I’m Swimming Across Lake Michigan

Well, not literally, but also not figuratively or metaphorically since I will actually be swimming. Maybe cumulatively is a better term. I should explain first about Lake Michigan for non-Midwestern United Staters.

Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes.

What makes them so great? Well, they contain 21% of the world’s fresh water, duh! You can swim, surf, boat, fish, and not worry about jellyfish or shark attacks.

Except land sharks. They’re all over. Big nuisance.

I have personally enjoyed 4 of the 5 Great Lakes, so here’s my Great Lakes Ranking with reasons.

  • #5 Lake Erie – Too close to Cleveland and it has snakes in it.
  • #4 Lake Ontario – Too close to New York.
  • #3 Lake Superior – Gorgeous but very chilly.
  • #2 Lake Huron – Gorgeous and slightly less chilly than Lake Superior.
  • #1 Lake Michigan – The only Great Lake that the US doesn’t have to share with Canada. Also, some gorgeous beaches, especially on the Michigan side. And the way that Lake Michigan is situated north-south makes for great sunrises seen from the western shore and great sunsets seen from the eastern shore. It’s also the warmest Great Lake, especially around Chicago.

And so, I have decided to swim across Lake Michigan this summer. Here’s how I’m going to do it.

At its widest, Lake Michigan measures 118 miles. That’s too wide. I thought about swimming from Chicago’s beautiful Montrose Beach to the white sand beaches at Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan.

At over 50 miles, that is still too far. Then I considered an Illinois to Indiana swim. If I choose the southernmost beach in Illinois, I am confident I could swim to the northernmost beach in Indiana quite easily.

Looks like 1 mile to a private beach and 2 miles to a public beach in Indiana. But I can swim that in a couple hours. That’s too short.

So, I took a look at swimming from that southernmost Illinois tiny beach to the incredible beaches at Indiana Dunes National Park.

That was my Goldilocks moment. 22 miles is just right.

Just to be clear, I will not actually be swimming in Lake Michigan as I swim the 22 miles across Lake Michigan. I will be swimming across this body of water.

That’s right, 22 miles across our backyard pool over the summer. Let’s do some math. 350 laps to the mile x 22 miles = 7700 laps. After 13 days, I have logged 3 miles so far. If I swim an average of a quarter mile per day, I should make 22 miles by the end of August. The challenge will be that I won’t be home every day to swim, so I will have to increase my daily pool mileage when I am home or look for alternatives.

Hall swimming would not be an acceptable alternative.

The biggest concern I have is if I am successful in swimming to Indiana by the end of summer, how am I going to get back?


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