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Ferry jump to start off Delaware's inaugural regional swim competition

Eli Chen/Delaware Public Media
Heath Gehrke, Director of Ferry Operations at Delaware River Bay Authority, announces Delaware's new swim competition

This fall, competitive swimmers will come to Lewes to dive off the Cape-May Lewes Ferry vessel for the first-ever Escape From Lewes Open Water Classic.

On September 27th, the event is expected to draw at least 1,000 participants across 25 states for its 5k and 1 mile swim competitions. The event will be hosted by the Lewes Ferry Terminal and produced by New Jersey-based boutique race company DelMoSports. DelMoSports also produced Escape the Cape in Cape May.

All participants will be taken a half mile out into the sea by a vessel that will turn on its side so that onlookers can see them jump from the boat. The 5k contestants will turn left from the boat, where they will swim along the breakwater to a lighthouse and return to the terminal. The 1 mile contestants will turn right, swim around a gully and return to the terminal.


Chris Giacomucci, executive director of the Delaware Sports Commission, says adding events like Escape Lewes to others, such as the Slam Dunk to the Beach basketball tournament, will help put Delaware on the map as a destination for sporting events.


“Having an event of this caliber in Delaware is not only an especially great development for our organization but also to prove once again that Delaware is the ideal location to host regional and national sporting events," said Giacomucci.

Steve Del Monte, founder and CEO of New Jersey boutique race company DelMoSports hopes to make this event go from regional to national in three years.


“In our goal for this event which I did not mention is to host the 5k national championships in 3 years. When we talk about world class, that’s the goal," said Del Monte.

Scott Thomas, executive director of Southern Delaware Tourism, projects that Escape Lewes will provide a boost to local economy after the end of summer tourism season.


“Many of the thousand plus participants are going to be first-time visitors," said Thomas. "We love first-time visitors because once they come here for the first time, they’re going to come back. And with them they’re going to bring their friends and family. They’re going to stay in our hotels, they’re going to shop tax-free at our stores and they’re going to dine at restaurants along our culinary coast.”

The Delaware Sports Commission also projected that Escape Lewes will add to the group’s $37 million dollar economic impact on the state.

Swimmers of all ability levels are invited to take part. The contest will include wetsuit and non-wetsuit categories, along with junior, masters, and triathlon club.

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