ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — A Colorado man garnered top overall honors Saturday at an open water swim in the Florida Keys designed to raise awareness of the need to preserve six aging lighthouses off the subtropical island chain.
Boulder’s Yoelvis Pedraza completed the 9-mile Swim for Alligator Lighthouse Saturday in 3 hours, 18 minutes and 3 seconds, besting his 2014 victory time by almost 17 minutes.
“I like to come to this swim, it’s such a long swim and it’s only once a year,” said Pedraza, who recently moved to Boulder from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ” What ‘makes’ the swim is to get to the lighthouse.
“Right underneath it, is just a gigantic diversity of life,” he said. “You see reef, you see fish, you see everything.”
Alison Hayden of Kinnelon, N.J., won the women’s title at 4:31:07.
“I would meditate in the water, exhaling and counting the buoys one by one,” Hayden said, explaining her strategy. “There wasn’t one time where I picked my head up and looked at the lighthouse. I kind just kept going.”
Belleair, Fla., residents Cyle Sage and Mandy Zipf won the two-person relay division with a time of 4:34:53.
Swimmers Emilienne Allen, Janice Haramis, Kimberly Nordheim and Michala Nowak, all of Hypoluxo, Fla., won the four-person class in 3:52:54.
The event attracted about 200 entrants.
On the Net
Swim for Alligator Lighthouse: http://www.swimalligatorlight.
Photos and Press Release Courtesy of Andy Newman/Monroe County Tourist Development Council
In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, a portion of the field of about 200 registered entrants begins the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse open water contest Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, off Islamorada, Fla. The 9-mile challenge on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Florida Keys island chain is being staged to create awareness of the need to preserve six aging lighthouses off the Keys that no longer serve as primary navigation aids for maritime traffic. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)
ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys, January 26, 2016 — Swim for Alligator Lighthouse positions itself as one of the most demanding and magnificent open water swims in the world. This 9-mile tropical open water swim in Islamorada, Florida hosts four hundred swimmers as they attempt the feat solo or on two- or four-person relay teams.
On Saturday, Sept. 17, while swimmers test their endurance, their efforts bring awareness to six aging offshore Florida Keys lighthouses.
Founder, artist and open water swimmer Lighthouse Larry Herlth, reminds swimmers and spectators that “Lighthouses are historic treasures. They capture our past, present, and future. The many swimmers who have joined in the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse embrace this particular sentinel, Alligator Lighthouse, as a source of great inspiration.”
The swim is named for Alligator Reef Lighthouse, built to warn ships of the invisible danger posed by the submerged reef. Modern Global Positioning System navigation has replaced the need for lighthouses in the Keys and in recent years these lighthouses are no longer maintained.
Moorings Realty presents Swim for Alligator Lighthouse hosted by Moorings Village and Spa, September 17, 2015. Entrants have up to eight hours to complete the course, which features an in-water start and a beach finish, ending shoreside at The Moorings Village. The swim travels through one of the largest reef systems in the Florida Keys.
The Moorings Realty Cash prize will be given to the first and second place solo (male and female) and 2-person team. Awards are to be given to the top three male and female finishers overall.
Swimmers check-in Friday, in time for the safety meeting (typically 5 PM and 7 PM).
Entry fees are to be announced on February 1. Admission for spectators is free.
For more information, contact Rob Dixon at 305-664-7149. Follow updates on the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse at www.facebook.com/swimalligatorlight.
Hi, I’m Lighthouse Larry. I’m 53 years old with no big background in competitive swimming. On September 21 in Islamorada we are having the first annual swim for alligator lighthouse 8 mile open water Challenge. It is to raise awareness for our ageing lighthouses off the Florida Keys and alligator lighthouse which was built in 1873. I truly believe it is the ultimate open water swim. 4 miles out to a historic lighthouse through pristine gin clear water. Across coral rock patches as well As pure white sand. I have swam it four times myself if I can do it so can you. So please join me. See you there!