By Bob Sofaly
Eighteen year old James Hammond, of Hilton Head Island, won the 9th Annual Beaufort River Swim last Saturday. This is a repeat for Hammond as he also won it last year. The Beaufort County YMCA sponsors this race to raise money to support their scholarships in their Learn to Swim Program.
The 3-Mile Race starts at the Port Royal Landing Marina. The course winds through boats, buoys, and paddle boarders in open water and ends at the Downtown Marina’s boat ramp at the end of the Henry C. Chamber Waterfront Park.
Race officials said there were 155 contestants for this year’s race plus a dozen more intrepid swimmers registered for the 1-Mile Fun Swim, a non-competitive race which allowed wet suits, swim fins and snorkels. The Fun Swim started at the Beaufort Memorial Hospital dock when all of the 3-Mile racers had passed.
Participants started the race at dead low tide and enjoyed an outgoing tide for some of the race. However, as later swimmers neared the finish line the current proved too much and pushed them toward the boats tied at the marina. In the end, everyone made it safely to the finish line.