(July 18, 2014) Ocean Games is back with its second annual Swim Ocean City, taking swimmers through a one-, three- or nine-mile course along the resort’s shoreline tomorrow, July 19.
New this year, the East Coast SUP CUP will run in conjunction with the swim, giving paddle boarders a chance to participate in the annual event. Both will take place in cooperation with the Ocean City Beach Patrol and Coast Guard.
Race Director Corey Davis found the inspiration for the fundraiser event through his own campaigns to raise money for Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Brain Rehabilitation Program, which helped him recover after a motorcycle accident left him in a coma several years ago.
“I had friends sponsor me (for bay swims and bike rides) to give money to my doctor’s program so her program could help people such as me with traumatic brain injuries,” the Berlin resident said. “Then it ended up blowing up to what we did last year. It became an actual event.”
More than 160 people took to the water for the inaugural swim and Davis presented a $10,000 check to Johns Hopkins as a result.
“I was very happy with the turnout,” he said.
Swim Ocean City offers swimmers three options: a one-, three- or nine-mile course. Because of the challenges of the longer swims, participants must pre-register online for the three- and nine-mile races and provide documentation of completing long swims before race day. All nine-mile swimmers must have an individual kayak for nutritional and safety support and attend a safety briefing the night before the race.
Registration for the one-mile and paddleboard races begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 9:30 a.m. at North Division Street on race day. Bananas, bagels and coffee will be provided.
A welcome ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. with a special performance of the national anthem. Then at 10 a.m., the nine-mile swimmers enter the water.
For swimmers in the one- and three-mile races, there will be a mandatory safety briefing at 10:15 a.m. by Ocean City Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin. Buses will then carry swimmers to their starting marks for the swim launching at noon.
All three swims will run parallel to the shoreline and follow the direction of the current on race day. For example, if the current is running north-to-south, the nine-mile race will take swimmers from 146th Street down to North Division Street, Davis said. There will be time restrictions for each race and safety buoys approximately every 1,500 yards.
Buses will be on hand to carry swimmers from their finish lines back to race headquarters on North Division Street, where there will be food and drinks for sale and live entertainment all day during and after the races.
There will be an awards ceremony with trophies and goody bags for first through third place in several categories and all participants take home a commemorative T-shirt, Davis said.
Down at the inlet, the SUP CUP takes place the same day, offering two events on one course — an elite sprint and an open, recreational race for all board sizes, skill levels and ages.
The recreational race is about two miles long and takes paddle boarders on two laps around the course that runs parallel to the beach. It is open to all levels and ages. The elite race is a four-lap, more grueling challenge for professional and skilled paddle boarders, said SUP CUP Race Director Sandy Deeley.
“We’ll have racers that compete from all over the country,” he said. “There’s no other paddleboard event like it on the east coast. We’re mirroring the Battle of the Paddle event from California.”
The race takes paddlers around a four-lap course with a beach start. They will travel out around the ocean course and back to the beach with a beach run between each lap.
There will be trophies for first through third place in six divisions and prizes including custom carbon fiber paddles, technical gear, technical clothing and hydration systems, Deeley said.
The East Coast SUP CUP will also raise money for John Hopkins and is the middle stopping point of the Ocean City three-race series and a Mid-Atlantic SUP Racing Association points event.
Davis hopes both events will “bring awareness to everyone to let them know how preventable brain injuries are.”
After his 2007 accident, doctors told him he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. That’s when he reached out to Dr. Kate Kortte, director of Johns Hopkins’ Outpatient NeuroRehabilitation Program.
With Kortte’s help, Davis has since completed a serious of races, including a 100-mile bike ride and multi-mile swim in the Chesapeake Bay, all to raise money for the rehabilitation program.
With participation far exceeding his hopes for the inaugural 2013 Swim Ocean City event, he hopes to see even more swimmers take to the water this year.
Registration for Swim Ocean City, taking place tomorrow, July 19, costs $45 for the one-mile race, $95 for the three-mile race and $250 for the nine-mile competition.
Registration for the recreational SUP CUP race costs $35 and the elite race costs $50.
After the races, swimmers will gather for a post-race party at Seacrets on 49th Street, where participants and their families will enjoy live music, door prizes, a cash bar and light refreshments. Various race vendors and sponsors will be on site at the after-party.
Visit www.oceancityswimevent.com for more information on the swim and paddleboard events.