Great Chesapeake Bay Swim is an annual 1-mile and 4.4-mile charity fundraiser swim across the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. I did the 4.4-mile event with 646 other swimmers. We started in two separate heats, about 15 minutes apart, beginning at Sandy Point State Park and swimming between the two spans of the Bay Bridge to Hemingway’s Marina Beach on Kent Island. The conditions were near perfect: clear skies, gentle waves, only a slight current, and 72 F water temperature. Unfortunately, we had almost no wind to help us across. 621 swimmers completed the swim and 26 were either pulled for not meeting their mile mark deadline time or electing to be removed. It was a very well organized event, with more volunteers and staff than swimmers!
Alastair and I got to the start about 6:30 am. The organizers tried to discourage participants and spectators from parking at Sandy Point State Park, and instead park in designated area near the finish on the other side of the bridge and take a shuttle bus to the start. I’m so glad that we didn’t do that! We weren’t charged an entrance fee and there was plenty of parking. Plus, it was great having Alastair with me to calm my nerves and to take photos! Once we were in the water, he drove to the other side and waited. I’m so grateful to have such a loving and supportive partner!
Why did I chose to do this event? Several reasons: It’s considered one of the world’s top 100 open water swims; GCBS is a charitable event benefiting the Maryland Chapter of The March of Dimes, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other organizations; and, I lived within an hour of the Chesapeake Bay for 31 years (although I wasn’t swimming then and had never heard of this). It was great to return to familiar territory and I’m thrilled to have been a part of it.
Below are images from Ed Briggs, a swimmer who did the event in 2014. It sounds like he and I trained in a similar way for the event. You can read about it on his blog.