Time to Prepare for Barnegat Light Ocean Mile Swim Is Now

Jun 27, 2018
File Photo by: Grant Kelly

Of the 224 swimmers who finished last year’s Barnegat Light Ocean Mile Swim, 188 of them arrived to the finish line at or below the 30-minute mark, including a bunch of first-timers to the race. Now, of course, there’s no guarantee that will occur again this year – it all depends on the direction of the ocean’s current – but it’s not too early to start preparing for the 10th edition of the event, slated for Saturday, July 28.

“Every year, our hope is that we get a lot of swimmers and they enjoy the experience,” event director John Schulze said after all the competitors finished last year’s race in under an hour for a second straight year. “And watching the swimmers finish is always a treat, because for a lot of them swimming a mile in the ocean is a big deal.”

Hosted by the Barnegat Light Beach Patrol, the Ocean Mile Swim begins at 6:30 p.m. with a short run at the 30th Street beach. Once in the water, swimmers follow a rectangle-like course from south to north, along with the typical summertime current. The swim ends at 16th Street, culminating with another short run to the finish line.

Last year’s race was postponed by a couple of weeks due to ocean conditions. But when the race finally was held, Barnegat Light lifeguard Mike Macchia arrived to the finish line first for a second time in three years, clocking a time of 16:32.99. The first woman across the finish line was Harvey Cedars lifeguard Maggie Shaw, ending up 10th overall with a time of 18:0.09.

The event is a fundraiser for the Barnegat Light Beach Patrol, and the parking ban on Central Avenue is temporarily lifted for the race.

At the start of the event, two groups will be launched three minutes apart – one group consisting of those expecting to finish the swim in 30 minutes or less, and another for first-timers and those who expect to take longer than 30 minutes to complete the course. The second group of swimmers will have three minutes docked from their overall time. CompuScore returns to provide the timing services for the race.

Online registration – register.compuscore.com/barnegatlightoceanmileswim – will continue through noon on Friday, July 27, but race-day registration takes place 12 to 6 p.m. on 16th Street. The advanced registration fee is $25 per swimmer. Race-day registration is $30 per swimmer. Competitors who register online must check in at the 16th Street beach before 6 p.m.

An awards celebration takes place on the beach following the race once results are compiled. The top three male and female age-group finishers receive medals. The age groups are 14 and younger, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69 and 70 and older.

The top three overall finishers receive plaques, as does a team champion, determined by place results of the top four swimmers for a team organization, which can include but are not limited to beach patrols, swim clubs, high schools or colleges.

Race safety will be provided by the Barnegat Light Beach Patrol, Barnegat Light First Aid Squad and the water rescue units of the Barnegat Light Volunteer Fire Co. and Long Beach Township police.  —D.B.


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