Maybe it’s time to rename the winner’s trophy for the annual St. Croix Coral Reef Swim.
Californian Alex Kostich continued his dominance of the Coral Reef Swim’s biggest race on Sunday, winning the five-mile race in the 25th-annual event in the waters off the North Side of St. Croix.
Kostich, of Los Angeles, won the five-mile race for 19th time in 21 tries, completing the race from its start at Buck Island to the finish at Mermaid Beach in 1 hour, 47 minutes and 49 seconds.
Kostich, now 51, won the Coral Reef Swim’s five-miler for the first time since 2017 after finishing second in the 2019 race. He did not compete in the 2018 races. The 2020 race was cancelled for the COVID pandemic.
Kostich also won in the Coral Reef Swim in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 (in which he set the event record of 1:36:12), 2001, 2000 and 1999. The other blemish came when he finished second in 2008.
This year, Kostich beat 18-year-old Kaeden Gleason of St. Croix by more than 2½ minutes. Gleason finished in 1:50:31, with Valvidia Ricardo, 56, of South Miami, Fla., third in 1:52:08.
Rounding out the top five were Derek Frenzel, 30, of Tacoma, Wash., in 1:57:07; and Christian Vanderkaay, 39, of Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1:58:32.
Fifteen-year-old Lily Jordan was the top female swimmer in the five-miler, coming in sixth overall in 2:05:44. Erin Andrews, 17, of Oreland, Pa., was second among women (18th overall) in 2:19:06. Pam Stachelek, 55, of Greenville, S.C., finished third among female swimmers (21st overall) in 2:27:10.
In other division results from the 25th Coral Reef Swim:
• St. Croix teen Daryan Maynard won the two-mile swim’s overall title, with the 13-year-old completing the race from the start at Pull Point to the finish at Mermaid Beach in 49 minutes, 57 seconds.
Marina Falcone, 34, of St. Petersburg, Fla., was the top female finisher, coming in second overall in 50:00 after winning in 2019, with 14-year-old Eddie Soltis of Millersville, Md., third in 50:34. Rounding out the top five were Carter Williams, 13, of Arnold, Md.; and Matthew Dunn, 47, of St. Augustine, Fla.
• Kevin Hensley, 36, of Christiansted, beat out his older brother, 38-year-old Scott Hensley, also of Christiansted, by 21 seconds to win the one-mile race Sunday. Kevin Hensley finished the course from its start at Shoys Beach to the finish at Mermaid Beach in 25:47. Scott Hensley was second in 26:08.
Kieran Locke, 37, of Miami, was third in 26:10, followed by Josh Laban, 38, of Christiansted, in 31:01; and top female finisher Annika Engstrom, 14, of Annadale, Va., in 34:08.