Swimming the Straits of Mackinac

Mackinac Dusk

Mackinac Dusk, photo by ShelNf

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that Cathy Nagler will be attempting to swim across the Straits of Mackinac tomorrow (Wednesday, July 24):

Worry isn’t a word Nagler uses to talk about the upcoming distance swim, which is expected to take place Wednesday between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, on the west side of the mighty Mackinac Bridge. But she does have legitimate concerns, chiefly hypothermia from the cold water.

“That’s the hard one,” she said. “I went in Lake Michigan on June 12 and the water temperature was 58 degrees.”

Nagler will wear a lightweight wetsuit, of the sort tri-athletes wear, to combat that problem. Combined with dive boots, it should keep her warm enough.

“The heavier wetsuits, like water skiers wear, make me too buoyant in the water,” she said.

Nagler, who summered at her family’s cabin in Northport as a child, has been a life-long swimmer. She has several distance swims to her credit, both in the United States and England. But her goal to swim across Lake Michigan has the most meaning for her.

You can read on for more and also check out Nagler’s crosslakemi.org where she discusses the preparation for the swim.

I thought I would try and figure out how many people have swum the 4.1 mile distance across the Straits of Mackinac, but it appears that the answer is “a lot.” This feature in the St. Ignace News about a group of 5 who swam the Straits in 2011 has some great information about swimming the Straits, and notes that the Coast Guard receives about 10 special marine requests specifically for swimming the Straits.

View ShelNf’s photo bigger and see more from the Straits in their slideshow.

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