Connor Signorin and Brooke Bennett Top the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse 2023

Connor Signorin and Brooke Bennett Top the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse 2023

The Swim for Alligator Lighthouse returned on September 9, 2023, with some 400 athletes swimming to Alligator Reef Light near the Matecumbe Keys of Florida, then rounding it and swimming back to the start and finish points at Amara Cay Resort.

The annual eight-mile open-water challenge off Islamorada served a dual purpose. The proceeds from the event go towards the restoration of the 150-year-old Alligator Reef Lighthouse in the Florida Keys and aids in generating college scholarship funds for Keys’ students with an interest in competitive swimming.

This year’s event was won by Connor Signorin, a 31-year-old Tampa resident. Signorin’s 2:59:44 finish was the third consecutive win of the former University of Florida swimmer who previously secured All-American honors five times.

Signorin said, “It’s not even a goal, it’s just here to finish every time, have fun, enjoy the moment,” he said. “Whatever happens at the finish happens, we’re here. You’re here amongst the sea life and this is your natural form of swimming — this isn’t pool swimming, this is as natural as it gets … beautiful.”

Following closely was three-time Olympic gold medalist, Brooke Bennett, 43, from Clearwater, Florida completing the challenge in 3:09:06.

In the relay races, Matthew Dushuttle and Adam Regar, from St. Johns, Florida were the fastest two-person relay at 3:36:54. A mixed relay team consisting of Florida residents Claire Donnelly of Delray Beach, Sheaffer Watt from Lake Worth and Taylor Sohlberg of Boynton Beach finished their segment in 4:10:11.

The top four-person relay team was made up of female high-school-age competitors and Islamorada residents Riley Cooper, 17; Chrislyn Lowell, 17; and Abbie Sargent, 16; with Reese Andres, 16, of Pompano Beach.

Outside of the competition, a 20-member team represented Kidney Donor Athletes swam to raise awareness about the significance of organ donation.

Alligator Reef Light

The Alligator Reef Light is deeply rooted in the Florida Keys’ heritage and rich maritime past. Established in 1873, it was named in honor of the U.S. Navy schooner, Alligator, which ran aground there in 1822. The lighthouse tells tales of ships lost to the reef’s jagged coral, pirates’ pursuits, and the evolution of naval navigation.

Swim for Alligator Lighthouse

The idea for the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse came from “Lighthouse Larry,” a well known artist from Islamorada. Larry’s solo swim to the lighthouse and back sparked the sentiment that every open water swimmer should experience this journey. With that, in 2013, the Fighting Manatee Swim Club took up the challenge and created the event.

All race results

Photos: Annual Swim for Alligator Light on Facebook