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Reef & Run Kicks Off 8th Season at East Beach

Swimmers sprint into the ocean for the start of the mile event on opening night of the Reef & Run Series. Click to view larger
Swimmers sprint into the ocean for the start of the mile event on opening night of the Reef & Run Series. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

More than 200 swimmers took the plunge on opening day of the Reef & Run ocean swimming series at East Beach on Thursday.

In its eighth year, Reef & Run swims will be held every Thursday through Sept. 1. Participants can choose between a mile, 1,000-meter and 500-meter swims along the shoreline or do a 1k-swim/3k-run biathlon. Each individual event cost $15.

"It was amazing," Reef & Run director Jane Cairns said of the opener, which was free. "The swimmers said the water was warm, around 62 degrees. It was beautiful; people were happy. People said it was like summer camp, where you see your friends and see people you only see in the summer. It was a great night."

Madison Halland-Ford, 11, was the female winner of the 500-meter swim. Click to view larger
Madison Halland-Ford, 11, was the female winner of the 500-meter swim. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Chris Braden was the overall winner of the mile swim in 19 minutes, 48.3 seconds, and Karen Schultz was the women's champion in 22:54.1. The mile swim drew 85 entrants.

In 1,000-meter event, San Marcos star Sean Aspey took top honors in 12:20.9. Aspey was the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table boys high school swimmer of the year. Sarah Webb was the women's winner in 13:14.3.

The 500-meter winners were Mike Gonella (8:29.6) and 11-year-old Madison Halland-Ford (9:50.0, fourth overall).

James Bray posted the fastest biathlon time of 27:26.6

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal 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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