Monthly Archives: August 2013

AP: Man swims to Detroit hauling brick-laden dinghies

Here’s a story you don’t hear about everyday. It was written by The Associated Press’ Mike Householder.

CLAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The Shark is in the water. And he will be for a while.

Jim DreyerLong-distance swimmer Jim Dreyer, who calls himself “The Shark,” jumped into Lake St. Clair near the Michigan-Canada border on Monday morning to begin what he hopes will be a 22-mile success story — all while hauling a ton of bricks.

The soon-to-be-50-year-old planned to come ashore 30 hours later on Tuesday afternoon at Detroit’s Belle Isle to greet fans, well-wishers and representatives of Habitat for Humanity, the charity that inspired Dreyer to undertake his latest swim.

He was just beyond the one-third point at 7:45 p.m. EDT Monday, a monitoring system showed, and spokeswoman and friend Katrina Murphy said he texted her that he was doing fine.

A 22-mile swim across Lake St. Clair is like a dip in the water for a guy who has direct crossings of all five Great Lakes under his swim belt.

So to make it interesting, Dreyer is carrying two dinghies filled with 334 bricks. And he’s swimming solo without a support boat.

At a weight of 6 pounds per brick, the motivational speaker from Byron Center, Mich., is towing more than 2,000 pounds behind him. Dreyer calls it his “train of pain.”

After his crew of three loaded up the dinghies with bricks, food, drink and other essentials for the trip Monday morning, Dreyer waded out into the waters off of the Clinton River Boat Club in Clay Township near Algonac.

He donned his wetsuit, took a group photo and the crew affixed the dinghies to Dreyer’s ankles. He then looked in the distance, gazing at the Renaissance Center towers that comprise General Motors’ headquarters.

“Next stop, Detroit,” he said, before hitting the water to the delight of the onlookers who had gathered to see him get started.

Dreyer is swimming with a GPS tracking device that will post his position online. It also comes equipped with a messaging system that allows him to communicate with the outside world.

At the touch of a button, Dreyer can send out three pre-programmed messages.

One lets his crew know he’s OK. A second tells them he’s not and to send a boat to his position. A third shows that he’s in a life-threatening situation and requires immediate assistance from the Coast Guard.

He’s been in tough situations before, overcoming high waves during his 60-mile crossing of Lake Superior and falling ill, vomiting repeatedly and dropping 20 pounds while swimming across Lake Huron.

He feels better about his chances for this swim.

Dreyer has been preparing since October, doing strength training, completing 20-mile swims and at one point towing a 6,000-pound boat in the water.

“I’m confident that if anyone on this planet can do this, it’s me,” Dreyer said with a smile.

Water temperatures are expected to remain in the 68- to 71-degree range, which pleased Dreyer, and he’s hoping the weather remains calm.

The holder of a number of world records for endurance swimming, Dreyer said he expects to set one this time around for longest distance swimming while towing a ton of bricks — a record that doesn’t currently exist.

“Nobody has ever pulled a ton of bricks any distance,” he said. “Pretty surprising, right?”

Records aside, Dreyer’s true motivation is Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, with whom he has helped fund building projects for up to 75 affiliates through his swim fundraising, called the Cornerstone Strength SwimCampaign.

Engraved commemorative bricks, including the bricks towed by Dreyer, are being sold to support the building project of the purchaser’s choice.

As for what’s next on Dreyer’s agenda following the “ton of bricks swim,” he’s not saying just yet.

“I’m always coming up with these crazy ideas,” he said.

USA DQ’d in 400 medley relay after claiming gold

USA’s 400 medley relay was disqualified after winning the gold medal at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday.

Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian anchored the relay in the freestyle, going 46.69 on his split. Matt Grevers gave the Americans the lead in the backstroke, and newcomer Kevin Cordes swam the breaststroke. It was Cordes, however, who left early off the exchange and raised the red flag by the judges. Lochte kept the U.S. in the lead and Adrian blew away the rest of the field on the finishing leg.

France won the gold in 3:31.51, followed by Russia in 3:31.64 and Japan in 3:32.26.

The U.S.’s time was 3:30.06.

Nathan Adrian denied medal in 50 free at worlds

Nathan Adrian finished just off the medal stand with a fourth-place finish in the 50-meter freestyle at the FINA World Swimming Championships Saturday.

Adrian clocked a time of 21.60 seconds, off his personal best of 21.47 from earlier this year.

Brazil’s Cesar Cielo won the sprint free in 21.32 to claim his third world championship in the event. Russia’s Vlad Morozov earned the silver (21.47) and George Bovell of Trinidad was a surprise third (21.51).

Olympic champion Florent Manaudou of France placed fifth (21.64) and American Anthony Ervin (21.65), South Africa’s Roland Schoeman (21.85) and Fred Bousquet of France (21.93) rounded out the top eight.

Nathan will have one more chance to win a gold medal at the meet, in Sunday’s 400 medley relay.

Video: Press conference from 100 free final at worlds

Here’s the medalists video press conference, via, from the 100 free final at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona.

He does confirm that he will be swimming at the Pan Pacific Games next year, Aug. 21-25, in Queensland, Gold Coast, Australia. The Pan Pacs features the USA, Canada, Japan and the EnergyAustralia Swim Team.

Oh and by the way, I like how Nathan fools around with the Nikon camera on the press table at the beginning of the video.

Also, here’s the semifinals of the 50 free in case you missed it earlier.

Nathan Adrian qualifies for 50 free finals

Nathan Adrian will swim in the finals of the 50-meter freestyle after posting the third fastest qualifying time from Friday’s semifinals at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Spain.

Adrian, the defending Olympic champion in the 100 free from Bremerton, tied with Brazil’s Cesar Cielo for fist in their heat in 21.60 seconds. Cal teammate and 2000 Olympic champion Anthony Ervin narrowly missed the American record in 21.42 to qualify second. The AR is 21.40 by Cullen Jones at the 2009 worlds. Defending Olympic champion and top seed Florent Manaudou finished with a time of 21.37.

The remaining qualifiers include France’s Fred Bousquet (21.62), Vlad Morozov (21.63), South Africa’s Roland Schoeman (21.67) and Trinidad’s George Bovell (21.74).

Australia’s James Magnussen, the world champion in the 100 free, did not qualify for the 50 finals, touching the wall in 21.79 in ninth.


Bronze for Nathan Adrian in 100 free at worlds

Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian earned a medal Thursday in the 100-meter freestyle at the FINA World Swimming Championships as Team USA put two more swimmers on the medal podium in Barcelona.

Adrian, the Olympic champion from Bremerton, earned a bronze in 47.84 seconds as teammate Jimmy Feigen grabbed the silver in 47.82. James Magnussen of Australia won the gold in 47.71.

It’s the first loss for Nathan in the 100 free in two years. He finished sixth in the 2011 world championships in China.

Nathan will swim again in the prelims of the 50 free at 1 a.m. (local time). The semifinals are at 9 a.m. Friday.

A live stream of the prelims can be found here.