END-WET: Pushing the Boundaries of Endurance in North America's Iconic Long-Distance Race

END-WET: Pushing the Boundaries of Endurance in North America’s Iconic Long-Distance Race

The Extreme North Dakota Watersports Endurance Test (END-WET) is a unique event that tests the limits of endurance for open-water swimmers. This down-river swim ultra-marathon is one of the longest swim races in North America, covering either 27 or 36 miles depending on the year. The event draws solo and relay swimmers from all over the world, who brave the mighty Red River of the North from rural ND to the finish line in Grand Forks, ND/East Grand Forks, MN.

Over the years, the Extreme North Dakota Watersports Endurance Test (END-WET) has welcomed some amazing guest swimmers who have left their mark on the event. Some of the previous ambassadors for the sport of open-water swimming who have participated in the event include Karen Zemlin, Bridgette Hobart Janeczko, Daniel O’Kane, Elaine Howley, Jeff Utsch, Sarah Thomas, Annaleise Carr, Jen Schumacher, and Darren Miller. These incredible athletes have each made their mark on the sport and have inspired countless others to take up the challenge of open-water swimming.

This year, the END-WET organizers announced they have invited Evan Morrison as their guest swimmer. Evan Morrison is a marathon swimmer and an administrator originally from California and currently based in Sydney, Australia. He has contributed significantly to the sport and was inducted in 2022 to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Administrator. Evan co-founded the Marathon Swimmers Federation, which has developed several influential projects to ratify independent marathon swims, including the LongSwims Database and the MSF Documented Swims platform. He has also served as the president of the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association since 2016.

Morrison’s passion for long-distance open water swimming was born off the shores of Chicago, and he has completed over 20 marathon-distance solo swims and races worldwide. He has set course records across New York Bay between Sandy Hook and Manhattan, and across the Santa Barbara Channel from Santa Cruz Island. His Santa Barbara Channel swim was featured in the documentary film DRIVEN. In 2020, he completed the first winter swim of San Francisco’s challenging Round-Trip Angel Island route.

The END-WET race organizers hold a pre-race meeting the night before the race, where swimmers and paddlers come together for dinner and a presentation. This year, Morrison will share his experiences and insights from years of marathon swimming.

The race itself is divided into several categories, including solo swims with traditional FINA suit rules, non-traditional solo swims where wetsuits are allowed, doubles relay swims, and recreational relay swims with 3-5 team members.

Past Winners: (Source)

2022 – Jamie Proffitt – 8:32 (New Course Record)
2021 – Sarah Thomas – 13:04
2020 – No race took place due to COVID-19
2019 – Sandra Frimerman-Bergquist – 9:21
2018 – Sandra Frimerman-Bergquist – 9:40
2017 – Sandra Frimerman-Bergquist – 10:33
2016 – Sandra Frimerman-Bergquist – 10:44
2015 – Sarah Thomas – 9:43
2014 – Kevin Kopplin – 8:38
2013 – Karen Zemlin – 6:58 (27 miles)
2012 – Darren Miller – 9:11 (27 miles)

On June 17, 2023, the Extreme North Dakota Watersports Endurance Test (END-WET) will bring together a community of passionate and dedicated swimmers to push themselves to their limits in the beautiful and challenging Red River of the North.

Registration Here

Photo credit: Ben Pitterle, Courtesy of Evan Morisson