The annual 8-mile Boston Light Swim is a perennial favorite among marathon swimmers around the world and this year’s event boasts an accomplished group of solo and relay swimmers hailing from near and far. From Boston and New York to California, Maryland, Texas, and Ontario, Canada, 23 solo endurance swimmers and six relay teams are set to compete this Saturday.
Competitors will start in the water at 7 am just off of Little Brewster Island in the shadow of America’s first lighthouse, the Boston Light. The marathon swim runs for eight miles amid the Boston Harbor Islands National Park and finishes at the famed L-Street Bathhouse in South Boston. Spectators are encouraged to arrive at the L-Street Beach to cheer in the finishers beginning at 9 am.
The historic race, dubbed the “Granddaddy of American Open Water Swims,” began in 1908 and is the oldest continually contested open water swim in the country today. The race is considered one of the most difficult open water swimming races in the world because of the chilly 58-degree water temperature typically found at the start, variable conditions, and strong tidal flows. Swimmers and their crews must carefully train for and navigate these challenges accordingly, and completion is not guaranteed.
Most swimmers manage to complete the swim within three to five hours. There is a five-hour time limit on the course, and safety is the primary concern for Race Director Greg O’Connor, who is running the event for the sixth year in a row. Lower-than-typical water temperatures in the harbor this year, possibly the result of ocean churn stirred up by Hurricane Arthur earlier in the month, will make for an especially challenging race.
“We have put a lot of time, energy, thought, and effort into making this race as safe as it possibly can be,” O’Connor says. The safety plan includes a motorized support boat assigned to each swimmer, Coast Guard and Environmental Police coverage, as well as dedicated Boston EMS personnel on standby should any swimmers experience difficulty during or after the race. “We’ve had an excellent safety record over the past several years, and we take great pains to ensure that continues for every single participant,” O’Connor says.
This year, 23 solo swimmers were selected by lottery to participate. The field consists of 8 women and 15 men. Nathaniel Dean of New York, N.Y., and Martin McMahon of Simsbury, Conn., are expected to battle for first place among the men, while International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inductee Elizabeth Fry of Westport, Conn., and Susan Knight of Kennebunk, Maine, are anticipated to lead the women and may be in the hunt for the win.
The Boston Light Swim staff wishes all swimmers a safe and personally fulfilling crossing. This year’s race is sponsored by the Massachusetts Open Water Swimming Association (MOWSA), Hammer Nutrition, and Harpoon. An after-party will be held on the beach at the L-Street Bathhouse, followed by a celebration at the world-famous L-Street Tavern on L-Street in Southie.
For more information, visit us online at www.bostonlightswim.org. For media inquiries, please contact: Race Director, Greg O’Connor, at [email protected] or 508-728-0635.
1. Jason Glass, Brookline, MA
2. Helen Lin, Quincy, MA
3. Alison Meehan, Elkton, MD
4. Susan Knight, Kennebunk, ME
5. Loren King, Hamilton, ON
6. Rebecca Burns, New York, NY
7. Solly Weiler, Newton, MA
8. Nathaniel Dean, New York, NY
9. David Conners, San Francisco, CA
10. Bill Shipp, Mitchellville, MD
11. Martin McMahon, Simsbury, CT
12. Mo Siegel, Piermont, NY
13. David Cook, New York, NY
14. Kim Garbarino, Winthrop, MA
15. David Kilroy, Marblehead, MA
16. Melissa Hoffman, Sugar Land, TX
17. Elizabeth Fry, Westport, CT
18. John Shumadine, Portland, ME
19. Courtney Paulk, Richmond, VA
20. Francis O’Loughlin, South Boston, MA
21. Jerome Leslie, Dorchester, MA
22. Kellie Joyce, Norwood, MA
23. Bryce Croll, Boston, MA
· Tuff Competitor II: Stephen Gillis and Kari Kastango
· A Fin & A Prayer: Lynne Mulkerrin, Douglas Dolan, and Richard Sweeney
· Maine Masters: John Gale, Cheryl Daly, and Simon Wignall
Four –Person Teams
· Sachuset Ocean Swimmers: Paul Talewsky, James Burden, Mary Phelan, and Franklin Johnson
· swim4fun: Lisa Kromer, Christina Lin, Jennifer Downing, and Wendy Gulley
· Frozen Nipples: Jen Olsen, Cynthia Baker, Steve Belletete, and Bennett McCarthy
Swimming News courtesy