MARQUETTE - Several area residents will be braving the cold water of the Straits of Mackinac Saturday as they attempt to swim its roughly 5 mile length.
The group, organized largely by Dr. Mike Grossman - who also organizes the annual Teal Lake Swim - and area resident Maarten Vermaat, will start their swim at 6:30 a.m. with an estimated finish time of around 10 a.m.
"The major challenge of the swim is getting through the shipping channel, which is 0.6 miles, because there really isn't an accurate schedule of when boats will go through," said Matthew Williams, who will be kayaking to help guide the group.
Williams said the swimmers will stagger their start times based on speed so that the group of 12 will reach the shipping channel at roughly the same time.
If no boats are arriving at or leaving the channel, the group will then swim through the area.
The event, Williams said, was organized in part because Grossman had always wanted to take a group through the straits, but was never able to.
"He's always had that in the back of his mind," Williams said.
After speaking with other endurance swimmers in the area, Williams said Grossman and Vermaat decided to stop talking about swimming the straits and actually give it a try.
Along with the swimmers will be three power boats, two jet skis and a kayaker for each swimmer, to ensure safety as they make their way through the waters.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.