The Buccaneer Beach & Golf Resort, situated on the picturesque shores of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, proudly served as the finish line of the 27th Annual Coral Reef Swim on November 12, 2023. An international field of nearly 200 swimmers participated in the five-, two-, and one-mile open-water swims.
The races began at various locations on the island, with the five-mile race beginning at Buck Island Reef National Monument. The two-mile competition started at Pull Point, and the one-mile swim at Shoy’s Beach. The three races ran concurrently and ended at the palm-shaded shores of Mermaid Beach at The Buccaneer.
Five-Mile Race Winners
Eric Huuki, 22, from Pipersville, PA, led the field of males in the five-mile course, with a winning time of 1:47:33. Ricardo Valdivia, 58, from South Miami, finished on Huuki’s heels in 1:47:40, while St. Croix’s Kaeden Gleason, 16, finished third in 1:47:43. Coral Reef Swim Race 25-time participant and 21-time winner Alex Kostich finished fourth in 1:47:48.
Female five-mile winners were Jill Lancaster, 49, from Barrington, RI (2:15:37), followed by Allison Keller, 47, from Charlotte, NC (2:17:20), and Lisa Hibberd, 60, (2:17:47), from Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
Two-Mile Race Winners
Cole Cullinan, 13, from St. Croix, beat out other swimmers in the two-mile event with a time of 52:06. Second place was claimed by Bryan Mason, 48, from neighboring St. Thomas (54:21). St. Croix’s Matias Porporato, 31, finished third (56:18).
Lexie Kelly, 36, from Laguna Beach, CA, had the women’s and overall first-place winning swim in the two-mile event (49:57). Second place in the women's race went to Morgan Garner, 16, from St. Croix, and the third spot was won by Emily Rose, 30, from McClean, VA (1:04:22).
One-Mile Race Winners
Swimmers from St. Croix swept the one-mile male event. Daryan Maynard, 15, claimed the top spot with a winning time of 22:46. Nick Crikelair, 15, (27:30) placed second, and Scott Fortier, 29, had the third-fastest time (28:56). Maynard won the one-mile race in 2022.
The female one-mile race was won by 14-year-old Kyleigh Rychlik from Maple Valley, WA (23:59), who also had the winning time in 2022.. Maynard’s sister Diella Maynard, 13, earned second place in the female category, crossing the finish line with a time of 26:16. She was the second-place winner in 2022. Rachel Todebush, 19, from Miami, finished third (26:30).
Established in 1996 by Elizabeth Armstrong, owner of The Buccaneer Beach & Golf Resort, and her friend Kim Rice Sanford, the Coral Reef Swim Race has become one of the Caribbean's premier open-water events.