Stuff for Swimmers


Below is a message from our Medical Director, Dr. Steve:

The current forecast looks fairly good for this week, with the weekend forecast looking a bit dicey. It’s best to be prepared. Here are some tips to ensure that your race goes well:

- If you have time, head over to the Ohio Street Beach sometime between now and Saturday morning to get in for a nice, mellow swim and test it out. There will be a group doing just that on Friday from 4:30-6:00 PM, then heading over to the pre-race dinner.

- On race day, come prepared for all conditions. You should bring what you need to stay warm. There is medical coverage on the beach, but the resources are limited. Don’t anticipate that the medical staff will have an extra dry towel for you.

- Bring warm liquids to drink before and after the race. As of right now, there will not be coffee available on the beach this year, so it is important that you have your own supply.

- Bring extra towels. If the water is cool, you should have a second dry towel to use to keep warm after the race if needed.

- Bring a pair of sweats, jackets, hats, etc. to change into after the race. Hopefully it will be a great day and you’ll be able to wear shorts and a t-shirt, but not being prepared can cause you to become hypothermic. With that in mind, it is a good idea to get out of your suit within ten minutes after the race. The full body suits will hold the cold water against your body and act to rapidly drop your core temperature.

- Other things to consider: while it may seem counter-intuitive, skip a warm up if the water is colder than what you are used to. While it may warm you up in the few minutes you are in the water, you are likely to get cold standing around wet and waiting for your wave to start. Instead of warming up in the water, think about doing it on the beach, like running in place, running on the beach, etc.

- For the race you may want to wear two caps, (the outer one must be the colored one we give you unless you have a latex allergy and have cleared with us what cap you’ll need.) Consider using a pair of wax ear plugs to keep the cold water out of your ear canal. Even if you feel cold when you get in the water know that once you get going you will warm up, just like in a pool. Chances are, you will be fine during your swim, and you are most likely to feel the effects of the cold after getting out.

Keeping these things in mind and being prepared for any scenario will allow you to have a safe and fun race on Saturday. Good luck!

Steve Hartsock, M.D.

Big Shoulders Medical Director

Race Day Check-In

All swimmers are required to check in, pick up their ankle chip for timing, get your t-shirt, and smile before the race starts. Check-in opens at 6:30, and will close by 7:40. A mandatory (yes, MANDATORY) race talk will be at 7:45 where we

describe the course, any hazards, safety, etc. Race starts at 8 am.


Parking will be available at 321 E. Erie for a reduced rate. Pick up a discount ticket at the announcer’s tent to get the reduced rate that is good until noon.

Wave Starts

Swimmers are sent off in waves.  An example of the waves and times from a prior year are as follows:

Time Wave       Group                                   Cap Color
8:00 1st Wave  Top 50 Elite 5K Swimmers     Pink
8:04 2d Wave  18-30 year old 5K Swimmers  White
8:08 3d Wave  31-40 year old 5K Swimmers  Orange
8:12 4th Wave 41-46 year old 5K Swimmers  Green
8:16 5th Wave 47-52 year old 5K Swimmers  Purple
8:20 6th Wave 53 & Over 5K Swimmers         Red
8:24 7th Wave 45 & Under 2.5K Swimmers    Blue
8:28 8th Wave 46 & Over 2.5K Swimmers      Silver


The race begins at Ohio Street Beach next to Olive Park.  Access the beach by leaving Lake Shore Drive from North or South at Grand/Illinois exit and going toward the lake. Park at Navy Pier

Map shows course used for the past several years. One lap around course = 2.5k, two laps =5k swim. Course is subject to change depending upon race day conditions.

The Map:

course_map.gif (14116 bytes)

Aerial view of the course:

Big Shoulders