10th Annual Potomac River Swim

Undeterred by rain, 20 knot winds, and cold, 28 swimmers stroked their way across the Potomac River from Hull Neck, Virginia to Point Lookout, Maryland on Saturday, May 31, 2003. The Tenth Annual Potomac River Swim featured French and English swimmers as well as two who traveled from Seattle and Los Angeles. Eight swimmers haled from New York city.

Swimmers stepped into the 62-degree water at 9:00AM after being transported across the river on the Dee of St. Mary’s, a restored skipjack piloted by Jack and Viki Russell. The swimmers started after a quick photo and 33 kayakers, many from the Chesapeake Paddlers, jockeyed for position as they searched for their assigned swimmers. The calm waters soon became rougher as the Coast Guard warned of approaching storms. Bob Astheimer a 5-time winner of the Potomac Swim took the lead closely followed by Allison Thomson and Trish Lane, whose new shop, Patuxent Adventure Center, provided loaner kayaks for the swim. At 11:20AM a strong 20-knot wind from the South blew, helping the swimmers achieve fast times but also producing some 2 – 3 foot waves. At 11:53AM, the first swimmer, Bob Astheimer, emerged in a record time of 2 hr 32 min. He was closely followed by Allison Thomson, with a time of 2 hr 35 Min and Trish Lane in 2 hr 39 min. The first non-wetsuit finisher was Scott Lautman, of Seattle, in a time of 2 hr 46 min. The final finisher was Joe Stewart, founder of the Potomac River Swim and race director for years: 1994 – 2001, who completed this year’s swim in 4 hr 33 min. Two swimmers, who decided not to complete the swim, were transported to the finish, by the Coast Guard and volunteer boaters from the Chesapeake Whalers.

After the swim, a lunch prepared by the Potomac River Association and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, was enjoyed by all participants. One swimmer who experienced hypothermia was treated by the Ridge Fire and Rescue Squad and recovered after 30 minutes. Many thanks are owed to the numerous volunteers and organizations who helped make the swim possible. Included in that group are: Bob Aitcheson, Christina & Frank Allen, Bob Boxwell, Bruce Breon, Joann A Brislin, Charles County Dive & Rescue, Chesapeake Bay Field Lab, Inc., Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Paddlers, Curtis Dalpra, Dee of St. Mary’s, Emma & Pat Feeney, Cathie & Tommy Gardner, Hale House, Kurt & Gwyn Hein, Interstate Comm on the Potomac River Basin, Erik Jansson, Harry & Mildred Kriemelmeyer, Dudley Lindsley, MD Natural Resources Police, Millie Fletcher & Trinity Parish Hall Volunteers, Emily Morse, Rich Bourgerie of NOAA, Patuxent Adventure Center, Patuxent Friends, Point Lookout State Park, Potomac River Association, Ridge Fire & Rescue, Cynthia Ross, Scheible’s Motel, June & Robin Shaffer, Scott Leidig & the Chesapeake Boston Whalers, the Southern Maryland Sierra Club, Meryem Tangoren-Masood, US Coast Guard, and John & Georgia Wheeler.

Swimmers raised pledges totaling $12,000 and the top fundraisers were: Gilles Chalandon $1295, Chris Swensen $736, Orin McCluskey $575, Allison Thomson $540, Randy Ross $495, Nick Olmos-Lau $375, and Meryem Tangoren-Masood $350. After expenses, all proceeds will be distributed equally to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Potomac River Association, the Southern Maryland Sierra Club, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, and Point Lookout State Park.

Next year’s swim will take place on June 5, 2004. Please join us next year for another successful event. For more information see our website: http://www.crosslink.net/~cherylw/pr2004i.htm or contact Cheryl Wagner, cherylw@crosslink.net , 202-387-2361 H, 202-874-0614 W, 202-478-0948 FAX.

Potomac Swim May 31, 2003 Results

1. Bob Astheimer 49 (WS) 2:32:30 Alexandria, VA
2. Allison Thomson 27 (WS) 2:35:50 Takoma Park, MD
3. Trish Lane 41 (WS) 2:39:30 Lusby, MD
4. Alicia Watson 23 (WS) 2:42:50 Newark, DE
5. Chris Swensen 44 (WS) 2:45:30 Crofton, MD
6. Scott Lautman 50 (no WS) 2:46:10 (1st non-wetsuit finisher) Seattle, WA
7. Steve Taylor 36 (WS) 2:52:30 Springfield, VA
8. Patrick Ryan 44 (WS) 2:53:00 Richmond, VA
9. Gilles Chalandon 46 (no WS) 3:00:50 (2nd non-wetsuit finisher) New York, NY
10. Neil Ashcroft 41 (no WS) 3:10:30 (3rd non-wetsuit finisher) New York, NY
11. Bonnie Schwartz 23 (no WS) 3:11:30 New York, NY
12. Mike Maier 41 (no WS) 3:32:30 Ellington, CT
13. Sue Wilkinson 49 (WS) 3:33:00 Fairfax, VA
14. Michael Murphy 44 (WS) 3:35:52 Baltimore, MD
15. Beth Watson 41 (no WS) 3:37:05 Alexandria, VA
16. Ajae Clearway 31 (no WS) 3:41:11 Brooklyn, NY
17. Tim Foxen 42 (no WS) 3:42:29 Minneapolis, MN
18. Tom Kohlmeier 51 (WS) 3:43:28 Fairfax, VA
19. Alan Pollin 56 (WS) 3:43:42 Potomac, MD
20. Orin McCluskey 52 (no WS) 3:47:58 New York, NY
21. Henry Eckstein 55 (no WS) 3:59:03 New York, NY
22. Neil Gehrels 50 (WS) 4:01:33 Berwyn Heights, MD
23. Cristian Vergara 44 (no WS) 4:01:42 Brooklyn, NY
24. Larry Murphy 38 (WS) 4:02:02 Falls Church, VA
25. Joe Thompson 40 (Ws) 4:07:50 Greenville, SC
26. Frank Stewart 51 (WS) 4:12:52 Los Angeles, CA
27. Susan Yeomans 54 (WS) 4:22:49 New York, NY
28. Joe Stewart 56 (no WS) 4:33:38 Baltimore, MD

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