A ‘Shark’ in Lake Michigan?

60-year-old will attempt to best his own record in a cross-lake swim
Jim Dreyer trains in open waters. Photo courtesy of Jack Doles.

A 60-year-old Ferrysburg man will soon attempt a bold, record-breaking swim across Lake Michigan, weather permitting.

If all goes as planned, Jim “The Shark” Dryer will start his swim at 6 a.m. on Tuesday,  on August 1, 2023. However, the start time is largely dependent on weather and lake conditions and could start at any given moment through noon on August 3, a significant date for Dreyer. On August 3, 1998, he made history with a record-setting swim from Two Rivers, Wisconsin to Ludington, Michigan, a 50-mile swim that ended up being a 65-mile journey due to strong cross-currents. It was the first and only successful swim across the width of Lake Michigan. 

,strong>Jim Dreyer is fit and ready to swim across Lake Michigan, from Wisconsin to Michigan on Aug. 1, 2023. Photo courtesy of Becky Deer.

Dreyer has named this second swim “The Silver Sequel” in which he will try to best his 1998 record by embarking on an even longer journey this time– from Bradford Beach in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to City Beach in Grand Haven, Michigan, where he will arrive during the annual Coast Guard Festival. 

The timing isn’t by accident, as the swim benefits the Grand Haven Chapter and Western Lake Michigan (Milwaukee) Chapter of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Chief Petty Officers Association, supporting Lake Michigan Guardians, their families, and communities on both shores.

“I have enjoyed working with the professional men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard throughout my 25-year career,” Dreyer said. “At my side, they have played a vital role in my success and together we have undertaken projects to improve swimmer safety. In conjunction with this milestone swim, I am honored to facilitate a way to give back to these life-saving guardians of Lake Michigan. Donations to the Chief Petty Officers Association will be greatly appreciated!”

The swim from Milwaukee to Grand Haven is a whopping 82.5 miles. It is estimated that the swim will take more than 60 hours to finish.

To track Jim Dreyer’s progress across Lake Michigan in real time or to donate to the  USCG Chief Petty Officers Association, visit Jim “The Shark” Dreyer’s website.

Note that the middle of the lake will be outside the cellular reception area and there will be a blackout period before regaining reception when nearing Grand Haven.

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