Thursday, August 28, 2008

Summer Classics - Maui Channel Relays

The Maui Channel Swim is an annual open water race that is considered by many to be the world's most enjoyable open water relay. It is a masters inter-island relay with a history that dates back to 1972.

The 9.5-mile Maui Channel Swim starts at Club Lanai, a resort on the island of Lanai, and crosses the Au Au Channel to Black Rock at the Kaanapali Beach Resort on Maui. The channel is warm and beautiful where swimmers can be mesmorized by the ocean depths below as strong currents or stiff winds either push them to - or away from - their goal.

Swimmers have come from every state and dozens of countries to participate. Between legs, they can gaze upon four different Hawaiian islands (Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Oahu) if the weather cooperates.

The six-person relay, where everyone's first leg is 30 minutes long, started as a competition between the Waikiki Swim Club and the Olympic Club of San Francisco. It has now grown to a race of over 60 teams and dozens of solo swimmers who compete alongside the 6-person teams.

Additionally, swimmers can stay a few extra days in Maui for the 2.4-mile Aumakau Race and Maui Sprint Mile held on Labor Day.

The Aumakau Race and Maui Sprint Mile have a truly unique "fun rule" where swimmers can subtract one minute off their final time by swimming underwater underneath the Arch. The Arch is located 15 feet below the surface of the water towards the end of the race.

Swimmers can see plenty of coral, tropical fish, beautiful rock formations, sea turtles, manta rays, and, infrequently, sharks (mostly white tips) along both courses.

Copyright © 2008 by Steven Munatones

No comments: