Ocean Swimmers of the Year: Olivia Smith & Chris Braden

Olivia Smith and Chris Braden

Olivia Smith and Chris Braden

Based on results from throughout the 2016 festival, the Semana Nautica Association in pleased to announce that Chris Braden and Olivia Smith have earned the distinction of Ocean Swimmers of the Year.

Braden and Smith clearly stood out. Braden, 25, won all four ocean-swimming races that he entered while Smith, 18, won three of four and placed second in the other.

In the Mullen & Henzell One-Mile Swim, Braden won in 20 minutes and 31 seconds while Smith came in at 22:50 and was fifth overall. In the Three-Mile Swim, Braden’s winning time was 1:00.10. Smith came in at 1:04.12, successfully edging former Ocean Swimmer of the Year recipient Karen Schultz by five seconds.

The male and female Semana Nautica Ocean Swimmers of the Year must qualify for the award by competing in each of the following ocean swim races during the two-week festival:

1) Semana Nautica 1-mile ocean swim
2) one of the two Reef & Run 1-mile ocean swims
3) one of the two Nite Moves 1k ocean swims
4) either the 3-mile ocean swim or the 6-mile ocean swim.

For each of these swims, points were allocated equal to the participant’s overall finishing place in his/her gender. Swimmers who are unable to compete in the 3 mile or the 6 mile ocean swim are handicapped by an additional 40 points added to their total. If a participant swam in more than one of the weekly Night Moves or Reef & Run qualifying events, the best finish was used for consideration.

Five men completed the series and three women.



1. Chris Braden — 4 points
2. Taylor Steffen — 12
3. Matt Miller — 18
4. Ryan Wenger — 107
5. John Bish — 127


1. Olivia Smith — 5 points
2. Karen Schultz — 8
3. Kristina Hill — 13