Participant Lineup Announced for the 2nd Annual Jim Whelan Open Water Festival, featuring the 55th Around the Island® Swim

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – The Selection Committee of the 2nd Annual Jim Whelan Open Water Festival, featuring the 55th Around the Island® Swim, has announced the competitor lineup for the legendary open water marathon swim taking place on Sunday August 1, 2021.  

This year’s lineup currently features 18 individual swimmers and relay teams. They come from across the country and around the world. Skill levels range from amateur athletes to legends in the open water swimming community, including several English Channel swim participants, swim association directors and board members, and even an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame honoree. Combined, the participants have over 200 years’ experience in open water swimming!  

The 22.75mi (36.6km) course around Absecon Island will start in the back bays of Atlantic City, enter the Atlantic Ocean via the Absecon Inlet, and return through the Great Egg Harbor Inlet and the back bays of Longport, Margate, and Ventnor. It’s anticipated that most swimmers will complete the course in 8-10 hours. Participants are vying for a combined $10,500 purse.

“We are so excited to be able to hold the race this year, and even more excited to have these incredible athletes participate,” says Assistant Race Director Sari Carroll. “Many have told me that swimming in the Around the Island® is part of their ‘bucket list’ of races to compete in. We’re proud to help make that dream a reality.”  

The following is a list of selected competitors anticipated to participate: Ruth Gilgenbach (NJ), Kathleen Wilson (SC), John Zeigler (PA), Ned Denison (Ireland), Eric Schall (PA), Mark Quinn (DE), Greg O’Connor (MA), Samir Barel (Brazil), Eric Tucker (NJ), Robert Gatto (NJ), David Shackley (VA), Seth Baetzold (WI), Andrew Wallace (NJ), and Colum Lavelle (IL).  Relay teams participating are “SOFA Queens & King,” “SRVA Hammerheads,” “For The Love Of Swimming,” and “Team Ringoes.”


The Around the Island® Swim is a 22.75mi (36.6km) open water marathon swim that circumnavigates Absecon Island in southern New Jersey. The legendary swim, which started as a $100 bet back in 1953 between two beach patrol members, became one of the premier open water events in the world. After a hiatus, the race was resurrected in 2019 as part of the Jim Whelan Open Water Festival, named after the late Atlantic City Mayor, NJ State Senator, and advocate of swimming and water safety education. All proceeds from the festival benefit Green Whales, Inc. a NJ non-profit supporting various children’s swim programs in Atlantic County, NJ. Visit for more information.

About the Atlantic City Sports Commission
The Atlantic City Sports Commission was officially formed on January 13, 2015 as a 501 (c)(3) organization with the support of Meet AC and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to attract sporting events, conventions and competitions to Atlantic City.

For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Jessica Kasunich


Get In Touch Today