San Pedro’s athletes top the 7th annual English Caye Channel Swim Challenge

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Twelve swimmers participated in the 7th annual English Caye Channel Swim Challenge held on Sunday, March 17th. The 1.6-mile swim aims to raise awareness of conservation issues in conjunction with Reef Week 2019. It is also an opportunity to showcase the swimming talent in Belize. San Pedro’s athletes did exceptionally well this year, with Brandon Santos, Jordan Santos and Kian Ancona Trejo placing first, second and third respectively.

Copyright Nadia Bood - WWF

The 12 swimmers set out early in the morning from English Caye to swim 1.6 miles to Goff’s Caye. The winds and seas were in the swimmers’ favors with mostly flat seas, and winds hardly reaching five knots. The first swimmer to reach Goff’s Caye was San Pedro’s Brandon Santos, who completed the swim in 47 minutes and 28 seconds; Jordan Santos and Kian Ancona (Trejo) followed close behind within a minute of the lead. Although there was a half hour separation from the 4th swimmer, Giovanni Alamilla Jr. showed there is young talent coming up. The swimmers after Alamilla had to contend with a rising tide that pulled swimmers eastward towards the blue waters. Alamilla and the remaining swimmers had to make an extra effort to reach the white sands of Goff’s Caye.

Copyright Katia Montenegro Hoare

Reflecting on the purpose of the event, Giovanni Alamilla, President of the Belize National Triathlon Association (BNTA), noted that “Belize needs to keep its coast and seas clean for people to be able to enjoy and swim.” Roberto Pott, Skipper of the Belize Sea Scouts, commented that “Coastal communities need to set aside and manage areas near our shores so that our youth have a safe place to play and for our athletes with the potential to train.” Special thanks go to the four women of the Belize Coast Guard (BCG) that participated in the swim, along with one seaman demonstrating BCG’s fitness in the marine environment.
The Belize Coast Guard, Belize National Triathlon Association, Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMA&I), Belize Sea Scouts and Reef Beauty Charters were all on hand to provide safety support to swimmers. The Belize Port Authority provided clearance for the swim to proceed across the channel.

Copyright Nadia Bood - WWF

This event was made possible through the generous support of Stationery House Retail Outlet and contributions from Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina, Bowen & Bowen and Idealabs. This year also saw the collaboration of the World Wildlife Fund, which added its voice to the concern about pollution of our oceans, including the Caribbean Sea and the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System. Participants were sensitized, and Belizeans should be anticipating the passing of proposed legislation to phase out single-use plastic and Styrofoam and utensils. The San Pedro Sun congratulates Brandon, Jordan, and Kian for placing in the top three!

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