Nearly a thousand take part in Waikiki Roughwater Swim

2.4-mile swim from Kaimana Beach to the Hilton Hawaiian Village takes place annually

Published  6:00 PM HST Sep 03, 2012
HONOLULU -

Close to a thousand swimmers dove into waters off Waikiki on Labor Day at the 43rd annual Waikiki Roughwater Swim.

The 2.4-mile race from Kaimana Beach to the Hilton Hawaiian Village began with a staggered start with the fastest racers in front and the rest going out in groups behind them.

"I have been nervous, almost difficult to eat, but I think I'm ready," said Bill Hardy.

Australian Susan Hall registered on Monday morning.  Her goal -- to make it to the finish line.

"I swim in the pool and not in the ocean, so we'll see how we go," said Hall.

Finishing the world-renowned swim isn't always a guarantee.  A strong current back in 2003 triggered more than 300 rescues.  But, there was no trouble on Monday.

Local boy Garrick Orosco says he's been training hard and is excited to be a part of an event that's been around so long.

"I love the water and just the tradition of this Roughwater Swim makes this swim a special event," said Orosco.

Spectators watched as 900 swimmers wearing bright-colored caps scattered across Waikiki's open ocean.  Crowds cheered as Rhys Mainstone was the first to finish.

"And all three of us -- first, second, third -- we went along the reef," said Mainstone.  "And I was just lucky enough to get one more extra wave than the other guys  and it gave me a little bit of a lead."

Mainstone hopes to represent Australia at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Becca Mann, a 14-year-old from Florida, won the women's division.  She, too, has aspirations of Olympic gold.

You can feel the excitement as each swimmer crosses the finish line.  Many swimmers KITV has spoken with say they're game for next year's race.

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