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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Swim Under Bridges Over Untroubled Waters

Courtesy of Marisa Frieder, race director of the 10.7-mile (17.2 km) Portland Bridge Swim, Oregon.

Records fell at the 2015 Portland Bridge Swim. Eddie Switaj of Mercer Island, Washington, smashed the course record with a time of 3 hours 37 minutes, 12 minutes faster than the previous solo record. Katie Main, a medical student from Portland Oregon, took first place for the women with a time of 4 hours 2 minutes, beating the course record by 10 minutes.

This last weekend's Portland Bridge Swim was the biggest ever with 66 solo swimmers and 13 relay teams entered. 23 swimmers came back to finish the swim after being evacuated due to lightning last year. The weather was perfect, the river was flat, and swimming conditions were generally good with the exception of some tug boat traffic and low tide at 1:16 pm. But that's part of what makes this a challenging race.

The swim has become a family event as well, with Frank Fredregill and daughter Robyn teaming up for a relay, Camille Davis paddling to escort her father and solo swimmer Ed Davis, and relay swimmer Kevin Guaspari towing daughter Logan in an inflatable boat. Sisters Katarina and Larissa Ferber of Tacoma, Washington made their annual trip to Portland to compete against each other. This year Katarina got ahead of Larissa, but Larissa out-swam a barge so she has her own bragging rights.

This has been an extremely hot year in the Willamette with low water levels due to a dry winter and water temperatures increasing about 1°F per day in the last week or two due to a relentless hot spell. By race day, the water temperature was an eye-popping 79°F compared to 68-70°F in previous years. There was no lightning this year, but there was some anxiety earlier in the week due to a developing algae bloom in a lagoon that feeds into a channel connecting to the river. Organizers spent the week developing a backup plan to use a loop course downriver, handling interviews with local news media, and waiting to see what would happen. After long conversations with the local agencies testing and monitoring the bloom, we were assured that the swim course was safe and we held it as originally planned, but with a wider swing around the mouth of the channel.

We started in 2011 with 16 swimmers, and it's grown into a destination event for swimmers across the country. What an amazing thing to get to be a part of.

2015 Solo Results:
1. Eddie Switaj (31 years) 3:37:20 [shown above]
2. Greg Holles (52) 3:43:59
3. Kurt Dickson (47) 3:52:47
4. Dean Atchison (44) 4:02:35
5. Katie Main (23) 4:02:51
6. Adam Arzner (28) 4:03:44
7. Laurie Bauder (46) 4:05:35
8. Johnny Van Velthuyzen (36) 4:08:35
9. Mark Frost (48) 4:09:35
10. Patrick Allender (56) 4:10:35
11. Ed Davis (52) 4:10:50
12. Scot Sullivan (49) 4:13:35
13. Stephanie Wahab (47)4:20:52
14. Lisa Gibson (25) 4:26:35
15. Jayette Pettit (48) 4:32:52
16. Michele Walters (40) 4:33:35
17. Cindy Werhane (46) 4:34:52
18. Ali Hall (53) 4:35:35
19. Zena Courtney (55) 4:40:00
20. Todd Lantry (39) 4:42:35
21. Brian Noble (45) 4:42:52
22. Jessica Kieras (35) 4:42:52
23. Doug Moshofsky (53) 4:43:35
24. Austin Lau (31) 4:44:52
25. Bob Bakh (42) 4:47:35
26. Rochelle Watson (22) 4:50:52
27. Peter Kellers (46) 4:52:52
28. Karly Powell (28) 4:52:52
29. Danny Mcgrath (39) 4:56:00 Wetsuit
30. Katy Smith (33) 4:57:52
31. Kyle Jones (27) 4:59:52
32. Kelsey Bowen (29) 5:03:52
33. Brad Herner (48) 5:06:00
34. Megan Beattie (28) 5:07:00
35. Alysse Roberson-Hamlin (24) 5:09:00
36. Jeanna Summers (61) 5:16:00
37. Christina Garcia (36) 5:18:52
38. Larissa Ferber (27) 5:22:00
39. Bonnie Brown (47) 5:23:00
40. Kirt Nilsson (44) 5:25:52
41. Mindy De Armond (36) 5:27:52
42. Rick Shanley (35) 5:29:35
43. Matt Palocsay (38) 5:38:52
44. Madeline Schaefer (27) 5:39:00
45. Katarina Ferber (24) 5:40:00
46. Anna Westburg (31) 5:42:00
47. Jarone Blanchette (38) 6:02:00
48. Tim Dexter (47) 6:14:00
49. Jim Russell (59) 6:17:52
50. Stephanie Hopson (38) 6:19:00
51. Karen Emerson (48) 6:36:00
52. Kristine Buckley (55) 6:37:52
53. Rob Seemann (46) 6:55:44 Wetsuit
54. Guila Muir (60) 7:08:00
55. Marisa Heller (30) 7:29:00
56. Joan Weisbergbeyerlein (65) DNF
57. Mark Henderson (59) DNF
58. Elizabeth Harrison (40) DNF
59. Ellyce Shulman (37) DNF Wetsuit

Relay Results:
1. Race Like You Treanor 4:00
2. Olie R Green 4:49
3. The Krakens 5:01
4. Team Sake 5:12
5. 3 Seadragons 5:19
6. Williamette Warriors 5:19
7. Russellmainia 5:40
8. More Like Superfun! 5:41
9. Serc and Destroy 6:09
10. River Otter 6:18
11. Helen, Robyn, Frank 6:47
12. The Cove Sharks 6:59
13. Dangerous when Wet 7:17 Wetsuit

For photos of the event, visit here.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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