April 26, 2006 – With the water getting warmer, now is the time to get in shape for the third annual Friends of the V.I. National Park's May 28 Beach-to-Beach Power Swim.
"It's great to get in the water and enjoy the park and its resources," Friends program manager Kristen Maize said.
The event raises money to fund Friends activities.
Last year 116 people participated. Friends development director Karen Brady said she expects about 150 people this year.
In 2005, Kieran Locke of St. Croix won with a time of one hour and 11 minutes.
Brady said that Locke beat the previous fastest time by about 10 minutes. "He blew the first race's times out of the water," she said.
She said Joshua Labon and Morgan Locke, who is Kieran's brother, came in second and third, respectively, in the men's division. Both are from St. Croix.
In the women's division, three St. John women took top honors. Kathy Laseter was first with a time of one hour and 44 minutes. Jude Woodcock and Sarah Vose came in second and third, respectively.
The organization will hold practices on May 7 and May 23.
The May 7 practice takes swimmers from Maho Bay to Trunk Bay. Meet at Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay parking at 7:45 a.m. to carpool to Maho Bay.
The May 21 practice takes swimmers from Maho Bay to Hawksnest Bay. Meet at 7:45 a.m. at Hawksnest Bay, Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay parking lots to carpool to Maho Bay.
"This event will be fun and challenging," Brady said.
The Friends will have safety kayakers in the water to escort swimmers at both the practices and the event.
The event has three courses, which all start at Maho Bay Beach at 8 a.m. The first takes participants about one mile to Cinnamon Bay, the second course is two miles to Trunk Bay, while the third is three miles to Hawksnest Bay.
Participants can compete in the long course as an individual or as part of a three-person team. Swimmers assisted by snorkel and/or fins may also compete in an assisted swimmer category.
Registration is $25 until May 15. After that date, the fee is $30. However, Brady said if participants wait until May 27 to register, the cost goes up to $40.
Call 340-779-4940 for information and to register. Swimmers may also register at the Friends Web site or in person at Connections in Cruz Bay or Endurance Sports at Havensight on St. Thomas or Sunny Isle, St. Croix.
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