Reef & Run’s fifth season adds youth grand prix

Ocean swimmers break for the ocean marking the beginning of Reef & Run's 5th season.

Ocean swimmers break for the water, marking the beginning of Reef & Run’s 5th season.

Reef and Run kicked off its fifth season at East Beach in front of the Cabrillo Bathhouse on Thursday night with a free event that attracted one of the largest swimming groups in the event’s history.

?This year we are adding the Mullen & Henzell Youth Grand Prix event, where the kids have to swim 4 events and 3 of them must be the 1k event,? said event director Jane Cairns. ?They get points based on how well they placed and they will be awarded at the end of the season. We are really trying to target the kids, which is why we started the 500 last year ? to get the younger kids involved.?

Reef and Run has three main swim races: The Santa Barbara Swim Club 500-meter swim, The Santa Barbara Triathlon 1k swim, and The Elite Performance 1-mile swim.

The season runs every Thursday evening for 12 consecutive weeks, ending on August 29. With the 4th of July falling on a Thursday this year, that week’s event will be held on a Friday.

Once a month, The JFM Web Design Biathlon is offered to participants as an extra workout, consisting of a 1k swim as well as a run on the beach down to the pier and back. Thursday night?s season-opener did not involve a run.

?It was determined by low tide because they run down to the pier and back ? we went to an entire beach format last year and decided we wanted to do everything on the beach,? said Cairns.

Nic Lum, 18, was the first out of the water for the 500-meter race with a time of 8:48. Maija Ninness, 13, was the first young girl to finish at 9:22.

Jim West was the winner of the 1k race clocking in at 18:34 and the first female finisher, Katie Davis, came in 10th at 20:42.

Thalia Van Torder took first in the 1-mile swim with a time of 19:49. Kristen Reed was close behind clocking in at 19:50. The women were followed by Walker Bell at 20:55 and Ben Brewer at 20:59.

Story by Alison Raack