View Full Version : St. John Beach-to-Beach Power Swim

February 25th, 2014, 01:19 PM
Hello! Has anyone on this forum ever done this swim, or is there anyone who is planning on doing it in 2014? I am doing it this year for the first time and I just wanted to see who else out there has been involved in this swim. I'm really looking forward to it!!! -Courtney

February 26th, 2014, 06:03 PM
Love, love, loved this swim! Did the 3.5 last year. It's like swimming in a fish tank and I felt like Dory in Finding Nemo several times when I got distracted by some shiny fish or object - had to keep remembering to race. It's well run and a nice fast race with a slight tail current for a lot of it.

Definitely work on your sighting. Several of us missed some bouys heading into the 3rd bay and had to backtrack - probably cost us each about 5 minutes, dangit. They were hard to find. The pre-race meeting the evening before is good to get insight into the bays and sighting. Well worth the time spent at the meeting. The awards are really nice too - all made of local handblown glass.

STJ itself is a dream. I hope you're staying for a few days afterwards because it's just gorgeous. You can rent a car and just drive all over. Stop anywhere to snorkel for a bit. Do some hiking and sightseeing. We really enjoyed going over to Waterlemon Bay and Cay to snorkel. Lots of turtles there. It was probably 1/2 mile walk on a dirt path after you parked to get to the a spot to snorkel.

Holler at me if you want more information or have questions. I'd planned to go back this year but it was just too expensive with grad school coming up this fall. Let me know how you do and how you enjoy it!

March 11th, 2014, 04:55 PM
Hi, thanks for the reply - I'm just seeing it now! Thanks for the tip on the sighting. Do you go into each bay and back out if you're going to Trunk or Hawksnest? I signed up for the 2.something (Trunk). I'm a little worried about sea creatures, haha - I'm of the mind that ignorance (opaque water) is bliss :) But my real concern is overheating. I know it's early in the morning so it should be a little cooler, but the water has got to be pretty warm for racing, right? How was it for you?

I know, I love St. John!! I've been several times before but this is my first time doing the swim. I'm actually going to be there on vacation the week before the race. Hopefully I won't sit on my butt so much or consume so many painkillers that I can't compete! :)

March 12th, 2014, 09:08 AM
Ah PKs. They're the death of me, but one of the best treats when down on the islands. LOL!

For the most part, you just follow the coastline and since you're not doing that last turn, you should be easy going on the navigation for the 2+ miler. When you go to the pre-race briefing, they have a good map that is looped so you'll have the visuals to help get you situated. They'll go through photos of specific points to aim for on the horizon (from a water level view) to help you while you're navigating too. And there are plenty of kayakers/SUPs spread out to catch you if you get off course a bit. The link to the course is on the site. http://www.friendsvinp.org/race-course-map

I'm happy in warmer water, but from what I remember, it was a perfect temp both in and out of the water. I want to say it was right at 80 in the water. Get a good sunscreen that lasts for about 90 minutes like Bullfrog. You don't want to screw up the rest of the vacation 'cause your back and butt are burned.

Your race ends in Trunk Cay bay which is the prettiest one, honestly. Once you come around the bend, aim for the south tip of the little island in that bay and drive to the finish. There's a neat underwater snorkeling "trail" on the west side of that mini-island that has markers underwater showing different types of fish, coral, etc. Gorgeous.

You'll love this race. I almost hate to talk so well of it because more people will be fighting to go to it. :) Let me know how it goes and feel free to shoot me a note if you have more questions.

And don't worry about critters. There's enough churn that the big ones stay away and all you see are the pretty tropical small fish. It's as if you have your own, colorful spectator stand.

Johnny Aqua
April 6th, 2014, 08:45 AM
Hi Courtney, I'll be doing this swim for the 1st time also. Gonna do the full 3.5 as a personal challenge to myself. Love St. John and am so looking forward to getting back there. Who knows, maybe I'll see you down there.

Thanks Flystorms for the additional info as well.

April 8th, 2014, 11:46 AM
Good luck to you too, Johnny. Would love to hear how you both do and how much you loved it!

Johnny Aqua
April 8th, 2014, 06:39 PM
Hi Mermaid522, I was able to get signed up for this free clinic, it was limited to 15 so you might want to see if there are still spots available. Being a first timer I'm hoping to gain some valuable tips. I'll take all the help I can get:

Swim clinic: Celeste St. Pierre, a Total Immersion master coach, is offering a free 90 minute open water swimming clinic on Friday, May 23rd at Cinnamon Bay from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm, just before the pre-race meeting. During this 90 minute clinic you will learn and practice the following skills:

Sighting and navigating

Relaxing in the water

Understanding race day anxiety and how to create a “cocoon of calm”

Race day starts and finishes
The clinic is limited to only 15 participants. You must register in advance and it is on a first come first served basis. Register on-line (only) at:


April 11th, 2014, 12:47 PM
Hi Johnny! Yes, maybe I will see you there! I think I'm going to skip the clinic, but I am planning on going to the pre-race meeting, if possible.

I am so looking forward to this race!!! I really need a vacation :)


April 11th, 2014, 03:36 PM
Defintely, definitely go to the pre-race meeting. They do a great job of showing you the route, showing you some landmarks you'll see from the water to help you navigate, and get some of the jitters out. It's well worth the time.

May 15th, 2014, 02:44 PM
Hi, Flystorms! Hope you've been well. Can you give me any info on the after-swim party? Where do they hold it and what is it like? Are food/drinks included? Just curious and would like to know upfront since I have a few people coming to see the swim!

I'm leaving for St. John on Sunday - can't wait!!

May 15th, 2014, 02:49 PM
I just found out a little more about it after looking online...have you won an award before? how do you know if you did and if you should go to the awards thing??

May 15th, 2014, 10:22 PM
The post race food and beer (yum!) are on the same beach as the finish, just a short walk down. Bring some cash with you since the food isn't included and yes, there is plenty for those who are with you there as well. People are watching the others come into the finish.

Once everyone is in (I believe there's a cutoff) they'll announce the winners and hand out awards (maybe around 1-ish). From what I remember, there's a 1-3 overall in men/women in each distance and then the 1st place in the two age group brackets also get an award. There's a huge board they manually post the winners as they come in. Last year each award was a nice, blown glass creation made by locals.

There was parking available, but it was limited. One of our guys had his wife take the car. She dropped us off at the beginning of the race and piddled around a while before heading to the finish where she parked nearby. It was a short walk. There were also plenty of taxis running back and forth between the parking or the ferry area and the race finish. There isnt' much info on the site (I commented on that last year) and they said they sent emails but I don't think I ever got them. In any case, there's plenty of room and space for your cheering section to enjoy the beachside and play in the water while you're finishing.

Good luck this weekend and have a great time! I'm so excited for you! You're going to have a amazing experience. Remember to keep swimming and not pull a Dory (from Finding Nemo) and get distracted by all the beautiful scenery under the water. Just relax as soon as you get off the plane and enjoy the ride!

Let me know how you do!

May 22nd, 2014, 08:37 PM
Hey Mermaid!! Channel Dory (Finding Nemo) and "Just swim!" Have a great time and try not to be too distracted by the beauty you're "flying" over. Good luck!

May 25th, 2014, 12:37 PM
Yay! I figured out who you two were and it looks like you both did pretty well! Congratulations!

Courtney/Mermaid got first in her AG for her race. Woo hoo!

John, you are in a tough, tough division, but you still had a lot of people behind you. Looks like there was a pack of y'all that finished within seconds of each other. Must've been fun.

Did you have a great time or what? Go enjoy a few rum-filled painkillers!

May 28th, 2014, 02:45 PM
Hi, flystorms! I forgot to pack my racing suit and was so mad at myself (4 tankinis in my bag...but no racing suit!). I couldn't find anything suitable (hehe) besides a rash guard that I bought on St. John (which I had to wear with my sports bra), and it really chafed me up, even with bodyglide. It was kind of hard to not think of how much it hurt every time I took a stroke.

But otherwise, yes, it was awesome! I saw a couple of stingrays out there :) The water was beautiful, but actually much rougher than I expected at some points. The race was the last full day of my trip so I couldn't do the recovery boat thing the next day (which I guess is a new thing this year.) I'm curious how that was. I'm hoping I can make it down again within the next couple of years for the race. Such a great experience! All of the volunteers and other participants were so nice. And the after-party was fun too - as we were walking down to it, there was a flash mob going on to "Happy" :)

Hope to meet you there one of these years! Thanks for your tips and encouragement. Take care!