By SooToday.com Staff
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Dreyer in "Dire Straits" for attempt at world distance record
(Grand Rapids, Michigan) - After swimming alone in a daring solo crossing of Lake Superior last August, and having set 14 records swimming across all five Great Lakes, ultra-marathon athlete Jim Dreyer announced today that he now has his sights on setting the world distance record for a continuous swim.
Dreyer [shown] plans to begin his attempt on Friday, September 1st (weather permitting), making a minimum of 31 consecutive crossings of the turbulent Straits of Mackinac, while once again swimming unescorted.
The event, entitled the Dire Straits 125, will have Dreyer attempting to swim non-stop for 125 miles or more, while battling a relentless cross current for an estimated 72-84 hours, without the support of an escort boat.
Currently, the greatest distance swum continuously on record is 122 miles, by Australian Susie Maroney, in an escorted swim between Mexicoâ€™s Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba in 1998.
That same year, Dreyer set the distance record for the Great Lakes when he swam 65 miles across Lake Michigan, and last year set the world distance record for a self-sufficient swim, when he pulled 250 pounds of supplies for 59 miles alone across Lake Superior.
"Pursuing the overall world distance record is the next logical quest, if I want to continue raising the bar," Dreyer said.
One might question, however, Dreyer's logic in pursuing the world distance record unescorted, and in choosing the Straits of Mackinac as the venue for his endeavor.
He did not opt to plan his route in a tropical location, where he could benefit from warm and buoyant salt water, and take advantage of a strong gulf stream pushing him.
Instead he decided on a location closer to the north pole than the equator, in fresh water notorious for its strong and constant cross currents â€¦ and to go it alone without a safety net.
"I chose to swim unescorted, because in these tough currents I'd rather carry nutrition on my back and keep swimming, than to feed off the side of a boat that's rapidly drifting away and adding miles to my swim," Dreyer explained. "I chose the Straits of Mackinac because my niche is the Great Lakes, which presents some of the most challenging marathon swimming in the world, and I don't want to back down from that challenge. I've already crossed all five of these inland seas, and the Straits will present a new and unique challenge. Furthermore, I'm promoting objectives of the beautiful state of Michigan, and swimming the Straits will keep my entire route within state boundaries, and make the event very accessible to the media and public."
Dreyer, who will attempt to set his 15th record while raising funds and awareness for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program through his New Horizons Ultra-Marathon Series, was appointed by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm in January to the Mentor Michigan Leadership Council.
Dreyer has teamed with Governor Granholm and First Gentleman Dan Mulhern to promote their mutual youth mentoring and physical fitness objectives.
"Jim Dreyer is utilizing his athleticism to encourage people to invest in tomorrowâ€™s workforce by becoming a mentor today," Mulhern stated.
If Dreyer is successful, and starts on September 1, he is projected to finish on Labor Day.
If he completes his last lap of the straits on the holiday, there will be plenty of activity on the Mackinac Bridge, which spans the Straits above him.
Governor Granholm and First Gentleman Mulhern will be joined by children and mentors of registered Mentor Michigan programs, to lead an estimated 80,000 walkers and runners across the five-mile suspension bridge that connects Michiganâ€™s upper and lower peninsulas, in the annual Labor Day Bridge Run & Walk.
For more information on the Dire Straits 125, Labor Day Bridge Run & Walk, Big Brothers Big Sisters Program, and Mentor Michigan, go to Jim Dreyer's website (www.SwimJimSwim.org) and click on the appropriate links.