The 2nd Annual Jim Whelan Open Water Festival, featuring the 55th Annual Around The Island® Swim, will be held on Sunday, August 1, 2021 in and around Absecon Island, NJ, which is made up of the cities of Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate, and Longport.
Hosted by Green Whales, Inc., the inaugural Jim Whelan Open Water Festival successfully resurrected the historic and challenging 22.75mi/36.6km Around The Island® marathon swim for its 54th installment in 2019 in honor of the late Jim Whelan; a former NJ State Senator, Mayor of Atlantic City, member of the Atlantic City Beach Patrol, Atlantic City teacher, and Atlantic City High School Swim Coach.
"Honoring nostalgia in service to our community."
Through our efforts and the generous support of our sponsors, we continue to accomplish our two main goals:
The history of this legendary marathon swim began back in 1953 when two ACBP members, Ed "Dutch" Stetser and Edward Solitare, made a $100 bet to see who could circumnavigate Absecon Island first. It was Solitare who won, completing the grueling course in 13:30, with Stetser only an hour behind him. Throughout the following half-century, numerous international open water swimming athletes competed in the race, which was eventually called a "world championship ocean marathon."
The Around the Island® current record holder, as documented on marathonswimmers.org, remains Stéphane Gomez, from France, set in 2004 with a time of 6:37.09.
The winners from the 54th Around The Island® Swim in 2019 are:
What will you be doing on Sunday, August 1, 2020? Will you become a part of history? Will you support a worthwhile cause? Do you want to challenge your open water swimming skills? Register to participate in the 2nd Annual Jim Whelan Open Water Festival, featuring the 55th Annual Around The Island® Swim!
The Organizing Committee of the 2nd Annual Jim Whelan Open Water Festival, featuring the 55th Around the Island® Swim, is proud to announce that Marilyn Bell DiLascio, O. Ont., will be appearing as a special guest and official Starter for the legendary open water marathon swim taking place on Sunday August 1, 2021.
Marilyn cemented her place in history in September 1954 as she set a world record for being the first person to swim across Lake Ontario. But it was a few months earlier here in Atlantic City competing in the first organized Around The Island® Swim where she started her marathon swimming career. She became the first woman to complete the course, and at just 16 years of age, shocked spectators as she beat out over half of the seasoned male competitors. Marilyn’s ties to the Around The Island® Swim go even deeper. It was during this race she met her future husband, Joseph “Chip” DiLascio. Chip was one of the ACBP lifeguards she encountered as she was training for the race.
“I’m thrilled that the organizers of the Jim Whelan Open Water Festival have invited me to be a part of the Around The Island® Swim again,” says DiLascio. “This race holds a special place in my heart and it’s a wonderful thing to see it still going strong 67 years after I swam it.”
Marilyn’s numerous awards and honors include induction to Canada Sports Hall of Fame, Ontario Aquatic Hall of Fame, International Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame and, most recently, the International Swimming Hall of Fame. She is the recipient of the Order Of Ontario and some years ago Toronto, the city of her birth, welcomed her to Marilyn Bell Park on the shore of Lake Ontario, where she completed her swim in 1954. Marilyn continues to mentor and encourage open water swimmers from around the world, always emphasizing the importance of safe swimming practice for the swimmers and their support teams.
“Our motto for the race is ‘honoring nostalgia in service to our community.’ What Marilyn’s accomplished during both her swimming career and personal life certainly embodies this and we’re so honored to have her join us,” says Green Whales, Inc. trustee Melissa Peticolas.
Marilyn Bell DiLascio, O. Ont.
*Participants wearing wetsuits are not eligible for awards/prizes or GSS points.
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