When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and shut down access to pools, David Shackley looked to the biggest pool in the area – the Atlantic Ocean.
While doing so, he got to know a few other ocean swimmers. Together they hatched a plan to swim a relay across the Delaware Bay from Cape May, N.J., to Lewes.
Local triathlete Jake Bamforth accomplished the feat solo while wearing a wetsuit in July. This group, ranging in age from 44 to 66 years old and comprising Jason Andrew, J.C. Boggs, Ray Peden, Bud Roth, Bill Sullivan and Shackley, took on the challenge sans wetsuits. Each man took turns swimming for 30 minutes, then 15 minutes, then 10 minutes, completing the estimated distance of 16 miles in five hours and 35 minutes. The previous relay record was set in 1989. Peden also participated in that swim.
The water was mostly calm with temperatures between 63 and 66 degrees. Shackley said a nice wind helped push them home for the last five miles.
Capt. Dave Green of Cape Water Tours & Taxi stayed with the group the entire trip.