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Swimmers prepared to brave cold Columbia

By BEN MCCARTY

News staff writer

September 2, 2006

While others are firing up the barbeques or getting ready to return from a relaxing weekend, more than 500 swimmers will be diving into the chilly waters of the Columbia. In one of the Gorge’s most famous traditions, they will try to make their way from the Washington side of the river to the Oregon side.

This will be the 64th year for the Roy Webster Cross Channel swim, which began in 1942 as an attempt by Webster and a few friends and family to get some exercise. In the years since it has grown into an event that attracts participants from across the nation.

To watch their valiant effort, you will have to get up early as well. The sternwheeler carrying the swimmers across departs the Event Site at 7:30 a.m. on Monday and the first flights of swimmers will be hitting the water at 8 a.m. The last swimmers are expected to finish by about 10 a.m.

The course itself is approximately 1.1 miles long and finishes just to the east of the Hood River Inn. Swimmers who cannot make it across the river will be picked up by one of many boats that will be standing by along the route.

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