The inaugural Aaron Peirsol’s Race for the Oceans was a splashing success this weekend. Hundreds of swimmers, from age 9 to 59, gathered in Ft. Myers, Florida for their chance to race against the seven-time Olympic medalist and support ocean conservation.
The festivities kicked off with a beach clean-up. The kids donned plastic gloves and trash bags and scoured the beach in search of debris. Unfortunately for us (but fortunately for the residents of Ft. Myers), there was a beach clean-up two weeks earlier, so there wasn’t much garbage to collect.
The clean-up was followed by a clinic, where Aaron offered the kids tips on open water swimming including how to “dolphin dive” at the start and keep their eyes on the buoys during the race. The kids then put the advice into practice during the 500-yard junior swim.
The 1k and 5k adult open water swim were held Sunday morning, with a clean sweep Peirsol victory. Aaron won the 1k with a time of 18 minutes, and his younger sister and celebrated swimmer, Haley Peirsol, won the 5k. Also participating was Cody Bureau who took home the bronze medal at this year’s Paralympic Games and Rowdy Gaines – Olympic announcer and former gold medalist - served as commentator of the event.
Not only was the event a once-in-a-lifetime chance for many of the participants to meet their idol, it also helped raise $20,000 for ocean conservation. Aaron’s sponsors, Toyota and Bank of America, each donated $10,000 to Oceana in support of our race for the oceans initiative.
Sorry you missed it? Fear not, for plans are already in the works to return to Ft. Myers next year for the second installment. But if you’re hoping for a chance to outdo the Peirsols, better start training now.