Some 460 U.S. and international participants competed in waters off the Florida Keys Saturday during the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse, an annual open-water challenge in the Atlantic Ocean.
St. Pete Beach, Florida, resident Michael Schultz, 30, emerged from the Atlantic as the top individual swimmer with a time of one hour, 25 minutes and 48 seconds.
Not far behind, top female finisher Brooke Bennett, 39, an Olympic gold medalist from Clearwater, Florida, completed the race in 1:28:59.
In other divisions, Maryland residents David Speier and Charles Potterton finished with the fastest two-person relay time of 1:39:55. Georgia residents Lori Collett and Scott Davis teamed up with Islamorada’s David Jacobson to place first in the three-person relay division with a time of 1:48:55.
In the four-person mixed relay division with a first-place time of 1 hour, 56 minutes and 38 seconds were Georgia residents Jack Haire, Phil Stafford and Bill Weiss, along with Jim Jacobson of Maryland.
The event was conceived to raise awareness of preserving the nearly 150-year-old Alligator Reef Lighthouse and five other aging lighthouses off the Keys. The lighthouse was built on a reef named to honor the U.S. Navy schooner “Alligator,” part of a naval anti-piracy squadron, that grounded there in the early 1800s.
Proceeds help fund college scholarships for Keys students interested in competitive swimming.