Maryland Freedom Swim

Sun May 20, 2018 Cambridge, MD US 21613 Directions

1.7 Mile Maryland Freedom Swim

7:00AM EDT - 10:00AM EDT
2 Rosehill Pl
Dorchester Visitor Center
Cambridge, MD US 21613

Dear Athletes,

Thank you for your patience while we have been evaluating the current weather situation and our river’s water quality for the Maryland Freedom Swim scheduled for this Sunday, May 20th, 2018. The bacteria tests taken on Wednesday show an elevated level of harmful bacteria in the Choptank River. After consulting with local health experts it has been determined that these percentages are likely even HIGHER, now, that Dorchester and Talbot Counties have had an additional 6 inches of rain since Wednesday.

We are canceling Sunday’s Maryland Freedom Swim. We cannot, in good conscience, place our swimmers and volunteers in the river with any type of danger from a threat that is beyond our control.

We hope that you understand the amount of thought that went in to this decision. It was not taken lightly, and the parties involved in the planning of this event have expressed their concerns about water quality throughout this “wet” week. Traditional recommendations around the State have been that after a rain-event of an inch or more, river swimming is unadvisable for 24-48 hours due to run-off from our land. Our decision to cancel the race is based on the amount of rain our area has had this week, the projected rain amounts through Sunday morning, and the current high bacteria levels in the Choptank off Cambridge due to the rain running off our lands.

Matt Pluta, who is one of the organizers behind the Maryland Freedom Swim, works for the ShoreRivers organization, whose mission it is to protect and restore Eastern Shore waterways, has provided this statement:

Is the Choptank River Swimmable? Well, yes. But as we learned today - not always.

During heavy rain events, like the 8" of rain we have received this week in Dorchester County, bacteria and nutrients run off our land and into our waterways causing a human and environmental health concern. Due to the amount of rain and runoff, and after analyzing the water quality and consulting with the local health experts, it was determined that it is not safe to put swimmers in the water for Sunday's event. The safety of swimmers is the number one priority for this event. We regret having to make this decision but feel that it's the right decision to make based on the current conditions and the continued chance for more rain and runoff over the weekend. As an organization water quality is our main priority. Everything we do on our land has an impact on the waterways that draws many of us to this area. As we work to restore and protect the eastern shore waterways we learn from situations like this and understand that good water quality cannot be taken for granted.

The next question is where do we go from here? Please understand that we had no contingency plan for a cancelled event. Though we have had a strong NO REFUND POLICY stated, we want to make sure that we take care of you, our swimmers. Please allow us a few days to come forward with our plan.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.



Jason Chance, Matt Pluta, Michael Keene






Let's go for a swim!!!!! Who hasn't driven over the Frederick C Malkus Jr bridge (Choptank River Bridge) on Route 50 and wondered what it would be like to swim from one side to the other? Well if you are one of THOSE folks, this is a race for you. 

On Sunday, May 20th, 2018, join our inaugural group of swimmers as we navigate between the bridges from the Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park on the Talbot County side to the Sailwinds Park beach access point on the Dorchester County side. This 1.7 mile trip across the Choptank River and will be supported by paddle craft, motor craft and the US Coast Guard. 


A portion of the proceeds from this race will go to the Shore Rivers organization ( as well as the Water Safety program for 3rd graders at the Dorchester Family YMCA (


We invite our experienced open water swimmers to come and join us for this journey. Make no mistakes about it, this is not for the inexperienced swimmer. This straight course may sound simple but the Choptank River is a flowing body of water and we will be navigating around/through two bridges. We ask that you show proof of open water swimming experience (triathlon, open water swim events, etc) or that you have successfully completed a ONE MILE POOL SWIM in ONE HOUR (the attached form is to be signed by a certified lifeguard at a pool once the requirement completed. The completed form can be emailed to Please keep in mind that if you do a pool swim, you should aim to be able to swim this 1.7 mile course continuously, as there will not be any places to stop and rest on the course. 

If you feel that you would like to be a part of this event, then let's get ready to go!!!! This is a great tune up race for the Bay Swim, the Ocean Games and especially the Eagleman 70.3 Ironman Maryland race!!



Water temperature is expected to be in the upper-sixties to mid-seventies, Fahrenheit. If the water temperatures are below 58 degrees, we will require wetsuits (it has not been in the last 5 years). If water temperatures exceed 84 degrees, wetsuits will not be allowed (hasn't been near there either). 


5:45 - 6:45 AM Pre-race check-in

6:50 AM Swimmer pre-race safety meeting (mandatory)

7:00 – 7:15 AM Shuttles to starting line

7:45 AM Start of first wave (subsequent waves will start every 5 minutes)

8:30 AM Post-event activities begin

9:45 AM Awards




This race will begin with an in-water start and swimmers will be sent off in waves. The number of people per wave will depend on the number of registrants. You will be notified at the pre-race check-in which wave you will be in. Unique cap colors will signify the different waves. 



Refer to the course map below. The racecourse is a point-to-point swim. The starting line is at the beach on the Bill Burton State Park land in Talbot County and is marked by two round buoys. The race is an in-water start. Swimmers begin the swim heading down river towards the bridge. A large tetrahedron (large 3D triangular buoys) buoy marks the location where swimmers cross under the bridge and turn to swim southwest across the Choptank River. Swimmers continue to swim between the two bridges. A second large tetrahedron buoy marks the beginning of the boat channel, as well as directs swimmers around a wood structure in the water. Swimmers continue across the river until they reach a 3rd tetrahedron buoy that indicates the location where the swimmers turn down river and cross under the bridge. From here swimmers head towards a final buoy marking the entrance to the finish line area.


High tide is at 8:43 AM on race day. The race will start one hour before high tide so the majority of the swimmers will be crossing the channel with near-slack water.


The Maryland Freedom Swim makes swimmer safety the most important component of the event. We will have a number of safety kayakers and safety boats out on the course with us to ensure swimmer safety at all times. All boats are able to communicate via both hand held and ship to shore radios. All swimmers are required to follow specific procedures to participate in the event. These procedures are designed to protect swimmers from injury and will be enforced by the Safety Director.


This race might be one of the most unique open water swimming events because of the opportunity for spectators to watch the swimmers throughout the course. Within walking distance from the registration/finish line is the Bill Burton Fishing Pier. While swimmers are between the two bridges, spectators are encouraged to walk along the fishing pier and cheer for the athletes. Kids are also encouraged to enjoy the playground on-site at the registration/finish line area. 


At registration all racers will receive several items including a uniquely colored swim cap indicating which starting wave the swimmer is in, a Technical T-Shirt with the Maryland Freedom Swim logo on it, a gear bag that your pre-race equipment can be stored in and delivered to the finish line for you, and other giveaways from our sponsors.  


After registration each participant will be sent an athlete guide. This guide will explain all of the event details including parking, registration, shuttles, swim start, swimmer rules, and everything else you’ll need for race day.


This is a point-to-point swim. Participants will park at the Dorchester County Visitor Center at 2 Rosehill Pl, Cambridge, MD 21613, and will be shuttled over to the start area at the Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park. From there, participants will walk with their starting wave to the start line. Swimmers will be able to pass off pre-race clothing, to be transported to the finish line for you. 

Swimmers must prove Open Water Experience OR have certification that they have completed a POOL SWIM of at least ONE MILE in under ONE HOUR. 



END TIME: 10:00am EDT


PRICE: $85

REGISTRATION: Online registration ends May 17, 2018 at 11:59pm EDT. Day-of registration will be available in person the morning of the event. Registration closes for all athletes at 7:00 AM.


Race Contact Info

If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.

Bolingbroke Sponsor
Race Sponsor
Sandy Hill Sponsor
Race Sponsor
Freedom Friend
Race Sponsor
Pool Swim Certification Form

IF you have not completed an open water swim event, or triathlon with an open water swim component, you MUST complete the following form. These forms should be completed and emailed to Race Director Jason Chance at

All athletes must be able to show participation in an open water swim or have this form completed and on file, or they will not be able to register. 

Click the icon below to download the attached PDF.

Our Beneficiaries!!

We are excited to announce that we are giving a portion of the proceeds to two of our local charities!

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising and independent voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support. 


The Dorchester Family YMCA, as part of their mission to empower youth in our area, work with the local school system to provide a youth Water Safety Class for 3rd grade students. With our proximity to water, this program is a truly life-saving introduction to water safety. We are proud to partner with them on this wonderful program!!




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