SEAL BEACH — Sherry Kittrell didn't know who had passed her during the women's segment of the Seal Beach Rough Water Swim's 10-mile event Saturday.
When Kittrell, 40, a physics teacher at Ocean View High School, was told it was 16-year-old Wendy Monahan of Huntington Beach, she was surprised.
"A 16-year-old won!" Kittrell exclaimed when she heard the result. "No wonder she had a sprint."
Kittrell was the women's leader through most of the race, which began at the Huntington Beach Pier and finished at the Seal Beach Pier. One- and three-mile events and shorter age-group races also were contested in Seal Beach.
While Kittrell swam steadily ahead, Monahan, who was competing in her first 10-mile, stopped at least once to take in the sights. Neither swimmer could see who was leading or how close they were to each other.
"A couple of times, me and my dad saw porpoises and we stopped to look," said Monahan, whose father, Jim, paddled alongside on a board as an escort. "Basically, (through most of the race) I never saw anyone--I just followed my dad.
"I didn't see anyone until we got to the jetty (about a mile from the finish), and then I realized I had more energy."
Monahan won the women's race, in which U.S. Swimming and U.S. Masters athletes competed, in 3 hours 34 minutes. Kittrell was second in 3:34:32, and Christa Dieckmann of Aqua-Tex was third in 3:43:19.
Monahan, who competes for the Golden West Swim Club and the Edison High swim team, said she doesn't have much of a kick. But she said she is accustomed to ocean swimming because she is a junior lifeguard for the City of Huntington Beach.
"I wasn't doing that good," Monahan said. "But at the jetty, I passed a lot of people, and I passed her (Kittrell) around the pier.
"I'm not good at sprinting, and I hardly ever kick hard when I'm swimming, but today I kicked very hard and I wasn't too tired."
Indeed, Monahan was thinking of competing at a lifeguard competition today and had competed in the junior lifeguard regionals Friday.
Kittrell, who lives in Huntington Beach, said she didn't stop during the competition.
"I don't stop during a race," said Kittrell, who improved her best by 20 minutes in her fifth Seal Beach 10-miler. "When you are older, you keep going."
Peter Huisveld, who lives in Lancaster and competes for the Air Force Aquatics at Edwards Air Force Base, outlasted Mike Nelson in the men's 10-mile. Huisveld, 40, was the first swimmer out of the water, finishing in 2:59:29. Nelson, 38, of Fallbrook, was second (3:00:23) and Jamie Schnick of the San Diego Swim Masters was third (3:04:11).
"This is my third one (10-miler) this year," said Huisveld, who was second in 1991. "Those (other) guys were in the deeper water during the race, while I stayed in the shallow."
The race conditions Saturday were near perfect. Water temperature was 67 degrees with waves of 1-2 feet in a southwesterly direction. . . . Runner-up Mike Nelson, who in 1990 swam the fastest Seal Beach 10-miler ever (2:42.48), competed for the UC Irvine swim team in 1974 under Ted Newland. . . . Claremont's Stacy Kneeshaw, who graduated from Foothill High in 1980 and was one of Orange County's fastest girl milers on the track, cheered on husband Darrell Rucker, who finished eighth (3:33.20). . . . John Blaney, 20, of Lake Forest, who graduated from St. Margaret's High in 1990 and is majoring in psychology at Harvard, provided one of the day's most exciting finishes, outsprinting Gerry Rodrigues, 29, of Southern California Aquatics, to win the men's one-miler in 20:08. "I knew if I could get to my feet first, I'd have it," said Blaney, who won the 1988 and '89 races. . . . Alison Mijares, 15, of the Golden West Swim Club and Marina High was second in the women's one-miler.
SEAL BEACH ROUGH WATER SWIM
MEN--1. Peter Huisveld (Air Force Aquatics), 2:59.29; 2. Mike Nelson (San Diego Swim Masters), 3:00.23; 3. Jamie Schnick (SDSM), 3:04.11; 4. Peter Serrano (Golden Bear Swim Team), 3:09.04; 5. Donald Uhlir (SDSM), 3:23.42.
WOMEN--1. Wendy Monahan (Golden West Swim Club), 3:34.00; 2. Sherry Kittrell (Pacific Coast Aquatics), 3:34.32; 3. Christa Dieckmann (Aqua-Tex), 3:43.19; 4. Jeannette Browning, 3:43.35; 5. Kory O'Rourke (GWSC), 4:18.43.
MEN--1. Gerry Rodrigues (SCAQ), 52:41.8.
WOMEN--1. Kari Lyderson (unattached), 52:42.9.
MEN--1. John Blaney (unattached), 20:09.0.
WOMEN--1. Natalie Norberg (Rose Bowl Aquatics), 20:47.0.
BOYS 13-14--1. Ryan Coom (Seal Beach Swim Club), 18:44.5.
GIRLS 13-14--1. Sakura Okaniwa (Lakewood Swim Club), 19:35.5.
BOYS 11-12--1. Jeff Franklin (Rose Bowl Aquatics), 12:30.0.
GIRLS 11-12--1. Alicia Thornton (Mission Viejo Nadadores), 12:27.1.
BOYS 9-10--1. Jeremiah Lidyoff (Seal Beach Swim Club), 8:03.8.
GIRLS 9-10--1. Martine Armstrong (BAC), 8:39.5.
BOYS 7-8--1. John Dorr III (Beach Swim Club), 4:50.8.
GIRLS 7-8--1. Monica Johnson (Lakewood Swim Club), 5:24.5.