Sunday morning, 650 swimmers from across the United States will brave the waters of the Chesapeake Bay in the 22nd 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 Bridge, starting from Sandy Point State Park and finishing at the small sandy beach adjacent to Hemingway’s Restaurant and the Bay Bridge Marina on the Eastern Shore.
In addition, the 1-Mile Chesapeake Challenge Swim will be held, beginning and ending at the beach adjacent to Hemingway’s Restaurant.
The event is a fundraiser to raise awareness for the mission of the March of Dimes and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
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.
Among the participants this year are
- Craig Dietz, who, despite being born without limbs, has already competed in several open water swims, triathlons and multiple Half Iron Man Relays, will make his third attempt to traverse the Chesapeake Bay in the 4.4 mile race. In 2011, he was pulled from the water due to thunderstorms and he completed it last year. This will be Craig’s longest open water effort to date. Craig has been previously featured on ESPN’s E:60
- The youngest participants are 2 10-year old boys who will be 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 81 and is attempting his 19th completion.
- The athletes participating represent 27 U.S. States, from coast to coast, including the District of Columbia.
Eye On Annapolis will be out in the Bay with these swimmers cheering them on, taking photos and video and live tweeting the event. Please follow us on twitter Sunday morning beginning at 8am.