Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Brian Earley is the founder of one of the most popular and enduring open water swimming events in the United States.

What began as a 5-mile open water swim in Chesapeake Bay on June 13th 1982 [shown above] as a tribute to his father who suffered from a diabetes became, over the years, as a charity event that sells out in minutes.

Earley has swum in 37 of the 39 Great Chesapeake Bay Swims since his first swim in the rain and wind and against the tides in 1982 – and he continues to serve as the chief administrator of the Cynthia Earley Educational Foundation whose mission is to support student-athletes via scholarships.

The Cynthia Earley Educational Foundation awards educational scholarships to students who are active in their communities and fundraise for the 1-mile or 4.4-mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim that starts from the western shore at Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis and finishes on Maryland’s eastern shoreline at the Bay Bridge Marina in Stevensville. The scholarships help pay for the student’s current school, college, university or vocational training.

The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim is one of World’s Top 100 Open Water Swims that has generated over US$2 million for numerous health-related charities since its founding in 1982. Race director Chuck Nabit explains, “Since 1992, millions has been raised for charitable organizations with about 60% of each donation goes directly to charity. The remaining money is used for the administrative costs of the event, like event t-shirts and a party for the over 500 volunteers, as well as awards for swimmers.”

In 1992, almost 1,000 entrants were standing on Sandy Point State Park when we held up from starting until enough rescue boats could get into position,” recalled Earley. “Once the boats were in position, the event began, but the delay virtually eliminated the one-hour window for slack tide, the only real opportunity to cross the Chesapeake Bay at its closest two points. Only 160 swimmers finished; the rest were pulled into boats.”

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Top 3 Males in the 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim:
1. Andrew Gyenis (22) 1:29:07
2. Andrew McKissick (21) 1:30:19
3. Brian Benda (46) 1:31:09

Top 3 Females in the 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim:
1. Katie Fallon (21) 1:40:11
2. Margarita Ryan (19) 1:40:40
3. Polly Surhoff (52) 1:41:34

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