2023 Point to LaPointe – An Open Water Swim Across Lake Superior
I’m not a swimmer.
But I’ve been an athlete for most of my life. And I understand what it means to train for an event like the 2023 Point to LaPointe swim race.
As a young girl, I spent much of my youth as a gymnast. I would:
Train for five hours a day
Travel across the midwest to compete
Have my hair braided while sitting on the floor of the team van by my best friend
And there was nothing better than the feeling you got when you stuck a landing.
In high school, I was a cross-country skier and competed in the Biathlon. Then as a young adult, I competed in several CrossFit competitions.
But raising three boys and running Seagull Bay Motel has put competing in big events on hold for now.
But then I see ads for the Point to LaPointe swim. I start to feel the itch to train again. Train for something big. Especially this time of year when winter is starting to feel long, and I’m looking for something different to change up my workout routine.
Are you looking for something to help stick to your New Year’s resolution? Or did that already come and go?
What if you had something to keep you going? To keep you motivated.
What about swimming?
Swimming 2.1 miles across Lake Superior. One of the biggest, freshest lakes in the world.
Think of how you’ll feel when you swim across the finish line with a crowd of spectators cheering you on. Just imagine the sound of clapping and bells ringing as you walk up onto the beach of Madeline Island.
What Is the Point to LaPointe Open Water Swim?
The Point to LaPointe open water swim is a 2.1-mile swim. It starts on the shoreline of Bayfield, Wisconsin, and ends on the western shoreline of Madeline Island. The finish line is located near the historic village of LaPointe.
This started back when 24 swimmers decided to scratch the itch of curiosity and challenged themselves to swim across the bay. Since then, the Point to LaPointe swim has grown from two dozen swimmers to 650 swimmers. The Point to LaPointe is also an annual fundraiser for the Bayfield Recreation Center.
This thriving race sells out annually. And last we looked, there were 383 swimmers signed up already. Get your spot before it’s too late! The 2023 Point to LaPointe open water swim will be held on Saturday, August 5th, 2023.
This famed event now anchors Bayfield’s summer season and is one of its most exciting outdoor events for both athletes and spectators.
Each year, the environment varies! Throughout the years, swimmers have encountered a variety of conditions like:
Flat calm waters
Windy conditions, including two ft waves
Gentle smaller waves lapping on the shore
The course is lined with buoys, safety paddlers in kayaks, and safety boats. The US Coast Guard also monitors the race.
For some swimmers, this has become an annual event, and they're trying to beat their old records. For newbies, the goal is simply to cross the finish.
But the experience of swimming the Point to LaPointe and the journey to get there goes much deeper.
Swim Across Lake Superior in the 2023 Point to LaPointe Open Water Swim
Imagine waking up with the sun peeking into your room at Seagull Bay.
As the sun rises over Madeline Island, it turns the sherbert morning sky to blue, and its rays dance on the surface of Lake Superior.
The excitement and the nervousness you feel as you pack your bag is overwhelming.
With butterflies tickling your stomach, you slip on your suit, throw on a t-shirt and shorts, and slip into your Birkenstock sandals. You grab your bag, already packed with your swim cap, wetsuit, sunscreen, goggles, and a little something to boost your electrolytes.
As you walk out your Motel door and hit the Brownstone Trail, the short walk from Seagull Bay to the beach helps to ease your nerves.
It's early in the morning because the race call time starts at 7:00 a.m.
Much of the city of Bayfield is still sleeping, but as you get closer to the starting line, you begin to notice other swimmers, spectators, and kayakers making their way to the beach.
Once you get there, you slide on your wetsuit and pull your swim cap over your head. You strap your goggles and start walking toward the shoreline.
The excitement and the chatter amongst the crowd of swimmers, spectators, kayakers, and boaters are contagious.
The Madeline Island ferry boat has started its morning shuttle across the bay and is your ticket back to Bayfield after you’ve completed the Point to LaPointe race.
As the clock draws near to 7:00 a.m., the first wave of swimmers begin to wade into the water.
All eyes and ears are facing east. In unison, the crowd starts to clap and cheer as the first wave begins their swim across Lake Superior.
Your excitement builds as you wade into the water. There are swimmers on each side of you.
Swimmers smiling. Swimmers jumping up and down. Swimmers stretching
You hear the cheering, clapping, and whistles as you dive into the cool, clear water of Lake Superior.
As you come up for your first breath and stretch your arms out in front, the sound of the crowd dies down. You settle into a rhythm, hearing only the sounds of your arms and legs moving through the water.
There are large orange buoys to guide you along the course. Occasionally you can hear a paddler cheering you on.
Your body acclimates to the cool Lake Superior water, and your body feels strong as you swim across the refreshing lake.
As Madeline Island comes into sight, you can feel the fatigue in your body. Your strokes start to become less synchronized, and your kicks are getting choppy. And then you hear the noise of spectators clapping, cheering, hooting, and hollering as you get closer to the shoreline.
When you finish, people are waiting in the water to help you climb the stairs onto the dock. Your loved ones come in to greet you, wrapping you up in a towel with big smiles on their faces. They congratulate you on finishing the 2023 Point to the LaPointe open water swim.
Stay at Seagull Bay and Swim the 2023 Point to LaPointe
A few hours later (after you've warmed yourself by one of the campfires and peeled off your wetsuit), you’re so glad you took the leap and signed up for the Point to LaPointe swim.
You and your loved ones ride back to the mainland on the Madeline Island Ferry and marvel at the distance you just swam on the 22-minute boat ride.
Once you’ve made your way back to Seagull Bay, you rest in a chair outside of your room and look out onto the lake, feeling a sense of gratitude for the amazing feat you just accomplished.
Whether you bring your loved one or decide to make this weekend a family event, we have accommodations available to make everyone in your group comfortable. From single rooms with a queen size bed to our cottage or our family suites. There is room for everybody.
We’re uniquely located on the edge of town where you can park your car and leave it for the whole weekend. Feel the slower pace of small-town living by strolling into town on the Brownstone Trail and enjoying the spanning views of Lake Superior.
As you sip your coffee on Sunday morning and look out onto the Lake, we bet Lake Superior has deepened its hold on your heart.
Are you ready to take the plunge?
BOOK NOW to reserve your room and your spot in this year's 2023 Point to LaPointe open water swim.
We're cheering for you!
Molly, Isaac, Axel, Ridge, and Banks