650 swimmers from across the United States will brave the turbulent waters of the Chesapeake Bay thus Sunday (June 14th) in the 24th Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Swim. The 4.4-mile swim is the country’s premier open water distance swim and attracts both world-class swimmers and endurance athletes. Swimmers travel between the spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridges, starting from Sandy Point State Park and finishing at the small sandy beach adjacent to Hemingway’s Restaurant and the Bay Bridge Marina on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Additionally, the 1-Mile Chesapeake Challenge Swim will be held, beginning and ending at the beach adjacent to Hemingway’s Restaurant.
There will be informational booths to visit that will educate and raise awareness for the mission of the March of Dimes and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
This is a U.S. Coast Guard sanctioned event. The Bay Bridge is CLOSED to both recreational and commercial boat traffic while the Swim is in progress. Boat traffic will be able to pass under the bridges at the specific direction of the Coast Guard at different locations under the Bridges as the event progresses. Coast Guard authorities will be present throughout the event to enforce these rules and sanction anyone who violates them.
The 1 mile event will begin at the Bay Bridge Marina on Kent Island at 9:30am. The 4.4 mile event will begin at Sandy Point State Park at 12:30 pm.
History of the Swim
Brian Earley started what is now the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim with his first solo swim from Sandy Point State Park to Kent Island on June 13, 1982, in memory of his father, Joseph Earley, who died of diabetes complications in 1981. Four short years later, there were 211 swimmers that swam! Brian now lives in California, but has returned every year since to swim the Bay in honor of his father. Brian also founded the Cynthia Earley Scholarship, in honor of his mother who passed away in 1998. Two scholarships will be awarded to the undergraduate students who raise the most money in contributions to the GCBS Charities.
The youngest swimmer is 10 years old, participating in the 1-mile event;
There are eight seniors over the age of 70 participating in the 4.4 mile event
The oldest participant in the 4.4 is age 80 and is attempting his 21st completion.
The athletes participating represent 35 U.S. States, from coast to coast, including the District of Columbia.