Official Results


5K Longcourse Results

2.5K Shortcourse Results




Another year of Big Shoulders in the books, but all those who participated know that this year’s event was truly special. The conditions were completely flawless – a sunny, cloudless sky, water temperature of 78 degrees, air temperature of 75 degrees, and water as smooth as glass. Thanks to Lakeshore Athletic Services, Big Shoulders made the technological leap to Champion Chip timing for the first time, with all swimmers’ times registered electronically. In addition, Big Shoulders made the move from Sunday to Saturday. The number of participants reflected the conditions, and served notice that Big Shoulders continues to grow in size and popularity. This year, 353 swimmers signed up to participate in the 5k and 2.5k events. Thanks to this record turnout, a record amount of money was raised to help support the men’s and women’s swim teams at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The additional swimmers and perfect conditions contributed to a significantly faster winning time, and faster times throughout the age group divisions. Chris Yontez of Los Angeles crossed the finish line fastest overall, with a time of 59:17, followed closely by Jim Barber (59:43) of Zionsville, IN and Chicago Masters’ own Bill Winters (1:01:14). Liz Dillman finished first on the women’s side, and fourth overall, at 1:01:27, with Nadine Day (1:02:12) of Danville, IL and Kelly Perry (1:03:01) of St. Charles, IL completing the top three spots. Some of the amazing stories to come out of this race were not the finishing times, but the racers themselves. Congratulations to all of the first time competitors of Big Shoulders, who were able to set and meet their goal of finishing an open water swim. They are an inspiration, and the new blood that keeps this sport growing.

Big Shoulders’ continued success is due in large part to the totally professional and unparalleled job performed by the Chicago Park District lifeguarding crew. Thanks to their support, Big Shoulders has been a model of safety for open water swimming. Big Shoulders must also thank the continued support of its sponsors, Infolocus, Kiefer, Gatorade, AdRoc, The Shamrock Companies, Chicago Amateur Athlete, Vertel’s and Balance Bar. Thanks also to the volunteers, including the many swimmers from UIC Men’s and Women’s Swim Teams.

Have a great year of training, and we hope to see you all back next year for BIG SHOULDERS 2003 on September 6, 2003. Check back to our website, for more information on next year’s race. Please also submit photos from the event that we may post on the site. Send your photos to

A View from the Beach...
the faces of Big Shoulders 2002

Faces. The Faces of Big Shoulders 2002… this year they were smiling faces. What more could we ask for? The weather was right and Lake Michigan decided to present itself at face value, holding no mysteries for 2002 Big Shoulders swimmers. The surface water temp was warm, welcoming, and consistent all the way around. No cold water inversions at far corner one, no choppy swirls at corner two.

Out of more than 350 swimmers, the Biggest of Shoulders yet, what kind of faces did we see?

Consistent faces: near as we can figure, and this is just “off the cuff”- Lauri Tanamura and George Wendt are the only two who have swum all twelve Big Shoulders, but plenty of familiar faces were back …Bill Mulliken, Chris Sheean, Tom Boettcher, Jennifer Jacobs, John Martin, Russ Hefner, Dave Ackerman, Phil Dodsen, Dennis Miller, etc etc. Pam Patterson handled logistics with a host of characters that included her Mom and Dad, the UIC Swim Team with coaches Paul Moniak and Ina Harizanova, Amy Smith, Jenny Bierbaum, Tim Kelly, Boyd Black, Bill Gray, Mark Jaeger, Kathleen Pisula, Mara Weil, Lee Carry, Chicago Parks District, and the list goes on…

Winning Faces: Our overall winner came from LA, the locus of Face Power, where first impressions are everything. And impress us he did, with a powerful sub-hour swim.

Facing Fly: The Butterfly Guy, Tom Boettcher, was back for yet another 5K all butterfly. Ho hum, it's just part of Big Shoulders now.

Facing Up: Word has it that a mysterious swimmer decided to flip over and really enjoy the fabulous architecture, completing the 5K all backstroke. Now the Big Shoulders IM Team can be assembled -- Founder and 1960 Olympic Gold Medalist Bill Mulliken has completed the 5K all breaststroke, we have our backstroker now, Boettcher covers the butterfly, and we have loads of freestylers.

Dog faces: New additions such as Cathy Gray’s Pal came sniffing around our ankle timing bracelets looking for food or fun. And what of this weird new science, the ankle timing bracelet? Seemed to work fine for everyone. Some of us remember grabbing Popsicle sticks as we trudged through that finish shoot sand. Ah, the face of change as Big Shoulders faces the future.

Facing Inward: After all the hellos and reunions of old friends, everyone had to get their “game face” on, calling upon reserves of strength and determination to complete their own little miracles. Just ask yourselves how many people in the entire world have ever completed a fresh water 5 kilometer swim…its no small feat.

Onlookers’ faces: Everyone prepping for the LaSalle marathon had a chance to run by and appreciate a sport truly removed from the common human experience. Imagine the esoteric nature of propelling one’s own mammalian mass through water. Why, 100 years ago the whole idea of competitive aerobic power swimming was all but nonexistent. Now look at us – we are charting new ground in human behavior, challenging our arms, legs, lungs and minds!

Face it, Chicago’s Big Shoulders is one special race, with plenty of characters putting on their best faces in and out of the water each year. For you first timers, we are glad to have you. Next year, c’mon back, join our legions of familiar faces and bring a few more along. Big Shoulders always has room for one more swimmer ready to go face to face with Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago.

Thanks again for your continued support of Big Shoulders

The Chicago Masters' Big Shoulders Swim
Organizing Committee