2019 was the first year the race was fundamentally changed due to the weather (which was a direct result of lessons learned in 2016). There was a Small Craft Advisory active on race day, so the 4.4 mile swim was canceled. In its place was a 2.2 mile swim which was essentially a larger triangle in the same location as the 1 mile swim, with swimmers starting and ending at the Hemingway’s beach.
This was absolutely the right call, as there would have been no way the safety fleet (specifically kayaks) could have provided any meaningful support to swimmers crossing the bay in those conditions (not to mention having to concentrate solely on not becoming a swimmer ourselves, while maybe making some progress into the winds).
32 kayakers helped out this year, braving the weather. The one mile swim wasn’t too bad as the winds were reasonably calm, but the modified 2.2 mile course wasn’t quite so lucky. The winds were frequently blowing at approximately 20mph, gusting to near 30mph it seemed. At the farthest edge of the triangle from the shore, it was pretty rough. We even had some light (but pelting) rain showers here and there.
A total of 796 swimmers from both races were all accounted for at the end of the day, and every one of them that commented about the race were glad it happened and were very appreciative of the volunteer fleet’s presence.
Here is a group photo of all the kayakers present (at least, at the time the photo was taken).
Here is a link to the Capital Gazette story about the swim: Capital Gazette
The official results from LinkMark Sports, plus links to their photo album and YouTube videos, is here: LinkMark Sports official results
Here’s a link to the few photos I was able to take: Mike Matthews’ GCBS 2019 public photo library
And here are some images taken by Jim Ransom from the shore: