At 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 9, fifteen swimmers from Utah, Washington, Colorado, California and New York will brave the briny waters of Great Salt Lake and swim eight miles from the south end of Antelope Island State Park to Black Rock near Great Salt Lake State Marina.
Another 30 or so swimmers are expected to participate in the one-mile event from Great Salt Lake State Marina to Black Rock.
While the idea sounds, salty and strange to some, the idea isn’t new. According to Dale L. Morgan’s, The Great Salt Lake, professional swimmer C.S. Leaf swam this same course 1919. Seven years later a marathon swim was staged, then, again in 1930 and 1937. Utah long distance swimmers, Josh Green and Gordon Gridley, revived this historic race last year.
“Great Salt Lake is one of the most unique bodies of water in the world, but is often looked at as being ‘gross’ or ‘stinky’ by locals,” said Green. “A few years ago, I came across an article that detailed the history of marathon swimming races at the lake, and Gordon and I had to give it a try. We want to give others the opportunity to experience swimming in the iconic lake by reviving the race that inspired us to swim there.”
Last year, Will Reeves won the eight-mile event in three hours and 41 minutes and will defend his title next week, but faces tough competition.
COMPETITORS Read full profiles on all swimmers at: http://www.greatsaltlakeopenwater.com/2012SwimmerProfiles.html
Utahn James Jonsson is the current world record holder for the Bear Lake Crossing. Jonsson swam the 19-mile length of Bear Lake in eight hours and 53 minutes. He is also the first person to swim the length of Utah Lake.
Marathon swimmer Allison DeFrancesco of California overcame Hodgkin’s lymphoma and will compete this year.
Utahn Goody Tyler swam out and around Alcatraz Island and back, and plans to swim the Catalina Channel on June 25.
Gilles Chalandon of New York swam the English Channel in 2010, and completed the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, 28.5 miles counter-clockwise around the island of Manhattan in 2002.
Most of Utahn Levi Kolesar’s saltwater experience was as a combat water survival swimmer in the United States Marine Corps.
FOR MEDIA AND SPECTATORS
Best viewing opportunities are available at Great Salt Lake State Marina and Black Rock Beach.
Noon: One-mile swim start from Great Salt Lake State Marina
12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.: Eight-mile swim finishers arriving at Black Rock Beach
For more information, visit www.greatsaltlakeopenwater.com or call Josh Green at 801-671-6465 or Gordon Gridley at 801-784-0502.