Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Ron Collins had to call on all his decades of open water swimming experience to handle the situations at yesterday’s 24 mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim.

Collins reported, “With winds that gradually increased, the conditions led to a change of the cross-bay swim to a safer triangular contingency course.

High winds forced an early end to the 19th Annual 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. After battling for almost 3 hours 30 minutes on an alternate, sheltered course, the marathon swim was halted due to safety concerns for the swimmers, boaters and kayakers.

At the time of the race abandonment, all of the swimmers and relays that started the race were still negotiating the moderate chop off Tampa Bay’s Pinellas Point. The leader was the pre-race favorite, a 25-year-old Stephen Carroll who was able to swim 8 miles by the time race was called off, shortly before 11:30 am.

Carroll’s support kayaker Jason Malick recalled the rough water conditions.

Right out of the gate, Stephen opened a huge gap on the rest of the field. He has a flawless stroke…if I only had half of his technique in my swimming days.”

At the time of the stoppage, Carroll was more than half mile ahead of the next competitor.

Six solo swimmers and 6 relay teams were forced to withdraw from the event at 3 hours and 23 minutes:

* Stephen Carroll (USA)
* Raquel Janes (USA)
* Caroline Block (USA)
* Randy Hill (USA)
* Elizabeth Almond (USA)
* Meenakshi Pahuja, 38F, New Delhi, India)
* Gorgeous Gorgons Relay (Ann Bowers-Evangelista + Sharon Larkin + Cheryl Conlin + Megan Hill + James Lutz)
* Beach N’ Babes Waterbugs Relay (Donna Sumption + Jennifer Gibbins + Lori Whitehand + Melinda Moore + Adele Ratcliff + Kris Petersen)
* Steyning Stingers Relay (Lawrence Naested + Sarah Cotton)
* Swim to Honor Relay (Jim Loreto + Al Chororos)
* Mighty Mermaids Relay (Traci Grilli + Nancy Steadman Martin + Christie Ciraulo + Veronica Hibben + Karen Einsidler + Jenny Cook)
* Orangeburg Pirates Relay (Franklin Fetzer + Stacey Hughes + Bradley Holeman + Gilbert Miller)

For more information, visit www.DistanceMatters.com.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association