Swimmers getting ready for open water event

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Swimmers are already preparing to participate in an open water swimming event coming to the Island in November.

The South Padre Island Open Water Festival will feature a kid’s sprint, a one mile race, a five kilometer race and a military veteran’s event.

Brownsville Aquatics Center coach Ryan Shea said his swim club will be participating in the event.

He said he is hopeful he can get 40 to 60 swimmers to compete from his swim club.

“This event will be a great celebration of the sport of swimming and all the South Padre Island area has to offer.” said Lenny Krayzelburg, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and CFO of Open Water Planet. “This is truly an event for all swimmers whether you are 9 or 89.”

The South Padre Island Convention & Visitors Bureau and Open Water Planet, an open water event production company, have teamed up to host the first South Padre Island Open Water Festival, an open water swimming-based event, in the bay area Nov. 5-6.

Shea said he has some distance swimmers and this is another opportunity to compete in another event.

“Open water swimming is growing and popping up everywhere,” Shea said.

He said he’s participated in open water swim events before in Austin and Corpus Christi, but he hopes the Island’s becomes an annual event.

Shea is helping to organize it.

“We would really like to get about 300 swimmers to come and compete,” Shea said. “I’m hoping for a big turnout because I would like this to be a yearly thing.”

Shea said it’s a great opportunity to have this event in the Valley.

“It’s bringing back the grass roots of open water swimming,” Shea said.

“We want it to be a destination every year for open water swimming,” Shea said.

He said open water swimming is different from swimming in a pool.

“The elements are different, but it’s fun,” Shea said.