Courtesy: Around the Island Swim
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – In 1978, Jim Whelan completed a solo swim around Absecon Island to bring energy, excitement, and awareness back to the Around The Island Swim. This rigorous 22.5 mile swim around Absecon Island includes portions of the swim in both the ocean and the back bay.
On Sunday, August 18th, local Egg Harbor Township resident and former University of Pittsburgh standout, Samantha Chabotar Elko, will be duplicating the same course around Absecon Island on the Jersey Shore that demands swimmers to tackle the Atlantic Ocean, inlets with tidal flows, and back bay environments in the clockwise direction. Samantha is a former USA National Team member who has finished this race 3 times, including being the women’s champion in 1996. During that swim in 1996, Samantha’s trainer who guided her around the island was none other than Jim Whelan.
With the help of the city of Atlantic City, Middle Atlantic Swimming, USA Swimming, and FINA, the hope is that enough excitement can be generated around Samantha’s effort and the effort of a dedicated group of volunteers to bring the swim back in the summer of 2020 as an international event.
FINA Vice Chairman and USA Swimming’s longtime open water leader Sid Cassidy said, “Jim Whelan’s record breaking solo swim in 1978 inspired a generation of open water swimmers. Samantha’s attempt will do the same. Bringing back the international race in 2020 would be something to excite the entire community and bring positive exposure worldwide.”
“The Around the Island Swim was one of the most beloved open water swims,” said Elko. “The best marathon swimmers in the world loved the challenge of the course, the uniqueness of being so close to spectators in the back bays and it highlighted all the best of Atlantic City. It’s exciting to think about the possibility of swimmers and fans having the opportunity to experience this extraordinary event again.”
For more information or if you wish to support, volunteer, or learn more about Samantha’s swim or the future of the Around The Island Swim please email: [email protected].