By Lisa Carolin
This year’s Mighty Mac Swim, which took place on Aug. 10, featured 312 of 359 swimmers finishing.
Among those participating were five residents from Chelsea.
The Mighty Mac Swim occurs on the Straits of Mackinac next to the Mackinac Bridge and is a more than 4-mile point-to-point crossing. Swimmers are encouraged to train for a longer race because of significant cross-currents, which can cause each stroke to pull the swimmer diagonally as well as forward. The water temperatures vary between the mid-50s to mid-60s Fahrenheit.
The five Chelsea residents who participated were Dr. Scott Moore, who came in 46th at 1:59:42, eighth in his age group; Jamie Wurster, who came in 104th at 2:12:12, fifth in her age group; Swimming coach Jen Olk, who came in 120th at 2:16:01, fourth in her age group; Matt Moore, who came in 121st at 2:16:09, 12th in his age group, and Eric Swager, who came in 199th at 2:44:41, 30th in his age group.
“What an amazing experience to get from the Lower Peninsula to the Upper Peninsula without using the bridge,” said Eric Swager. “I finished exhausted, but exhilarated.”
Swager said that the swimmers who didn’t finish were pulled from the water because they were too far back to make the intermediate cutoff times, or because they got pushed too far off course.
“From my perspective as a novice swimmer, it was tough,” said Swager. “The waves and current really got daunting about 2.5 miles in.”
“The course is unpredictable and challenging,” said Jen Olk, who coaches master swimming in both Chelsea and Dexter. “All of the swimmers competed with a chance to finish a lifetime challenge.”
She says that training as a group made training easier.
“We started training back in October and did a combination of pool swims as well as open water swims when the water warmed up,” she said.
Event Director Jim “The Shark” Dreyer stated this to swimmers following this year’s Mighty Mac Swim.
“The Straits of Mackinac lured us in with her friendly side, then turned on us and showed some of the havoc she is capable of creating. While the course was fast, the winds and cross-currents made staying on course a challenge. We salute all the finishers. Anyone who swims the Straits of Mackinac is indeed a champion!”