A look back at the 74th Semana Nautica Festival

If they weren’t dripping wet with ocean or pool water, they were drenched in sweat from taking part in events at the 74th annual Semana Nautica summer sports festival.

Participants were either sailing on the water or swimming in it; running along the beach or on the Santa Barbara streets; serving, passing, spiking and digging volleyballs at East Beach; hitting and snaring softballs at Elings Park; blasting passing shots at the Municipal Tennis Center and Tennis Club of Santa Barbara, or burning thigh muscles cycling in a time trial on Cathedral Oaks.

Highlights of several events can been seen on video on SemanaNautica.com.

Semana Nautica 2011

Here's the Festival Poster for 2011, the 74th year of Semana Nautica sporting events held in Santa Barbara.

Warmer water temperatures this summer helped bring out a record-number of entrants in the Mullen & Henzell 1-mile and 3-mile ocean swims.

Local Olympian Mark Warkentin won the mile swim for the third straight year. He pulled away from the record-field of 144 swimmers and was timed in 16 minutes, 49.53 seconds.

High school student Nicole Antoniuk of Canyon Aquatic Club in Santa Clarita also won for the third in a row. Her time was 17:03.23, and she beat Australian open-water swimmer Luane Rowe.

Rowe would have her day in the Mullen & Henzell 3-mile swim, winning in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 31 seconds. The overall winner was compatriot Max Halson in 57 minutes, 10 seconds. The local finisher was Ed Smith, who competed in all the Semana Nautica ocean swims, the 5-mile biathlon and the 15-kilometer run.

One of the surprises of the ocean events was in the 5-mile biathlon, where perennial champion Jon Clark came in second to Ireland’s Donncha O’Siadhail. A strong swimmer, the 33-year-old Irishman zipped past 4-mile run leader Scott Devore and won in 45:56. Clark, 50, was second in 47:48.

Women’s winner Renee Roy, a 25-year-old Pismo Beach lifeguard and former collegiate swimmer from Oxnard, also made up a deficit in the water.

The most grueling event of the festival is the 6-mile swim from the Goleta Beach Pier to Hendry’s Beach. Besides the distance, swimmers have to deal with the ocean current. Ed Smith took first place in 2:29.14. Dos Pueblos alum Valerie Eacret, a senior at Tufts University, was the first woman finisher in 2:38.42.

“It’s like swimming in quicksand,” Smith said of the strong current.

“Ed did a great job,” said 2010 winner Stewart Reid. “With all the races he’s done, that was a great effort on his part.”

On the sand, local Brant Lee teamed with Tate Wolthall of Santa Cruz of to win the CBVA Men’s Masters beach volleyball tournament.

In Open Division competition, Andy McGuire, the libero on UCSB’s national runner-up team, teamed with Joey Dykstra to win the men’s championship. The women’s title was won by Kathrin Winkler and Tarin Keith.

Beach soccer took over West Beach. AV Boas defeated defending champion Team Chi-Chi in a penalty-kick shootout for the Open Division title at the Santa Barbara Beach Soccer Summer Slam, presented by Community West Bank. The Co-ed crown was won by Community West Bank FC over Team Beach Rat.

The Santa Barbara Open tennis tournament was part of the festival, and a couple Spaniards claimed the top division singles titles. UCSB’s Natalia Lozana captured the women’s open crown, while Luis Antonio Perez took the men’s open championship.

One of wildest and craziest events of Semana Nautica is the Krazy Kardboard Kayak Race. Using pieces of cardboard and duct tape, participants madly construct a kayak and float it off West Beach.

Away from the shore, the Fourth of July 15k run is one of the longest-running road races in Southern California, with the first race being held in 1955. Forest Braden, the distance coach at UCLA, beat future Bruin and Dos Pueblos High star Sergey Sushchikh for first place. Braden’s winning time was 48:33, while Sushchikh was clocked in 49:29. Mandy Grantz, a grad student at Cal Tech in Pasadena, was the women’s champion in 55:37.

The festival wrapped up with the DMI Doug McFadden Memorial Time Trial, a 10-mile cycling race against the clock on Cathedral Oaks in Goleta. Mike Grundmann was the winner in 23 minutes, 16 seconds and Kathrine Warren was the first woman finisher in 27:51.

Semana Nautica would like to thank all the participants, spectators and supporters for making the 2011 festival a tremendous success. Hope to see you next summer.