A Song of Redemption

September 10, 2016 - Chicago, IL - One year ago, the race crew and participants of the 25th Annual Big Shoulders Open Water Swim Classic were sorely disappointed when Mother Nature played a terrible trick on them.  She pounded Ohio Street Beach with sheets of rain, 25-40 mph gusts of wind, and worst of all, 8-9 foot waves.  To cap it off, she spun up a waterspout and let it dance across the course during the time the race would have been held.  Fortunately for all, the Chicago Park District Lifeguarding crew had our best interests in sight, and called the race, keeping us all safe and able to swim another day.

Fast forward to this year. For starters, the open water swimming community gave Big Shoulders a mulligan, selling out the 26th running of the race in 2 days.  Then, on September 10, 2016,  the forecast leading up to the race was unsettled, with a 60% chance of rain that morning.  The swimmers and the race volunteers were undaunted, and prepared to push on.  In answer to our prayers, sacrifices and overall rubbing of the worry beads, the heavens delivered a wonderful morning, and the light rain before and after the race did nothing to dampen spirits.  In fact, with calm 70 degree water and a 70 degree air temperature, the swimmers had a perfectly splendid time on Lake Michigan. 

Those brave enough and able to join us on the beach turned in fast times on what was certainly every bit of a 2.5K swim course.  (Some speculate that the Chicago Park District felt bad about last year's cancellation and wanted to make sure everyone got their money's worth).  In the main event, Adam Dawkins turned in another jaw dropping victory with a time of 1:00:59, a full 3 plus minutes ahead of the next fastest competitor.  Craig Frederiksen took second (1:04:10), with Richard Vadivia (1:04:24) rounding out the top 3 with the next 4 swimmers bunched up within 11 seconds of the medal stand. On the women's side of the 5K, Victoria Rian took top honors in 1:08:52, with Adrienne Bicek in second (1:09:25), and Susie Shuck (1:10:02) finishing third.  For the wetsuit division, Chicago Masters' own Bob Lewis won it (1:07.14) with Anthony Colalillo in second (1:07:20) and Patrick Donovan (1:07:24) in third. For the women, Caitlin Madsen cross the line first (1:11:55), Kristen Courtney (1:18:59) was second and Lisa Huff (1:19:54) came in third.

For the 2.5K swim, the men's division's Corey McMeeking won it with a time of 33:28, with Marc Hensel in second and Jim Tuchler in third.  For the women, Liz Dillman (34:00) won it once again, with Erin Tobias in second and Andreea Ianoli in third. The wetsuit winners were Andrew LaValle (32:17) for the men and Jennifer Vallo (39:12) for the women.  

Big Shoulders owes a big thanks to its wonderful volunteers, including Bob Lewis, Rob Ellis, Alison Pease, Casey Platt, Mary Gebhart, Alex Boutov, Mark Caffray, Chris Courtois, Tim Loeffler, Susan Bromberg, Mike Tubb and the Men's and Women's Swim Teams from UIC.  Their willingness to pitch in and help out was invaluable, and their ability to do it with a smile made it a pleasure to be a part of this great event.  

Big Shoulders also owes thanks to its wonderful sponsors: A3, TriSwim, Nature's Fury Sports Drink, Finis, XTERRA Wetsuits, Nature's Path Nutrition bars, SwimTrek, West Superior Training, Kirk Eye Center, Big Shoulders BBQ, Starbucks, Natatometry and Sheean Design.  Without the support of these great companies, we would not be able to put on this event.  Finally, thanks to all those who came out to swim and support the swimmers.  Your enthusiasm, energy, dedication to Big Shoulders and overall love of open water swimming fuels Big Shoulders and keeps it at the top of open water swimming events in the USA.

We hope you will join us next year on September 9, 2017 for the 27th Annual Big Shoulders Open Water Swim Classic. As always, registration will open on March 1, 2017.

Results are available below:

2.5K Age Group     2.5K Overall     2.5K No Wetsuit     2.5K Wetsuit

5K Age Group     5K Overall     5K No Wetsuit     5K Wetsuit


BIG SHOULDERS 2017 will be held on Sept. 9, 2017.  Registration for the event will open on March 1st, 2017 at 10 a.m. CST. To register, visit this link.