DETROIT — Nearly 51 hours after jumping into a lake near the Michigan-Canada border, a long-distance swimmer who calls himself “The Shark” finished his 22-mile journey to Detroit while hauling pounds of bricks.
Jim Dreyer had been pulling two dinghies bearing 334 bricks weighing more than 2,000 pounds behind him when he departed Monday for the swim across Lake St. Clair. But by early today, after moving more slowly than expected, he was only hauling one during the swim’s final stretch.
“It is so good to be in Detroit,” he said after landing on the beach and kneeling. “Sorry I’m late.”
Dreyer’s swim near the Michigan-Canada border was to raise money for Habitat for Humanity, but he said it had other symbolic meaning given the situation in Detroit, which has filed for bankruptcy protection.
“What I really wanted to show is that even though there’s a lot of financial pain in the state of Michigan — and nobody’s felt more pain than the city of Detroit — we don’t have to sink with the weight of our burdens,” he said.
Dreyer ended his swim at Detroit’s Belle Isle, located on the Detroit River across from Canada. He had expected to finish Tuesday after about 30 hours, but he said waves along the way — 2-3 feet during the day and 3-4 feet at night — slowed him down.
“When you’re pulling a ton of bricks into the whitecaps that’s a big wave,” Dreyer said.
Dreyer said he had a number of hallucinations, including one at night that he described as a vision of Jesus.
“I saw a guy in a white robe standing on the water,” Dreyer said. “I swam up to him and he disappeared. I was thinking he was the Big J.C.”
Dreyer has made direct crossings of the five Great Lakes.