STEVENSVILLE, Md. (AP) — The annual Great Chesapeake Bay Swim is set for Sunday at Sandy Point State Park.
More than 600 participants will make the 4.4-mile swim across the Bay from Sandy Point, between the spans of the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge, to the small beach near Hemingway’s in Stevensville on Pier One Road.
The annual open water swim is a fundraiser for the March of Dimes.
The recent heat wave means participants will find the waters warmer than usual when they take the plunge Sunday. The buoy off the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse registered a water temperature of 76 degrees Friday.
This year will mark the fifth Bay Swim for Frank Brennan of St. Michaels, who said it will be the warmest in which he has participated. When you’re doing an open water swim, you’re at the mercy of the elements — the tide, the currents, the weather — “that’s what makes it exciting,” he said. “Conditions can change rapidly.”
Friday afternoon Brennan was undecided as to whether to wear his wet suit Sunday.
“Once the water gets above 70 degrees, you’re not worried about the temperature anymore,” he said.
Brennan, a radiologist with Shore Health System, is originally from California and first started ocean swimming on the West Coast while in the Navy. He said he learned about the Eastern Shore when he was stationed in Bethesda, decided it was a nice location, and he and his wife moved to St. Michaels when he left the Navy
Both Brennan and his wife have competed in the Waikiki Roughwater Swim and the Alcatraz Swim.
Brennan said he isn’t in the Bay Swim to win it, “the challenge is getting ready for it.” He starts training for the Bay Swim in January and said he swims year round with the Masters Program at the YMCA in Easton.
The first wave of swimmers takes to the water at 11:30 a.m.
Prior to the Bay Swim, 500 swimmers will take part in the 1-mile Bay Challenge, which begins and ends on the beach next to Hemingway’s.
Information from: The Star Democrat of Easton, Md., http://www.stardem.com
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)