Our Mission Statement
Swim Mission 22 endeavors to empower disabled U.S. combat Veterans through open water swimming achievement, adventure, and camaraderie; serving as experiential therapy which provides goal-oriented steps toward a self-evolution with lasting positive outcomes. Swim Mission 22 focuses on creating awareness for the often-unrecognized invisible wounds of war through unique 22-mile public swimming events which financially support the Swim Mission 22 Veterans Program and partnering Veterans organizations through fundraising.
Single-Sentence Mission Statement: The mission of Swim Mission 22 is to make the number “22” irrelevant.
What is the significance of the number 22? Please see Our Mission to Make the Number "22" Irrelevant.
Your Support Team
From the Chief Executive Adventurer
Greetings Open Water Swim Warriors!
Your commitment to this mission warrants not only our deep appreciation but also our full support! You deserve the best and that is what you are going to get with your Swim Mission 22 support team in and out of the water.
When I say, “I trust this team with my life,” those are not idle words. In my own adventures, I literally do. I wouldn’t treat your welfare any different than my own. My team is your team.
Savor the adventure … and keep your fin up!
Dedicated support boats will be assigned to each 4-person team in the Relay race and Distance competition. Each team support boat has a U.S. Coast Guard licensed Captain, First Mate, certified Lifeguard, and an event volunteer aboard. Two medically equipped EMS boats, each with an Event Director and a licensed Paramedic aboard, serve as Marine Operational Headquarters and are ready to respond to calls for medical assessment, treatment, or emergency evacuation to shore.
Two Event Directors will run the beach operation which includes a licensed Paramedic, a certified Lifeguard, paddlers for the near-shore area, and volunteers.
The Veteran Swim Team will have two support boats, each with a U.S. Coast Guard licensed Captain and a First Mate. The team of four swimmers, their coach and an Event staff person will be assigned to one boat. The other boat will have a licensed Paramedic, certified Lifeguard, Event staff person, and Jim “The Shark” Dreyer (if he is medically able after his outbound swim).
Beach support includes an Event staff person, licensed Paramedic, certified Lifeguard, and paddlers for the near-shore area.
Marine Support & Boots on the Ground
Meet The Swim Mission 22 Staff
We thoroughly enjoy sharing in your adventure!
Jim “The Shark” Dreyer - Chief Executive Adventurer
You deserve to know a little about the person who is not only behind your mission, but part of your mission.
Jim “The Shark” Dreyer is an inspired civilian who has had a few adventures as a
professional athlete over the years. If he had not taken this path as an athlete, it is likely he would have followed in the footsteps of many in his life who served in the Armed
Forces. Inspired by his late father, Jack Dreyer - a WWII Army Air Corps Veteran in the European theater, The Shark has been known to take his father's flag along for motivation
during training swims.
The Shark has swum across all 5 Great Lakes, which includes navigating his way to Canada while swimming 60 miles alone and pulling 250 pounds of survival supplies across Lake Superior. When he swam across lakes Erie and Ontario it was combined with running 26.2 miles through beach sand and biking 130 miles. After the Great Lakes series, The Shark coined the term “strength swimming” and pulled a ton of bricks crossing Lake St. Clair and was featured as the “Human Tugboat” on the History Channel’s Stan Lee’s Superhumans when he pulled a 27-ton car ferry across Newport Beach Harbor.
Now, as part of the Veteran’s swim component to this Swim Mission 22 event, The Shark will be swimming straight out to sea for 9 hours overnight while bearing 22 pounds of dead weight (negative buoyancy) strapped to his body, including a cannonball. “This will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Dreyer said. “It’s like trying to survive a mob hit.”
As an event manager since his college days in 1986, Dreyer was most recently the Event Director of the Mighty Mac Swim, an event he founded in 2007 for the 50th anniversary of the Mackinac Bridge. The event grew to the maximum-allowed 400 swimmers in 2019. The swim was not resumed following the pandemic shutdown in 2020.
“The Mighty Mac Swim was an incredible chapter in my life, but Swim Mission 22 will best combine all of my passions,” Dreyer said. “Getting away from managing a mass participation event allows me to be true to myself by having time to perform as an athlete again while taking a “hands on” approach to supporting Veterans, the cause closest to my heart. Swim Mission 22 is unique in that it produces both the Veterans program and the public swim event supporting it – which includes Veteran participation. I will enjoy a more intimate swim event which allows me, our team, and the swimmers to interact more closely with each other and with the Veterans we are supporting. We are all in this adventure together!
“If a mass participation event were a big box retail store, then a Swim Mission 22 team-oriented event with dedicated support boats would be a specialty boutique.”
For more on Jim “The Shark” Dreyer ...
Jena "The Queen" McClurken
Assistant Event Director & Swimmer Liaison
Jena “The Queen” McClurken serves as Jim “The Shark” Dreyer’s year-around “right hand” (or maybe that’s a fin). As Swimmer Liaison, she will also be your “go to” person. While you will see “The Shark” when you are in the water (not where you usually like to see a shark), you will see Jena on the beach where The Queen will crown you with your well-deserved awards!
Jena is married to an Iraq War Marine Veteran and contributes a valuable perspective to team discussions when strategizing on how to best serve the needs of Veterans and their families.
Queenie has quite an inspiring story. Suffering with fibromyalgia for years, she has worked her way to a remarkable recovery and is now herself an open water swimmer!
David "Terminator" Volk
Ground Operations Director & Veteran Liaison
David “Terminator” Volk is a United States Marine Corps Combat Veteran with distinguished service in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Other operations "OUTSIDE the CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES" include countries Oman, Okinawa Japan, the Philippines and Panama.
As a hard-charger, David is the perfect choice as a Swim Mission 22 point of contact for Veterans and is also well-suited to manage your beach landing.
Terminator, our Ground Operations Director (or G.O.D., as we sometimes call him), will greet you and clear your path to the finish line when you reach the beach.
Stuart "Ratman" Picard
Marine Operations Director
Stuart “Ratman” Picard is an Army Veteran who has participated in countless athletic endurance events and taken on numerous wilderness adventures around the world.
After Stuart kayaked 1,430 miles across the country from Chicago to New Orleans with Jim “The Shark” Dreyer, it was only natural that the two of them would work in tandem on the water for your swim.
“You really get to know someone well when you spend 6 weeks, 24/7 on the river with that one person,” Dreyer said. “When Ratman is planning an event or adventure, risk management takes top priority. You are in good hands.”
Tim "Spiderman" Webb
Tim “Spiderman” Webb is a Critical Care Paramedic with over 30 years of acute care in both the urban and austere environments. Tim has practiced emergency medical care in many places worldwide including Europe, Southwest Asia and North America. Tim served 22 years as a US Army Medic including tours in SW Asia (Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom) and in Europe. He has deployed to Afghanistan to teach the famed 101st Airborne division medics. His civilian career has included being a tactical medic, confined space medical specialist and has had several month-long deployments to hurricane devastated areas of the U.S.
Tim is a wilderness medic/ instructor and has obtained his fellowship from the Wilderness Medical Society. He also teaches both urban and wilderness survival. Adept at rescuing and treating patients in austere conditions, we are confident in Spiderman and his team's abilities to facilitate pulling you onto the boat if you choke on some water.