Reach the Beach - Chicago

Public Swim -  July 9, 2022

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Reach the Beach - Chicago is a dramatic 22-mile out & back swim

to beyond the Lake Michigan horizon from the beach alongside

America’s tallest and most spectacular skyline!  


Swimmers who have raised funds for disabled U.S. combat Veterans

participate in teams of four in a relay race or distance competition

offering unique awards for both teams and individuals. Each team

is provided their own dedicated support boat and crew.    


Be An Open Water Swim Warrior!
Swim for New Horizons 

Imagine standing on the beach as the sun breaks above a seemingly endless expanse of water to the east.  You are part of a four-person amphibious force with the mission to swim 11 miles out to sea beyond the horizon and rendezvous with some of America's finest combat Veterans - then turn west and race the sun to execute a beach landing in Chicago before sunset.  Your team is well prepared to carry out its’ mission and so is the crew assigned to your dedicated support vessel.  Whether or not you have served in the armed forces, today you are an open water swim warrior. 


As you swim for each new horizon, where few have ventured, more of the shoreline disappears behind you.  Then on the return as you strive to REACH THE BEACH, the skyscrapers of America’s tallest and most spectacular skyline spring from the water in all their magnificence as you get closer to the finish!

Will your team be the tip of the spear as the first to reach the beachhead?  How far will each team member swim?  The fastest teams and the team whose members collectively swim the greatest distance will be duly honored, as well as the individuals who are the fastest and those who swim the furthest (perhaps swimming all 22 miles).


When you reach the beach and your team plants the American flag in the sand, it is mission

accomplished!  You have successfully completed the 22-mile relay race or distance competition. Congratulations!  This is the same distance as crossing the English Channel! 


The number “22” also has great significance in the military community, and that is really what this mission is all about. 


For Veterans, who courageously sacrificed with valor for our freedom, the number “22” represents the estimated number of their brothers and sisters who die by suicide daily, often due to post-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). 


While the physical wounds of Veterans supported by Reach the Beach – Chicago are typically easy to recognize, this is not true with PTS and TBI, and it is often these invisible wounds of war which take the lives of Veterans on the home front who survived the battlefield.  Your 22-mile triumph symbolically points out this danger faced by our heroes and calls upon the public to follow your lead and take action to defend them as they have defended us. 


Your generous fundraising efforts will “enable” disabled U.S. combat Veterans to participate in the empowering Swim Mission 22 Veterans Program.  Be sure to thank them for their service, as they are sure to thank you for your support, when you meet them at the 11-mile turnaround point offshore.  The Veterans will be there to cheer you on while attending the Casting Out Burden Veterans Retreat and to see the playing field prior to their own Reach the Beach – Chicago swim with event organizer Jim “The Shark” Dreyer on Tuesday.    


The Veterans will benefit from the utmost in experiential therapy when they swim a joint mission with “The Shark” in the climactic centerpiece of the Swim Mission 22 Veterans Program.  ‘The Shark,” who coined the term “strength swimming” as a recognized Stan Lee Superhuman on the History Channel, will swim straight out to sea all night while symbolically weighed down with 22 pounds of deadweight (negative buoyancy) strapped to his body, including a cannonball.  The Veterans, true American heroes as they are, will find and relieve him of his cargo somewhere beyond the horizon at daybreak - then swim to Chicago in a truly inspiring adventure of their own, following months of positive goal-oriented training.  


All of this will be made possible thanks to our open water swim warriors!  Reach the Beach – Chicago organizer and accomplished open water swimmer Jim “The Shark” Dreyer invites you to enlist and join forces with him to support disabled U.S. combat Veterans through adventure and fundraising! 

While there will be great awards for the competition, your greatest reward will be knowing that while you were literally swimming for new horizons you were creating new horizons for Veterans!

For more details on the public swim, please see Swim Course, Competitive Divisions & Awards, and Swim Procedures - Rules - Strategy.  To learn about the teams supporting you on and off the water, please see Your Support Team.      

Entry Fee:  $350
Please see
Entry Details

Minimum Fundraising
Requirement:  $3,400
Please see
Fundraising Details