Friends Celebrates 20 Years Of The Annual Beach-to-Beach Power Swim On Memorial Weekend

PRESS RELEASE : St.John, US Virgin Islands, May 23, 2023 — Friends of Virgin Islands National Park’s annual Beach-to-Beach Power Swim helps raise funds for marine conservation and youth programs like Learn To Swim. This year 360 participants will be swimming down St. John’s North Shore beaches from Maho to Cinnamon or Trunk or Hawksnest on Sunday, May 28 in the 20th Power Swim event.  Four of the swimmers have swum the race every year for 20 years: Craig Barshinger, Karen Cannell, Alfredo Del Olmo, and Jeff Miller.

“It is extraordinary how this swim has grown from its inception 20 years ago into an event that draws participants from near and far,” says Tonia Lovejoy, Executive Director, Friends of Virgin Islands National Park. “Conceived as a fundraiser for marine protection and youth programs like Learn To Swim, swimmers are given the opportunity to truly experience the natural beauty of the Virgin Islands National Park. There is nothing quite like the color of the water that surrounds our islands and the marine life below the surface.”

Registered swimmers represent 29 states and territories. Based on zip codes, the furthest travelers are the Grealish family from San Francisco. There will be 202 females and 154 males diving into the water on Sunday aged 5 to 80 years old.

Recognized as one of the most beautiful open water swim meets in the world, the event starts at 8:00am on Maho Bay Beach and includes:

  • Cinnamon Short Course for solo swimmers only from Maho Beach to Cinnamon Beach (1 mile)
  • Trunk Intermediate Course for solo swimmers only from Maho Beach to Trunk Beach (2.25 miles)
  • Hawksnest Long Course for solo swimmers from Maho Beach to Hawksnest Beach (3.5 miles)
  • Relay Long Course for 3-person relay teams from Maho Beach to Hawksnest Beach (3.5 miles). The relay team transition points will be at Cinnamon Beach and Trunk Beach.

The 2022 unassisted men and women 3.5 mile long course from Maho to Hawksnest was won by Edward Soltis in 1:13:22.5 and Ashley Whitney in 1:17:40.3 respectively.

The 2023 event logo was designed by Kavone Wyatt.  Kavone who also designed the 2022 logo is a civil engineering student at the University of the Virgin Islands.

20 Year Veterans

23 participants have swum the race at least 10 times with four 20-year veterans in the lineup: Craig Barshinger, Karen Cannell, Alfredo Del Olmo, and Jeff Miller.

“It is exciting to have so many swimmers showing up year after year,” adds Tonia Lovejoy. “To have four swimmers who have done this race all 20 years attests to the quality of the event and the contribution made by all the volunteers and sponsors who show up year after year.”

Jeff Miller, who will add a 15 mile Drake Channel Swim to raise money for Team River Runner and St. John Cancer Fund to his list of aquatic accomplishments this month, remembers the initial meeting about the swim: “We sat around the Friends conference room table – Louise Wearmouth, Peter Alter, Jude Woodcock, Joe Kessler and me. This event combines the wonderful people of this island, with the visitors who come for the event, and celebrates the beauty both on the land and in the sea. Congratulations on an amazing 20 years and wishing many more.”

Craig Barshinger recalls, “When Friends of the Park announced the first Beach to Beach Power Swim, my immediate reaction was, “I’m in!” and I have now enjoyed it for 20 years. My dark blond hair has slowly turned to white, but my enthusiasm for the Swim hasn’t aged a bit!”

Traveling from Rockport, MA every year, 20-year veteran Karen Cannell recalls signing up for the first race because she was offered a 10% lodging discount which meant she could extend her stay by a day: “Who knew how much the Power Swim would grow, how much St John would change, how many friends I would make through the years. Jeff, Craig, Alfredo – and many more persons I see only at the swim each year, others I see around town when I am here. Participating in the swim is one tiny way of giving back to help protect this environment and support the park that gives me so much peace.”

Event Sponsors

This event is made possible thanks to the local business community and sponsors.  This year’s sponsors are St. John Insurance Agency, TOPA Insurance, USVI Tourism, 340 Real Estate Co., Liberty Foundation, Salty Daze Charters, Salt Deck, Paradise Lumber, Mongoose Junction, United Health Care, First Bank, Great Horizons General Construction, Maho Crossroads, TOPA Properties, Islandia Real Estate, Merchants Bank, Shambles Bar and Grill, Baker, Magras & Associates, Topsail Wealth Management, St. John Hardware, Skyline Adjusters, Windspree Vacation Homes, VIBE Jewelry, Tycheros Capital Management, High Tide Bar & Seafood Grill, Seaside at Grande Bay, DeSigns, Gallows Point, Low Key Watersports, Ocean Runner, The Longboard, Rotary Club of St. John, St. John Physical Therapy, Chelsea Drugstore, Holiday Homes, Bella Soiree Events, Lime Out, Salty Mongoose, BXD Design, Alfredo’s Landscaping, St. John Dinghy Rental, Virgin Islands Expedition Company, NBC, Stream 2 Sea, St. John Brewers, Reef2Peak, T-Shirt One, Love City Ice, Crown Awards, St. John Coastal, Art by Kavone, Raw Elements, Upful Life, Race Impressions, Cinnamon Bay Campground, Irie Pops, Island Media Co., Kate N’ Design, Swim Capz, St. John Rescue, VI Port Authority, Daily News, 4-Imprint, Sun Dog Café, Landlubber Logistics, Muilenberg Law LLC, Conch Villa Vista, Dave and Jerry’s Steakhouse, and Love City Community Network (LCCN).

Information on the Beach to Beach Power Swim as well as the programs it funds can be found on the Friends website at