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Meet the Competitors of the Fifth Annual 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim
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(PRWEB) April 16, 2002

Monday, April 15, 4:01 pm Eastern Time

For Immediate Release

SOURCE: Distance Matters, Inc.

Meet the Competitors of the Fifth Annual 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim

CLEARWATER, FL–The Fifth Annual Tampa Bay Marathon Swim will be held on Saturday, April 20 to celebrate Earth Day. The 24 mile competition starts at 7:30am from the Sunshine Skyway at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort (800 227 8045) and ends at the Courtney Campbell Parkway on Ben T. Davis Beach. The race course covers the entire length of Tampa Bay.

In its short history, the race has drawn competitors from across the United States, and from as far away as England, Dominican Republic, Germany, India, Canada, and the Cayman Islands. This year, fourteen individual swimmers are expected to compete, including three-time champion Chris Derks of Miami, and “King of the Channel” Kevin Murphy of London, England. In addition to solo swimmers, relays consisting of 3-person and 6-person teams will also vie for honors.

Here are the fourteen individuals, and five relay team swimmers who have entered this year’s event:

Chris Derks, 31, of Miami, FL returns as the three-time defending champion and is the current event record holder with a time of 8 hours, 23 minutes. In 2001, he was the fastest person to swim across the English Channel. He has participated in the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (28 miles), and the Atlantic City Ocean Marathon (21 miles). He was a United States Swimming 25K & 15K All-American each year from 1995-97.

Gail Rice, 45, of Miami, FL holds the women’s record with a time of 8 hours, 24 minutes set in 1998. She has won the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, and was the fastest person to swim the English Channel in 2000. Tom Fristoe, 42, of Pleasanton, CA participated in the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in the 2000 event. He qualified to swim at the 1984 Olympic Trials in the 200 & 400 IM and 200 Breast and has been named USMS All-American for posting best times nationally for his age group in distance events, breast stroke, and individual medley.

Dave Parcells, 44, of Madison, CT is entering his fourth Tampa Bay event, and has placed in the top five each time. In 2000, Dave crossed the English Channel weathering gruelling conditions, and plans a two-way crossing later this year.

Cheryl Vega, 39, of Hollywood, FL is looking forward to her first Tampa Bay swim. In 2001, she completed the 28.5 mile Manhattan Island Marathon and was named Open Water Female Swimmer of the Year for the Florida Gold Coast LMSC.

Marcos Diaz, 27, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic swam across “Bahía de Ocoa” (March 24th.2002) setting a new Open Water national record. It was a 38 Kilometer swim against winds and currents, in 9hours and 17 minutes. In 1999 he won the Rockaway Ocean Mile Swim in Rockaway Beach NY. Marcos says he is honored to swim with this great group of athletes.

Tom Fergin, 37, of Indianapolis, IN swims for the legendary coach Mel Goldstein of the Indy Swim Fit team. He was the 2001 United States Masters Swimming Six Mile Open Water Champion in the 35-39 age group. He has done the Alcatraz to San Francisco swim, the Chicago 5K, and the 12.5 Mile Swim Around Key West.

Donald Lutton, 32, of Miami, FL returns to Tampa Bay after participating in a successful relay in 1999. He represents the Gold Coast Masters Swim Team and works out at the University of Miami.

John Ceraolo, 41, of Coral Springs, FL returns to Tampa Bay after last year’s attempt was ended due to darkness. He has completed the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, and the 12.5 Mile Swim Around Key West.

Wayne Gilliam, 34, of Dallas, TX is a tri-athlete making his first attempt to swim an event longer than 2.4 miles. He has participated in the Gulf Coast Triathlon, and the Florida Ironman Ironman.

Kevin Murphy, 53, of Harrow, Middlesex, England is known internationally as the “King of the Channel” because he has crossed the English Channel more than any other man. (32 times)

Dee Llewellyn, 24, of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, won the 10.5 mile Lake Windermere swim held on September 2nd, 2000. She is entering the Tampa Bay event for the first time.

Laura Colette, 38, of San Jose, CA competes for Club Sport Fremont where her brother is the Aquatics Director. She is also a member of the Nefarious Sunrisers of the South End Rowing Club. She has competed in a Santa Cruz to Monterey relay, Llyn Padarn, Wales, and the Spring Lake Mile.

Dr. Konrad Euler, of St. Petersburg, FL is 66 and a member of St. Pete Masters. He will attempt to become the oldest person to complete the Tampa Bay event and is making his fourth attempt to complete the distance. His longest swim to date is the 12.5 Mile Swim Around Key West.


The Bolles School Sharks, of Jacksonville, FL are led by long distance star Briley Bergen of Brandon, FL. Their 6 woman relay set the record for this division in 2001 with a time of 8 hours, 45 minutes.

St. Pete Masters, of St. Petersburg, FL are Tim Kennedy, Robert Melsom, Brian Rimel, Jennifer Alger, Christine Forkois and Ed Asnew. Kennedy swam the Inaugural Tampa Bay Marathon in 1999 as a soloist.

Tampa Bay Aquatic Club, of Tampa FL, are Coach Joe Solak, Lane Hudson, and Tom Rawls. Rawls has done the 12.5 mile Swim Around Key West, the 3.5 Mile Waikiki Rough Water Swim. He played Water Polo at Washington & Lee University after growing up in Tampa where he swam for the Carrollwood Village Swim Team, and for Berkeley Preparatory High School.

Team Kermit, of Tampa, FL are Laura L. Kaleel, Christine Swanson, and James Mela. Kaleel has done the Hawaii Iron Man, and has completed the 12.5 mile Swim Around Key West.

Team Gatorbait, Gainesville, FL are Don Johnson, Ken Wallace, Lew Friedland, Bill Gair, Tom Wurzbach, Alan Couzens. All are accomplished tri-athletes and have participated in various endurance events.

Many competitors will be available for media requests during the week of April 15 – 19 Complete information, including event history is available at

The Tampa Bay Marathon Swim is presented by, a Clearwater Web Design and Network Engineering firm owned by Event Director Ron Collins.

SOURCE: Distance Matters, Inc

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