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Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim & 1 Mile Bay Challenge

Sun June 9, 2024 Stevensville Libby's Coastal Kitchen, MD 21666 US

2024 4.4 Mile Swim - Cancellation Email

We know that you have all been waiting to hear what is happening with the 2024 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, and we have been on calls with our Board, our staff, and our partners of the event, to come up with a solution. We have also been looking at all of the Facebook comments, questions, emails, etc, that have been coming from you, the swimmer, and wanted to get this out to you today. 

First and foremost, we stand by the decision, as difficult as it was, regarding the cancellation yesterday. There were a number of factors that went in to the decision, and though it was a joint effort on feedback from our Safety Fleet, US Coast Guard, kayakers/paddleboarders, the decision will ultimately be on my shoulder as the Race Director of the event, so on behalf of the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, I apologize for having to make that call. We were fighting to keep the event live, asking for multiple delays to see if the conditions would improve, but as we waited, more and more issues arose, of the most important we began to lose the safety vessels, including the kayaks and jetskis, as they overturned and needed rescuing themselves. These two particular type of watercraft are the only allowable types within the spans, as they have no props that could injure swimmers. With the loss of almost half of them, it would have been usafe for us to put over 600 swimmers in the water, with only about 40 craft, over 4.4 miles, to keep you safe. 

Please keep in mind, these are not paid folks who come out to do this. These are volunteers, so the answer to "Why don't you have more safety craft?" is very difficult, as we don't turn anyone away from those jobs, and are ALWAYS looking for more folks to help (we will keep the KAYAK VOLUNTEER button on our site at, if you have any friends that you want to point that way). We are always looking for more help, but please keep in mind that the swim decision is for their safety, as well as yours. 

So.... some folks believe that they could have made the swim. There are some of you who want to be able to sign a waiver so that you can swim on your own, even when we cancel (P..S., that is NEVER going to happen). For those of you who believe you could have, you may have, while a majority would have had a hard time and would have had to have been pulled.

 But we've swum the event in worse conditions before. Sure have... and "those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it". We learn, every... single ... time that we put on the event. Yes, it may have happened in the past, and almost guaranteed at the end of it, the statement was made "Well we're never doing THAT again.". We live and learn, and we do everything we can to learn from the past, so yes, you may have swam in worse conditions in the past, but a multitude of factors went in to play for yesterday's call.

This doesn't mean that anytime there is wind, or current, that we will cancel. It means that they play a role, but there are many factors taken in to account, so don't worry, we aren't making this an "Easy" swim. This is still a very difficult event, with multiple layers that are beyond the scope of what many realize. 

So let's get down to what you are reading for. What we are doing for 2025. 

1st and foremost, the event is currently scheduled for Sunday, June 8th, with an early morning start (probably 730am). The winds are typically lighter, the slack tide is around 915 at center span, and I've put in an order for amazing weather. Because of the early morning swim, we are going to be talking to local hotels (Annapolis area for cost) to get some special rates for those that want to come in for the weekend.

2nd, and most important, ALL participants are going to receive priority sign up for 2025, at a reduced rate ($250). That means that, for you, there will be NO LOTTERY for 2024, and once everyone makes a decision on whether they want to swim, or just want their entry for 2024 to be a donation, we will open up the lottery (with fewer available slots for lottery participants). I would expect to see an email in August of this year, for these entries, and we will be asking that you make that decision by October, so that we can see how many spots we will have left for the lottery. Obviously, we will be sending out an email with more specific details as to the date, your specific code, etc. 

Let's dive in to this, before the emails start rolling. Why can't we do a completely free event for you in 2025? The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim is a non-profit organization that helps to fund many programs through the March of Dimes and the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Those organizations have already allocated for the donation that we typically give them, for their 2024 programs. We also have all of the expenses of the shirts, medals and awards (which hopefully we can repurpose for next year), staff and personnel, swim caps, etc, that have been paid for. We will need to repay for many of those expenses, AND still be able to operate the 2025 as a fundraiser for our partners as well. We have already told them to expect a little less in 2025, with the $100 discount. I understand, so of you may feel as none of this is your concern, but those of you who know how many millions of dollars we have given to our charity partners, understand that this event is all about giving back, and to lose that mission is to lose our event. We hope that a guaranteed spot, and a reduced cost (almost by 1/3) will show you that we care about you, the swimmer, as well as our partners. 

3rd, donations and specialty registrations (Golden Ticket, etc) will be rolled over and count towards 2025. This means that if you were a Golden Ticket recipient for this year, you will be so next year as well, with nothing further to do. If you were a fundraiser this year (2024) we will give you credit for 2024 AND 2025, for special incentives for the 2026 event. It isn't fair to give you a priority registration (bypass the lottery) for 2025, when we already am offering a 2025 priority. 

We know that there might be special circumstances that you wish to email us about and, as always, we would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, complaints, etc at Yes, we know you trained a long time. Yes we know that you travelled and took time away from your families. We appreciate all of that, and of you for your continued support but some of the requests (full refunds, free events, etc) are just not feasible for an event of this size.  

Want to make a suggestion? Email me   Want to complain? Email me   Want to send an email just to yell at someone? Me again  I'd love to hear from you, and when warranted, will gladly speak with you about your concerns and suggestions. Once again, I'm sorry to have been the one to make the final call for the event, but I stand by that call with all of the input from our partners. I hope that you can, in time, understand that call was made for your safety, as well as our safety crew.

Please feel free to reach out to with ANYTHING and we will be sending out an email with more information on when we are ready to offer you that $250, guaranteed entry to the 2025 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim. 

Jason Chance - Race Director


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