Swim adds shorter race

NEGAUNEE – Olympian Gary Hall Jr. is the special guest speaker for the 13th annual Swim Teal Lake: Benefit for Diabetes on Saturday morning.

He is a three-time Olympian at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 games who earned 10 medals – five gold medals, three silver and two bronze. Hall, 41, is also living with Type 1, commonly known as juvenile, diabetes.

This year’s race will consist of the traditional 2 1/4-mile swim across Teal Lake and a new shorter swim. The “Short-n-Sweet” swim will be a quarter-mile swim and is open to all ages. It should serve as a great introduction to open-water swimming.

The “Short-n-Sweet” starts at 8:30 a.m. with the beginner race to start at 9 a.m. and the competitive at 9:30 a.m. Register the morning of the swim. Day-of-race registrations must be completed at least 30 minutes before the particular heat begins.

All races start on Negaunee’s Teal Lake beach. The “Short-n-Sweet” will begin and end on the Negaunee side while the long races will end at Ishpeming’s beach at Al Quaal Recreation Area.

This event began in 2004 when Dr. Michael Grossman enlisted the help of Bell Hospital and the Upper Peninsula Diabetes Outreach Network in planning a 2 1/4-mile swim across Teal Lake.

The first 12 years have raised more than $100,000 in all. Donations are used by UPDON to strengthen diabetes care and support across the U.P. through a variety of projects, including a recently launched telephonic diabetes program. More details about UPDON are available at the website www.diabetesinmichigan.org.

UPDON is a nonprofit organization that promotes innovative partnerships to strengthen the prevention, detection and management of diabetes across the U.P.

The Western Marquette County Health Foundation is helping in the Swim Teal Lake effort by matching all swimmer donations, up to $10,000, for the third year in a row.

Through the years, hundreds of swimmers have ventured across the lake in this challenge, assisted by many volunteer kayakers who help guide them.

Past guest speakers have included Olympic gold medal winner Peter Vanderkaay at the 2005 and 2013 events, Olympic swimming icon Mark Spitz in 2009, Janet Evans in 2010, Coralie Simmons in 2011 and Dr. Natalie Strand in 2014.

On Saturday morning, there will be a raffle with a top prize of a paddleboard, with many other prizes from businesses across the U.P. Raffle tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and can be purchased at the event.

For more information or to volunteer, call Kristen at 228-9203 or email her at cambensyk@upcap.org.