ST. JOHN — The women’s movement again had its day at the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park’s annual Beach-to-Beach Power Swim.
Female swimmers dominated Sunday’s 16th-annual race, posting the top times in five of the six divisions — and in most cases, easily beat the best men’s times.
Marina Falcone won the long course overall title; Leighton Ranier took top honors in the intermediate course division, with Nancy Wright setting a course record in taking the intermediate assisted title; Virginia Ranier won the overall short course title and Kelsey Thomas won the short course assisted title.
The only male swimmer to take overall division honors came in the long course assisted division — and only just — with Niko Gartner winning by less than a half-second.
This is the second time in the past four years that female swimmers dominated all three divisions. In 2016, the ladies swept all six divisions.
Falcone, 31, of Tampa, Fla., took top honors in the long course division, completing the 3.5-mile course from the start at Maho Beach to the finish line at Hawksnest Beach in 1 hour, 18 minutes, 20.1 seconds.
“I swam this course in 2017,” Falcone said after completing her second start in the Power Swim. “I swam it then in 1 hour, 18 minutes, but was only fourth overall. I was the top female, but there were three guys who finished in front of me.
“I wanted to swim it last year, but couldn’t make it over. I really hope to do this every year; this is an awesome race.”
Kellen Russell, 15, of Raleigh, N.C., was the top male finisher in the long course division, coming in second overall in 1:18:46.1.
“I pretty much do open water stuff,” Russell said. “I do pool swimming too, but mostly distance stuff – 1,000 [meters], one mile, like that,” Russell said.
Both said the water conditions were good for this year’s race, although not perfect.
“It was so much calmer,” than in 2017, Falcone said. “I really only felt getting tossed around coming around Perkins Cay [on the approach to Hawksnest Bay], but otherwise we were very fortunate.
“It was great race conditions pretty much all the way through, and coming in with the current was awesome too.”
Gartner, 23, won the overall long course assisted title in the closest finish of the Power Swim, edging 54-year-old Alexandra Ewald by 0.4 seconds. Gartner finished the 3.5-mile course in 1:31:44.8, while Ewald was the top woman’s finisher in 1:31:45.2.
Leighton Ranier, 17, was top finisher in the intermediate course division, completing the 2.25-mile course from Maho to Trunk Bay Beach in 51 minutes, 38.6 seconds.
She beat out another female swimmer, 14-year-old Lindsay Barr, by nearly four minutes (55:22.0). The top men’s finisher was Bryan Mason, 44, who was fourth overall in 55:46.0.
Wright, 59, easily won the intermediate course assisted title, with her time of 56:10.7 beating out second-place Susan Smith, 55, by nearly four minutes (1:00:06.9).
Female swimmers posted the top 10 times in the division, with the best men’s finisher, 40-year-old Todd Hess, 11th overall in 1:11:18.8.
Virginia Ranier, 14, had the best time in the short course division, finishing the one-mile course from Maho to Cinnamon Beach in 21:28.1. She beat out another 14 year old, Tatum Chambers, by just over two seconds (21:30.4).
Female swimmers had the best five times in the division, with 22-year-old Maximiliano Mereles the best men’s finisher in sixth at 25:31.9.
Thomas, 31, claimed the short course assisted overall title in 23:37.0, beating out 31-year-old Jodi Jabas by more than 2½ minutes (26:10.6). Richard Warburg, 62, was the best men’s finisher, coming in third overall in 26:26.4.
In the relay division, which swam the long course from Maho to Hawksnest, “The Roomies,” composed of St. Thomas Stingrays team members Max Wilson, Gabriella Brunt and Fairley Maltby, won in 1:22:55.1.
The “Super Strokers,” composed by Erin Lieb, Tonia Lovejoy and Rowan Mintz, were second in 1:49:17.1.