Brewer leads youth brigade in 1-mile ocean swim


It was Teen Day at Semana Nautica’s Mullen and Henzell 1-mile ocean swim on Saturday.

Ben Brewer of the Santa Barbara Swim Club won the 1-mile ocean swim in 18:56.

Ben Brewer of the Santa Barbara Swim Club won the 1-mile ocean swim in 18:56.

Santa Barbara High School junior and Santa Barbara Swim Club member Ben Brewer led a group of teenagers in the top seven spots in the race along East Beach. He crossed the finish line on the beach in 18 minutes, 56 seconds.

Liliana Casso, who just completed her freshman year at the University of North Carolina, was Saturday’s runner-up in 19:03. She held off Cuyler Gabriel of Santa Barbara High and the SB Swim Club. Gabriel hit the finish line in 19:05.

Swim club members Walker Bell (Dos Pueblos High, 19:18), Alex Roderick (SBHS, 19:27) and Olivia Smith (San Marcos, 19:27) placed fourth through sixth and defending women’s champion Nicole Antoniuk of Cal Poly came in seventh (20:35).

Santa Barbara’s Ed Smith followed the teen brigade in eighth place in 20:39.


“This is the start of my boot camp,” Smith said with a smile. He annually does the 1-, 3- and 6-mile swims during Semana Nautica.

For Brewer, Saturday’s swim was his second victory of Semana Nautica, putting him in good position to repeat as Ocean Swimmer of the Year for the summer sports festival. He won the Nite Moves 1k on Wednesday. He plans to do Sunday’s 3-miler and a Reef and Run Series mile on Thursday.

The runner-up last year, Brewer said he went into the lead Saturday during the last quarter of the race. He drafted and tried sprinting a bit in the early part but realized it was too early in the swim.

First-place female beats Cuyler Gabriel out of the water.

Female winner Liliana Casso finishes ahead of Santa Barbara’s Cuyler Gabriel. Casso was second overall.

Once he took the lead, he said his strategy was “go as hard as I could and try not to die. I think I had just about enough energy to do it.”

Casso, a distance freestyler at North Carolina, isn’t a stranger to the area. She has family here and, “When I was younger I did the swim meet for Semana Nautica,” she said.

Her cousin, Diego Torres-Casso, also did the race and placed 24th in 23:02.

Brewer and the other swimmers were pleased with the good conditions.

“It was really, really good; super warm and super smooth. It was perfect.”

There were 133 finishers.

The age-group winners:

Men’s 70+ Larry Raffaelli 26:22
Men’s 65-69 Dan O’Meara 23:33
Men’s 60-64 Dave Morse 30:31
Men’s 55-59 Bart Simmons 22:45
Men’s 50-54 Kurt Baron 22:03
Men’s 45-49 Rick Hubbard 24:05
Men’s 40-44 Brad Shenfeld 20:42
Men’s 35-39 Ed Smith 20:39
Men’s 25-34 Steven Hunt 21:38
Men’s 18-24 Kaikena Naone 20:45
Men’s U-17 Ben Brewer 18:56
Women’s  70+ Sylvia Glenn 40:51
Women’s 60-64 Skona Buittain 44:19
Women’s 55-59 Cheryl Plantz 26:31
Women’s 50-54 Holly Joy Nuckols 25:04
Women’s 45-49 Marcie Kjoller 23:43
Women’s 40-44 Hilary McAvoy 25:49
Women’s 35-39 Alethea Butler-Nalin 23:45
Women’s 25-34  Brittany Day 22:46
Women’s 18-24 Liliana Casso 19:03
Women’s U-17 Olivia Smith 20:35