ATLANTIC CITY – The selection committee of the 2nd annual Jim Whelan Open Water Festival featuring the 55th Around the Island Swim has announced the lineup of competitors for the legendary open water marathon swim Sunday, Aug. 1.
Eighteen individual swimmers and relay teams from across the county and around the world will participate, including several English Channel swim participants and an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame honoree. Combined, they have more than 200 years of experience in open water swimming.
The 22.75-miles course around Absecon Island will start in the back bay of Atlantic City, enter the Atlantic Ocean via the Absecon Inlet, and return through the Great Egg Harbor Inlet and the back bay of Longport, Margate and Ventnor. Most swimmers will complete the course in 8-10 hours. They are competing for a $10,500 purse.
“We are so excited to be able to hold the race this year, and even more excited to have these incredible athletes participate,” Assistant Race Director Sari Carroll said. “Many have told me that swimming in the Around the Island is part of their bucket list of races to compete in. We are proud to help make that dream a reality.”
Competitors include Ruch Gilgenbach (NJ), Kathleen Wilson (SC), John Zeigler (PA), Ned Denison (Ireland), Eric Schall (PA), Mark Quinn (DE), Greg O’Connor (MA), Samir Barel (Brazil), Eric Tucker (NJ), Robert Gatto (NJ), David Shackley (VA), Seth Baetzold (WI), Andrew Wallace (NJ) and Colum Lavelle (IL). Relay teams include “SOFA Queens & Kings,” “SRVA Hammerheads,” “For the Love of Swimming,” and “Team Ringoes.”
The Around the Island Swim started with a $100 bet back in 1953 between two Beach Patrol members and became one of the premier open water events in the world. After a hiatus, the race was resurrected in 1019 as part of the Jim Whelan Open Water Festival, named after the late Atlantic City mayor, NJ Senator and advocate of swimming and water safety education.
All proceeds benefit Green Whales, Inc., a non-profit that supports children’s swimming programs in Atlantic County.
For more, see www.jwopenwater.org.