NORTH SHORE, Hawaii -- The summer just got a lot more competitive!

Welcome to the 2012 North Shore Swim Series! A grueling four-race series set in sunny Hawaii's North Shore. With each race getting progressively longer and harder, the races are not for the amateur swimmer.

The first of races, the Aloha Salad Summer Sprint, was June 23 from Sunset Beach to Pipeline. This one-mile race kicked off the series and promised to be a real thriller with more than 700 participants entering the water in staggered heats.

The next race, Cholo's Waimea Bay Swim, was held two weeks later, July 7, and boasted a 1.2-mile swim sprint around Waimea Bay. The participants for this race neared 800 swimmers.

Included in those participants were many members of the military, including: Capt. Travis Toole, commander of the 34th Engineer Company, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command; 1st Lt. Eric Gutierrez, executive officer for the 34th Eng. Co.; 2nd Lt. Marshall Farmer, platoon leader for the 34th Eng. Co.; and Sgt. Maj. Victor Rodriguez, sergeant major in charge of the 8th TSC supply section.

"Swimming has always been a past time of mine," said Toole. "Swimming is easier on the joints than running and it's a great way to stay in shape. It's just plain fun."

The event coordinator, the sponsors and the series itself enjoyed having the military come out and participate in the race.

"We appreciate all the military involvement in everything we do," said Chris Gardner, event coordinator. "We used to have a military category, but they're so fast that we make them swim with everyone else now."

The North Shore Swim Series is listed as one of the top 10 open water swim series in America, said Rae Flanagan, marketing director for the series.

"As the series gets larger, we notice that people are coming from further and further away," she continued. "We have a number of international entries, and we had a couple of standout swimmers show up: Eric Nelsson, Kasy Johnson, Steve Allnutt, and Jayson Hagi. They're all popular open water names that come out to the series year after year."

Many of the participants come out and use the races as training for larger events.

"There are a lot of people here training for triathlons," said Gardner. "Others are here for fun. People love to swim and we have a gorgeous place to swim. It's a legacy sport."

The next race will be held July 21. The Jaco's Chuns to Waimea Swim is a 1.6-mile swim from Chun's Reef to Waimea Bay.

The series finishes Aug. 4 with a 2.3-mile swim sprint from Pipeline to Waimea Bay and is appropriately named Jamba Juice's North Shore Challenge.

For more information on the series and all other Hawaii swim related information, visit:

Page last updated Fri July 13th, 2012 at 20:42