The first Great Chesapeake Bay Swim since the COVID pandemic was at risk of being canceled due to bad weather, but the forecast of severe thunderstorms in the early afternoon was thankfully wrong.
That forecast did convince several of the 38 kayak volunteers to sit this one out, which is completely understandable. Because the 4.4 mile race had a late start (target 1315, actual 1330), and because Sandy Point State Park had warned us that they may close the park to new visitors before noon due to capacity issues if they get too busy, many of us parked at the Bay Bridge Marina and paddled over before the race.
The paddle over was … interesting, given the 10-14mph southerly winds, but we made it. The start of the 4.4 mile race had pretty good weather and lighter than expected winds, but they picked up around the midway mark, causing 2’+ confused waves to throw you around a bit.
We had about 20 paddlers supporting the 4.4 mile and around 7 or 8 supporting the 1 mile in the end (many of which gave a hand with the end of the 4.4 mile too). Just like all the years past, every bit of feedback received from Race Command and the swimmers greatly appreciated having kayakers out there.
Kudos to Earl and May on the 1 mile support team for going above and beyond helping a swimmer who was having a medical issue. That swimmer had to be rushed to the hospital after May went to help after she went off course and looked in distress, Earl helped transfer the swimmer to a power boat, and the power boat took her to a waiting ambulance. The swimmer is doing fine, and she, the Safety Fleet Coordinator, and I are very thankful that Earl and May were there. Even if we don’t have as many kayaks as we would like, we still clearly make a difference.
Official numbers have not been received yet, but the last pre-race update had 150 1 mile swimmers and 570 4.4 mile swimmers, a bit lower than historical but not bad for a pandemic. Looking at the Linmark results, only 485 4.4 mile swimmers and 148 1 mile swimmers logged a finish time. This post will be updated if and when official numbers are obtained.
The following websites have content (mostly pictures) about this year’s swim: