ADAM FOREMAN/ Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer

Kayakers in costume head to the starting line, ready to make The Crossing.

O’Sail hosted the 15th annual Crossing on Saturday, and set a new record with 488 swimmers, paddlers, and walkers. The participants crossed Lake Gaston near the Eatons Ferry Bridge, starting at Morningstar Marina and ending at Watersview restaurant. 

The participants paddling in kayaks, canoes, rafts, paddleboards, and other creative non-motorized vessels, get a head start and follow the bridge. 

The swimmers start from a barge that picks them up from Morningstar Marina and carries them to the start of the mile long course. The swimmers dive in from the barge en masse and follow the buoys to the finish line.

The Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, wildlife officers, and local fire departments had boats in the water, ready to manage any safety situation. The Coast Guard Auxiliary also provided a tow service to swimmers and paddlers in need of a boost to get them closer to the finish line. 

“The Crossing went fabulously. It’s a beautiful day, and we had a great turnout,” said Randi Dikeman, of O’Sail. “I want to thank all of the volunteers for their hard work. Everyone was well behaved, eager, enthusiastic, and having a great time.”

“Our youngest swimmer this year is 7-years-old,” said Kathy Dikeman, one of the chief organizers of The Crossing. Dikeman was at the finish line, greeting everyone as they completed the one-mile journey. “The oldest swimmer this year is 85.”

For some participants, this wasn’t their first time. “This is my third time at The Crossing,” said Chris Sabo. “I think I placed in the top 30. I also swim in the Virginia Masters, but I haven’t trained much for this.”

“The swim is part of the challenge,” said John Boyette of Wilson, who swam he Crossing with Danusia Honeycutt and David Wilhelm. “We’re training for an Iron Man. We’re getting ready to ride 55 miles and run about 10.”

“It was a good swim. I got tired about halfway. This is my first year doing it,” said Hana Brown. “ I kept getting off course and swimming to the other side of the buoys.”

The top five swimmers this year are: Courtney Monsees, Heather Mohorn, Emily Campbell, Marc Boustany, and Grace Sudderth. 

The top wavers, a new category for large groups crossing on imaginative vessels, were the Nile-a-lators on the Cleopatra barge, the Margarita Mamas on the rainbow float, and Flamingo Flamboyance with the flock of blowup flamingos in tow.

According to Randi Dikeman, “Next year is going to be even bigger and better.” 

For more information, visit osail.org.