Saturday, April 22, 11:01 pm Eastern Time

For Immediate Release

SOURCE: Distance Matters, Inc.

Swimmers Brave High Winds and Seas at the Third Annual 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim

TAMPA, April 22 --Nineteen individuals, and 5 three-person relay teams fought to survive choppy seas and a 20 knot headwind at the Third Annual Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. More than half of the competitors were forced to withdraw midway into the race, due to the challenging conditions. Chris Derks of Miami, Florida won the event with a time of 8 hours, 30 minutes, 53 seconds.

The event is held each year on Earth Day to celebrate the revitalization of Florida's largest estuary, and to promote open water swimming.


1. Chris Derks, Miami, FL - 8:30.53  Chris, 29, successfully defended his title as champion, having also won in 1999. His time was only 7 minutes slower than his course record that he established a year ago.
2. Georgios Tsianos, Berkeley, CA - 9:00.50  George, 23, led the race early, but was passed at Pinellas Point by Chris Derks and the team from University of Florida. He was a varsity swimmer at University of California, Berkeley and trains in the San Francisco Bay.
3. David Parcells, Madison, CT - 10:55.30  Dave, 42, improved on his 4th place finish in 1999(10:04). Next, he plans to swim the 28 mile Manhattan Island Marthon swim in June, and then will attempt to swim the 21.5 mile English Channel in August.
4. Stuart Abcug, Atlanta, GA - 10:56.25   Stu, 28, won the "Battle of the Abcug Brothers" by beating his brother Rob by almost 50 minutes. His 1999 result was 6th (10:14).
5. Robert Copeland, Somerset, NJ - 11:06.38   Rob, 43, placed fifth, matching his 1999 result. He competed at the 28 Mile Manhattan Island Marathon in 1999, where he was the bronze medalist.
6. Robert Abcug, Coral Spring, FL - 11:44.09  Rob, 30 is the brother of Stuart Abcug. In 1999, he completed the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in 10 hours, 59 minutes.
7. Scott Coleman, Boca Raton, FL - 12:41.33  Scott, 45, agreed that this swim was difficult, but there were few comparisons to his 1996 English Channel crossing. To find out more about Scott Coleman, visit
8. Gregg Cross, Ft. Myers, FL - 12:59.00  Gregg, 44, suffered through the conditions longer than anyone ever has while swimming the Tampa Bay Marathon. On March 14, 1996, he was the first to successfully swim the 19 miles around Estero Island, FL with a time of 8 hours, 10 minutes.
1. The Old Faded Speedos - 9:15.40  Rod O'Conner,35, of New York, Ny; Robert Allen, 34, of Stirling, VA; and Ed Zerkle, 28, of Reston, VA. This is the second major relay championship 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.
2. Team OAS - 9:43.19  Andrew Johnson, 34, of Alexandria, VA; Rose Rice, 26, of Falls Church, VA; and Guillermo Garcia, 13, of Washington, DC.
3. Tampa Bay Aquatic Club - 10:37.19  Joe Solak, 35 of Tampa, FL, Clara Booth, 30, of Tampa, FL, and Tom Rawls of Orlando, FL. They were the hometown favorites, with many of their raucous teammates present at the finish line.

To view a complete list of all entrants, go to

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

SOURCE: Distance Matters, Inc

More Information
and News:

On the WWW:
PHONE: 888-531-7803
FAX: 727-524-9399

Event Director
Ron Collins:

Copyright © 2000 Distance Matters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Republication or redistribution of Distance Matters, Inc. content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Distance Matters, Inc. Distance Matters, Inc. shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.