lanerope.gif
Clearwater, FL            The Tampa Bay Marathon Swim                INAUGURAL EVENT  1999
lanerope.gif
CHRIS DERKS WINS INAUGURAL TAMPA BAY MARATHON SWIM


APRIL 22, 1999 OFFICIAL RESULTS:

1. Chris Derks, 28, of Miami, FL - 8 Hours, 23 Minutes
2. Bambi Bowman, 25, of Miami, FL - 9:30
3. Kathrin Lammers, 29, of Hamburg, Germany - 9:43
4. Dave Parcells, 41, of Madison, CT - 10:04
5. Rob Copeland, 42, of Somerset, NJ - 10:10
6. Stuart Abcug, 27, Atlanta, GA - 10:14
7. Tim Kennedy, 42, of St. Petersburg, FL - 10:39
8. Bruce Anderson, 38, of Riverview, FL - 10:42
9. Robert Abcug, 29, of Coral Springs, FL - 10:59
10. JoAnn Harrelson, of St. Petersburg, FL - 11:05
11. Tim Moore, 46, of St. Petersburg, FL - 12:31
Dr. Konrad Euler, 63, of St. Petersburg, FL - dnf due to leg cramps at Pinellas Point
Hal Clarendon, 53, of Gainesville, FL - dnf due to coldness at the Pier
Jeff Wheetley, 38, of Tampa, FL - dnf due to time constraint
Finlay Macadam, 39, of Georgetown, Grand Cayman - dnf due to coldness at the Pier


  • Chris Derks, of Miami, FL set the new course record for the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. He has completed the New York City Marathon (28 miles) , and the Atlantic City Ocean Marathon (10 miles). He was USS 25 & 15 kilometer All-American each year from 1995-97. He said that sea life was abundant and he saw hundreds of sting rays during the Tampa Bay swim.
    Click here to see a story by Bambi Bowman
  • Bambi Bowman, of Miami, FL was the womens' champion for the Inaugural Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. She was the 1998 USS (United States Swimming) National Champion for the 25K Open Water distance. She has won three 25K open water national championships. In 1995, she placed first in the 25K at the Pan Pacific Championships.

  • Dave Parcells, of Madison, CT is 41 and was the first and only amateur to compete with IMSA(International Marathon Swimming Association) professionals at their 17.5 Mile Swim Across Long Island Sound.

  • Stuart Abcug, of Atlanta, GA is 27 and swims for Dynamo Masters Swimming in Atlanta, GA. He also plays water polo for both Dynamo Water Polo and Emory Water Polo, and played in college for Georgia Tech from 1989-1994.

  • Robert Abcug, of Coral Springs, FL is 29 and the brother of Stuart Abcug. He swam and played water polo at George Washington University and competes at USMS (United States Masters Swimming) meets representing the Coral Springs Masters Swim Team.

  • JoAnn Harrelson, of St. Petersburg, FL is 43 and a member of St. Pete Masters. Her finish made her the oldest woman to successfully complete 24 mile swim.

  • Dr. Konrad Euler, of St. Petersburg, FL is 63 and a member of St. Pete Masters. Unfortunately, leg cramps led to the Doctor's demise about 3 hours into the swim in 1999.

  • Hal Clarendon, of Gainesville, FL is 53 and swims the Florida Aquatic Swim Team (FAST) Masters. He has swam across Tampa Bay twice already as a participant in The Tampa Bay 5K Challenge. He has also twice crossed the Pensacola Bay in their annual 5K race.

  • Finlay Macadam, Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands is 39 and a Caribbean open water swimming veteran. In 1998 he completed the 5 mile St. Croix Coral Reef Swim.

To see the article written by Terry Tomalin in the April 23rd St. Petersburg Times, click here: http://www.sptimes.com/News/42399/Sports/A_windy__chilly_marat.shtml


Notes from 1999 participants:

" Just a note to thank you for all your efforts related to the swim.. It was a tremendous first time event and you should feel proud it came off as well as it did.. With some more planning and marketing you should have no problems attracting some good sponsors next year, making the event even bigger and better...

Please keep me posted on next year's event as I will definitely come back. "

Dave Parcells
Madison, CT

" I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW WHAT A GREAT DAY I HAD. THE SWIM WAS FANTASTIC, A REAL BLAST. THE WATER AND WEATHER WERE PERFECT. ALTHOUGH THE SWIM WAS MORE DIFFICULT THAN I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE, I REALLY DID ENJOY IT. ONE DAY, WHEN I CAN MOVE MY ARMS AGAIN, I'LL GET BACK IN THE WATER AND START TRAINING FOR NEXT YEAR."

Rob Abcug
Coral Springs, FL

-Opinions are sent in by  our visitors-
If you have a question or comment,
email me at: president@distancematters.com


WHY?

A friend from Miami spent at least $15,000 on his mission to swim the English Channel. The water was unbearably cold with temperatures topping out at about 62 degrees. What convinced me to invent my own local event was his story of the finish - His boat captain stopped about 200 yards off the French shoreline and directed his flood light towards land. With that, Scott Coleman swam the last 200 yards to France. He arrived on the shores of France in pitch darkness, celebrated with one person (escort swimmer Randy Nutt), and within minutes got back in the water to catch his boat ride back to England.

So on April 15, 1998 I rounded up a few of my closest friends to be my support crew. I leisurely swam the 24 mile length of Tampa Bay in about 10 hours, and had a big party at the finish. The water was a perfect 74 degrees and the cost was virtually nothing! My hope is that we can eventually make this event a world class race.

To attract entrants I've depended heavily on this website. The project has been a success and 11 individuals, and 3 relays completed the inaugural marathon race in 1999. To help us reach our ultimate goal, we are currently seeking corporate sponsors to help underwrite this event. -Ron Collins


-24 Miles?-
A kayaker's tale - by Pete Wenner
5:00am Thursday, April 22, 1999

Before me, reflected in my bathroom mirror, was an individual barely recognizable to me. Inside my head reverberated the same four words, over and over again, "WHAT AM I DOING?"

Several weeks prior to this morning madness, I committed to paddling my kayak 24 miles, all the while keeping a swimmer, committed to swimming the same distance, close by my side. All of this took place as part of the inaugural Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, which began at the Holiday Inn at the northern end of the Skyway Bridge, ending at Whiskey Joe's on Rocky Point just north of the Howard Frankland.

Soon after arriving at Holiday Inn and transporting my kayak to the beach, from which all would be launching, my doubts quickly faded. It was a beautiful morning with a light southeasterly breeze and cool temperatures. It suddenly occurred to me that the best thing to do on a day like this was to go on a leisurely 24-mile paddle.

The swim began at 9:00am and ended, for me at least, at 8:30pm. My biggest concern was the boredom factor as I knew the pace a swimmer keeps is roughly half of a comfortable paddling pace. I must admit that boredom was not a factor. Barely a mile into the swim I heard a shout of "HELP" screamed out from behind me. I looked over my left shoulder and witnessed two paddlers, water up to their chests, attempting to paddle their double kayak, the deck of which was about two feet below the surface of the bay. Nearby was an assist power boat which came promptly to the rescue and had the pair back in a dry kayak, and on their way in a few short minutes. Once the paddlers safety was insured I had to allow myself a brief chuckle as the entire episode was more than a little comical.

Seeing downtown St Pete and Port Tampa from a mile out in the bay from a kayak was a perspective that many people don't get. Our course took us across the path of several schools of cowhead rays, porpoises and I think I saw at least one manatee, but that was toward the end of the day and that sighting might have to be chalked up to delirium. In addition to this I had the responsibility of keeping "my" swimmer on course, fed, hydrated and, generally speaking, in safe keeping from the vagaries of an 11.5 hour swim in Tampa Bay.

One draw back was the inability to just bolt off and explore those things and places that piqued my curiosity. Although witnessing an individual spend 11.5 hours in the water in order to swim 24 miles was an accomplishment that did a good job of sating my curiosity. This is not something I would want to do on a weekly basis, but once a year, in order to allow someone to accomplish a truly phenomenal feat, I would gladly do this event again and would enthusiastically encourage other paddlers to participate as well.