Jake Bamforth successfully swims from Cape May to Lewes

July 17, 2020

My son Jake swam across the Delaware Bay from Cape May, N.J., to Lewes Beach July 16. He was joined part of the way by training partner Paul Valitutto of Tampa, Fla. The swim is 11.4 miles point to point, but the way you have to swim to use the current in your favor, it ends up being closer to 15 miles. Local Paul Timmons accomplished the feat July 17, 2006. According to Timmons, only two people have ever made the swim. Several have attempted it.

Local riverboat captain Dan MacElrevey was in control of the project and made all the calls. 

Weather plays a huge factor in a swim of this caliber, and though the currents may be favorable, the wind can make the swim so choppy and rough that you do not make enough progress to get as far along as you need to be before the currents change and you’re forced to swim against them. After eight or nine hours in the water, no one is able to swim against the current in a safe way.

Jake launched from Cape May about 4:30 a.m. and arrived at the drive-on beach in Cape Henlopen State Park about 11:30 a.m. Thanks to all the local Lewes and Rehoboth Beach supporters who have reached out and wished Jake luck.

Editor’s note: Jake Bamforth and Paul Timmons each completed the swim in a wetsuit. 

The Missing Link

Joe Link, who I call the Missing Linkster, is an accomplished runner from Cape May, N.J., by way of Philly. He has run my races since way back in the ’80s when he used to take his bike across on the ferry in order to get to the start just in time. I would have a race bib ready for Joe knowing he was pedaling in.

One time years ago when my son Ben was in the Rehoboth Junior Lifeguards, I went over and stayed with Joe in Cape May where the National Junior Lifeguard Championships were being held. We showed up for registration and the lady behind the desk said, “He can’t compete if he does not have an approved lifeguard cap.” We did not have one of those silly-looking caps with a strap, and why would a runner need to wear something like that? Joe said, “I’ll be right back.” He went to a buddy from the local Cape May team and came back with a hat for Ben. “I’m not wearing that stupid thing,” Ben said. “Put it on and start warming up,” I responded. 

Ben lined up with 60 to 70 other boys from around the country, and six minutes later, here comes Ben with a 75-meter lead as the PA announcer starts calling, “Here he comes, folks, from Cape May, N.J., our national champion. It is great to have a local win the title. Cheer him on, folks. Bring in our local from Cape May.”

The spectators were cheering, while the Cape May parents were wondering who he was. Joe and I just smiled as Ben crossed the line in first place. A few hours later, Joe took me for a tour of the area, and our Cape May national champion took care of a big lunch and was fast asleep in the back of the Link Mobile.

Note - Joe Link recently sold his house in Cape May after 46 years living at the point, and he will move to Seminole, Fla., between Clearwater and St. Pete.

Race for the Ribbon

A total of 112 runners and walkers virtually participated in the 13th annual Race for the Ribbon 5K this past weekend, raising funds for local runner Lee Ann Waltz and the American Cancer Society. Waltz has been undergoing treatment for myeloma, a type of blood cancer.  

Nick Cruz of Milford ran 16:20 to win the overall male title, while Susan Greally of Millsboro won the overall female title in 19:45. Mike Sewell of Lewes won the male masters title in 19:08, while Shannon McKenzie of Bethel Park, Pa., won the female masters title in 20:52. Results can be found at


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