Soapbox Media reports: Only those who have crossed the Ohio River — from Cincinnati to Kentucky and back — truly understand the allure of the Bill Keating, Jr. Great Ohio River Swim.
The Ohio River swimmers jump in the water at the upper end of the serpentine wall, swim across the river to Newport, then back to the boat ramp at the public landing. Total distance is approximately one half mile (or about 40 lengths in a swimming pool).
Prior to the swim, the river is closed to all motorized traffic by the U.S. Coast Guard and is enforced by local and regional law enforcement agency vessels. Flotillas of safety kayakers line the course to assist swimmers if necessary.
The velocity of the river is usually very slow this time of year, less than one mph, and the V-shaped course allows for swimmers’ downstream “drift” due to the current. Water quality is monitored prior to the event to assure safe conditions for all swimmers. The water temperature is usually in the low- to mid-80s, warm enough so that wet suits are not necessary.
Initially, the main reason behind The Swim was to demonstrate to the public that the Ohio is cleaner and safer than most people think, and to encourage participants and the general public to value and advocate for our river.
“It was always a family event,” she says, “and I could never get out of it. I cannot wait until my niece and nephews are old enough to do the Next Generation swim, maybe next summer.” More…