Like us on Facebook!

About the Event

Date:  August 4, 2012

Course: A straight 2.1 mile distance across the big lake in open water

Purpose: to swim fast, have fun and raise money for the Bayfield Area Recreation Center

*Prizes for most pledges raised and fastest age group swimmers

Entry includes hooded sweatshirt, finish line food, swim cap, “green bag” with goodies, and the ferry ride back to Bayfield.
Cost $89, or raise $120 in pledges and waive your entry fee!
Wetsuit strongly encouraged for Race Event (see details in Race Event below).  Those wishing to swim without a wetsuit must have experience and get permission from the Race Director.

Wetsuit required for Community Event.  Community event swimmers must arrange for their own non-motorized escort (kayak or rowboat).  Note that all kayak/rowboat escorts must be approved by the race director.  See requirements under ‘Community Swim’ below in this web site, or call Scott at 218-334-1302.

Location: Bayfield, WI is small city of 611 on the shores of Lake Superior
in northernmost WI. Bayfield is the gateway to the pristine beauty of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, with its camping, kayaking, trails, sea caves, and beaches. Madeline Island has long been a vacation destination as the only one of 22 Apostle Islands that is inhabited year-round, serviced by the Madeline Island Ferry Line. August is the ideal time to experience the beautiful scenery, clean air and water, friendly people and waiting adventures of the region. Bayfield is 90 miles from Duluth, MN, 240 miles from Minneapolis/St. Paul, and 320 miles from Madison.

Course Information

The start will be in waist deep water. The finish will be an in-water line between two buoys in waist deep water. It is a straight line from start to finish. There will be large buoys marking the course every 1/3 mile.  For safety reasons, swimmers will be expected to swim along the marked course, and may be steered by escort vessels if they get too far off track.

The organizers of this event will provide kayak escorts for the
competitive race. Swimmers in the community event are asked
to provide their own escort.  Note that all kayak/rowboat escorts must be approved by the race director.  See under “Community Event” below or call Scott at 218-334-1302 for requirements.

This event is registered and approved by the US Coast Guard. US Coast Guard and US Coast Guard Auxiliary boats will monitor and patrol the event in addition to race officials and escorts.

The swimming course follows the same route of the winter ice road, from the beach at the end of Washington Ave. in Bayfield, straight across to Griggs Landing on Madeline Island. This course parallels the route of the Madeline Island Ferry, finishing approximately 3/4 mile north of the ferry dock.
The ferry affords excellent viewing for spectators.

Schedule for 2012

Friday, Aug. 3
4-8 pm Packet pickup at NEW LOCATION Bayfield Pavilion, 2 E. Front St., Bayfield,
Drive to the very bottom of Rittenhouse Ave. (the main street through downtown Bayfield)
We encourage swimmers to pick up their packets on Friday night to reduce congestion on Saturday morning.
5-8 pm Spaghetti dinner to benefit the swim team
NEW LOCATION Bayfield Pavilion, 2 E. Front St , Bayfield
$10 adults , $5 kids 12 and under

Saturday, Aug. 4
6:15-7:00 am Packet pickup for late arrivals
7:00 am Safety meeting and warm-ups
7:20 am Start of Race event, 2 waves
7:31 Start of Community Swim
7:30 Ferry leaves Bayfield to Madeline Island-ideal for spectators
7:33 Start of Relay swim
8:05 Approximate arrival time of fastest race finishers
10:00 Cutoff time for all swimmers
10:30 Post-race awards and prizes

Spectator Information

The swim course parallels the path of the Madeline Island Ferry
for most of the 2 miles. Spectators can watch the start of the
race, then take the ferry over to the island and get a view of the race as it spreads out across the lake. The ferry landing dock on Madeline is about 3/4 mile from the finish. Event organizers will offer some van transportation from the ferry dock to the finish line so that spectators can watch the end of the race, but we encourage fit spectators to walk. While extremely fast swimmers (under 50:00) might actually beat the ferry over, we will do our best to get their friends and loved ones to the finish line in time to see them finish!!
For more information, prices, and schedules for the ferry,
go to the Madeline Island Ferry Line web site at or call 218-334-1302.

Race Event

You should have some open water swim racing experience or able to swim a mile in under 45:00 in a pool to swim in the race event. If you cannot do this, please enter the Community Swim.  The start will be a mass start in waist deep water. The finish will bean in-water line at the end of a dock in 6′ deep water, with a landing beach only a few yards away. It is a straight line from start to finish. There will be five large buoys marking the 1/3 mile points.  Swimmers will be expected to judge the wind and currents of Lake Superior and keep their course close to the buoys.
Wetsuits are strongly recommended – shorties and bibs will likely be adequate but a full suit is recommended.  (Need a wetsuit?  Visit to rent or buy a good used suit!)  Water temperatures on Lake Superior can vary greatly with wind direction and prior day’s weather. The water temperature range will vary with previous days’ weather and winds (63 to 71 degrees the past three years).  No artificial swimming aids (fins, snorkels, flotation devices) will be allowed in the race event, except wetsuits. Voluntarily touching a boat or receiving items handed to them by a boat will result in disqualification.

Community Swim

The community swim is not a race, but will be timed for the
swimmer’s interest. Swimmers in this event should feel confident in their ability to swim 2 miles in open water.

All Community Swimmers must have their own escort (ideally non-motorized such as a kayak or rowboat) in this event. This should be provided by the swimmer.  Race organizers must approve the boat and paddler.  Some required guidelines are as follows:
-Kayaks must be at least 15 feet long with double bulk heads and rudder or skeg.
-Paddlers MUST have PFD that fits.  Pump, paddle float and wetsuit are highly recommended.
-Paddlers/rowers should be experienced, including experience in the wind and waves  in case of rough Lake Superior conditions.
-Call Scott at 218-334-1302 for more information or questions.

Wetsuits for the swimmers will be required- shorties and bibs will likely be adequate but a full suit is recommended. (Need a wetsuit?  Visit to rent or buy a good used suit!)  Water temperatures on Lake Superior can vary greatly with wind direction and prior day’s weather. The water temperature range will vary with previous days’ weather and winds (63 to 71 degrees the past three years).

Swimming aids are allowed, including fins. Swimmers may rest on and get help from their escorts, but towing is not encouraged. A relay team from a surfboard or rowboat is allowed.

Cut off time for the community swim is 10:00 (2.5 hours).
Swimmers will be pulled from the water at this time.

Relay Event

A team of up to 4 swimmers may swim the course as a relay. The team may switch from a motorboat, surfboard, or other craft by tagging each other. There are no rules concerning how long or often each swimmer must swim, only that they must physically tag each other. This event is ideal for swimmers that feel 2 miles is too much solo. Wetsuits will not be required for relay swimmers that are using a boat. The relay team must provide their own watercraft (motorized OK) to switch on and off from. Please check with the race director about your craft.

Race Postponement/Cancellation Policy

The Point to LaPointe Swim to Madeline Island requires a permit from the US Coast Guard.  The safety of the swimmers and escort kayakers is of primary concern.  For this reason, race organizers may be forced to postpone or cancel the race under the following conditions:

Fog – the finish line must be visible to the naked eye from Bayfield.

Lightening – the race will not be started if there is visible lightening or audible thunder in the area, or weather radar shows a threatening system approaching the area.

Winds and Waves – the race will not be started if wave heights exceed 3’ on the course.  Depending on direction and duration, a 20 mph wind can cause these wave heights.  This condition will be evaluated in consultation with the US Coast Guard and kayak guides.

In case of bad weather, race organizers will try to postpone the race for a matter of hours to wait out a weather condition, through Saturday evening if needed.  Some conditions (strong winds or storms all day) may require outright cancellation.  If the event is canceled, all registered applicants will receive a 50% credit toward future Point to LaPointe swims.

Mid-race pullout – if the race organizers conclude that conditions are unsafe mid-race, swimmers will be pulled out of the water.  No credits will be issued.

Looking for another swim in northern Wisconsin?

Check out the Minocqua Island Swim Challenge at