Suttle Lake swimming event grows

Open-water swim continues to thrive

By Beau Eastes / The Bulletin / @beastes

SUTTLE LAKE — Bob Duncan had only one complaint about Sunday morning’s Swim Across Suttle open-water race.

“You couldn’t see the lines at the bottom of the pool,” the 65-year-old Corvallis resident joked.

More than 50 swimmers made the 1.3-mile trek across Suttle Lake northwest of Sisters on Sunday. Ron Thompson, 54 and of Bend, was the overall and wet suit winner, completing the point-to-point race in 32 minutes, 31.6 seconds.

Kris Denney, 54 and of Bend, placed third overall and was the first swimmer without a wet suit to finish the event.

Participants in the fourth annual race started on the southwest shore of the lake and finished near Suttle Lake’s northeast day-use area.

“It’s just absolutely gorgeous,” said Thompson, who was competing in his first Swim Across Suttle race, which was produced by Sisters Multi Sport.

Swimmers of all ages and abilities took to the water Sunday in what turned out to be a brisk late-summer morning. Water conditions could not have been better as the lake was calm and without waves.

Fred Grimshaw, a 12-year-old from Vancouver, Washington, was the seventh swimmer without a wet suit to complete the race. Looking to do a triathlon while he and his family were vacationing in Central Oregon, Grimshaw and his dad, Mike, instead signed up for the Swim Across Suttle.

“It was fun, but it was a lot colder than I thought it would be,” said Fred Grimshaw, who finished in 37:59.4, almost 5 minutes ahead of his dad, who wore a wet suit. “The finish was probably the best part.”

Thompson was one of four swimmers to complete the race in under 34 minutes. As the event has grown, more accomplished swimmers have been adding Swim Across Suttle to their race calendar.

“The field is speeding up,” said Sally Duncan, who despite bettering her time from two years ago finished farther back in the overall field. The 54 finishers Sunday was the most ever for the race. “I was the top third two years ago, but this year, I was two minutes faster, and I was in the bottom half.”

Duncan, 59 and from Corvallis, competed in the 2012 Swim Across Suttle and was immediately hooked.

“I bought my wet suit after that race,” she said.

—Reporter: 541-383-0305; beastes@bendbulletin.com.