S H O R T S H O R T S
GEARING UP FOR ANNUAL PIER--PIER SWIM
JELLYFISH, HURRICANES & PANDEMICS CAN’T STOP THE FLOW By Peter Viele
IT SEEMS the annual Pier-2-Pier Swim Race is always
facing challenges. A massive swarm of jellyfish drifted
into swimmers mid-race a few years back. Hurricane
Florence canceled the event two years ago. Hurricane
Dorian nearly stopped it last year.
Even though it’s now facing a pandemic, the event held
in memory of Ryan Alea Young swims on for its 16th year on
Saturday, Sept. 12.
The 1.7 miles race challenges upwards of 300 athletes to
swim from Johnnie Mercers Pier to Crystal Pier — or vice versa,
depending on the prevailing current on race day.
Race director Trent Hayden, who began his tenure as director
when Florence hit, says rather than negatively impacting the
event, the coronavirus might boost numbers.
“Because of COVID, we’re actually anticipating a lot of people
because people are waiting to race,” he says. “These types of
athletes who compete all year are ready to go after not being
able to race.”
In light of the pandemic, competitors will be staggered in a
time-trial start so that each swimmer has ample, open space to
swim. Social distancing protocols will be in place on the beach
so everyone can be safely spaced apart.
The race begins promptly at 9 a.m. The proceeds from the
$40 entry fee benefit the Cape Fear Aquatic Club competition
fund, which trains young competitive swimmers from the ages
of 5 to 18.
The race honors former University of North Carolina
Wilmington swim team member Ryan Alea Young, who passed
away in 2009. Young’s father, Glenn, still attends each year to
give the racers encouragement.
Athletes swim from Crystal Pier to Johnnie Mercers Pier during the 2015 Pier-2-Pier Swim Race in Memory of Ryan Alea Young.
WBM FILE PHOTO
WBM september 2020