Peter Egan of Santa Monica won the Huntington Beach Open Pier Swim so easily Saturday that two-time defending champion Henry Wise attributed the victory to what he thought was Egan's world-class background.
"He's a hot swimmer," Wise said. "He swam in the Olympics for New Zealand, I think."
However, Wise was mistaken. Egan, a 36-year-old freelance television writer, originally from Kansas City, Mo., has no Olympic experience. A member of the Santa Monica Aquatics Club, Egan's swimming competitions are strictly for fun.
"Well, he looked much better prepared than the rest of us," said Wise, after learning of Egan's American roots. "He's obviously been working out."
Egan set a record in the masters division for the half-mile swim around the pier, finishing in 9 minutes 16 seconds, almost a minute better than the previous record of 10:06. He fell short of the best all-around time of 8:46, set by an 18-year-old Wise in 1986.
"Times are meaningless to me in these things. I'm here for this," said Egan, gesturing to the Huntington Beach scenery. "I wish I would have grown up with this."
Egan, who was the first of 155 swimmers into the water, led throughout. Most swimmers stayed close to the pier, but Egan's route was a bit wider and when he reached the end of the pier, he angled in front of second-place swimmer Matty Mitchell and increased his lead as he headed to shore.
Mitchell, a teammate of Wise in Long Beach's Swim Focus Club, finished second in 9:26. Wise was third in 9:41.
Emily Hagen was the top women's finisher with a time of 10:17. Her victory led the Golden West Swim Club to the team title by one point, upsetting three-time defending champion Swim Focus.
Aubrey Panis, a 13-year-old seventh-grader from Orange, won the junior girls' title. Panis, whose father Claude is a Huntington Beach lifeguard, finished in 11:12, the second junior finisher overall, behind Swim Focus' Thomas Hale.
"This was kind of easy," said Panis, who has been swimming competitively for two years. "It was so smooth. I had high expectations for myself, so I'm really happy with how I did."
Other age division winners:
Men's 16-24--Jeff Nesmith, 9:47; 25-31--Bram Tester, 10:05; 40-49--Joe Vargas, 10:15; 50-59--Tex Haraszti, 10:59; 60-and-older--Buddy Belshe, 12:30.
Women's 25-31--Samantha Teofilo, 11:23; 32-39--Michelle Bird, 11:15; 40-49--Sherry Kittrell, 11:41; 50-and-older--Ellen Shockro, 16:44.
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