SANDY BEACH, Hawaii. AUGUST 25. TWO teams started right in the early morning hours on August 24th at the inaugural Ka’iwi Channel Swim on Kepuhi Beach on the western shores of Molokai Island – and they nearly finished together 9 hours later on Sandy Beach on Oahu.
Co-race director Steve Haumschild called it right when he predicted a safe crossing of the 28-mile (45 km) channel under 12 hours. “The conditions are pretty good for the first Kaiwi Channel Swim between Molokai and Oahu. 15 mph winds coming from the east with 4-6 foot swells were tough, but not impossible. They will probably only have to make one course adjustment in order to get into Sandy Beach.”
But what Haumschild could not have predicted for the inter-island relay competition was how close and competitive the teams were. It was neck-and-neck from start to finish with innumerable lead changes among the two 6-member teams.
The Ka’iwi Channel Swim teams battled it out all day long, trading the lead like swimmers in a typical 10 km race. “The teams traded the lead so many times, we could barely keep up. This was an incredible showcase of athleticism by both teams in the ultimate open water swimming proving grounds across the Kaiwi Channel. Towards the end, both teams stepped it up.”
But ultimately it was The Veterans (Karen Schmidt, Amy Dantzler, Brent Blackman, Bill Ireland, Bruce Thomas, and Dianne Gleason) who triumphed over The Youngsters (Terence Young, Brian King, Mitchell Degeus, Jamison Grove, Brittney Yim, and Erin Yamamoto) in a time of 9 hours 53 minutes versus 9 hours 56 minutes.
“Both teams were stoked,” summed up Haumschild. “They both look forward to the competition again next year. The race did in fact turn out to be the ultimate proving grounds.”