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Skylar Bruner, 17, a rising senior at Hilton Head Island High School took top honors with a time of 53:17.16 in the Woman’s Division in the 16th annual Beaufort River Swim on Saturday. Bruner also took third place overall in the 3.2-mile race. Photo by Bob Sofaly

Repeat performances: Teens Bruner, Minckler again claim Beaufort River Swim titles

By Mike McCombs

Along with the ideal temperatures and calm waters, Hilton Head Island High School rising seniors Blaise Minckler and Skylar Bruner made this year’s Beaufort River Swim seem a lot like last year’s.

Minckler and Bruner repeated as the Men’s and Women’s individual champions, respectively, in the 3.2-mile open-water race from Port Royal to the Beaufort Downtown Marina on Saturday, June 4.

Minckler, 16, completed the race in a blistering time of 51:30.51 for his second win in his second Beaufort River Swim.

Bruner, 17, finished third overall with a time of 53:17.16 and claimed her fourth straight Women’s championship. Bruner also won the Overall title two years ago.


Blaise Minckler, 16, a rising senior at Hilton Head Island High School took first place in the Men’s Division of the 16th annual 3.2-mile Beaufort River Swim with a blistering time of 51:30.51. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Sixteen-year-old Mark Lofye of Hilton Head Island finished second overall, between Minckler and Bruner, with a time of 53:14.36.

Other winners

In Friday night’s 8K run, Bluffton’s John Duberly won the Men’s and Overall categories with a time of 28:20. Jennife Curtain, 54, of Raleigh, N.C., won the Women’s cron with a time of 35.11.

Yorllily Moreno, 31, of Hardeeville was the Men’s and Overal champion in the Biathlon (3.2 mile swim + 5K run) event with a time of 1:18:43.67. Hilary Holston, 38, of Charleston was the women’s winner at 1:37:12.60.

For complete results, visit https://bit.ly/3Ntjqtz.

A successful race

According to Beaufort River Swim Event Director Denice Fanning, this is the event’s best year so far.

The River Swim had 164 registered participants and the weekend events raised about $21,000 for the Lowcountry YMCA’s Learn to Swim program.

“When we started 15 years ago, we were lucky to break even or make profit,” Fanning said, noting the event has several new community partners and sponsorships.

“But it’s about getting the word out and how important it is for people to be able to learn how to swim, not just children but adults,” Fanning said. She said 25 to 30 % of all of the Lowcountry YMCA’s swim lessons are for adults.

Fanning said she hopes the River Swim and related races will begin to grow into a more regional event in the coming years. She said race organizers may collaborate with Blue Sky Endurance out of Charleston next year.

I addition to her volunteers and staff, Fanning thanked some others important to the event.

“I’d like to note that without the collaboration with Sun City Kayakers, Beaufort Water Safety and Rescue, and Marine Volunteers we could not make this event possible,” Fanning said.

Mike McCombs is the Editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.

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