Attempt to Swim Straits of Mackinac Ends Short

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Hampered by steadily strong currents, cold water temperatures, and nagging shoulder pain, long-distance swimmer Jim Dreyer emerged from the Straits of Mackinac well short of his goal of swimming continuously for 125 miles.

Dreyer, 43 of Byron Center, entered the narrow stretch of water connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron on Monday morning. He emerged from the water Wednesday morning and was taken to a hospital for treatment, according to his Web site.

He had figured that to reach his goal, he would need to spend 3.5 to four days swimming back and forth alongside the Mackinac Bridge between St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, a span of about five miles.

After about 49 hours and feeling sick and sore, his Web site said he had gone 40 miles.

Because of the current, he frequently changed his route, often swimming in the calmer waters near the causeway on the Upper Peninsula side of the bridge. But the current had become "extremely strong" even there, his site reported.

In 1998, Australian Susie Maroney swam 122 miles from Mexico to Cuba in 38 hours and 33 minutes, according to the Guinness World Records Web site.

Guinness described the feat as the longest distance ever swum without flippers in open sea, while Dreyer called it the world distance record for a continuous swim.

Dreyer, who has made direct crossings of each of the five Great Lakes, performs swimming feats to raise money for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.