Skip to main content

Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim & 1 Mile Bay Challenge

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

2024 1 Mile Bay Challenge - Cancellation

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, I want to address an issue that has become apparent in the two years that I have been the Race Director of the event. It seems that the swimmers of the 1 Mile swim feel as though that they are secondary to the 4.4 mile event, and as the Race Director, I will take full responsibility for that. Since there is only one of me, I have to split my team and have half on the 4.4 side, and half on the 1 mile side, and I can only be on one for the majority of the time. Therefore, our race announcements and all are done by our staff and announcer on the 1 mile side (not myself) and I don't get a chance to watch you complete the journey that you have trained for. I do not discount the importance of the 1 Mile swim for you, and applaud you for entering the Chesapeake Bay to participate in some an amazing event. Some of you use the event to move up to the 4.4 mile swim, some of you have done the 4.4 mile swim many times, and use the 1 mile swim to still be a part of the event, and we thank you. 

Yesterday, though, does not help my argument that the 1 mile is just as important as the 4.4 mile swim. There were some mistakes (I was going to say mis-steps, but less face it, they were more than that) that happened yesterday which did not go unnoticed. There were many folks who said, and all I can say is that many of my staff agreed, that if things were set up on time, that the 1 mile swim could have possibly gone off on time. The delay in getting the 1 mile course set was due to the issues that they were having in getting all of our other buoys, and safety craft, set for the 4.4 mile, as it is spread over a much longer distance. I was not aware that they buoys were not set at 8:15, and that the event had even been delayed on the 1 mile side (I actually made an announcement on the 4.4 saying that I was sure you were in the water). The buoys were not set, because the team was chasing down the 4.4 buoys, rescuing kayakers in the middle of the spans that were setting for the course (yes, the kayaker you saw could walk, the others could not) and various other aspects, WHICH SHOULD HAVE NOT AFFECTED YOU. I cannot apologize enough, and I GUARANTEE that you will see a difference in the 1 Mile Swim in 2025. 

Some folks asked about the buoys being in a different location. Some asked about the stairs. Some asked about the start. Lots of things changed in the last 12 hours of the event, and me explaining now doesn't help (but I will anyway). Some of you saw the Facebook video where our skid steer person did a great job and created that ramp in to the water.  That ramp allowed for us to get rid of the stairs from last year (which broke our heart because we put a lot of work in to building those for you). The ramp also allowed for us to be able to change your start, and let you go in, in a self seeded fashion, 2 x 2. That decision was made RACE MORNING, to give you a better experience on the start. The swim course buoys were altered in to what you saw being correct. With the forecast, we were going to keep everyone out of the channel (which is where the course used to take you to the far left) and have you swim almost straight out (in to chop/wind) make a small right , and then come right back in, without having to fight too much sideways chop. Again, this decision was made the night before, in an order to make things better, based on the forecast. When I say the night before, it was probably 9pm, so an email seemed inappropriate, and would probably have caused more questions and concern than by doing it in the morning. 

Most importantly, folks asked about the number of safety assets on the 1 mile swim side. Keep in mind that 95% of you course is in roughly 3.5 feet of water, so it does not need quite the infrastructure that the 4.4 does (I know, you are tired of hearing about the 4.4 already). When roughly half of our kayak fleet for the 4.4 could not maintain position, we re-allocated some of the 1 mile kayaks to backfill, knowing that you were in more protected water. From a visual perspective, this may have seemed odd, but all I can do is explain why we did what we did. 

So what are we going to do about all of this? First, know that we have a few plans that we are working on, and your suggestions (within reason) ARE helpful. Keep them coming in to You can certainly keep talking on Facebook and such, and are going to get people agreeing, or arguing, with you, but if you want to make a lasting impact, send it to me (Jason) directly at the email above. I'm the one that answers all of the emails. I'm happy to talk to you. 

Me, and my team, are going to take the lead on the 1 mile course for the foreseeable future. We will have our team of kayakers and a few powerboats/jetskis for extractions, but OUR team will be the ones setting the course (which I can all but guarantee will be up before you even show up for the event) and getting taking care of you on race day. We know that our friends in the Safety Fleet have a lot of logistics to deal with on the "other" course (see.. I didn't say 4.4) and our 1 mile shouldn't be delayed, so you are going to have a dedicated team, strictly for your experience. 

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, this all sounds well and good (and whether or not you accept my apology or not) but you want to know what is in the plans 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 getting a discounted entry for the 2025 event, with a fee of $50 (instead of $75). 

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 discounted rates. 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 reduced cost (almost by 1/3) will show you that we care about you, the swimmer, as well as our partners. 

3rd, donations. ANY donations that you received in 2024, in hopes of using that for a priority entry to the longer course, will be credited for your 2025 swim again. That means that, should you choose, you can receive priority entry in to the 2026 event with two years of fundraising adding up. 

We are internally discussing, as well, if any of you wish to bump up to the 2025 4.4 mile course (sorry, had to say it again), how we will be able to help with that. If that is the case, please send me an email to

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 $50 entry to the 2025 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim 1 Mile Bay Challenge. 

Jason Chance - Race Director


If you continue to use this site, you consent to use all cookies. We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Read how we use cookies and how you can control them by visiting our Privacy Policy.

If you continue to use this site, you consent to use all cookies.