It’s one of the world’s most iconic open water swimming events and this year Rhys Mainstone and Miranda Bell grabbed the titles at the Waikiki Roughwater Swim. The conditions were, as is most often the case here for the race, ideal – water around 79 degrees, sunny and just a slight chop. On the men’s side Mainstone and George O’Brien both hit it hard right from the start and took a clear lead going into the first buoy. From that point it was just a matter of tactics. Mainstone, who won this race last year tried to take his competitors into deeper water in hopes that the clear deep water may spook them (but the dolphins, sea turtles and other tropical marine life made the swim “mind blowingly cool” as one swimmer put it). But when it came down to the end of the 2.4 mile race it was Mainstone’s final burst of speed that gave him the clear win 48:10 over 48.22.
For the women Miranda Bell took a quick lead over the women’s field but it was fellow Australian open water standout Luane Rowe – now living in Oakland California – who called upon her experience and closed the gap but couldn’t over take Bell at the end. Bell won the women’s overall title in a time of 53:05.
Japan’s swimming superstar, Kosuke Kitajima, who’s obviously well known for his Olympic gold medal performances in the breaststroke who won his age division and was 13th overall.
Hawaii’s own Kacy Johnson, a former standout swimmer at Kamehameha Swim Club, now swimming at the University of Hawaii was the top local finisher placing 5th overall.
But the big story was the fun, camaraderie and ‘ultra aloha/double shaka/ohana’ spirit that makes this a race that draws swimmers from around the globe. If you love open water swimming, this is one race you have to put on your ‘to do’ list without question.