According to the archives in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, an annual 2-mile swim began in 1898 that moved in various locations around Lake Michigan. After the establishment of the Illinois Athletic Club in 1904, the club sponsored it for over 50 years.

Former winners included 3-time Olympic gold medalist Norman Ross (1920 and 1921), 6-time Olympic medalist Johnny Weissmuller (1926), Olympic gold medalist Adolph Kiefer (1937) and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inductee Don Watson (1950).

Ross, in particular, was prepared for the lake swim given his Olympic “open water swimming” experience in the 1920 Olympic Games.

At the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, he won the 400-meter freestyle and the 1500-meter freestyle as well as anchored the winning 4×200 relay where he was teammates with Duke Kahanamoku. The Olympic swimming competition took place in an open canal and without lane markings.



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Tackling The Ocean
Retired NFL Defensive End and Pro Bowl superstar, Marcellus Wiley, conquers his fears of swimming in open water at the OptimusSport Distance Swim Challenge, Santa Monica, CA




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An Inspirational Cause… A Successful Event

With the powerful cause of making waves to fight cancer, the inaugural Swim Across America Long Beach event was both inspirational and successful.

Before he came out of the water, Craig knew that a certain question had to be answered. It wasn’t a question about his middle name or anything like that. It was much more profound. It was a question posed by himself, a question that only he could answer for himself. When Craig was able to answer that question, Hank embraced him and congratulated him on finishing the 5K with dignity.

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