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Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim – June 11, 2017

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!

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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.

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim

Practice swim the day before the event at Sandy Point State Park.

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim

A cruise ship passing under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, a couple hours before the start of the race.

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim

Packet pickup

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim

Body marking

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim

Chilling out before the race. I modified my 44 bib number to read “4.4.”

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim

Swimmers warming up.

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim

Lining up at the start with the first wave swimmers.

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim

We’re off!

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim

Heading to the bridge!

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim

Last half mile, heading to the finish line at Hemingway’s Beach Marina!

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim

The finish line!

Kathleen Bober, 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim

I made 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.

Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim, Ed Briggs

Swimmers view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim, Ed Briggs

Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim course map