2011 Festival Overview

By Barry Punzal, PresidioSports.com

Swimming, running, beach volleyball, softball and tennis — sports many Santa Barbarans love to do — will take center stage for the next two weekends as part of Semana Nautica, Santa Barbara’s summer sports festival.

Started in 1933 when crew members of U.S. Navy battleships moored outside the harbor came ashore and competed against local residents in athletic contests along the beach, the event, dubbed “Fleet Week,” has transformed into a festival of wide-ranging events staged all over the area for people of all ages.

Saturday marks the first full day of competition.

At East Beach, there’s the Mullen and Henzell 1-mile ocean swim and the Santa Barbara Open women’s volleyball tournament.

At the Los Banos Pool, the 43rd annual age-group swim meet started on Friday and runs through Sunday.

At the Municipal Tennis Courts and Pershing Park, the 75th Santa Barbara Open Tennis Tournament begins its two-weekend run.

Sunday’s schedule has the Santa Barbara Open men’s volleyball tournament and 3-mile ocean swim, and the continuation of the tennis tournament and swim meet.

On Monday, the Fourth of July, the Semana Nautica 15k road race will go off for the 57th consecutive year. It is one of the longest running races in California.

Also on Monday, the Santa Barbara Foresters baseball team will play their annual Independence Day game. The 3 p.m. game has been moved from Pershing Park to UCSB’s Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

Next weekend’s schedule includes the 5-mile biathlon at East Beach, the Summer Slam Beach Soccer Tournament at West Beach, CBVA men’s and women’s masters beach volleyball tournament at East Beach, the Mac Henrotin Memoral men’s and women’s slo-pitch softball tournament at Elings Park, Reg Richardson Masters Swim Meet at Los Banos Pool, the Krazy Kardboard Kayak Race at West Beach and the Sea Shell and Sabot boat races for kids.

Fourteen-year-old Walker Bell, who’s been tearing it up in the 1k swims at Santa Barbara’s Nite Moves on Wednesdays, is planning to do Saturday’s mile swim. Bell has won eight of the nine Nite Moves swims and recently finished 75th in the 5k swim at the USA Swimming Open Water Nationals in Florida.

He’ll be swimming against several local triathletes and club swimmers, who are here for the age-group meet.

He also could be in the water with U.S. Olympian Mark Warkentin, who won last year’s event. Race director Rich Hanna said Warkentin hadn’t registered early and wouldn’t be surprised if he signed up on race day.

Kathrine Warren, who won an age-group triathlon world championship last year in Hungary, is the defending women’s champion.

Hanna expects a good turnout because the water temperature is signficantly warmer than past years. There were 94 swimmers in last year’s 1-mile swim and 35 in the 3-mile.

The Santa Barbara Swim Club’s age-group meet will draw 500 swimmers from all over the state, Nevada, Arizona and a few from around the country. The largest visiting teams are from Rose Bowl Aquatics in Pasadena and Canyons Aquatic Club from Santa Clarita.

At 11 a.m. on Sunday, Congresswoman Lois Capps will present the Capps Family Memorial Award to the male and female winners of the 400 freestyle from Saturday.

The beach volleyball competition will feature several local standouts.

In the women’s open, Sammie Brown and Emily Rottman, two former prep stars who excelled in their freshman year in college last fall, have combined for the tournament. Brown, from Dos Pueblos, started at Notre Dame while Rottman, a Santa Barbara grad, played outside hitter for Virginia. Brown recently took second in the Santa Barbara AA.

Brittany Lough, a solid beach player, is teaming up with ex-DP star Sally Yingst, who attends UC San Diego. Lough recently won the Santa Barbara AA.

Caitlin Racich, another former DP standout who now plays at Pepperdine, is entered with local Tara Roenicke.

Santa Barbara grad and current UCSB front-row player Mimi Cuttrell is playing with Kara Sherrard of Goleta. Sam Maas, who starred at Dunn School, is entered with partner Jennifer Keddy of San Luis Obispo.

The top-seeded women’s team is Alicia Zamparelli of Redondo Beach and Aurora Skarra-Gallagher of Santa Cruz. They’ve won opens in Santa Monica and Santa Cruz.

Everett Matthews, who has won the last two AAA tournaments on the CBVA circuit, and partner Andrew Fuller are the No. 1-seeded men’s team. Together, they have two ninths and a second this summer.

Andy McGuire, the libero on UCSB’s national runner-up squad, and Joey Dykstra is seeded fourth.

Local teams include Ben Brockman-Avery Drost, Tim Nestlerode-Jeff Steffens, Will Montgomery-Kevin Tillie, Jordan Dyer-Ian Satterfield; Morgan Mainz-Art Barron, David Fischer-Adriano Ticao, Will Harris-Dan Terry, Cullen Irons-Chad Kingi, Dillan Bennett-Kyle Stevenson, Greg Lowry-Seth Tuton, Rick Hayes-Tyler Brennan.

Monday’s 15k is a Santa Barbara tradition. The race’s first winner was Gordon McClenathan in 1955. The retired Dos Pueblos track coach is still going strong on the running scene.

The 8 a.m. race is expected to draw 325 runners/walkers. The start on San Simeon Street, near El Camino School. It finishes at the front entrance of San Marcos High on Hollister Ave.