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The International Swimming Hall of Fame teamed with Premier Management Group on January 3, 2009, to host the 2008 Fort Lauderdale Rough Water Swim (formerly known as the ISHOF Ocean Mile Swim) for the 39th year on famous Fort Lauderdale Beach. This year’s swim included a Half and Quarter Mile swim for the kids and a 5K and Mile swim for everyone. Four hundred and six competitors entered the swim in age groups from 10 – under to college class divisions to Masters age groups.

Amanda Ford and Andree-Anne Genereux were the female winners of the 5K and Mile in times of 1:08:58.2 and 18:48.8 respectively while Ricardo Valdivia and Arthur Mendez won the men’s events in 1:06:52.3 and 23:06.2.

Olympic gold medalists Rowdy Gaines and Brendan Hanson passed out awards and gave motivational talks from the podium. Rowdy also gave a “play by play” description of swimmers coming across the finish line and conducted interviews with many of the spectators and swimmers at the finish area.

Seventy-five of the four hundred swimmers received stings from the Portuguese man-o-war “inhabitants” in the ocean and were treated by the lifeguards after the swim. The man-o-war are sac-like, ocean inhabitants with stinging tentacles that float on top of the water and are blown onto the beach in an on-shore wind. Normally if stung, it is only an uncomfortable feeling for a while.

2009 will be the 40th year of the swim and a big celebration is planned unlike we have seen in our past races.

For information about the International Swimming Hall of Fame go to www.ishof.org or call 954-462-6536. 

Greg LouganisEraldo

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