For Hometown News
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - Gregory MacKay, Indian River Medical Center gastroenterologist, his wife Debbie, and Meg Sweetland, a dialysis nurse at IRMC, completed the 36th annual Swim Around Key West on June 23.
The 12.5-mile, clockwise course around Key West was complicated by Tropical Storm Debby, which brought high winds, 5-foot waves and colder-than-normal water temperatures.
Each swimmer completed a 4-mile-plus swim with a total time of just over five hours. The team took sixth place. They were thrilled just to complete the grueling race as 30 swimmers had to drop out due to the rough conditions.
This was Ms. Sweetland's first year swimming this race and the MacKay's took her under their wing with ocean swims on most weekends in preparation for the worst possible conditions.
The tough practices paid off and at the finish, everyone had stories to tell about kayaks capsizing, support boat motors catching fire and swimmers being pulled from the rough water.
"It was frightening, exhilarating and a relief to finish," Ms. Sweetland said.
"Debbie swam the first and hardest leg and did an awesome job. Dr. MacKay had a tough leg also and made up good time for our team. I was able to pass a few people so I was proud."