Two gay neighbors from Los Angeles both took third place for their respective gender categories in this year’s Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim.
Alex Kostich finished third of all the men, and Amy Dantzler finished third of all the women in the swim. The two are both out and living with their partners in Nichols Canyon, a part of the Hollywood Hills.
Dantzler, 54, was beaten only by two women more than 30 years younger than her and finished 13th overall, including the men.
“I was one of the first swimmers out of the water, and it was very exciting to finish to huge crowds cheering and throngs of reporters,” Dantzler told Outsports. “I think they were pretty surprised when they realized my age, so I got a lot of press attention.
“It was an amazing and memorable experience. At 54 I continue to find surprise and success with competitive swimming.”
Kostich, who’s been with his partner for 20 years, also surprised people with his performance and exited the water to huge cheers.
“The two guys who beat me were six years younger than me... if you added up their ages combined,” he told Outsports. “I’m very happy to still be in the game and enjoying it this much. It’s all I could have ever hoped for in terms of extending my career and making the most of it.”
Over 2,000 people participated in the annual swim. For Dantzler, being out and succeeding is an opportunity to reach every single one of them with a message of inclusion.
“I don’t hide my sexuality and I do believe it is changes hearts and minds when people get to know and see gay athletes compete and do well.”
The Bosphorus and the Dardanelles are the two straights that separate the continents of Asia and Europe through Turkey.