HANALEI — A total of 204 swimmers young and old hit the water Saturday for the 9th annual Hanalei Bay Swim Challenge.
“We’re super happy. We had sunshine. Water conditions were absolutely perfect,” said race director Thomas Klein. “Couldn’t be better. Just another beautiful day in Hanalei Bay.”
Jack Machorek of Kalaheo finished first overall in the 3,000-meter race, crossing the finish line in just under 39 minutes. Saber Fairbanks of Lihue and Henry Scherer of Kalaheo finished second and third, respectively.
“It was pretty good. It was pretty hard. The water wasn’t the clearest, but it was a fun race,” said Machorek, who attends Kauai High School. He’s participated in previous contests, but this was the first time he swam the 3,000-meter event.
“It’s not that deep, so you can still see the sand. My goggles were fogging up a lot, so I just tried to gauge myself off the paddle boarders and just play follow the leader,” he said.
Another participant in the 3,000-meter race was Deborah Bevilacqus of Alameda, Calif.
“It was great. The water, it was really smooth on the way back,” Bevilacqus said. “It was a little wavy, but it felt really good riding the waves in. It was a pretty nice, easy swim.”
Bevilacqus finished fifth out of seven in her age group and was 43rd overall in the race, despite having lost a limb 11 years ago in a motorcycle accident.
“I have a prosthetic leg. I don’t swim with it because you can’t swim with devices, as we know,” she said. “I’ve been swimming for three years, I think. It’s just my new love because I get to take the leg off and just be completely free.”
Max Bryant of Colorado finished first overall in the 1,000-meter race with a time of 12 minutes and 44 seconds, followed by Jon Piland and Audrey Steen of California.
“It’s definitely worth doing. I’m glad I did it. I wasn’t planning on doing this. I just was here on vacation,” Bryant said, who also swims for Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. “I saw that this was going on and I thought I’d sign up.”
Merrick Larbig, 12, of Kilauea, came in first place in the ages 9-12 division. He timed in at 3 minutes and 5 seconds. Kamaira Silva of Lihue and Mason Tucker of Princeville finished second and third, respectively.
“It’s (hot) outside, but it’s refreshing to jump into the water,” Larbig said, who’s been swimming since he was 7 years old.
In the 8-and-under division, Talen Koerte of Lihue won first place with a time of 3 minutes and 42 seconds. Sophia Blietz and Lucas Blietz of California followed.
Klein said the day went off without a hitch and looks forward to next year, which will be the event’s 10-year mark.
“We started five minutes early actually. So, everything went really smooth,” he said. “I think we had over 80 volunteers that helped. And we had lots of sponsors that helped us out with so many things. We’re very blessed.”
8 and under race
1. Talen Koerte, Lihue, HI, 03:42
2. Sophia Blietz, Santa Clarita, CA, 03:46
3. Lucas Blietz, Thousand Oaks, CA, 04:10
4. Sara Taylor, Hanalei, HI, 04:25
5. Joey Meeks, Los Alamitos, CA, 04:28
6. Dylan Blietz, Thousand Oaks, CA, 04:31
7. Noah Casey, Kalaheo, HI, 05:18
8. Ajax Hedstrom, Hanalei, HI, 05:26
9. Perry Wood, Pflugerville, TX, 05:31
10. Makaiah Esparza, Kapaa, HI, 05:41
1. Merrick Larbig, Kilauea, HI, 03:05
2. Kamaira Silva, Lihue, HI, 03:28
3. Mason Tucker, Princeville, HI, 03:30
4. Kaile McKeown, Kapaa, HI, 03:31
5. Tom Hamai, Hanalei, HI, 03:34
6. Sarah Burrell, Aptos, CA, 03:36
7. Ella Taylor, Hanalei, HI, 03:40
8. Laura Nagel, Princeville, HI, 03:51
9. Worden Cole, Long Beach, CA, 04:00
10. Kai Mottley, Lihue, HI, 04:04
1. Max Bryant, Snowmass Village, CO, 12:44
2. Jon Piland, Nevada City, CA, 13:11
3. Audrey Steen, San Pedro, CA, 13:55
4. Zachary Safford, Lihue, HI, 14:48
5. Malia Splittstoesser, Lihue, HI, 14:59
6. Tony Bardin, Pacific Palisades, CA, 15:08
7. Alice Horton, Stockton, CA, 15:11
8. Ella Simmons, San Pedro, CA, 15:30
9. Yasmine Ware, Lihue, HI, 15:30
10. John McMullen, Princeville, HI, 15:44
1. Jack Machorek, Kalaheo, HI, 38:33
2. Saber Fairbanks, Lihue, HI, 39:01
3. Henry Scherer, Kalaheo, HI, 39:13
4. Brent Bessire, Santa Rosa, CA, 39:32
5. Colin Mustoe, Byron Bay, Aus., 39:34
6. Kai Norman, Koloa, HI, 41:41
7. Riley Young, Kalaheo, HI, 41:47
8. Amanda Saber, Morgan Hill, CA, 42:55
9. Miller Craig, Princeville, CA, 43:37
10. Scott Blietz, Santa Clarita, CA, 44:25
Complete results: jtltiming.com