynn Fertig, 43. Official Placement: 1st Place, Men's 6 person relay.
9:59.30 – Tampa Bay Aquatic Club of Tampa, Florida made another strong showing as they completed their fourth consecutive Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. Their team also made another strong showing at the post-race festivities at the finish line. This year, TBAC was represented by Joe Solak, 38, Clara Reynolds, 33, and Tom Rawls, 35. Official Placement: 2nd Place, Mixed 3 person relay.
10:42.55 – Beauties and the Beasts had an amazing day in the event, especially considering that the team had an average age 63! They were John Cox, 69, Robert Beach, 72, David McCord, 54, Pam Geiger, 50, Jo Ann Harrelson, 47, and Konrad Euler, 67. All swim for the St. Petersburg Masters swim team. They still feature the oldest female (Harrelson-age 43 in 1999) and oldest male (Euler-age 66 in 2002) swimmers who have completed the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim as soloists. Official Placement: 1st Place, Mixed 6 person relay.
11:30.50 – # 9 Relay Team was comprised of triathletes and endurance athletes from the Tampa Bay area. They were: Michel Embry, 55, Joe Guidry, 52, David Kirkam, 48, Jim Zinner, 47, Barton Cobb, 48, and Al Robinson, 59. Crew: Official Placement: 2nd Place, Men's 6 person relay.
11:46.00 – Ali-Sally-Ali represented the Jersey Long Distance Swim Club, UK, and were comprised of Alison Streeter, 38, Sally Minty-Gravett, 45, and Alison Lee Horsfall, 29. "Queen of the Channel" Alison Streeter said that it, "was a great great swim and pretty tough. I was pleased I was doing a relay and not a solo. THANKS to all your helpers and boat pilots. We could not have done it without them." Crew: Bernie Sadowski and Helen Barker.Official Placement: 1st Place, Women's 3 person relay.
13:14.10 – Edodos teammates Tim Lawrence, 37, from Montgomery, Alabama, and Matt Johnson, 40, from Frankfurt, Germany were able to finish just as the sun disappeared over the horizon. According to Johnson, "it was a great experience for me. My first open-water event. I am so glad that Tim Lawrence was anchoring our team. The guy is a hammer." Crew: Karen Hoke. Official Placement: 1st Place, Men's 3 person relay.
The Tampa Bay Marathon Swim is presented by DistanceMatters.com, a Clearwater Web Design and Network Engineering firm owned by Event Director Ron Collins.