More than 300 compete in open water swim to remember UNCW studen - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

More than 300 compete in open water swim to remember UNCW student

More than 300 swimmers raced pier-to-pier More than 300 swimmers raced pier-to-pier
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) -

More than 300 swimmers competed in the 13th annual pier-to-pier race in honor of Ryan Alea Young.

Young was a UNCW student who died almost nine years ago.

The course was a 1.7-mile open-water swim from Crystal Pier to Johnny Mercer Pier.

The sound of an air horn kicked off the race at 9 a.m. Swimmers could be seen dipping in and out of the ocean as a sea of pink swim caps.

The youngest swimmer was 11 years old, and the oldest swimmer was 75 years old.

At the finish line, two swimmer were neck and neck for first place. Race coordinators relied on a chip system to determine that 20-year-old George Vlahos came in first place.

"I definitely put effort in my training,” said Vlahos. “I knew I was gonna make it the whole way. Just the conditions were definitely the worst part of the race,” he said, referring to the ocean current.

The race benefits the YMCA's Cape Fear Aquatics Club.

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