Recognized by:  USA Triathlon ,

International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame,
World Open Water Swimming Association,
Ripley's Believe it or Not,
Stan Lee's Superhumans
Event Descriptions & Stats
   Sponsors (Past & Present)

Swim for New Horizons - Lake Michigan

On August 3, 1998, Jim Dreyer set a new Lake Michigan distance record while becoming the first to swim a mid-lake crossing between Wisconsin and Michigan.  This was a grueling 40-hour, 56 minute journey that covered 65.0 miles (three times the width of the English Channel).

Swim for New Horizons - Lake Huron

On September 5, 1999, Jim Dreyer set new speed and distance records for Lake Huron, swimming a 39-hour, 38 minute / 52.3-mile crossing.

   Tri for New Horizons - Lake Erie

On July 24, 2000, Jim Dreyer became the first to swim across a Great Lake as part of an aquathlon.  In the process, he set a new solo aquathlon world distance record, becoming the first to complete a double-digit mileage swim (30.4 miles across Lake Erie), and run a full 26.2-mile marathon (mostly through beach sand), in a continuous 26-hour, 47 minute event.

   Tri for New Horizons - Lake Ontario

On August 27, 2000, Jim Dreyer became the first to swim across a Great Lake as part of a triathlon.  In the process, he set a new solo triathlon world distance record, becoming the first to complete a double-digit mileage swim as part of an "Ironman-distance plus" triathlon.  This 212.1-mile, 48-hour, 13 minute continuous event included a full 26.2-mile marathon run (mostly through beach sand), 130.0-mile bicycle segment, and 55.9-mile swim across Lake Ontario.

Lake Michigan 350

On October 7, 2003, in a staged self-sufficient event, Jim Dreyer became the first to swim the length of a Great Lake (Michigan).  Swimming an estimated 422 miles from Michigan City, Indiana to the Mackinac Bridge, while towing the weight of his supplies in a kayak, he set the world distance record for a staged self-sufficient swim.  He braved 15-20 foot waves on six different occasions during his epic month-long (29 days, 8 hours, 3 minutes), 18-stage journey.  As part of his preparation for this swim, which was equivalent to towing 75-100 pounds 20 times across the width of the English Channel in a span of 30 days, he swam 10 miles in Lake Michigan while towing a quarter-ton of sand bags in a dinghy. 

Swim for New Horizons - Lake Superior

On August 3, 2005, Jim Dreyer swam alone across Lake Superior in an event entitled Solo Superior, and thereby completed a crossing of all five Great Lakes.  Towing the weight of his supplies in a dinghy (approximately 250 pounds), and doing his own navigating, he became the first to swim a continuous self-sufficient crossing of a Great Lake.  The 58.9-mile / 59-hour, 50 minute crossing between Whitefish Point, Michigan and Cape Gargantua, Ontario, set the world distance record for a continuous self-sufficient swim, and also broke his own Lake Superior distance record.  Prior to his successful crossing, he had twice set Lake Superior distance records in his Quest for Gitche Gumee events.  He swam 47.0 miles in 35 hours, 57 minutes from Grand Portage, Minnesota on August 16, 2001, and then broke his own record on August 31, 2002 with a 48.0-mile / 37-hour, 38 minute swim from Hancock, Michigan to Isle Royale.  Then on August 4, 2004, in the Gitche Gumee 100, Dreyer broke the solo aquathlon world distance record he set crossing Lake Erie, recording the longest swim (35.5 miles from Grand Portage, Minnesota), following an ultra-marathon run (27.0 miles), in 43 hours, 22 minutes.  In his six Lake Superior swims, he has battled waves up to 15 feet and water as cold as 37 degrees.

Straits of Mackinac

On September 7, 2007, in the Mighty Mac 50/50, Jim Dreyer swam the first triple-crossing of the Straits of Mackinac, in celebration of the Mackinac Bridge's 50th anniversary.  In setting this record, he battled hard to earn the 21.1 miles he logged in 14 hours, 13 minutes,.  The relentless cross-currents of these notoriously treacherous waters connecting lakes Michigan and Huron nearly doubled the 12-mile distance of a triple crossing if able to stay alongside the bridge.  A year earlier, on August 30, 2006, in the Dire Straits 125, Dreyer became just the second person to swim a double-crossing of the Straits of Mackinac, and set a record as the first to complete the feat self-sufficiently.  The double-crossing, in which he towed the weight of his supplies in a buoy and navigated the busy shipping channel on his own, was only part of a rigorous 40.0-mile / 49-hour, 48 minute swim all within the turbulent Straits.

Cornerstone Strength Swim - Detroit

On August 5-7, 2013 event, Jim Dreyer pulled a half-ton of bricks for 51 hours, 42 minutes. while swimming 22 miles alone across Lake St. Clair to Detroit, in support of Habitat for Humanity. He towed a full ton of bricks for the first 18 hours of the swim, before losing half of his load in rough seas. As the first to combine a world record feat of strength with distance swimming, Jim Dreyer has coined the term "strength swimming." 

On the heels of his first "strength swimming" feat hauling the bricks across Lake St. clair, Jim Dreyer was named a “Superhuman” when he appeared on the History Channel’s popular TV series, Stan Lee’s Superhumans on August 6, 2014. The segment, entitled “The Human Tugboat,” featured Dreyer successfully towing a 27-ton car ferry across Newport Beach Harbor in an astounding aquatic feat of strength.  While a scientist on the show claimed that this feat could not be accomplished, and Dreyer predicted he would complete the strenth swim in 4 hours, The Shark (a.k.a. The Human Tugboat), successfully crossed the harbor in just 54 minutes, 29 seconds.  

Stan Lee's Superhumans

Cornerstone Strength Swim - Mackinac Island

On August 15, 2015, in the turbulent Straits of Mackinac, Jim Dreyer pulled a barge and it's crew, with a Lincoln MKC automobile as cargo, for 10 hours, covering an estimated 9 miles.  The total weight was 19 tons.


Dreyer was unsuccessful in his attempt to pull the barge to Mackinad Island and load the car with  fudge as part of a promotion, due to strong currents that swept him far off course.  After 10 hours, Dreyer was detached from the barge and swam free to the island for an additional 4 hours, and an estimated 4 miles, against the heavy current.  The barge, now under it's own power, also struggled against the current as it made it's way to the island to complete the promotion.


Despite Dreyer not wanting to claim the swim as a success, it is safe to say that no one else has ever pulled this type of weight, swimming this kind of distance, for this amont of time.