How The Event Came Into Being
Winston Crooke, Triathlete and Event Organizer said, "The Channel Swim began in 2002 when the Nevis Cycle & Triathlon Club lost one of its earliest members to cancer. Thirty five of us swam the "Crossing" in the name of the wonderful "Bente Weber."
Winston decided to repeat the event the next year and the number of participants began to grow, until by 2005, it was attracting some regional and some international swimmers. With this growth Winston was no longer able to participate in the swim, being more concerned with swimmer safety and organizing the Event itself.
In 2013 the Event had over 200 swimmers taking part and it became one of the "must do" swimming events in the region with an ever increasing number of international swimmers.
Winston always considered the swim as both a race and a "Bucket List challenge", so he encouraged participation across the spectrum, allowing assistance in the form of fins, masks snorkels, etc. This opened the door to less competent swimmers who just wanted to make this special crossing. Additionally, the Open Water Competitive Event, attracted swimmers from around the world. Now the Event has two categories: Competitive and Recreational.
The Nevis to St. Kitts Cross Channel Open Water Race and Event is celebrating its 16th year in March 2017. The attendance has grown every year since its inception!
The Event succeeds in bringing people from all around the world to Nevis and St. Kitts: participants who need accommodations, trips, tours, boats, recreation, restaurants, bars and entertainment. It attracts those who want to have a memorable time on the islands.
All of this thanks to Winston Crooke, a very special man with a powerful driving force of helping other people.
About The Event Organizer Winston Crooke
Winston was involved in sports and movement since he was 7 years old. He took up cricket and was a very good fast bowler and middle batsman. Then came table tennis, football, rugby, tennis, squash, badminton and roller skating. These were followed by martial arts and karate, eventually boxing, where he competed as an amateur for 3 years.
At age 21 he fell in love with windsurfing which dominated his life for the next 25 years. He then became an instructor, raced competitively and travelled to windsurf.
Upon the arrival of his daughter, Winston left London and moved to Nevis in 1991. (Both his parents are from St Kitts-Nevis.) Winston planned on staying for 5 years so his daughter could have her formative years on Nevis, and he would go back to his former life in the London theatre. Some 25years later he's still on Nevis - and loving it!
Winston opened a windsurfing center in Nevis and added cycling to his repertoire. Along with running his business, Winston became founder and President of the Nevis Cycle & Triathlon Club several years ago.
He is currently President of the St Kitts & Nevis Triathlon Federation, as well as being General Secretary of the Cycling Federation. Winston is also the Event Organizer for the annual Nevis Triathlon, the Nevis to St Kitts Cross Channel Swim, and the new Nevis Half Marathon running race.
In 2006 Winston revived the defunct St. Kitts and Nevis (SKN) Triathlon Federation and became its new President. It was at the annual European Championships in Turkey that Winston met and talked with the event ITU technical delegate (chief official) who encouraged Winston to become an ITU official. In 2008 he took the level 1 Officials course and officiated his first ITU event. Since then he has officiated at numerous ITU events both in Europe, the USA, the 3X European Championships in Turkey, The World Championships in Edmonton and Chicago, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and the Pan Am Games in Toronto.
In 2015 Winston took the level 2 Officials course, passed and became one of only 3 level two officials in the Caribbean. In 2015 he took the role of lead official at the ITU Continental Cup in Barbados, repeating this role a year later in 2016.
Winston's goal is to officiate at the Olympic Games, to continue his Officials course education and while gaining valuable experience, take the Level 3 Officials course - the highest level worldwide.