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SCHULTE TOPS 25TH COCOS CROSSING 5-MILE

Olympian Benji Schulte finished first in the 5-mile leg, while youngsters Tommy Imazu and Oriane Guillot finished first in the 2.5-mile leg of the 25th annual Cocos Crossing.

By Mike Nauta Jr.

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Oriane Guillot finished the 2.5 mile stretch in first place despite being just 14 years old. (photo by Mike Nauta.)

A little under 200 swimmers made their way down to the beautiful village of Merizo to partake in the 25th Cocos Crossing Guam 2.5/5-mile International Ocean Swim. Participants in the event included a combination of both local swimmers as well as from abroad.

The annual competition also introduced a new category (Neptune) in which swimmers were able to use snorkel and fins.

While family and friends lined the shorelines of Merizo Pier, it was anyone’s guess as to who will swim the fastest and arrive at the finish line.

Needing less than 50 minutes to complete the 2.5 mile course capture this year’s championship, Oriane Guillot and Tommy Imazu cruised passed their fellow competitors and crossed as the first male and female overall finishers.

Originally from Canada and now residing in Hong Kong, 14-year old Guillot stroked her way past second-place finisher Christena Pazos. Guillot finished with an official time of 48:52, while Pazos clocked in at 49:01.

Rounding out the top three slots was Amanda Poppe who completed the challenge in 53:02.

“This is my first time ever competing in this race and I have to say that the water was beautiful and clear,” said Guillot. “Finishing as the top female athlete amongst these tough competitors is a great felling and its a boost of confidence for me personally.”

In the men’s division, Tommy Imazu defended his 2014 championship successfully with yet another crown. Imazu (44:43) beat out second-place finisher Chris Duenas by a mere eight seconds.

Duenas recorded an official time of 44:51. Finishing the men’s division in third was Mr. Richard Ketcher. Ketcher completed the course in 47:27.

“It was a good swim overall, but there were some times when I felt like I was battling the elements as the race progressed,” said Imazu. “Having great competition every time in a race like this just keeps the confidence and motivational at a complete high.”

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5-MILE SWIM DOMINATED BY SCHULTE

Known for his accomplishments with open water swimming competition, Benjamin Schulte was the first person to cross the finish line with a red cap on.

The red cap signified which competitors were in the 5-mile out and back course. Schulte used his experience to his advantage and wasted no time making his mark as the first five-mile event finisher. Schulte finish the race in 1:27:01 which was more than ten minutes faster than Scott Day. Rounding out the top three males in the five mile swim was Ben Denton who clocked in a time of 1:53:52.

“I’m pretty happy and satisfied with my performance in the swim,” said Schulte. “Conditions weren’t too bad out in the water, it was just a matter a making the right adjustments if and when needed.

Four ladies battled one another in a very challenging five miles. When the results were tallied, it was Lynda Goggins who took home top honors, while Sara Huber finished in second. Goggins and Huber finished in 1:53:22 and 2:03:22 respectively. Only 14-years old, Katelee McCormik finished in third place. Masae Watakiki rounds out the top four.

PHOTO GALLERY:

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Tommy Imazu finishes first place for the male division, his second straight 1st place finish. (photo by Mike Nauata.)

Tommy Imazu finishes first place for the male division, his second straight 1st place finish. (photo by Mike Nauata.)

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