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Friday, July 13, 2018

Raves For Race For The Conch

Courtesy of Brilliant Studios and Ben Stubenberg, Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos.

Flat clear turquoise water on Grace Bay made for perfect conditions at the 9th annual Turks & Caicos “Race for the Conch” Eco-SeaSwim. More than 100 swimmers turned out for the international open water swim competition in front of Rickie’s Flamingo Cafe that saw both top competitors battle it out for a trophy and regular swimmers taking on a personal challenge to swim 2.4 miles, 1 mile, or 1/2 mile distances.

Local swimmer Dan Redmond took first place overall in the 1-mile race in 21 minutes 40 seconds, holding off two visiting Americans Clay Britt from the US took second, while Kevin Donlon.

Redmond has an impressive streak at the Race for the Conch: he won the 1-mile in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2018, finishing second in 2015 and 2017.

Michelle Patton was the fastest women in the 1-mile race in 22 minutes 59 seconds, followed by two fellow Americans Susan Ingraham and Megan Kruth.

Kruth presents a heartwarming comeback story. The schoolteacher and Ironman triathlete was a 17-time All-American collegiate swimmer from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania who suffered a traumatic brain injuries in a bike accident that left her in a coma. After three years of rehabilitation, she learned how to swallow, talk, and walk again. She entered the 2017 Race for the Conch Eco-SeaSwim for her first athletic event after her injury and finished on the podium this year with her whole family cheering on with other swim friends.

In the 2.4-mile race, Eney Jones was first overall in 53 minutes 34 seconds. Kruth and Ingraham did double-duty and finishing second and third, respectively. Jones hosted on three popular swim clinics the day before the race in front of Rickie’s Flamingo Cafe, including one for young swimmers to improve their technique and training.

Donlon won the men's 2.4-mile race, also finishing in 53 minutes 34 seconds, holding off Wally Dicks in second and Craig Franz in third.

Jack Parlee defending his 0.5-mile overall title with a 12 minute 46 second victory over Gregory Ewing and Pascal Desaulnay. Ella O’Connell came in first in 15 minutes 19 seconds followed by her sister Olivia O’Connell in second and Sara Lark in third.

16 local kids 10 years and under participated in the 100m Children's Swim with 9-year-old Lenin Hamilton and 10-year-old Tajhari Williams also swimming the 1-mile race as well.

Co-Race Director Ben Stubenberg stated, “Everything went off without a hitch thanks to dedicated volunteers and committed sponsors who demonstrated once again that TCI runs some of the best open water swim races anywhere on the planet.”

Co-Race Director Chloe Zimmermann added, “It is particularly gratifying to see swimmers return year after year — some 9 years on a row, as well as the very encouraging increase in the number of Turks & Caicos Islands swimmers thanks to expansion of swim clubs and learn-to-swim programs.”

Race proceeds primarily go towards the Provo Children’s Home. For more information on the race, visit here.



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