Official Results


5K Longcourse Results

2.5K Shortcourse Results

Click here for Big Shoulders 2005 Pictures

A View From the Beach

If you happened to be walking by the Ohio Street Basin early Saturday afternoon, and you noticed all the pleasure boats crammed in the waters below the mighty Hancock, you might have a hard time believing that just a few hours previous the place was crawlin’ with swimmers. 572, to be exact, for the triumphant celebration of Big Shoulders Number 15, which happened to include a USMS Championship designation for the 2.5 K distance along with the traditional 5 K monster.

In general, change was the operative word for Big Shoulders as swimmers adjusted to staggered heats and even the nifty opportunity to run ashore for a 2.5 K split before finishing lap two of the 5 K race. Now would one call that a swim-run-swim? A biathlon? A crazy sight? What about the enthusiasm of the big purple team and their special camaraderie on race day. Big Shoulders does love surprises.

There still prevails a feeling of familiarity to Big Shoulders, but simultaneously no doubt of the event’s national prominence. It is no longer surprising to hear of swimmers fresh off the plane from San Francisco, Washington DC or New York just for the weekend. How could anyone go wrong? We have a premier race in a beautiful, clean city with plenty to do. As Bill Mulliken says, in a phrase we are still waiting for him to trademark, Big Shoulders is “the world’s most architecturally significant race”!

The Lake Michigan waters were decently warm. East/south east winds created surface turbulence across the water, whipping up some choppy soup off turn two and right down the backstretch. Swimmers didn’t do themselves any favors by staying close to that wall today. This is the nature of open water swimming.

Most swimmers agreed those new bright big orange buoys were money well spent. The course was easy to site from the water, if not easy to navigate for the currents. Three cheers once again to Chris Sheean, Pam, Peggy, Boyd and all the volunteers that continually help make this race terrific every year, even when the going gets tedious and time consuming. It’s these familiar folk, including the Department of Parks and Recreation and the lifeguards, that offer Big Shoulders the continuity necessary to grow with class and style.

Speaking of familiar faces, several of our tried and true performers came back for yet another twice-around to maintain their perfect streak of consecutive 15 BS swims since the race’s onset. These include George Wendt, Dennis Miller, Laurie Tanamura, Tim Kelly and Dr. Dave Heinz. Our resident dentist, Dennis Miller surprised us all with the happy loss of 35 extra pounds of carry-on baggage for his Big Shoulders trip. Lacking the extra thermal protection but looking svelte and trim, rumor has it Dennis is up for an Ocean Pacific bathing suit ad sometime soon.

In the sheer torture department, Tom Boettcher completed his seventh consecutive Big Shoulders all butterfly. In going toe to toe with Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France wins, Big Shoulders fixture Boettcher answered one of the typical pre-race questions – is the “fly guy” back again this year? One man was heard commenting “My God, he looks just like a porpoise. Its rhythmic, its beautiful.” French bicycling officials attended the race to test Boettcher for porpoise extract, but apparently his urine sample was dispensed somewhere along the second lap. Big Shoulders sponsor HumanLabs affixed some strange monitoring device to Boettcher’s head, but his general body feedback one day after the race was, “I feel like I’ve been hit with the Michigan Ave. 147 bus.” Consistency was the order of the day, as Dan Projansky came back for his second year of a butterfly performance. His training regimen is incorporated into the great coaching job he does up in Evanston, encouraging others to take on the butterfly.

Once again, without reservation, we all owe a big round of applause to the faithful volunteers and sponsors that keep Big Shoulders growing and striving. Chris Sheean is the focal point of a proud group that has overseen a tripling of race attendance in the last five years. Some volunteers also swim the race, some stay dry, some skip a year, but when you look under the tents and around the announcers tables, you see faces you recognize and humans who deserve a tip of the hat. Under the auspices of Chicago Masters, Big Shoulders has become a Chicago institution. Its no secret that this year’s Big Shoulders, the 15th, was both classy and fun; just what we look for each September and why we keep coming back. Can anyone imagine what #25 might be like?

The Big Shoulders Website Gang