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54 miles, 21 hours, 6 friends, and an “epic swim” across Lake Michigan

On August 12, six swimmersemerged from Lake Michigan in Ludington in wetsuits, goggles, and swim caps — the whole shebang. As onlookers cheered, they walked up onto shore, arm-in-arm, after swimming through the night and day to make it across the lake. Jon Ornée, his brother Dave Ornée, and friends Nick Hobson, Matt Smith, Todd Suttor, and Jeremy Sall had departed from Two Rivers, Wisconsin the day before. They completed the 54-mile swim relay-style and in record time with the entire journey clocked in at 20 hours and 50 minutes. 

Jon Ornée is no stranger to impressive physical feats. Last October, he biked across Michigan from Muskegon to Port Sanilac. The 205 mile trip took 8 hours and 17 minutes. What makes the feat even more impressive is the fact that Ornée had broken his right elbow five months earlier after being hit by an SUV while cycling. He described the accident as a brush with death and said it inspired him to set some big goals for 2020.

“It lit a fire under me to not waste this one life, we get one shot at this,” Ornée said. “I kind of was pretty committed and inspired to get after the things on my bucket list and not putting things off anymore.”

This article was written by Stateside production assistant Olive Scott. 

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