It took a few years, but Parksville teen Haley Bennett finally repeated as champion when she won the 58th annual Qualicum Beach Open Mile Swim Sunday afternoon.
Bennett, 16, covered the loop course around inflatable buoys in 22 minutes, 10 seconds. Port Alberni’s Owen Brown was second overall and the first male finisher in 23:10, with another Parksville teen, Ethan Stannard, just behind in third, in 23:16.
Bennett won the swim as a 13-year-old in 2013, but missed the event while vacationing with her family in 2014. Last year’s swim was cancelled, meaning Bennett essentially earned back-to-back wins — in swims that she entered.
“I like doing this because it’s just fun,” said Bennett, who competes with the Ravensong Breakers Swim Club. “I don’t usually race just for fun; it’s nice to go out and have a good swim with friends.”
Bennett collected the Craig Reid Trophy as the overall winner, the District 69 Barb McDonald Alberg Trophy and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 76 trophy as the 14-18 age-group winner. Trophy presenters at the post-race awards ceremony included Kwalikum First Nation Chief Michael Recalma, Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell, Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek and Regional District of Nanaimo staff.
A security monitor follows by kayak as swimmers embark on the 58th annual Qualicum Beach Ocean Mile Swim Sunday afternoon. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS
The swim, on a hot, sunny afternoon, drew 41 swimmers ranging from eight-year-old Arlene Hall of Qualicum Beach to 81-year-old Ken Dawson of Nanoose Bay.
“It was fun,” said Hall, who was joined by older sisters Veronica and Aida. “I didn’t ever swim that far before. I’m gonna do it again.”
The Halls, like Bennett, were among a contingent of swimmers from the Ravensong club. They included Camryn Stannard, first in the 13-under class.
Stannard, 11, said swimming in the ocean is much different from the pool.
“You get big waves sometimes,” said Stannard, who was coming off a Canadian record-setting appearance at the Far Western Swim Championships in California. “And you’re in salt water, which means you choke a lot.”
Rob Mathewson of Errington, who swam in the 46-55 age group, said he decided to try the mile swim after his buddy, Tim Allen of Qualicum Beach, agreed to join him in the endeavour.
But when Mathewson emerged from the surf, salt water dripping from his bushy beard, Allen awaited high and dry in a dapper fedora and Hawaiian surf shirt.
“This is my first time to do it, and his first time to not do it,” Mathewson said with a pointed glance at Allen.
“Hey, I was his coach; I came down to support him,” Allen said in his defence. “He couldn’t have done it without me.”
58th Annual Ocean Mile Swim
1st Overall Craig Reid Trophy: Haley Bennett, 22.21.
District 69 Barb McDonald Alberg Trophy: Bennett
Lady J.C. Bailey Trophy: Bennett
Open Class Kwalicum Cup: Paul Jager, 29.06.
Youngest Swimmer O.H. Rye Trophy: Arlene Hall (8), 55.10.
Most Senior Swimmer Commissions Cup: Ken Dawson (81), 1:39.52.
13 yrs-under John Nicholls Memorial Trophy: Camryn Stannard, 24.58.
14-18 yrs Royal Canadian Legion Branch #76: Bennett
19-25 yrs Ron Pearce Memorial Trophy: No registrants
26-35 yrs Hugh Reid Trophy: Candice Marshall, 34.08.
36-45 Bavaro Autobody & Glass Trophy: Owen Brown, 23.10.
46-55 yrs Jubilee Chalise: Glen Christensen, 24.34.
56-64 yrs Doug Taylor Memorial Cup: Rory Polson, 37.14.
65-over Herbert J. Welch Memorial Trophy: Barry John Graham, 39.02.
13 and under
1. Camryn Stannard, Qualicum Beach, 24.58; 2. Jenna Horton, Parksville, 27.30; 3. Veronica Hall, Qualicum Beach, 28.22; 4. Aida Hall, Qualicum Beach, 33.39; 5. William Landstrom, Nanoose, 44.38; 6. Arlene Hall, Qualicum Beach, 55.10; 7. Luc Aubin, Edmonton, 58.58.
14 to 18 Years
1. Haley Bennett, Parksville, 22.21; 2. Ethan Standard, Parksville, 23.16; 3. Ian Goodyear, Bowser, 28.08; 4. Jordan Sheilds, Parksville, 30.04; Julie Korver, Port Alberni, DNF.
19 to 25 Years
26 to 35 Years
1. Candice Marshall, Nanaimo, 34.08; 2. Trista Tsang, Abbotsford, 37.14; 3. Daina VanRise, Calgary, 38.54; Kris Cooper, Parksville, DNF.
36 to 45 Years
1. Owen Brown, Port Alberni, 23.10; 2. Chris Alexander, Qualicum Beach, 31.01; 3. Tanya Abel, Qualicum Beach, 35.38; 4. Krysta Robins, Qualicum Beach, 41.09.
1. Glen Christensen, Courtenay, 24.34; 2. Donna Horton, Qualicum Beach, 31.50; 3. Liza Fitzgibbons, Toronto, 34.00; 4. Quentin Proud, Nanaimo, 36.41; 5. Roger Yorke, Qualicum Beach, 39.10; 6. Jessica Oosterhuis, Port Alberni, 44.50; 7. Rob Mathewson, Errington, 55.27.
1. Rory Polson, Qualicum Beach, 37.14; 2. Gordon Giesbrecht, Courtenay, 39.06; 3. Dan Muzzin, North Vancouver, 42.38; 4. Joan Cleveland, Parksville, 46.17.
1. Barry Graham, Courtenay, 39.02; 2. David Lawson, Victoria, 40.30; 3. Erik Warners, Nanaimo, 42.22; 4. Simon Burn, Qualicum Beach, 44.49; 5. Barbra Keaai, Parksville, 47.13; 6. Barry Carr, Parksville, 49.00; 7. Ken Dawson, Nanoose, 1:39.22.
Open Class (Wet Suits)
1. Paul Jager Sproat Lake 29.06; 2. Ian Heselgrave Comox 30.07; 3. Michelle Wallace Nanaimo 31.15; 4. Shawn Bennett Parksville 33.28; 5. Gordon Webb Bowser 53.15; Sam Robbins Qualicum Beach DNF.