By Nicholas Aziz
Crashing waves and windy conditions created the toughest course yet for nearly 150 swimmers competing in the fifth annual Stoked To Go Out Pier-to-pier Swim on Saturday, May 19 in Wrightsville Beach. Youth prevailed again, with teenagers taking the top seven of the top 10 spots.
Jared Carter, 15, won the race for the fourth-straight time, finishing the 1.7 mile swim between Crystal and Johnnie Mercer’s piers in a time of 30:32. Carter had previously outswam the competition in the memorial swim when he was 12 and 13 years old. The top female finisher was Kate Pottle, 17, who participated in the Swim the Sound for the YMCA’s Cape Fear Aquatics Club in 2016 and swam at the 2014 annual 1.7-mile Pier-2-Pier swim, finishing fifth in her age group.
Following Carter was 2017 Swim the Loop winner Michel Heijnen, 31, with a time of 31:24. Austin Winchester, 16, finished third with a time of 32:48, Matthew Wisthoff, 32, placed fourth at 33:11 with 17-year-old Finn Howard finishing fifth at 33:40. Amanda Ray, 15, finished second in the women’s division with a time of 35:32, followed by Chelsea Tomko, 25, at 35:42, Sydney Willis, 18, at 37:18 and Liza Murtagh, 15, rounding out the top five with a time of 37:57.
The swim is an annual memorial to former Seahawk graduate and Wrightsville Beach lifeguard Grey Liston, who lost his life in a mountaineering accident in 2013. The race helps raise proceeds for the Grey Liston Endowment Scholarship Fund, which is awarded to University of North Carolina Wilmington swimming and diving student-athletes.
Photos by Catie Dull