Later this month the longest-running, uninterrupted open-water swim in the nation, starting 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16 Brigantine returns an event that is also well known for being among the leaders in that bracket.

Hosted and presented by the Brigantine City Beach Patrol, the 64th annual Jim King and Rodger Lucey Memorial Mile Swim is a tribute to the two former longstanding and well-respected lifeguards the event was eventually named after and to all former BCBP lifeguards who have passed away.

“The Brigantine Beach Patrol has really been running it all the years it's been here,” said event organizer Bob Schailey. “The three people who started it were Capt. Richard Derrickson, an eye surgeon named Dr. (Robison) Harley, and John Lucey, the father of Rodger who was on our beach patrol.”

The mile swim starts at the Brigantine Yacht Club, 10th Street South and Bayshore Avenue, and travels in one direction to the Brigantine city dock, 26th Street and Bayshore Avenue. There is also a quarter-mile kids swim for ages 9-and-under and 10-to-14 starting 5:45 p.m. at the Yacht Club. Both events are free and open to any Brigantine resident or island employee but registration is required. Call 609-266-2471 or email rschailey@yahoo.com to register.

Schailey and event namesake Jim King were lieutenants together on the BCBP. King went on to become a beach patrol captain and ran the annual mile swim for several years before his death about 10 years ago. Schailey took it over shortly thereafter, and is also instrumental in helping to run the Atlantic City Pageant Swim, which returns to the A.C. beaches Aug. 27 and – now in its 88th year – is the aforementioned longest-running open-water swim in the nation.

Chairman of the Middle Atlantic Open Water Swimming committee, Schailey helped revive the Pageant Swim with a group of others devoted to the sport when it nearly disappeared last year. The same holds true for the Brigantine event, which he took the reins of and helped rekindle interest in about a decade ago. Typically about 70 to 90 swimmers participate in the King and Lucey Memorial each summer, he said.

“I got involved because I didn't want to see it go away,” Schailey said. “I first participated in it when I was about nine years old, and since then my wife, daughter and grandkids have all done it. That's what it's become – an inter-generational swim. That's the beauty of this whole thing. Not only have people who have lived on this island a long time done it, but their kids and grandchildren are doing it now too.”

Early registration is preferred but the event will take day-of registration up to 10 minutes before the kids and mile swims begin.

“The beach patrol is always there providing assistance, and it's always a nice-sized swim – we never allow it to get too big to be overpowering,” Schailey said. “But some people like to wait and see what the weather's going to be doing before they register.

“We always time (the mile swim) so that it's one direction going with the tide, because we don't want to make it too tough,” adds Schailey. “We're talking local residents who just want to come out and have a fun time.”

Awards will be presented to the top-three male and female finishers in each of nine age groups, from 10-and-under to 60-and-over. No wet suits are permitted.

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