ISLAMORADA (CBSMiami/FKNB) – Endurance swimming is no easy feat. Athletes, on Saturday, gathered for an 8-mile swim to help raise awareness of the preservation of six aging lighthouses off the Florida Keys.
The Alligator Reef Lighthouse Swim, an inaugural race, was conceived by Islamorada artist Larry Herlth. Herlth is passionate about saving the historic lighthouses off the Keys.
Boca Raton resident Dale LeClair, 43, credits her winning the swim, which took a total of four hours, 49 minutes and 37 seconds, to taking breaks along the way as well as taking time to properly hydrate.
“My strategy was to stop every half-hour for hydration and every hour for some sort of nutrition and try to focus on staying on track,” LeClair said. “The worst thing you want to do is to swim further then you absolutely have to.”
Corey Welch and Luis Comulada, Miami residents, were the winners of the two-person team division with a 4:06:16 finishing time.
LeClair said that Diana Nyad’s epic Cuba-to-Key West 110-mile swim should attract more women to the sport of endurance swimming.
“Diana Nyad has just really opened up the door to women,” she said. “I can’t imagine what she was going through. After what I went through today, she’s just phenomenal.”
Victors in the four-person category were Brett Irvin of Marathon, Fla., Mike Walsh of Islamorada, and Palm Beach, Fla., residents Andrew Greener and Emilienne Allen. They finished the swim in 4:26:41.
The lighthouses, each more than 100 years old, are no longer fully maintained because of modern advances in maritime navigation.
“The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.”