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Waikiki Roughwater Swim proves too rough for hundreds of swimmers

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City Ocean Safety personnel used Jet Skis to assist some of the estimated 350 swimmers who got in trouble in strong currents during the 50th Annual Waikiki Roughwater Swim today.

Honolulu firefighters and lifeguards assisted more than 350 swimmers in the 50th annual Waikiki Roughwater Swim today due to strong current conditions.

Twenty-nine firefighters assisted swimmers in distress at about 9:45 a.m., according to the Honolulu Fire Department and Honolulu Emergency Services Department.

The race started with about 1,000 swimmers shortly after 8:30 a.m.

A number of swimmers needed assistance in returning to shore “due to strong currents and tougher than expected conditions,” said HFD spokesman Capt. Scot Seguirant.

The fire department’s Air 1 helicopter conducted searches of any swimmers in distress.

Ocean Safety personnel used two Jet Skis to bring swimmers to shore, according to Honolulu Emergency Services Department.

According to department spokeswoman Shayne Enright, lifeguards said it was a change in tide that caused trouble for many swimmers. Many swimmers were plucked from the water behind where the race started, she said.

Race organizers also hired lifeguards to assist swimmers.

Good Samaritans, including from the Outrigger Canoe Club, also assisted distressed swimmers.

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