Nevis to Kitts Cross Channel Swim
The Bente Weber memorial swim
A wonderful St Kitts & Nevis day greeted an equally wonderful crowd of swimmers, kayakers, volunteers and spectators, who had gathered at the Oualie Beach Hotel for the 4th annual cross-channel swim.
With a record 49 swimmers taking part, supported by three motor boats, two dinghies and 29 people in kayaks, it was quite a sight to behold on this calm Sunday morning, with athletes from Antigua, Barbados, St Kitts, USA, Canada, Australia and Alaska, joining with the event organizers the Nevis Cycle & Triathlon Club.
All the attendant kayaks waited in the water for the claxon to start the race, as the competitors lined up on the beach beneath the start gate, a mixture of fierce competitors casual challengers and those that just wanted to say they had done it,…. then suddenly they were off, to the loud cheering and applause from the many spectators on hand.
This 4km swim is quickly gaining a reputation as one the best swim crossings in the Caribbean, and attracting some very talented athletes trying to beat the current record of 1hr 07 mins, set by Quincy De Feber of St Martin in 2005.
In a short space of time the field was already spread out as the faster swimmers set a furious pace, however, with the great support from the kayakers and the boat crews everyone was taken care of.
At the finish line on Cockleshell Beach on St Kitts it was a close 1,2,3 with Lars Christensen out of Anchorage Alaska took the top spot in a time of 1.08 one minute shy of the current record, Peter Gibbs (Barbados) was second in 1.09, third overall and first woman was Jenny Rich of the USA, with Nevis’s very own Reggie Douglas taking fourth place overall and third Male, there was a tie for 2/3 female between Linda Kitchen and Jessica Geist (Ross/USA)
Everyone of the starters finished the swim, and for the first timers it is an especially nice feeling to complete the distance, with an honorable mention to Chris Martin (Nevis) who only started to swim seriously last year, who aptly demonstrated true grit and perseverance. The largest contingent of visiting athletes came from Antigua, with 10 swimmers in attendance, a great turnout, lead by team captain Joe Williams, who wants to bring a bigger crowd with him next year.
A really exciting morning was had by all involved, and a lot of personal goals were achieved, we look forward to a bigger and better event in 2007, we would like to thank all the Kayakers, volunteers and boat crews for their hard work and support.