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Long Distance races in the Great Lakes are back, thanks to the partnership of North Shore Challenge & Embrace Open Water Swimming!

You can now participate in a marathon swim across Lake Erie!

20 Kilometers Starting in Sturgeon Point NY, USA and finishing in Crystal Beach Ontario, Canada.

Solo or Relays!

Saturday August 19, 2017 

All participants are expected to be on the shores of Sturgeon point at 6:30am on the Saturday of the event.

If you are on the Canadian side, participants will board the transport boats on the Crystal Beach launch docks at 5:30 am and we will travel to the start point in US waters.

Start time of the event is at 7:00am SHARP.

The organization of the race provides a lead boat for navigation, plus 3 safety boats.

Each individual participant must provide an assisting boat with a navigator, and all required boating safety equipment. 

Each relay must provide its own assisting boat from which each team member will jump in the water at 30 minute intervals.

Relays are 4 members minimum and 6 maximum. Each participant must swim at least once for a 30 minutes period.

The lead boat will have the official time and every 30 minutes will sound a horn that indicates the relay member exchange.

There are many logistical aspects of this event that we are working hard to anticipate to ensure a safe and fun event.

Given the magnitude of this swim we want you to start making your plans as soon as possible, so let your adventurous gene kick in and you can plan your summer schedule including this extraordinary opportunity!

We will be updating this webpage often with new information as it comes available.




Embrace the Challenge Erie Crossing OWS (ECEC) is a NEW open water swim event taking place August 19th, 2017, in Eastern Lake Erie (with a weather date of Sunday, August 20th). The proposed course for this event runs from Sturgeon Point, NY, north to Crystal Beach, ON, a distance of approximately 20km. This stretch of Lake Erie is considered an official Great Lake crossing point.

• "NAKED" SOLO CROSSING: swimmers participating in this category will be required to follow GLCO, and World Open Water Swimming Association Marathon rules, including correct swimwear, no physical contact, with support crew or crafts, no assistive or pacing tools, etc. For a full listing of rules, please consult the GLCO guidelines https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/sanctions/rules-regulations/wowsa-17-0-marathon-and-channel-swims/ and http://lostswimming.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Rules-of-Marathon-Swimming.pdf

Swimmers who complete this category will receive “Official Lake Erie Crosser” certificates from the GLCO, and will have their swims sanctioned as official Great Lakes Solo Swims. As well, GSS points will be assigned to finishers in this category.

• WETSUIT SOLO CROSSING: swimmers participating in this category will be completing a solo crossing. However, because of the use of a wetsuit, or other swimwear or assistive tools (solo swim bag, pacing tools, etc.), the completion of this swim will NOT be recognized as an official solo crossing. You will still receive GSS points for your solo race.

• NAKED RELAY: Swimmers will swim as part of a relay team with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 6 swimmers, all of whom are not using wetsuits, solo bags, or any other items not allowed by channel rules. Swimmers will cycle out every 30 minutes (marked by a siren from the zodiac boats), so that every swimmer completes at least 30 minutes of the relay. Once every swimmer has completed 30 minutes in the water, the order of swimmer changes is at the discretion of the team members. NOTE: There will be no GSS points given to swimmers who participate in a relay.

• WETSUIT RELAY: Swimmers will swim as part of a relay team with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 6 swimmers, with at least one (and likely all) team member using a wetsuit, solo bag, or any other item not allowed by channel rules.

Swimmers will cycle out every 30 minutes (marked by a siren from the zodiac boats), so that every swimmer completes at least 30 minutes of the relay. Once every swimmer has completed 30 minutes in the water, the order of swimmer changes is at the discretion of the team members. NOTE: There will be no GSS points given to swimmers who participate in a relay.

Both solo categories will be further divided by gender – Male and Female categories.

Relays will have Male, Female, and Mixed categories.



Every solo swimmer or relay team is required to have a motorized support vessel. This support vessel is for the purpose of navigation, nutrition, coaching, and guidance, as well as to assist and evacuate in the event of an emergency.

Support boats for solo swimmers and relays must be large enough to house the remaining swimmers on the relay team and an independent observer. Support vessels must float alongside their swimmer at no less than 1-meter distance, and no more than 10-meter distance. Swimmers may not draft off their support boats, nor may they be towed by their support boats. Solo crossers may not touch their support boats.

In addition to the swimmer support boats, ECEC officials and swim masters will be on a number of zodiacs throughout the course, for oversight and enforcement of rules. There will also be a lead navigation vessel (Large Sailboat), that swimmers and support boats are encouraged to follow. In addition, there will be 2-3 rear guard speed boats that will assist with navigation, and will also be responsible for swimmer safety and evacuations (if needed). If available, OPP Marine Units will also assist with water safety in Canadian waters, and the US and Canadian Coastguard will both be aware of the event.

Solo swimmers will be required to complete a 10km qualifying swim in a maximum time of 4 hours. This qualifying swim must be from an official open water swim from the calendar years 2016 or 2017. Pool swims, or unsanctioned (word of mouth) swims will not count as a qualifying swim. Examples of acceptable events are:

• North Shore Challenge 10km

• Embrace Open Water Festival 10km

• Swim for the Cure 13.8km (a max time for this event of 5h30m)

• King Wolf Swim 10km

• Skaha Lake Ultra Swim 11.8km (a max time for this event of 4h45m)

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