ST. IGNACE, Mich. (WLUC) - The 2020 Mighty Mac Swim has been cancelled in order to meet current and projected State of Michigan health requirements, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement to cancel the internationally sanctioned 4-mile race across the Straits of Mackinac, between Michigan’s peninsulas, was made today by Mighty Mac Swim Executive Director, Jim Dreyer.
The swim had been scheduled for August 9, 2020.
“The Governor’s May 18 executive order 2020-92 set the parameters for a decision we felt had to be made before June 1,” Dreyer said. “We are pleased that the executive order begins opening Northern Michigan for business, but restrictive limits on the size of gatherings will remain for an undetermined period, which we project to extend into the summer. While these restrictions may have sealed the fate of the 2020 Mighty Mac Swim, I want to be clear that the safety of our swimmers, volunteers and staff has always been first and foremost in our decision-making process.”
“We deeply regret canceling this epic swim but our disappointment pales in comparison with the sadness we feel regarding the negative and often devastating effects this pandemic is having on lives,” Dreyer added.
The cancellation of the perennially sold-out race affects 402 registered swimmers and more than 200 hopeful swimmers on the event’s waiting list.
All 400 available entries to the Mighty Mac Swim were filled in just 11 hours after public registration opened in October of 2019, and two additional entries were allocated to the reigning male and female champions.
Chris Thompson, 2000 Olympic bronze medalist and winner of two consecutive Mighty Mac Swim male gold medals, and female gold medalist, Kaelan Oldani, were to return and defend their titles in 2020.
Katrina Murphy, Swimmer Liaison for the event, explained the Mighty Mac Swim’s popularity and disclosed the motivation for the event to return in 2021.
“The swim has an exciting competitive element by drawing some of the world’s elite athletes, like Thompson & Oldani, but also provides a challenging and awe-inspiring adventure to all who swim for an unforgettable experience,” Murphy said. “For many, the goal of swimming the Straits of Mackinac alongside the majestic Mackinac Bridge starts as an item on their ‘bucket list.’ However, after participating in and experiencing the Mighty Mac Swim, ‘Finheads,’ as we affectionately call our swimmers, return again and again. It is for our loyal swimmers and all those on the waitlist that our efforts to save the 2020 swim were untiring, as is our commitment going forward to put on the best event ever in 2021.”
Dreyer expanded on the Mighty Mac Swim’s 2021 commitment.
“When lives and livelihoods are at stake, a sporting event rightfully takes a back seat, as we have done in 2020,” Dreyer said. Looking ahead, the Mighty Mac Swim will be back to serve an important role in providing a stage upon which to celebrate a renewed appreciation of life. We believe renewing our passions is healthy and critical to all of us for coming out strong on the other side of this crisis. We look forward to raising the curtain on our 2021 stage.”
The date of the next Mighty Mac Swim is scheduled for August 8, 2021. Public registration is tentatively scheduled to open on October 1, 2020. Swimmers who were registered for 2020 will be given 48-hour priority registration status and wait-listed swimmers may sign up 24 hours before the public. Those not already registered or wait-listed who are interested in participating in the 2021 Mighty Mac Swim are encouraged to join the wait-list now.
For more information on the Mighty Mac Swim and to get on the waiting list to participate, see www.MightyMacSwim.com.