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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, July 4, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesPower Swim Attracting Record Numbers

Power Swim Attracting Record Numbers

More than 200 people are expected to ply the waters around St. John on Sunday, competing in the ninth annual Beach-to-Beach Power Swim.

The event is an annual fundraiser of the Friends of the V.I. National Park, with proceeds going to support its Learn to Swim program and other activities. The course is open to anyone who can swim and designed to challenge both the recreational swimmer and the serious racer.

There are actually three courses, all starting at Maho Bay. Beginning swimmers travel roughly a mile to Cinnamon Bay beach, intermediate swimmers keep going to Trunk Bay, a distance of 2 ¼ miles, and the advanced swimmers go all the way to Hawksnest, 3 ½ miles from Maho.

The long course can also be tackled by a three-person team as a relay race. And while the diehards will be outfitted only with goggles, there is an “assisted” category for those who want to wear mask and fins and snorkel.

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“We do it to celebrate the beaches and waters of St. John,” said Friends President Joe Kessler, who first suggested the event and still manages it.

Participation has grown considerably over the years. Kessler said the first Power Swim in 2004 attracted 126 swimmers, virtually all of them from the territory. This year, he said, about 40 percent of the racers are from elsewhere, primarily the U.S. mainland, but also from other countries including Mexico, Trinidad and Spain.

By Tuesday night, 185 people had signed up for Sunday’s Power Swim, Kessler said. He expects the final count to be close to 250, which he said would be a record.

“I’ve been really promoting it in the States. That’s where I see the growth to be,” he said.

Some participants combine the race with a holiday in the Virgin Islands, thus bolstering tourism.

People on the swimming circuit are not dominating the event, however.

Kessler said last year’s record-breaker, Bryson Mays from St. Croix, has entered again this year and will be the man to beat.

Kessler said swimmers will be close to shore in several places and the color of their swim caps denote which category they are in: neon yellow for the regular short race and purple for the short assisted; neon pink for the intermediate swimmers and gold for the assisted intermediate; neon green for the long race and powder blue for the long assisted; and silver for relay team members.

Support volunteers will be traveling in kayaks and power boats to assist anyone who needs help and to pick up anyone who can’t finish the race.

The event starts at 8 a.m. and will take about three hours. After that, there is a beach party and award ceremony at Oppenheimer Beach, all of which is open to the public.

It’s not too late to enter the event, but you must do so before Sunday. Cost is $50 for adults and $25 for persons 17 or younger. To sign up, call 779-4940 or visit the Friends of the Park Store or Office, Connections in either Cruz Bay or Coral Bay St. John; the Caribbean Surf Co. in either Havensight or Red Hook on St. Thomas; or SCUBA on St. Croix. You can also register online at http://www.friendsvinp.orh/swim

You can even register at 5 p.m. Saturday before the pre-race meeting at Maho Bay camp, but the cost will be higher: $75 for adults and $50 for youth.

Kessler urged all participants to learn about the course on the website cited above, and to attend the pre-race meeting for additional tips and instructions.

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More than 200 people are expected to ply the waters around St. John on Sunday, competing in the ninth annual Beach-to-Beach Power Swim.

The event is an annual fundraiser of the Friends of the V.I. National Park, with proceeds going to support its Learn to Swim program and other activities. The course is open to anyone who can swim and designed to challenge both the recreational swimmer and the serious racer.

There are actually three courses, all starting at Maho Bay. Beginning swimmers travel roughly a mile to Cinnamon Bay beach, intermediate swimmers keep going to Trunk Bay, a distance of 2 ¼ miles, and the advanced swimmers go all the way to Hawksnest, 3 ½ miles from Maho.

The long course can also be tackled by a three-person team as a relay race. And while the diehards will be outfitted only with goggles, there is an “assisted” category for those who want to wear mask and fins and snorkel.

“We do it to celebrate the beaches and waters of St. John,” said Friends President Joe Kessler, who first suggested the event and still manages it.

Participation has grown considerably over the years. Kessler said the first Power Swim in 2004 attracted 126 swimmers, virtually all of them from the territory. This year, he said, about 40 percent of the racers are from elsewhere, primarily the U.S. mainland, but also from other countries including Mexico, Trinidad and Spain.

By Tuesday night, 185 people had signed up for Sunday’s Power Swim, Kessler said. He expects the final count to be close to 250, which he said would be a record.

“I’ve been really promoting it in the States. That’s where I see the growth to be,” he said.

Some participants combine the race with a holiday in the Virgin Islands, thus bolstering tourism.

People on the swimming circuit are not dominating the event, however.

Kessler said last year’s record-breaker, Bryson Mays from St. Croix, has entered again this year and will be the man to beat.

Kessler said swimmers will be close to shore in several places and the color of their swim caps denote which category they are in: neon yellow for the regular short race and purple for the short assisted; neon pink for the intermediate swimmers and gold for the assisted intermediate; neon green for the long race and powder blue for the long assisted; and silver for relay team members.

Support volunteers will be traveling in kayaks and power boats to assist anyone who needs help and to pick up anyone who can’t finish the race.

The event starts at 8 a.m. and will take about three hours. After that, there is a beach party and award ceremony at Oppenheimer Beach, all of which is open to the public.

It’s not too late to enter the event, but you must do so before Sunday. Cost is $50 for adults and $25 for persons 17 or younger. To sign up, call 779-4940 or visit the Friends of the Park Store or Office, Connections in either Cruz Bay or Coral Bay St. John; the Caribbean Surf Co. in either Havensight or Red Hook on St. Thomas; or SCUBA on St. Croix. You can also register online at http://www.friendsvinp.orh/swim

You can even register at 5 p.m. Saturday before the pre-race meeting at Maho Bay camp, but the cost will be higher: $75 for adults and $50 for youth.

Kessler urged all participants to learn about the course on the website cited above, and to attend the pre-race meeting for additional tips and instructions.