EPIC SWIM Team Successfully Completes 54-Mile Relay Across Lake Michigan

On August 11, a six person relay team from EPIC SWIM team successfully completed a swim across Lake Michigan, which is the second-largest of the Great Lakes.

The team, composed of Jon Ornée, Dave Ornée, Nick Hobson, Jeremy Sall, Todd Suttor, and Matt Smith finished the 54.5 mile swim in 20 hours, 50 minutes. At this pace, each swimmer was swimming about 1:18 per 100 yards, despite the current and 2-4 foot waves.

When they first began the swim in Two River, WI, all of the swimmers swam for about a half mile together before breaking off into a relay style swim, with each swimming in 30 minute intervals. The swimmers then rejoined and competed the last half mile of the swim together before arriving in Big Sable Point Lighthouse shore in Ludington, MI, where their families were cheering them on.

At the beginning of the swim, the water in Lake Michigan was only about 51 degrees, but over the course of the swim it heated up to temperatures in the low 70s.

The team completed the swim to benefit FLOW, whose mission is, “to safeguard the Great Lakes, the planet’s largest freshwater lake system and the very lifeblood of the Midwest, by advancing public trust solutions and cutting-edge policy work.”

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3 years ago

you should also know about Jim Dreyer then.

I met Jim in the early 90s swimming in a work pool. Jim had nearly drowned in a pool as an infant and was working to overcome his fear of the water. Since then he has swam solo across all the great lakes, up the entire west coast of michigan to Mackinaw… has nearly died a few times with his kidneys shutting down, etc. He is a motivational speaker, ultramarathoner, and does it to raise money and awareness for Boys n Girls Club of America.


3 years ago

This is awesome! I say this as the guy who led Swim Across Lake Michigan back in 2015, where we had about 20 swimmers cross the lake in a relay format to raise money for cancer research. After that swim, every time I flew from Chicago to the east coast, I always took a window seat on the left side of the plane to look down at “my lake”! Congrats to all involved!

Sun Yangs Hammer
3 years ago

Coleman liked the video at 1:52

3 years ago

To be fair, Lake Superior is the deepest Great Lake and is the largest by volume, but Lake Michigan has the largest surface area

Reply to  frizzaly
3 years ago

Not true. Lake Superior has largest surface area as well, Lake Huron has the second largest surface area and Lake Michigan is 3rd.

I go yugo
3 years ago

the seal on the rocks must be lost.

3 years ago

Lake Superior is the largest great lake, but this is still really cool!

Jon Ornée
3 years ago

Hi Nicole! Thanks for sharing our story. You can find more details pics and video at EpicSwim2020.com. Feel free to get in touch at [email protected]

Old Man Swimmer
3 years ago

A great achievement, but sadly not the largest great lake, that belongs to Lake Superior. I’m surprised it was so cold. I’ve been swimming in Lake Michigan every day and it hasn’t been colder than 64 at any time. But I know it can vary a great deal. It is a tough swim and they should be commended!

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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