Claudia Rose On Alaska's Pennock Island

Claudia Rose On Alaska’s Pennock Island

Correspondent Claudia Rose, a pioneering swimmer, reports in from Alaska:

Alaska is seeing an increase in open water swimmers with locals from Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage participating in three open water events: the Chena Lake Splash, the Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Swim and the Pennock Island Challenge.

The 8.2-mile (13.1K) Pennock Island Challenge is the last of these events, held in Ketchikan in mid-August.

Swimmers board a boat to the start buoy where they meet their kayakers for an in-water start. Along the course, they are cheered by locals who arrive via boat or walk out on rocks and piers around the island.

This year’s event was great for spectating, with surprisingly warm and calm conditions with the air temperatures in the high 70’s and water near 60°F (15.5°C). This year’s main challenge was a current that hit within the first hour pushing swimmers back along the west channel, the first leg of the race. The strongest swimmers triumphed over this current, turned the point and road the current back to the finish, but the slower swimmers were caught with a long distance to swim upstream. Many kayakers and swimmers navigated towards the shallower waters where lighter currents were a welcomed respite.

However, the fight took its toll and the swim had a record number of DNF’s. The most determined swimmer was Ken Winterberger of Anchorage who swam in place for over four hours before ending his swim due to the cut-off time.

For the fifth time, Triple Crown swimmer Michelle Macy from Oregon dominated the event by winning the overall and the women’s naked division.

Post-race discussion turned to relay teams for next year and a proposed 2011 date of August 7th to coincide with the Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Swim.

The results:

Naked Regular Swimsuit Division:
1. Michelle Macy (Oregon) 3:31:11
2. Willie Schulz (Alaska) 3:45:51
3. Rebecca Jackman (California) 3:55:22
4. Robert Herrick (Alaska) 4:07:32
5. Krissy Galloway (Alaska) 4:33:11
6. Roxanne Phifer (California) 4:48:34
7. Claudia Rose (California) 4:58:06
Rumen Dogget (Alaska) DNF
Mark Monticino (California) DNF

Wetsuit Division:
1. Elizabeth Einset (Alaska) 3:54:05
2. David Seng (Alaska) 4:07:37
Frances Klien (Alaska) DNF
Ken Winterberger (Alaska) DNF

Four-Man Relay:
SEA Pirates (Glynn Seaberg, Larry Pullin, Debbie Spence, Mike Spence) 4:03:51

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones
Steven Munatones