One of the beautiful things about the Semana Nautica summer sports festival is the unpredictability of the events.
The athletes who participated in the ocean swims can attest to that. Those who entered the 3-mile swim and 5-mile biathlon (4-mile beach run, 1 mile) during the first weekend of the 75th annual festival had to battle through a strong current and choppy water conditions off East Beach. On the following weekend, the swimmers were relieved to have calmer water for the 1-mile swim along East Beach and 6-miler from Goleta Beach Pier to Hendry’s Beach.
In the 1-mile swim, Mark Warkentin had his three-year winning streak snapped by Konrad Antoniuk of Newhall. Antoniuk won in an exciting finish, edging out Matt Johnson in their dash from the water to the finish line by one second (18:03 to 18:04). Warkentin finished third in 18:27.
Nicole Antoniuk, Konrad’s younger sister, was the women’s champion and placed fifth overall.
Goleta’s Evan Morrison claimed the unofficial honor as Semana Nautica’s distance swim champion by winning the 6-mile and 3-mile events. His time in the 6-miler was 2 hours, 4 minutes, 54 seconds.
In a challenging 3-mile swim, he churned through the chop and won in 1 hour, 14 minutes, 30 seconds.
“There was, it seemed like, probably a two-foot chop just consistently coming into my head so it’s hard not get a mouth full of saltwater every breath you take,” he said.
Courtney Weigand, who’s done several open water swims in her career, was the first woman finisher and took second overall in 1:15.57.
Santa Barbara’s Ed Smith, who annually competes in all the ocean swim events, came in third.
Smith won the 5-mile biathlon in rough-water conditions.
“It was like bobbin like a cork in the ocean,” Smith said of the swim. His time was 53 minutes, 39 seconds.
Becky Glusac was the women’s champion (fourth overall) in 56:36.
“You can’t even get to the start because of the current,” Glusac said of the tough conditions. “Both ways you feel like you’re in a washing machine just getting tossed around.”
Swimming wasn’t the only activity going on in the ocean during the festival.
Ocean water polo made its Semana Nautica debut. Eight teams played on a “field” set up off Stearns Wharf, below the Ty Warner Sea Center. In the final, the UCSB Dream Team, composed of current UCSB players, defeated Team Turbo in a best-of-three series. After splitting the first two games by identical 6-2 scores, the UCSB Dream Team took the finale 6-3.
Event organizers were pleased how the event came off and look forward to expanding it for future Semana Nauticas.
“The city has been great to help us host this,” said organizer Wolf Wigo, the UCSB men’s water polo coach and a three-time U.S. Olympian.
Paddlers also got into the act in the Downwinder, an 11-mile race from Goleta Beach Cove to East Beach and the East Beach 3-mile paddle.
On land, a local boy won the Fourth of July 15-kilometer foot race, one of the longest-running events in Southern California. Sergey Sushchikh, a 2011 Dos Pueblos graduate who now attends UCLA, captured the 9.3-mile race through Santa Barbara streets in 48 minutes, 57 seconds. Sushchikh proudly ran in a DP singlet. Pasadena’s Mandy Grantz won the women’s title for the second straight year. Her time was 57:11.
On the sands of East Beach, a couple of former Santa Barbara High volleyball teammates reunited to win the California Beach Volleyball Association Santa Barbara Men’s Open. Will Montgomery and Jeremy Casebeer came from behind to knock off Adam Cabbage and 6-11 Andrew Fuller in a thrilling final, 12-21, 21-15, 15-13.
Montgomery and Casebeer just completed the college careers. Montgomery played for NCAA champion UC Irvine and Casebeer played on the final team of legendary UCLA coach Al Scates.
In the women’s open, Kelsey Robinson and Emily Stockman topped Richell Squire and Lauren Mills for the title.
The Santa Barbara Open tennis tournament also was part of Semana Nautica. The men’s open final was an all-Cal Poly affair with No. 1 player Andre Dome sweeping southpaw teammate Marco Comuzzo. Dome finished the college season as the No. 40-ranked player in the nation. The Poly duo combined to win the doubles as well. Zusazanna Fodor defeated UCSB’s Natalia Lozano for the women’s open singles title, and the sister act of Loesje Guizar and Danielle Ouwendijk of Somis won the women’s open doubles over Santa Barbara’s Kim Denig and Eva Rivera of Ventura, 6-4, 6-3.
Swimmers of all ages took the Los Banos Pool for the traditional Semana Nautica competitions — the Reg Richardson Masters and the Age-Group Meet.
The Masters Meet featured two competitors in their 90s — 91-year-old Maurine Kornfeld and 94-year-old Rita Simonton.
Proof that Semana Nautica is for everyone.