Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Granddaddy of American Open Water Swims – commonly known at the Boston Light Swim – began in 1908 and is the oldest open water competition in America.

The race is considered one of the most difficult open water swimming races in the world because of the chilly 58ºF (14ºF) water temperature typically found at the start, variable conditions, and strong tidal flows.

Swimmers and their crews must carefully train for and navigate these challenges accordingly, and completion is not guaranteed,” says race director Greg O’Connor.

Competitors will start in the water at 7 am just off of Little Brewster Island in the shadow of America’s first lighthouse, the Boston Light. The marathon swim runs for eight miles amid the Boston Harbor Islands National Park and finishes at the famed L-Street Bathhouse in South Boston. Spectators are encouraged to arrive at the L-Street Beach to cheer in the finishers beginning at 9 am.

Elaine Howley, one of America’s most accomplished open water swimmers, describes the event. “Most swimmers manage to complete the swim within 3-5 hours. There is a 5-hour time limit on the course. Lower-than-typical water temperatures in the harbor this year, possibly the result of ocean churn stirred up by Hurricane Arthur earlier in the month, will make for an especially challenging race.”

We have put a lot of time, energy, thought, and effort into making this race as safe as it possibly can be,” O’Connor says. The safety plan includes a motorized support boat assigned to each swimmer, Coast Guard and Environmental Police coverage, as well as dedicated Boston EMS personnel on standby should any swimmers experience difficulty during or after the race. “We’ve had an excellent safety record over the past several years, and we take great pains to ensure that continues for every single participant.”

23 solo swimmers were selected by lottery to participate. The field consists of 8 women and 15 men. Nathaniel Dean of New York, New York, and Martin McMahon of Simsbury, Connecticut, are expected to battle for first place among the men, while International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inductee Elizabeth Fry of Westport, Connecticut [shown above], and Susan Knight of Kennebunk, Maine, are anticipated to lead the women and may be in the hunt for the win.

For more information, visit www.bostonlightswim.org.

Solo Entrants
1. Jason Glass, Brookline, Massachusetts
2. Helen Lin, Quincy, Massachusetts
3. Alison Meehan, Elkton, Maryland
4. Susan Knight, Kennebunk, Maine
5. Loren King, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
6. Rebecca Burns, New York, New York
7. Solly Weiler, Newton, Massachusetts
8. Nathaniel Dean, New York, New York
9. David Conners, San Francisco, California
10. Bill Shipp, Mitchellville, Maryland
11. Martin McMahon, Simsbury, Connecticut
12. Mo Siegel, Piermont, New York
13. David Cook, New York, New York
14. Kim Garbarino, Winthrop, Massachusetts
15. David Kilroy, Marblehead, Massachusetts
16. Melissa Hoffman, Sugar Land, Texas
17. Elizabeth Fry, Westport, Connecticut
18. John Shumadine, Portland, Maine
19. Courtney Paulk, Richmond, Virginia
20. Francis O’Loughlin, South Boston, Massachusetts
21. Jerome Leslie, Dorchester, Massachusetts
22. Kellie Joyce, Norwood, Massachusetts
23. Bryce Croll, Boston, Massachusetts

Two-Person Teams
Tuff Competitor II: Stephen Gillis and Kari Kastango

Three-Person Teams

A Fin & A Prayer: Lynne Mulkerrin, Douglas Dolan, and Richard Sweeney
Maine Masters: John Gale, Cheryl Daly, and Simon Wignall.

Four-Person Teams
Sachuset Ocean Swimmers: Paul Talewsky, James Burden, Mary Phelan, and Franklin Johnson
swim4fun: Lisa Kromer, Christina Lin, Jennifer Downing, and Wendy Gulley
Frozen Nipples: Jen Olsen, Cynthia Baker, Steve Belletete, and Bennett McCarthy

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association