Marathon Swimmer to Make Historic 24-Mile Journey from Chesapeake Bay Bridge

In a testament to the improving water quality of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, resident, and marathon swimmer Katie Pumphrey is set to embark on a groundbreaking 24-mile swim from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the heart of the city. This ambitious journey not only showcases Pumphrey’s athletic prowess but also celebrates a significant milestone in Baltimore’s environmental history: the Inner Harbor being declared swimmable after a 14-year-long cleanup effort.

A Marathon Swim Through Chesapeake Waters

Pumphrey, a 36-year-old seasoned swimmer, plans to begin her epic swim around 3 a.m. between June 23 and June 27, depending on weather conditions. Starting at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, she will navigate through the Chesapeake Bay, aiming to finish at the Harborplace Amphitheater in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The entire journey is expected to take between 12 to 13 hours, covering an impressive distance of 24 miles.

“As a proud Baltimorean, I am beyond excited to celebrate this milestone for my city, and to be the first person on record to complete a swim of this scale in these waters,” Pumphrey stated on her website. Her enthusiasm reflects not only her personal achievement but also the city’s success in revitalizing its waterways.

A Track Record of Aquatic Achievements

This isn’t Pumphrey’s first foray into long-distance swimming. Her impressive resume includes crossing the English Channel in 2015 and 2022, circumnavigating Manhattan in 2017, and completing the inaugural double-length swim of Deep Creek Lake in 2021. These accomplishments underscore her preparedness for the challenging Chesapeake Bay to Inner Harbor swim.

Supporting Baltimore’s Recovery

Originally scheduled for mid-May, Pumphrey’s swim was postponed due to the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. In response to this setback, she has turned her event into an opportunity to support her community. A GoFundMe campaign for her swim pledges to donate 10% of its proceeds to the Maryland Tough Baltimore Strong Key Bridge Fund. On Monday at 4:45 p.m., the fundraiser had collected $2,204 of its $15,000 goal, with donations still being accepted.

Inner Harbor’s Remarkable Transformation

Pumphrey’s swim coincides with a momentous occasion for Baltimore: the declaration that the Inner Harbor is now safe for swimming. This achievement comes after a dedicated 14-year effort by the Healthy Harbor Initiative. On May 20, the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore announced that the waters were safe for human contact, provided there hadn’t been heavy rainfall in the previous 48 hours.

Michael Hankin, the Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor Initiative chairman, remarked, “We know our work is far from over, but we must start swimming. It’s a commitment to keep working to ensure that our ecosystem thrives and that swimming in the harbor becomes a routine occurrence.” This statement reflects the ongoing dedication to maintaining and further improving the harbor’s water quality.

Community Enthusiasm for Clean Waters

The excitement over the Inner Harbor’s renewed cleanliness is palpable among Baltimore residents. A group swim event in Fell’s Point, dubbed the Harbor Splash, was announced for June 23 to celebrate this milestone. The overwhelming interest in the event was evident when all 150 tickets sold out within just 10 minutes of going on sale.

Even Baltimore’s Mayor Brandon Scott is joining in the celebration. “We all own this collectively, owning up to what the harbor was but also saying, this is where we are now and this is where we’re going to go is our collective responsibility to talk about that,” he said. Demonstrating his confidence in the water’s safety, he added, “I know the data, I know the water is safe, and that’s why I’ll be jumping in the harbor.”

Follow Pumphrey’s Historic Swim

For those eager to witness this historic event, Pumphrey’s Bay to Baltimore swim can be tracked live at swimkatie.com. The website also offers a newsletter sign-up for alerts, ensuring fans don’t miss any updates. Additionally, Pumphrey will be sharing more details on her Facebook and Instagram accounts.

As Baltimore celebrates its revitalized waterways, Katie Pumphrey’s ambitious swim stands as a powerful symbol of resilience, environmental progress, and community spirit. Her journey from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the Inner Harbor marks not just a personal triumph, but a new chapter in the city’s relationship with its treasured waters.