Eric Nilsson Faces Winds, Whitecaps To Win Boston Light Swim

Eric Nilsson Faces Winds, Whitecaps To Win Boston Light Swim

With the winds kicking up, defending champion Eric Nilsson made like a sailor and breezed through the 8-mile Boston Light Swim in 2 hours 45 minutes to win for the second year in a row.

But it was not easy.

Even with the water in Boston Harbor hovering between an unseasonably warm 62-66ºF (16-18ºC), the combination of tides and turbulence were too much of an obstacle for many.

Whitecaps of up to 3 feet smacked the swimmers’ hopes down, causing nearly half the field to miss the five-hour cutoff time. When time expired, 10 solo swimmers and one relay team were still on the course and had to be removed due to the course rules. “It’s a heartbreak for all of us,” said race director Greg O’Connor. “But that’s the nature of open water swimming. Some days are perfect and others are much more challenging. This was a very challenging year in the Boston Light Swim.”

Fresh off of his 10-mile World Championship victory in Lake Memphremagog, former NCAA standout Nilsson took Mother Nature’s offerings in stride and looked strong the entire day in America’s Granddaddy of Open Water Swims.

There are many reasons that swimmers are attracted to the Boston Light Swim,” explains O’Connor.

The history of Boston Light, the history of the swim itself as the first official swim was held in 1907, swimming through a national park, the cold water, and the fact that the 8-mile swim is a gateway swim to longer swims such as channel crossings.”

Nilsson joins a long line of accomplished swimmers who have won the Boston Light Swim in modern times:

2012 Eric Nilsson, 2:35
2011 Matthew McKay, 2:41
2010 Elizabeth Mancuso, 2:42
2009 Seb Neumayer, 2:57
2008 Ray Gandy and Seb Neumayer, 2:44
2007 Ray Gandy, 3:30
2006 Mark Warkentin, 2:26
2005 Dori Miller, 3:04
2004 Bill Ireland, 3:14
2003 Will Riddell, 3:05
2002 Marcia Cleveland, 2:47
2001 Fred Knight, 4:59
2000 Meryem Masood, 3:31
1999 Tom Dugan, 4:36
1998 Ireana Sombera, 3:13
1996 David Alleva, 2:23
1988 Dave Van Mouwerik, 3:14
1977 RoAnn Costin, 5:21
1976 Jim Doty, 5:39

The 2013 official results:

1. Eric Nilsson, 2:45:51
2. Rob Jones, 3:02:08
3. Richard McKern, 3:09:35
4. Allyson Parent, 3:18:31
5. Andrew Jones, 3:18:56
6. Zachary Cordero, 3:21:42
7. Bob Burrow, 3:49:27
8. Elias Falcon, 3:59:35
9. Kim Garbarino, 4:08:51
10. Jonathan Gladstone, 4:15:37
11. Devon Dear, 4:20:09
12. James Haynes, 4:50:54
Courtney Paulk, DNF
Richard Sweeney, DNF
Sylvia Marino, DNF
Tom Currier, DNF
David Kilroy, DNF
Francis O’loughlin, DNF
Don Debaker, DNF
Lynne Mulkerrin, DNF
Maura Twomey, DNF
Jia Jung, DNF
Laura Colette, DNS
David Evangelista, DNS
Natalie K, DNS

Upper photo shows Eric Nilsson stroking to victory at the 2013 WOWSA World 10-mile Swimming Championships in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont. Photo courtesy of Phil White. Lower photo shows Boston Light Swim competitor Maura Twomey.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones