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KOSTICH WINS CORAL REEF SWIM 5TH YEAR IN A ROW

Oct. 26, 2003 – Alex Kostich, 33, from Los Angeles, Calif., claimed his fifth victory in a row in the St. Croix Coral Reef Swim Sunday. Kostich was the overall solo finisher, with a time of 1 hour, 45 minutes, and 33 seconds. Kostich holds the course record, set in 2002, at time of 1:36:12.
One hundred twenty four swimmers completed the 5-mile course from Buck Island Reef National Monument to The Buccaneer resort’s Mermaid Beach with, including: 92 solo swimmers, 17 fin swimmers, and 15 relay swimmers, according to a release issued Sunday.
Second overall solo swimmer was James Barber, age 43, from Zionsville, Ind., with a time of 1:48.16. Third overall solo was Joseph Sheehan, age 32, from Melrose, Mass. with a time of 1:55.31. Evan Welting, age 29, from Decatur, Ga., placed forth with a time of 1:56.33.. Brian Furlong, age 26, of Philadelphia, Pa., rounded out the top five, with a time of 1:58.16.
The top woman finishing the race was Betty Mills, age 39, of Atlanta, Ga., who placed sixth overall with a time of 1:58.48. The second woman was Rebecca Kalibat, age 40, from Princeton, N.J., with a time of 1:59.12 seconds. Third woman solo finisher was Niki Adams, 32, from Milwaukee, Wis., with a time of 2:7.8.
The top finishers in the Junior Male Solo category are all from St. Croix. Branden Whitehurst, 13, finished first in the category with a time of 2:00.44 . Whitehurst placed 10th in overall results and was the top finisher from the Virgin Islands. Ryan Nelthropp, age 14, finished second with a time of 2:1.13 seconds. Kamal Russell, age 17, placed third with a time of 2 hours, 41 minutes, and 23 seconds.
The top Junior Female Solo was local swimmer Nicole Hutchins, age 15, of St. Croix, with a time of 2: 2. 5 seconds. Hutchins was 12th in the overall results. She was followed by 17-year-old Keri Whitehurst, also of St. Croix, who finished with a time of 2:2.30 seconds. Gabriela Fiebel, 15, from West Windsor, N..J.., placed third with a time of 2:3. 7 seconds.
The youngest solo swimmer in the race was 12-year-old Annie Myrvang, of St. Croix, who finished 74th overall, with a time of 3:17. 50 seconds. The oldest swimmer was Leo Oros of Baton Rouge, La, age 75, who placed 85th, completing the course 4:9.54 seconds.
Swimmers representing 22 of the United States competed again this year, and 36 competed from the United States Virgin Islands, the release said. The unique event began this year at 7:30 a.m. with the blowing of a conch shell, signaling the participants to begin swimming the 5-mile open water course from Buck Island.
In addition to the swimmers, 10 boat captains, more than 60 kayakers, eight emergency medical technicians, three safety SCUBA divers, and dozens of other volunteers donated their time and services for a safe operation. St. Croix race organizers are Elizabeth A. Armstrong, general manager of host hotel The Buccaneer; official race timer Wallace Williams, kayak organizer Peter Brown with assistance from Dick and Debbie Merritt; and boat captain organizer Ed Staats.
Sponsors of the event are American Airlines, The Victor Swimwear, The Buccaneer, Aqua Moon Adventures, Caribbean Bracelet Company, Mile Mark Watersports, Joel Tutein and the National Park Service, Endurance Sports, Hovensa, Bellows International, Cruzan Rum, St. Croix Yacht Club, Green Cay Marina, V.I. Family Sports and Fitness Center, Anchor Dive Center, and Virgin Kayak and Canoe Outfitters.
Next year’s swim is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 24, 2004. For more information on this and other races organized by Randy Nutt, log on to www.randynutt.com.
For complete race results click here.

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