Good thing it started at 8:30 on Saturday morning before it really got hot.

Temperatures climbed into the high 80s at East End Beach in Portland as nearly 450 swimmers reached the finish line of the 38th annual Peaks to Portland Swim.

“The challenge this year was the heat,” said Helen Brena, race director and CEO of the YMCA of Southern Maine. “It was great for the swimmers, but we just wanted to make sure that we had extra water and ice and medical attention (for spectators) if people needed it.”

Turnout was high despite hot and humid temperatures for the 2.4-mile swim in Casco Bay from Peaks Island to the Eastern Promenade. There were about 350 volunteer kayakers who accompanied the swimmers along the course.

Brim Peabody, 16, of Scarborough won the men’s race in a time of 48 minutes, 19.7 seconds. Peabody, who will be a junior at Cheverus High School in the fall and swims for Coastal Maine Aquatics in Cape Elizabeth, was participating in the race for the first time.

“I swim in the pool year-round so it seemed like a fun alternative for a race,” said Peabody. “It was really fun. I just paced myself, and it was a really nice day and really nice water temperature. (The air) was pretty hot but I didn’t really notice it too much.”

“He swam a super smart race,” said six-time winner John Stevens, 40, of Peabody’s performance. Stevens finished second in 49 minutes, 17.3 seconds. “He just hung on my hip and drafted off me until 1,500 yards to go, and then he just took off.”

Stevens first participated in the race at age 13 and won for the first time at 15. He was encouraged to see a new, fresh-faced winner.

“It’s nice to come back and see the young guys getting back into it,” said Stevens. “I would much rather lose to a young buck like him than to some pot-bellied 40-year-old.”

“He’s the most humble kid you will ever meet in your life,” said Kevin Haley, Peabody’s coach at Cheverus, who came out to support his swimmer. “He lets his swimming do the talking. He’s quiet, he’s strong, but he’s a great sportsman.”

Five-time winner Scott Yeomans, of Southport, finished third in 49 minutes and 27.9 seconds.

In the women’s event, Genevieve Worthley, 24, of Portland took the top spot in 53 minutes, 11 seconds in her first time participating.

“I started my swimming career at the Portland Y on the Pine Street Polar Bears coached by Don Murphy, so it’s just a great program and its renowned around the swimming community,” said Worthley.

Worthley swam at Eastern Michigan University before recently moving back the Portland area.

“The whole mantra of the day was, ‘ride the tide.’ There’s a lot of white noise around this event, it being an original swim and Portland being the (original) town with such a small swimming community. But at the end of the day it’s all about running into the water, doing a little swim, and running out.”

Annie Henderson, 33, of Portland finished second in 53 minutes, 16.6 seconds, followed by last year’s winner, Kristin Jackson, in 53 minutes, 56.1 seconds.

The Peaks to Portland Swim started in the 1920s, making it one of the oldest distance swims in the country. The event stopped during the Second World War, for fear of naval mines placed in Casco Bay, but started up again in 1981.

This year’s event drew swimmers from Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, and Hawaii. The event supports the YMCA of Southern Maine, which has branches in Freeport, Portland, Pineland Farms and Biddeford. This year’s event raised approximately $200,000 to support the Y’s youth programs.

“It’s a unique water event, because there are a lot of long-distance water events, but a lot of them are circles and some aren’t as cold,” said Brena.

Brena attributes the event’s longevity to local community support.

“It’s a known community event, it’s an amazing athletic endeavor for swimmers, and it’s supporting a charity,” said Brena. “Without this event, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”