Local Shepherdstown resident Clay Redden, 17, a student at Jefferson High School, joined approximately 650 other swimmers in what some call the premier open water swim event in the United States.
The 22nd annual Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, a 4.4 mile swim between the bridges that cross the bay. Swimmers start at Sandy Point State Park and finish at a small sandy beach that is next to Hemingway's Restaurant and the Bay Bridge Marina.
Other than the fact that there was a water advisory for water quality due to the runoff caused by tropical storm Andrea, it was a perfect day for the swim with warm water and weather and calm surface waters, however the currents on the day of the swim were very strong and of the 616+ swimmers who entered the waters, 44 did not finish.
This was Redden's fourth open water swim, and by far his longest, his previous greatest distance had been a 2.4 mile swim completed in May of 2013 in preparation for the bay swim. He spent many hours swimming in the pool starting in February to train for the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim and finished with a time of three hours, 21 minutes.
Entry to the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim is done by lottery and applications are usually accepted beginning in November of the previous year. Redden hopes to compete again next year with plans to improve his time now that he knows he can swim 4.4 miles. The race is a charity fundraiser that primarily benefits the Maryland Chapter March of Dimes.