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Tubbers tie for first place

Two men and their tubs tied for first place.

Nathan Barlow and Shawn Lamoureux, both multiple-time champions, rang the bell at the same time to win the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race on Sunday afternoon at Nanaimo's Departure Bay beach.

Barlow arrived at the finish-line bell 11 seconds ahead of Lamoureux, but waited so that the two friends could ring the bell together.

"He won it fair and square, but it's kind of cool," said Lamoureux. "We're good friends and we've been going back and forth all these years."

Lamoureux won the great race in 2007 and 2009 and Barlow won in 2008 and 2011. Barlow said he couldn't hope to share the victory with a better guy.

"It's cool to be able to finish with him," Barlow said. We swapped the lead a bunch during the whole race; we never lost sight of each other."

Barlow had the edge at the start atop seas that remained calm all the way around Entrance Island. About halfway to the Winchelsea Islands, the waves started to get choppier and Lamoureux took the lead.

"He's stubborn. I knew he wasn't going to let off unless he breaks his boat. I knew I had to be right on," Barlow said. "Shawn never gave me leeway today, not for one second."

Lamoureux said he and Barlow could have thrown a stone and hit each other the whole race through.

"It pushes you," Lamoureux said. "I think that's why we had a bit of a gap on the rest of the field, because when you've got somebody right beside you pushing you, it just makes you go that little bit harder."

The finish didn't quite come down to a sprint to the bell, but it was almost that close.

"Shawn and I were closer than our escort boats were to us. We had an awesome race," Barlow said.

Barlow will go into the books as the official super-modified division winner for 2014 with a time of one hour, 14 minutes, 20 seconds, exactly five minutes off record pace. Ross Elander finished third, six minutes back. John Schlitz won the modified class in 1:24:40, Cooper Rey won the stock division in 1:32:31 and Marian Stewart was first lady to finish in 1:24:55.

Jaime Garcia won the sportsmanship award and the heaviest tubber to finish award. Stewart was oldest tubber to finish and Trentyn Anderson was youngest tubber to finish. John Booker of New Zealand won the award for tubber coming from the farthest distance, Mike Reynolds won the last-place finisher award and Jaime Skipper took home the Silver Plunger award as first to sink.

Bill McGuire, commodore of the Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society, doesn't recall seeing a tie for first place before and said it was nice to see that sort of camaraderie. He said the society is "tickled pink" with how the Nanaimo Marine Festival went this weekend.

"We've had a great run of weather and lots of activity downtown, lots of activity in the park," he said. "Nanaimo's getting to be a big city and you've got to do something for everybody and it's kind of neat to see that we can all get together and it's for the common good."

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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