Portland Bridge Swim: 80 participants swim 11 miles

The 11-mile race started at the Sellwood Bridge

The Portland Bridge Swim brought more than 80 swimmers to the Willamette River, July 9, 2017. (KOIN)
The Portland Bridge Swim brought more than 80 swimmers to the Willamette River, July 9, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More than 80 people, from across the region, took part in one of the longest swimming races in the Pacific Northwest.

On Sunday, participants came out to the Willamette River for the Portland Bridge Swim. This year’s number was far larger than last year’s bridge swim, which had 50 people.

The 11-mile race started at the Sellwood Bridge and finished at the St Johns Bridge.

The weather was beautiful with temperatures reaching 81 degrees.

One of the participants, Jeff Rodgers, said, “Water temperature was great, a little bit of wind, little bit of head wind, little bit of chop, but when you went underneath the bridge, you felt it cool down a bit, but pretty majestic to go under the bridges and see the underside of it.”

The Willamette River has received its fair share of criticism in the past for supposedly not being clean enough. However, a recent test by the Bureau of Environmental Services concluded the river is perfectly safe to swim in, and it seemed Sunday’s participants agreed.

Swimmer Brianna Showell said, “I didn’t think it was gross at all. I swim in a lot of lakes and rivers and this is just fine.”

Half of the bridge swim’s proceeds goes to the Willamette Riverkeeper, an organization whose mission is to preserve the health of the river.