The West Indies Bluewater Swim Series completed it inaugural year with four diverse, scenic world-class races in the blue waters throughout the Caribbean Sea.

The 2011 series began in March with the Nevis 2.5 StarMile cross channel swim from the island of Nevis to the island of St. Kitts.

In a thrillingly close race, Oliver Marceau from Switzerland and Chris McCormack from Australia swam neck-and-neck right to the end, but Marceau got out first and then did a very cool thing by waiting for McCormack to join him so they could cross the finish line together.

That was followed in May by the St. John (US Virgin Islands) Beach-to-Beach Power Swim at three different beaches along the beautiful coast of St. John. This race definitely had something for everyone with its many different categories, including assisted swims and relays. Bryson Mays of St. Croix and Barbara Crowder took top spots in the 5K among elite swimmers competing.

The Turks & Caicos Race for the Conch Eco-SeaSwim came next with its back-to-back 1- and 2.4-mile races in July. Ultra-distance champion and 2011 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, Marcos Diaz, returned to defend his victory and comfortably won both races in turquoise-colored Grace Bay. Jodie Gomez of Trinidad won the women’s 1-mile race.

Rounding out the series in September was the Maracas Open Water Classic in Trinidad that featured 750meter, 2.65K and 5K races. Several top local and international swimmers went head-to-head in this very popular 5-decade long race. Local swimmer Jonathan Gillette took first in the 5K followed by Blaine Sobrian and Samantha Raphael.

The outstanding local and international talent, along with the exotic warm water venues for each race, in the West Indies Bluewater Swim Series highlighted the Caribbean region as a world-class destination for open water swimming.

The West Indies Bluewater Swim Series race directors were proud to honor Trinidad swimmer Chelsea Mohammed (left) as the West Indies Bluewater Swimmer of the Year for her participation and excellent showing in every race on the series and for her indomitable spirit.

Chelsea, who turned 14 in June, was almost always the youngest swimmer in each race, but placed very well in all of them. Chelsea said, “The races were amazing and I never wanted to stop. I enjoyed meeting new people and felt very welcome in each country.” Race directors agreed that Chelsea represents the emerging young talent and determination of West Indian open water swimmers and sportsmanship at its best. Chelsea is also an emerging triathlon star and founder of a multi-sport athletic club in Trinidad called the Trigems.

 Top and average swimmers praised the races for organizational sophistication and attention to safety. According to Ben Stubenberg, Co-Race Director of the Turks & Caicos swim, “We are very pleased with the success of the swim series. Not only did the races attract elite swimmers and display excellent race management, but they all remained inclusive and welcoming to all swimmers. That just goes hand-in-hand with the welcoming nature of the West Indies.”

Preparations are underway for next year’s races that Swim Series race directors expect will continue to attract more swimmers from abroad, as well as the region, and give racers out to win or do their personal best a great and memorable experience. Swim Series officials are especially hopeful that many more people will swim all four races in 2012.

For more information, please click here for the 2012 race information.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source