Congratulations are in order for the three Northern Michigan University Swim and Dive Team members who braved cold waters and Great Lakes freighter traffic to cross the Straits Of Mackinac Sunday.
Juniors Tara Dowling of Marquette, Megan Crowder of Mikado and Madisen Sechena of Great Falls, Mont., completed the five-mile endurance swim from the Straits State Park beach in St. Ignace to the Old Mission Lighthouse Beach, located across the water in the Lower Peninsula.
Dowling finished the swim first, clocking in at 1 hour and 53 minutes. Crowder and Sechena finished together just two minutes later, at 1 hour and 55 minutes.
The swimmers were escorted by kayakers and a support power boat as they crossed near the towering Mackinac Bridge.
Challenges along the way included a stretch of cold water in the middle of the channel, a wetsuit malfunction and a 650-foot freighter that caused a 12-minute delay in the journey.
The swimmers, along with a number of other local residents, first attempted to swim the straits in August but had to postpone due to poor weather conditions.
"I would definitely come back next year and try again, try to beat my time. It was really fun," Dowling said. "We all did it under two hours. That was really impressive."
We think the entire endeavor was impressive - a reminder that the spirit of adventure is still alive in the Upper Peninsula.