Friday, April 21, 9:01 am Eastern Time

For Immediate Release

SOURCE: Distance Matters, Inc.

Meet the Competitors of the Third Annual 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim

CLEARWATER, April 21 --The Third Annual Tampa Bay Marathon Swim will be held on Earth Day Saturday, April 22.  The 24 mile competition starts at 7:30am from the Sunshine Skyway at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort (800 227 8045) and ends at the Courtney Campbell Parkway at Whiskey Joe's Restaurant(813 281 0407). The course covers the entire length of Tampa Bay.   The marathon swim is sanctioned by United States Masters Swimming(USMS) and USA Swimming.   Competitors follow the same guidelines that English Channel swimmers observe as they cross the 22 miles from the cliffs of Dover, England, to the shores of France.  No wet suits are allowed, and swimmers are not allowed to make any contact with the bottom or with the members of their escort crew.  Even touching the escort craft is strictly prohibited.

Distance Matters, Inc will broadcast race results via internet radio from the finish line between 4pm and 6pm at The earliest finishers are expected to finish shortly after 3pm, and the awards ceremony is scheduled for 5:30pm.

Here are the 20 individuals, and 5 three-person relay team swimmers who have entered this year's event.

Chris Derks, 29, of Miami, FL will return to defend his title as overall winner of the 1999 Tampa Bay Marathon Swim when he set a course record with a time of 8 hours, 23 minutes. 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.
Georgios Tsianos, 23, of Berkeley, CA trains daily with the San Francisco Rowing Club in the icy waters of the San Francisco Bay. He was a member of the varsity swim team at the University of California Berkeley and now swims for Trikala Swim Team, of Greece.
Gary Kovacs, 19, of Plant City, FL will attempt to become the youngest ever to swim the Tampa Bay Marathon. He is a 1999-2000 USA Swimming All-American for the 15k distance. He trains at Brandon Swim and Tennis Club and attends the University of South Florida.
Dave Parcells, 42, of Madison, CT finished 4th at the 1999 Tampa Bay Marathon Swim with a time of 10 hours, 4 minutes. In addition to his return to the Tampa Bay race, Parcells plans to swim the 28 mile Manhattan Island Marthon swim in June 2000, and then will attempt to swim the 21.5 mile English Channel in August 2000.
Rob Copeland, 43, of Somerset, NJ returns to the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim after finishing 5th place in 1999. He also competed at the 28 Mile Manhattan Island Marathon in 1999, where he was the bronze medalist.
Sandeep "Sandy" Kumar Gupta, 26, of Chennai, India is believed to be his country's only marathon swimmer. He is in the Guiness Book of World Records for swimming continuously for 30 hours in a 50m swimming pool. He successfully completed the event covering almost 60 miles (91.9 kilometers) in 30 hours and 46 seconds. The event took place on the 25th and 26th of September 1999 at the Aquatic Complex, Chennai, India. To find out more about Sandy Kumar, go to
Tom Fristoe, 40 of Pleasanton, CA represents Walnut Creek Masters Swim Team. Tom has competed in the Seal Beach California 10 Mile Rough Water swim on 4 different occasions in the late 80's. Swam in the 1984 Olympic Trials in the 200 & 400 IM and 200 Breast and has been named USMS All-American for posting best times nationally for his age group in distance events, breaststroke, and individual medley.
David Boudreau, 41, Weston, FL and represents the Florida Gold Coast Masters Swim Team. He has completed the 12.5 Mile Swim Around Key West 3 times- 1996, 1997, and 1998. He has also been a medalist at the 28 Mile Manhattan Island Marathon- 7th in 1999, and 3rd in 1996. He plans to swim the Tampa Bay event as a prelude to his second attempt to cross the English Channel in 2000. His 1999 English Channel effort was aborted due to sickness after swimming 10 hours 16 minutes and coming to within 2 miles of the French shoreline.
Gregg Cross, 44, is from Ft. Myers, FL, where he swims and coaches for the Swim Florida team, and Estero High School. On March 14, 1996, he became the first to successfully swim the 19 miles around Estero Island, FL with a time of 8 hours, 10 minutes.
Ryan Woodruff, 19, of Gainesville, FL swims for the Gator Swim Club and is a student at the University of Florida. He was a 3-time Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) state qualifier.
Scott Coleman, 45, of Boca Raton, FL became the first male diabetic to successfully cross the English Channel in 1996. He has completed the 28 Mile Manhattan Island Marathon, and the 12.5 Mile Swim Around Key West, in 1992, 1996, and 1998.To find out more about Scott Coleman, visit
Stuart Abcug, 28, of Atlanta, GA 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. At the 1999 Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, he was the 6th finisher, posting a time of 10 hours, 14 minutes.
Robert Abcug, 30, of Coral Springs, FL is 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. In 1999, he completed the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in 10 hours, 59 minutes.
Sgt. Timothy M. Colomer, USMC, 24, of Camp Lejeune, NC has competed in cycling events, marathon running and triathlon events and in various open water events since joining the United States Marine Corps in 1993. He started racing to supplement physical fitness standards of the the Marine Corps, and to stay in shape, meet new people, and have fun. Currently, he awaits admission to Explosive Ordinance Disposal School.
Jeremy Grosvenor, 30, of Amagansett, NY is an avid surfer and traveler. He has competed at the 12.5 Mile Swim Around Key West, the Oahu 7k Swim and the 32 Mile Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race.
Jennifer Sheppard, 26, of Spring Hill, FL has completed two 50 kilometer marathon runs, and has competed at the Tampa Bay 5k Open Water Challenge in 1997, 1998, and 1999.
Tim Moore, 47, of St. Petersburg, FL is a member of the St. Pete Masters Swim Team, and is a member of the St. Pete Maddogs Triathlon Team. In 1999 at age 46, Moore became the oldest person ever to complete the 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim with a time of 12 hours, 31 minutes.
Hal Clarendon, of Gainesville, FL is 54 and swims for the Gator Swim Club. His first attempt to complete the 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon swim ended due to coldness, but only after swimming 13 miles during the 1999 event.
Dr. Konrad Euler, of St. Petersburg, FL is 64 and a member of St. Pete Masters. Leg cramps led to the Euler's withdrawal early into the 1999 Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, but he has successfully completed the 12.5 Mile Swim Around Key West.
Judge Bob Beach, 69, of St. Petersburg, FL has been very instrumental in the formation and development of Masters swimming at the National level as well as in St. Petersburg, and was the host for the second masters meet ever held in the United States in 1971. He has completed open water swims in Florida, Michigan, and California, and attempted the English Channel in 1980. See his full biography at

Joe Mamma and the Destroyers Dawn Heckman, 22, Megan Melgaard, 20, and Melissa Pavlik, 21 of Gainesville, Florida have all been distance swimmers at the University of Florida. All three are 2000 Olympic Trials qualifiers, and are seasoned international competitors. Heckman is the most experienced open water swimmer and is a 1999-2000 USA Swimming All-American for the 5k distance. She won a bronze medal at the 1999 Pan Pacific Games, and was the 1999 champion at the Tampa Bay 5k Open Water Challenge.
The Old Faded Speedos Rod O'Conner,35, of New York, Ny; Robert Allen, 34, of Stirling, VA; and Ed Zerkle, 28, of Reston, VA. This will be the second major relay swim for the Old Faded Speedos team. In 1999, they set a new course relay record at the 28 Mile Manhattan Island Marathon with a time of 7 hours, 2 minutes. They are looking forward to swimming with a different kind of wildlife than that they ran into in the Manhattan Island event.
Team OAS Andrew Johnson, 34, of Alexandria, VA; Rose Rice, 26, of Falls Church, VA; and Guillermo Garcia, 13, of Washington, DC. The open water swimmers from Northern Virginia are so enthusiastic, they have put together a second relay team.
Tampa Bay Aquatic Club Joe Solak, 35 of Tampa, FL, Clara Booth, 30, of Tampa, FL, and Tom Rawls of Orlando, FL will swim for the Tampa Bay Aquatic Club(TBAC). All have participated in the major open water swims in Florida, including the Jacksonville Beaches Marathon, the Swim Around Key West, and the Tampa Bay 5k Open Water Challenge.
The Maineiacs Carolyn Foley, 38; Josh Vogel 19; and Brian Crosby, 17 of South Portland, Maine. They swim for Coastal Maine Aquatics and New England Masters Swim Team. Each have participated in the Peaks to Portland Swim, and the Pinepoint to Pier Swim where water temperatures are below 60 degrees F. They look forward to swimming in Tampa Bay, where the water temperature is expected to be in the mid 70's.

Entry forms and past race results are available at the official website of the event -

The Tampa Bay Marathon Swim is presented by, a Clearwater web design agency.

SOURCE: Distance Matters, Inc

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