Courtesy of Brilliant Studios, Turks & Caicos.

Ben Stubenberg and Chloe Zimmermann co-organized the 8th annual Race for the Conch Eco-SeaSwim in Turks & Caicos.

Eight years ago, the first Turks & Caicos “Race for the Conch” Eco-SeaSwim could barely muster 50 swimmers. This year on July 1st, the international swim race in the clear, turquoise waters of Grace Bay, Providenciales saw 150 swimmers participate in 3 events of 2.4 miles, 1 mile, and 1/2 mile in distance through the beautiful turquoise waters of Grace Bay in close to perfect conditions.

Swimmers can elect to do the 2.4-mile and 1-mile swims back-to-back, giving them two races on the same day.”

Megan Kruth, an Ironman triathlete and 17-time All-American collegiate swimmer from Pittsburg, was among the athletes entered in the event.

But there was something very, very special about Kruth walking up to the start. She had every reason not to be there.

Stubenberg explains, “In 2014, the schoolteacher crashed while bike training and suffered traumatic brain injuries that left her in a coma [see here].

After three years of rehabilitation that included learning how to swallow, talk, and walk, Kruth decided that the “Race for the Conch” Eco-SeaSwim would be the first athletic event she would enter upon her recovery.

Her incredibly courageous comeback 1,427 days after the accident, earned her 2nd place in the 2.4-mile race and 3rd place in the 1-mile race against tough competition. She, of course, won the hearts of everyone at the event.

Having Megan swim in the “Race for the Conch” Eco-SeaSwim was truly life affirming and an honor for all of us to see her swim competitively again.

I’m still bowled over by Megan’s comeback tenacity and amazingly positive outlook. She really radiates and inspires.”

Co-race director Zimmermann had another positive footnote to the event. “Most of the swim racers fly down from the United States and Canada, but an increasing number are residents of the Turks & Caicos. One of the aims of the charity event is to support learn-to-swim programs and encourage swim competition with the Turks & Caicos Islands Swim Federation.”

2.4-mile Swim Top 3 Males
1. Diego Lopez
2. Matthew Menendez
3. Matthew Brown

2.4-mile Swim Top 3 Females
1. Beth Margalis
2. Megan Kruth
3. Melinda Williams

1-mile Swim Top 3 Males
1. Ryker Rush
2. Dan Redmond
3. Diego Lopez

1-mile Swim Top 3 Females
1. Alexandra Atkinson
2. Marisa Carlson
3. Megan Kruth

1/2-mile Swim Top 3 Males
1. Jack Parlee
2. Daniel McGarry
3. Tom McGarry

1/2-mile Swim Top 3 Females
1. Amanda Abbot
2. Jessica Söderqvist
3. Jamie Francis

For more information, visit www.ecoseaswim.com.

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