Man swims across Big Bay de Noc

Courtesy photo Tyler Lindquist is shown swimming across Big Bay de Noc on Aug. 17 from Chippewa Point to Burndt Bluff. It took him five and a half hours to cross the bay.

ESCANABA — Tyler Lindquist has always been interested in physically pushing himself, according to his sister Ann Lindquist, and on Aug. 17, he did just that. Lindquist swam from Chippewa Point to Burndt Bluff, crossing Big Bay de Noc. He swam 6.6 miles in five and a half hours following the Marathon Swimmers Federation (MSF) Rules of Marathon Swimming. The swim started once Lindquist entered the water from a natural edge on Stonington Peninsula, and concluded when he exited the water on to a natural shore just south of Fayette.

“Every so often, we had to write down his coordinates so he could clock his actual swim distance,” said Ann Lindquist.

In 2017, he swam across Little Bay de Noc and decided to swim across Big Bay de Noc shortly after. Lindquist wanted to do a marathon swim and thought it would make sense to attempt it in waters he knew well.

“I swam across Little Bay de Noc two years ago from a boat launch on Stonington to the Escanaba harbor,” said Lindquist. “First memory of thinking about this was when I was a kid, swimming out to the platform at Gladstone beach.”

Lindquist’s training started when he joined a 5 a.m. swim club in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where he lives now. He swam a few times a week and trained his body like he would for running a marathon. While he was training his body to get ready for the swim, his sister, who was going to be the official observer, read and memorized the rules by the MSF in Rapid River.

There are three types of swims, Marathon Swim, Nonstop and Unassisted. A Marathon Swim is described on the MSF website as — a nonstop open-water swim, undertaken according to standardized rules, and requiring at least several hours of sustained effort to complete. Ten kilometers without significant assistance from currents is the minimum distance considered to be a marathon swim.

The rules of a marathon swim allow a swim suit, bathing cap, goggles, earplugs, nose-clips, sunscreen and grease, safety lights, timekeeping device, escort boat, pilot and crew, nutrition and equipment to transport nutrition between the boat and swimmer, paddlers, support swimmers, and observers.

“To be the official observer you not only have to know these rules, you need to be able to hold the swimmer accountable to these rules and document all aspects of the swim said Ann Lindquist. “So I memorized the rules and also had to document things like stroke rate, latitude and longitude coordinates … each half hour we stopped him to hydrate or eat something … water temperature, things he ate and drank … It was like being a referee for the swim.”

Lindquist’s wife was also on the boat as a safety person. One friend was driving the boat by his side, and another friend was navigating. Because the temperature of the water was only 67 degrees, he was periodically checked for hypothermia. Under the official rules, a wet suit is not allowed during the swim.

Lindquist was not allowed to touch the boat, get out of the water, or hang on to anything while being checked for hydration or when eating and drinking.

To be an observer Ann Lindquist had to be knowledgeable of the rules and be impartial, separate herself from the swimmer to observe, document and verify. Due to the duration of the swim, only one observer was needed.

Lindquist submitted his swim route and time and is hoping to be registered as the first to swim across Big Bay de Noc.

“I hope the message from this is something to inspire others to give it a try,” said Lindquist. “I put a pretty slow time up and would love to congratulate someone that beats it.”


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