SANDPOINT — A trend of young winners continued, as Oregon 14 year-old Marcus Gentry hit shore in 35:52 on Saturday to win the 24th annual Long Bridge Swim in Sandpoint.
Sandpoint High School swimmer Jacob Ballard, 15, led all locals by finishing 6th overall in 39:44, just behind the top female finisher in Sakaiya McCoy, who clocked a 39:27, as a total of 477 people finished the popular 1.76 mile open water swim.
Local siblings Hayden Norling, 15, and Caleb Norling, 13, finished 12th and 13th respectively at 42:32 and 42:34, followed by the top Sandpoint female finisher in Myla Houlihan, 54, who completed the swim in 46:03.
Former Sandpoint and University of Wisconsin swimmer Paulina Gralow, 27, who still holds the Idaho state breastroke record, was the next local in 25th at 46:17, followed by David Lien in 27th (46:56) and Aaron Leake, 50:08.
Those are fast times, to be sure, but the Long Bridge Swim is and always has been about the last 200 some swimmers out of the water, including Sandpoint director of Parks and Recreation Kim Woodruff, who along with his usual shark fin finished 300th.
After having the event canceled in 2017 due to high winds, Saturday’s was near perfect conditions. As always, the event raises money for free swim lessons for every 3rd grade student in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, lessons which are held at SWAC and the beautiful Pend Oreille Shores Resort pool in Hope.
Thanks to the myriad sponsors, whose money helps fund the aforementioned swim lessons, and to the hundreds of volunteers who make the event such a rousing success each year.
For more information, or to see the complete results, visit www.longbridgeswim.org.