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Pennock Island Challenge

Saturday, August 12, 2017
Pennock Island Ketchikan KetchikanAK  99901
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Pennock Island Ketchikan KetchikanAK  99901

About This Activity

The Pennock Island Challenge is on a current-assisted course sheltered from large surf everywhere except the sound end. Water temperature ranges from mid-50s°F to low 60s°F (12.7 to 16.6°C). Air temperature will range from the mid-60s°F to mid 80s°F (18-29°C). Swimmers can enter as solo and as members of a relay. Wetsuits are allowed, but have its own awards category. It is one of the World's Top 100 Open Water Swims and America's Top 100 Open Water Swims.

The Pennock Island Challenge is a 8.2-mile (13.2 km) swim and circumnavigation of Pennock Island in Ketchikan, Alaska, U.S.A. The swim was started by Willie and Kathy Schultz. Willie was the first solo swimmer for this event and both he and Kathy wanted to benefit a worthy cause which is why they sought the ADA. In 2014 Mio and Mishele Rhein agreed to take over the organization of the swim partnering with JDRF, an organization they had been involved with since 2008, which was two years after the diagnosis of their son.

Event details and schedule



1.         The event is open to swimmers 18 years old and older. The age of the swimmer will be determined by the age of the swimmer on the race date. 

 2.       Official Relay Team will consist of 2 or 4 individuals, or a swimmer may enter as an individual.  .

 3.       Individual swimmers wearing wetsuits do not have to complete the 1-hour cold-water swim.  Relays will be placed in the wetsuit division if one or more persons in the relay are wearing a wetsuit.  There will be separate awards for swimmers and relays using wetsuits as follows:  Fastest man/women, fastest Male relay, fastest female relay and fastest mixed relay. 

 4.       Individual swimmers (Maximum of 22 solo swimmers) must meet qualification times in 2016.  To assure completion of the event, please submit your 2000m/2200yd time for review, (40 minutes or under for a 2K) this speed will get you through the course in ideal conditions. Swimming 2000m is a measure of speed and must be repeatable over an 8.2 mile course.   All individual competitors not wearing a wetsuit must submit witnessed proof of a continuous one (1) hour swim in water at or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  Participation in the 2016 Pennock Challenge will qualify a swimmer for the 2017 event.  A letter by the individual’s swim coach or open water training coordinator attesting to the competitor’s ability to complete a swim in these conditions will be accepted.  Award categories will be 1-3 for female/male swimmer over 40 and under 40.  Swimmers that finish the race will be awarded a finishers metal.  Award will be given for fastest male and fastest female overall.  Award for fastest male/female in the wetsuit category.

  5.       Relay swimmers will have to meet the 2 k-swim times of 40 minutes or under, but will not have to complete a cold-water swim.  The number of relays allowed entry will be 10. Five 4-person relay teams and Five 2-person relay teams. 

          TEAM DIVISIONS:  Teams can be entered as either all Male, all Female, or mixed.  Mixed teams will be made up of any combination of men and women.  Each relay swimmer will be given an award for participating.  Award for Fastest Female/male/mixed relay will be given.  The fastest wetsuit relay will receive an award.

   6.       Escort kayaker is required for solo swimmers and relays, to enhance safety and navigation.  Swimmers must swim on either the left or the right side of the kayak.    Drafting is defined as "the carrying of a swimmer by the wake of the escort boat, or another swimmer."  If any team engages in drafting, and a complaint by another team is lodged and upheld, the drafting team will be disqualified.

 7.       In the relay swims, each swimmer should spend an equal amount of time in the water. Each person on the relay should participate equally.    


 8.       Boat captains are to position their boats at least 25 feet apart for an imaginary channel to allow swimmers to swim without obstruction.  Boats are to maintain a straight line course and avoid moving toward swimmers unless there is an emergency. Further instructions to boats will be made at the captains mandatory meeting Friday, August 11, 2017.   Please be on the lookout for other swimmers in the water; SAFETY IS OUR FIRST PRIORITY.

 9.    To start the race, an official starter, will fire a starting gun, so all swimmers will have a fair and equal start.  Any swimmer or group of swimmers who start before this signal will be automatically disqualified.  The official starter is solely vested with the authority to start the race.  The race may be started in waves at the discretion of the race organizers to enhance safety.

 10.     Individual swimmers and the first swimmer for each relay will check in at the Thomas Basin ramp to be motored to the starting point.  Escort kayakers can launch from any float and meet them out at the start.

 11.     The race will start from the South Pennock marker #2, no earlier than 10:00 am and no later than 10:45 am.

 12.     Each swimmer will be given a cap they must wear during the race. The cap will be a very bright color and will aid in maintaining visual sight of the swimmer

  13.     The individual entry fee is $150.00.  Each relay team must pay an entry fee of $130.00/relay member. The individual and relay entry fee includes 2 tickets for the banquet, official Pennock Island challenge t-shirts, awards, and caps.

 14.     In addition, each individual swimmer will receive one extra banquet ticket and t-shirt for their kayaker.  Each relay will receive banquet tickets, t-shirts one each for skipper and kayaker. 

 15. Late entry is open from June 1 until August 12 2017. 

 16.     The remaining monetary amount raised from this race will go to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and its related causes.  Attached are sponsorship forms for individuals to provide the entry fee through donations and solicitations.  The entry fee is the minimum amount needed to participate in the Challenge, and all further donations and fundraising will be accepted and encouraged.  Please use the attached forms to help in this cause.

  17.       Each relay team shall have an appointed captain who is responsible for knowing all the rules and serves as a point of contact for the rest of the relay.

 18.     Due to the nature, expense and complexity of traveling to Ketchikan for this event there will be no refunds.  The race will take place even if we have to modify the course.

19.       Extra banquet tickets or t-shirts can be purchased at the same time you register for the event.  Banquet tickets can be purchased for 20.00 and t-shirts can be purchased for 15.00/t-shirt.  Additional Banquet tickets can be purchased later by contacting the race director.

 CAPTAINS' MEETING:  There will be a MANDATORY organizational meeting at the Landing Hotel, at 5:30 P.M, Friday, August 11th.  SOLO SWIMMERS, TEAM CAPTAINS OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVES FROM EACH TEAM ARE REQUIRED TO BE AT THIS MEETING AND THE SKIPPERS OF EACH ESCORT CRAFT.  The purpose of the meeting is to review the race course, last minute changes, and instructions for the start of the race, pick-up and sale of individual t-shirts, caps, banquet tickets, meet your skipper and kayaker.


BANQUET:  The banquet on Saturday, August 12th 2017 following the race will be held at the Sunny Point, Best western the landing beginning at 6:30 PM.  The main course of the banquet will be locally caught salmon.  A cash bar will be available serving beer and wine.

Non-team members and guests, who wish to attend the banquet, please include an additional $20.00 per person.  Make the check payable to JDRF memo ‘PENNOCK ISLAND CHALLENGE BANQUET’ the same can be done for t-shirts, just add t-shirt to memo, and mail to Mio Rhein 3617 S Tongass Hwy Ketchikan AK 99901.

 ACCOMMODATIONS:  A special rate is available for Pennock challenge swimmers at the Best Western Landing; please contact the reservations office directly for further information and bookings, 907-225-5166

Lodging is also available at the New York Hotel, Gilmore, Cape Fox, Super Eight and numerous B&Bs around Ketchikan. 

 ESCORT BOATS/KAYAKS:  For out of town swimmers we strongly recommend bringing an experienced kayaker with you and renting a kayak.  We can assist out of town relays with an escort boat, it may be free of charge or you may have to pay a fee.  We strongly suggest that you contact us prior to registration for information on boats and availability.  Local swimmers and relays should rely on their own connections in town to find an escort kayaker and boat.  We will have available a very limited number of volunteer kayakers and escort skippers that will be given out on a first come first served basis.  If you absolutely need us to provide escort then email us and check on availability.

Swim will benefit JDRF


Our team is helping create a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D) for the millions of children and adults living with this disease.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults—and has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. With T1D, a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin—a hormone essential to turning food into energy. The daily life of someone with T1D brings a multitude of challenges, including insulin injections  that need to be carefully balanced with eating and activity, disruptive glucose monitoring, sleepless nights—and  wishing for a tomorrow where this struggle doesn’t exist.
Living with T1D means there are no days off and there is no cure. But there is hope.

By donating or joining our team today, you’ll help JDRF fund life-changing breakthroughs to make living with T1D safer and healthier, until there is a cure.

We can’t do it without you!

Mio and Mishele Rhein


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Pennock Island Ketchikan KetchikanAK  99901
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