Official Results - Updated 10/3/2010

5K Longcourse Results

2.5K Shortcourse Results

Click here for Big Shoulders 2010 Pictures


BIG SHOULDERS 2010: Race Committee Message

The Big Shoulders Committee wants to give a big thanks to all of our swimmers who braved the cold and the rain to participate in BIG SHOULDERS XX! And thanks to the hundreds who turned out to cheer on their friends and families in a nasty drizzling rain.

Thanks also to our many spectacular sponsors who make the event possible, including H2OPEN, Chicago Park District, Speedo, Triswim, Izze, Blueseventy, Ultraswim, Awards and More, Inc., Stewarts Coffee, Muscle Milk, Hammer Nutrition, Superior Ambulance Service, Advanced Occupational Medicine Specialists, All American Swim Supply, Quench Gum, Sheean Design, Kirk Eye Center, MOX Multisport, XTerra Wetsuits, Kast-a-way Swimwear, Walter's Swim Supplies, Inc, Finis, UrbanTriGear, Gold Bond Ultimate, and HumanLabs.

We also want to recognize what has been a decade of efforts by our website crew. They have dutifully posted the updates, and done a great job coming up with the witty and unique write ups of the swim when the race committee was too wiped out the day after the race to peck out a synopsis.

Finally, be sure to join us in 2011 for The 21st Annual Chicago Masters' BIG SHOULDERS 5K & 2.5K Open Water Swim Classic set for 9/10/11!

Many thanks,

The Big Shoulders Race Committee


BIG SHOULDERS 2010: A View From The Beach

Barging In, Bouncing Around, Bowing Out… Gracefully

Big Shoulders Twenty Ten was the twentieth version of our mid-country classic, affectionately known as the world's most architecturally significant race. After twenty years of speeding and sloshing around the big orange cones in Lake Michigan at the foot of the Hancock, our swimmers were hardly fazed by the Big Weather that came barging in… or, for that matter, the Big Barge off to the side of the course. Of all times and all places, why right there, right then, a spectacle near our swimming path - a Big Barge on the Backstretch? From appearances, it was a one-time city project and was gone the next day. No problem for Big Shoulders aficionados; we'll enjoy the view and be on our way!

The Bouncing came courtesy of Tropical Storm Hermine, the remnants of which made their way up from Texas to dampen our morning but not our spirits. Fifty degree air temps, sixty three in the water, howling winds and driving rains greeted us as we arrived for 8:00 AM launch time, with many wondering why they bothered to get out of bed. Would there be lightening? Would we cancel? Everyone wondered and speculated as race organizers did a terrific job of hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

Amongst the aggregation of hoods, parkas, rain gear and goofy hats, one figure towers above and provides reassurance: Race Director Chris Sheean. Piloting the race to solid growth over the past two decades, Chris again demonstrated his experience and calm demeanor to sooth worries over barges and weather. He still exemplifies the spirit of Big Shoulders by swimming with the rest of us around the course.

For Big Shoulders' twentieth year, race entry was capped at 800, though many had a look at the forecast and conditions Saturday morning then decided to pull those covers a little higher and stay put. Final tally of participants for the 5K was 394, while the 2.5K was 174. Those are 568 tough customers. Rumor has it Race Founder and Olympic Gold Medalist Bill Mulliken made his cameo appearance and was glad to see the spirit of the race endure all environmental conditions.

Lets take a tour of the course conditions. Cold water characterized this day as southerly storm winds whisked the remnants of warm water off the surface and allowed for cold water "upwelling". Around lap one, waves bounced us as the storm raged and the driving rain was unrelenting. On the first stretch, turn one was choppy and the bounce didn't quit along the backstretch, past the barge and around chop corner. "I felt like I was breathing and eating rain", said all-butterfly swimmer Tom Boettcher.

1980 Olympic Swim Team member David Sims noticed, "This year’s race was not only physically more exhausting but was also mentally more exhausting. It was very hard to see the guy swimming 2-3’ to your side and to see the seaweed on the 1st/4th leg. I found it required a far higher degree of concentration just to maintain a rhythm and stay on course, let alone race!" David cited communion with the great physicist Newton and his Third Law, observing that course spotting required 2x as many head lifts, which in turn required, "a lot more leg action which in turn led to massive leg cramping and the occasional breaststroke. " Sims described a "feeling of disorientation from being rolled around in the waves. There were so many racers who had lost total control of their bodies and stood shivering, with teeth chattering and half-filled cups of hot coffee spilling all over their fingers. I was never so miserable and so happy at the same time in all my life."

Swimmers swerved left and right in concert with the waves. Those large orange course markers looked rather small from a distance. Many switched to breaststroke to spot the course, and several even flipped over for some backstroke. Perennial superstar and Big Shoulders lifer George Wendt noticed that conditions calmed a bit on lap two and helpful waves brought us home along the ledge as the southerly winds died down a bit. Comparing benchmark times from last year's race to this year's, the stormy conditions exacted an approximately 15% tax on our times but perhaps far more upon our weathered bodies.

Speaking of times, what a time our regulars had. For the once-around 2.5K, sprint champ Dave Ackerman swam a blistering 36:55… so fast there was steam pouring off his back with Marc Hensel and Phil Dodson rounding out the top three. Alexandra Nieto won the 2.5K for the women, with Karrie Wright and Alison Croucher in second and third. Top wetsuit times for the men over 2.5K were Stefan Timms, Chris Sheean and Marty Moran, while the top female finishers were Sarah Mulligan, Marissa Sindelar and Lyndsay Whitfield. Special tip of the hat to Phil Dodson for being one consistently tough character as he taught swimmers half his age how to really move. Likewise to George Wendt, who rises above the conditions every year to dominate the course. A wise course seer, his post-race assessment always hits the nail on the head for currents, waves and winds.

Speaking of 5K results, let's get right to it: the overall 5K Big Shoulders Champion for 2010 was Charles Rimkus in a time of 1:06:17, with Adam Dawkins a few seconds behind and Chris Clarke in third. Emily Hanson surprised us with a gutsy win over Olympian Erica Rose in a time of 1:08:43 with Erica five seconds back and Victoria Rian in third. What a finish for both the men and women, proving that even on the worst of days, Big Shoulders swimmers are the best of competitors! Top 5K wetsuit finishers were Dave Pushka, Lee Meyer and Joseph Novotny for the men and Stephanie Thomas, Mary Bradbury and Laurie McQuaid for the women. As always, everyone who dipped a toe and gave it a shot on this blustery cold and torrential day deserves acknowledgement, a warm drink and a decent post-race massage.

Awareness of Big Shoulders as a classic competition grows each year yet still retains its home-town, friendly, hearty feel. Our race was mentioned as part of a Wall Street Journal feature on long distance butterfly swimming that focused on the broad trend of core emphasis in stroke mechanics. Said extreme butterfly pioneer Tom Boettcher of his eleventh all-butterfly swim, "My core was working, I negative split the second lap, but neglected to sign up for the Big Barge Architectural Tour".

Laurie Tanimura typically dressed in ski parka and hat more reminiscent of a day at the slopes rather than a spin around the lake; then donned a wetsuit to be toasty warm for the race. At 63 degrees, many nay-sayers converted from die hard bare-skinners and donned wetsuits as necessary equipment for thermal protection. Big Shoulders regular Dennis Miller was back again for a once-around. Northwestern's Dr. Bernice came back for a second year of the 2.5K, demonstrating the expanding trend of adult-onset competitive swimming. Thanks to great tips from Race Medical Director Dr. Steve Hartsock, only a few experienced some effects from the cold but noone was worse for the wear. Some noticed that muscle cramping was a factor during the race, and there was a warming station for afterwards as well as great rescue capacity from Chicago Fire Department and dive team.

This year's race boasted a few other pleasant "barges" on its horizon, perhaps portends of things to come. First, the Northwestern Swim Team showed up for a hearty swim.... perhaps we might see a collegiate showdown in the future? Our little barge was the first ever Little Shoulders race. David Sims noted, "They looked like they were having so much fun despite the lousy conditions. The thought of jumping in to a cold lake on a cold morning would send most kids home crying but not this hearty energetic bunch, who found it exhilarating. Nevertheless, it made me wish I had done that when I was a kid. I can only imagine how Big Shoulders will grow in the years to come as a whole new generation of open water swimmers is being spawned in the waters off Ohio Street Beach."

Paul Moniak's good-natured crew of UIC swimmers once again proved themselves vital to the cause and fun to have around - a welcome dash of youthful energy on a stormy day. Chicago Parks District guards proved reliable, and our thanks extends as always to the countless volunteers and sponsors who truly make Big Shoulders possible and form the foundation of support for our swimming community. Sponsors for 2010: H2OPEN, Chicago Park District, Speedo, Triswim, Izze, Blueseventy, Ultraswim, Awards and More, Inc., Stewarts Coffee, Muscle Milk, Hammer Nutrition, Superior Ambulance Service, Advanced Occupational Medicine Specialists, All American Swim Supply, Quench Gum, Sheean Design, Kirk Eye Center, MOX, XTerra Wetsuits, Kast-a-way Swimwear, Walter's Swim Supplies, Inc, Finis, UrbanTriGear, Gold Bond Ultimate, and HumanLabs

Finally, during this commemorative twentieth year of Big Shoulders, who would not notice that our race date coincided with the tenth anniversary of 9/11. We all quietly remembered the sad day in our nation's history as well as the fortitude of our emergency responders and courageous citizens.

Many race guests from far and near gathered Saturday evening under the soaring gables of Millennium Park to welcome the Lyric Opera's upcoming season. Amidst Puccini's arias and Mozart's overtures, we all bid this classic Chicago day goodbye in classic fashion until next year... barging in, but bowing out gracefully.