PORTLAND – Nick Daly had a pressing matter to take care of before he could fully enjoy his second victory in the Cyrus Hagge Peaks To Portland Swim.

With his wet suit rolled down to his waist, still dripping from a 2.4-mile swim across Casco Bay, the 20-year-old Cape Elizabeth resident ran back to the finish line to meet his younger sister, Nora, as she finished the open-water swim.

Four minutes after Nick Daly emerged from the water, Nora Daly did the same.

Nick Daly was the top finisher Saturday in the YMCA’s 29th Peaks To Portland swim, completing the 2.4-mile course from Peaks Island to Portland’s East End Beach in 45 minutes, 22 seconds — 49 seconds ahead of his winning time from last year.

“Every year the conditions change,” said Daly, who swims at Middlebury College in Vermont.

“I wanted to win again, and that was a big goal. I was happy to do that.”

A veil of early-morning fog shrouded the 192 swimmers who left Peaks Island. Four groups of 50 swimmers were released in waves, three minutes apart, and about 32 minutes after the 8:30 a.m. start time, the first of the swimmers and the kayaks that guided them began to appear in the waters past Fort Gorges. With about 200 yards left before the finish line, Daly swam alone, with his mother, Joan, in a kayak next to him.

“I saw a couple kids and I swam with them for a while, and I thought, ‘I have to break away,’” Daly said.

Greeting Daly at the finish on East End Beach was a group of lifeguards, followed by a crowd of spectators that included friends and family members.

“I was so pumped,” Daly said of the finish. “After I passed the fort, things picked up.”

Daly’s sister was the second woman to finish the race, behind Kristen Desrosiers of Gorham, who completed the swim in 48:03, exactly two minutes ahead of her twin sister and college teammate, Katelyn.

“I was really excited and I didn’t know what to expect,” said Kristen Desrosiers, who swims at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. “I was surprised how well it went.”

She had one concern about the swim.

“I had to get over that there were creatures in the water!” she said. “But I didn’t see anything out there.”

The Desrosiers swam their first Peaks to Portland and found it difficult swimming in wet suits instead of racing suits. They turned to display red blotches below their shoulder blades, created by the friction of the wet suit against their skin.

“Chafing,” they said in unison.

Of the 192 swimmers, only six crossed Casco Bay without wet suits, including Andrew Farrell of New York City, who completed the swim in 1:19:45.

“It was great for the first 20 to 30 minutes, then it got increasingly tight and crampy,” Farrell said while shivering.

“I don’t usually swim without a wet suit, but I tried the swim (Friday) without it and I felt ready.”

Nearly 90 minutes after the first swimmers left Peaks Island, Katherine Butler of Brunswick crossed the finish line. She was the final swimmer in the open-water event and was greeted by applause as she stepped onto the beach.

“It was a great swim,” said Butler, who swam with her sister, Elizabeth. “I love the swim, the sun came out and it was wonderful.

“It was cold, but I made it. I kept my head down and kept going forward the whole way. It’s less about times and more about consistency.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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