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Swimmers Brave Choppy Seas as Nite Moves Keeps Rolling

Harsh water conditions don’t stop local competitors in 1K ocean swim

Olivia Smith, finishes first in the women’s ocean swim during the weekly gathering of participants for Nite Moves on Wednesday June 1st, 2016 at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara.
Olivia Smith, finishes first in the women’s ocean swim during the weekly gathering of participants for Nite Moves on Wednesday June 1st, 2016 at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara. (JC Corliss/Noozhawk photo)
Kate Stuart finishes first in the women’s 5K during the weekly gathering of participants for Nite Moves on Wednesday June 1st, 2016 at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara.
Kate Stuart finishes first in the women’s 5K during the weekly gathering of participants for Nite Moves on Wednesday June 1st, 2016 at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara. (JC Corliss/Noozhawk photo)

Despite a high tide and choppy water conditions, quite a few courageous ocean swimmers braved the storm on Wednesday evening during Nite Moves’ fifth weekly race of the season.

Among them was Ethan Hall, a former competitive swimmer and cross country runner at Ball State who moved to Santa Barbara in 2014 from Northwest Indiana.  

“Night Moves in very personal to me in the sense that I knew absolutely no one when I moved out here for a job,” Hall said. “I fell in love with this event because you can make friends while swimming and running in the same race.”

He was the fifth swimmer out of the water in 16 minutes, 31 seconds, and finished the run in 22:11 to take first place in the aquathon in 38:42.

However, he barely edged out longtime competitor Michael Smith, who came in second with a time of 38 minutes and 47 seconds.

“I had to really edge out Mike towards the end, and I wouldn’t have gotten my time today without him pushing me,” Hall added. “With about f500 meters before the finish line, he burst ahead of me and I barely caught him in the end.”

Ethan Hall, overall aquathon winner at Nite Moves on a chilly Wednesday evening on June 1, 2016 at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Ethan Hall, overall aquathon winner at Nite Moves on a chilly Wednesday evening on June 1, 2016 at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara. (JC Corliss/Noozhawk photo)

RESULTS

Coming out of the water first in the 1K ocean swim was Christopher Braden, who finished with a time of 13 minutes and 31 seconds. The local triathlete and former Dos Pueblos cross country runner claimed first place for the third consecutive time this season.  

When asked about the difficult swimming environment, Braden replied: “As a result of being hit by a large wave, I actually got stopped at the turn-around buoy and had to recalibrate for a second. Other than that, it was smooth sailing going out and a little choppy coming back.”

Not far behind him was Olivia Smith, who completed the swim in 15:21 to take second place overall. The UC Davis-bound swimmer took first place in the women’s competition for the first time this season. 

The 5k run went according to plan, as Marcelo Mejia was the fastest runner with a time of 17 minutes and 4 seconds. Second-place finisher Todd Booth came in at 17:10. Mejia’s performance checked in as the second-best time of 2016 at Nite Moves.

Christopher Braden, finishes first in the men’s ocean swim during the weekly gathering of participants for Nite Moves on Wednesday June 1st, 2016 at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara.
Christopher Braden, finishes first in the men’s ocean swim during the weekly gathering of participants for Nite Moves on Wednesday June 1st, 2016 at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara. (JC Corliss/Noozhawk photo)

“I wasn’t planning on running today but Todd invited me over, and the fact that I ended up beating him out for first place felt great,” Mejia said. “I’ve been running with the Santa Barbara cross-country masters team the past three years, so this race is fun for me.”

On the women’s side, Kate Stuart finished in first place with a time of 19 minutes and 40 seconds. Taking second overall was Bridgette Bugay (21:33), and coming in third was Jenni Hauschild (22:29). 

The youngest to complete the 5k course were three 8-year-olds: Lake Hillyer, Jeffrey Hough, and Kaiden Humphrey. Al Sladek, 73, got the job done on the other end of the spectrum.

Overall, nearly 300 participants came from work, home or school to do either a 1k ocean swim along Leadbetter Beach, a 5k run up Shoreline Drive to Reef Court and back to the finish at Leadbetter Beach or both.

Nite Moves runs every Wednesday through August.

— Noozhawk sports reporter Blake DeVine can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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