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Grand Forks Extreme Swim
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The longest swimming race in North America takes place right here in the valley.
It’s a 36 mile long swim from rural North Dakota into East Grand Forks.
The Extreme North Dakota Watersports Endurance Test.
Some athletes have been training years, while others months.
Tara Manzella found out about the swim just after running in the Fargo Marathon.
After hearing about it, she had to come and try it out.
“Just to push yourself to see how far you can go, how far your body can go. What your limits are,” said Manzella of Moorhead.
Racers like Manzella swim with the Red Rivers current.
“It’s a really unique race. There’s nowhere anywhere in North America that’s like this race. So it’s cool that we can have something like this in the North Dakota community,” said Race Director Caleb Kobilansky.
Manzella races for her mentor Steve Tarpinian who died last year.
He helped train her for triathlons.
“What do you think he would think right now, of you doing the longest race in North America?” asked the reporter.
“He’d think I’m crazy. The longest I’ve done before this was a six mile swim in the Great South Bay, Long Island, New York and he trained me for that and then I think he’d be proud,” said Manzella.
Many of the racers say it’s intimidating being in one of the longest races in North America and one of their biggest inspirations is simply the other racers.
“I pull my strength and inspiration probably from the other athletes around me. There are some incredible athletes that are doing this event,” said Manzella.
“We share information, we encourage each other, we want people to succeed and it’s really special,” said guest swimmer Sarah Thomas.
It was a tough swim for Manzella.
While she didn’t finish this one, she will continue racing for her mentors.
“I race for them and different, you know things that they stand for so it’s become much deeper for me,” said Manzella.
It’s a long 10–14 hour journey along the Red River that only a handful of swimmers decide to embark on.
Congratulations to Sarah Thomas and Bill Leonard who finished the race in first and second.