Jason C. Malick made a solo swim around Cape May three years ago.

Today, 21 competitors will be making the 15.1-mile trek in the first Cape Circumnavigation Challenge (C3) race.

"We haven't had a marathon swim in New Jersey since the Around the Island Swim (in Atlantic County) in 2005," Malick said in a phone interview. "I wanted to do something to help promote the sport of marathon swimming, and I thought this would be the perfect place to do it. I'm hoping to make this an annual event."

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Swimmers will start at Higbee Beach at 7 a.m. and head into the Cape May Canal. The course will take them past the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center into the Atlantic Ocean, where they will then go south along the Cape May coast toward the Cape May Point Lighthouse. They will turn at the tip of Cape May, then move north in the Delaware Bay to the finish line.

Malick speculated that the winner will complete the race in about five hours.

Swimmers scheduled to participate range in age from 15 (Charlotte Samuels, of Ridgewood) to 61 (James Clifford, of Poolsville, Md.). Seven states are represented, in addition to Sara Marley, from the United Kingdom.

Grace van der Byle, a 35-year-old from Solano Beach, Calif., is considered the favorite. She set the record for the Catalina Channel solo crossing from Catalina Island to the California mainland - approximately 21 miles - in 7 hours, 27 minutes, 25 seconds on Oct. 17, 2012.

She was also one of two swimmers to complete all seven stages of the 2012 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, the longest competitive open-water swim in the world.

Other competitors include Lelane' Rossouw-Bancroft, a 36-year-old resident of Newark, Del. The South Africa native became the first person to swim across the Delaware Bay without a wet suit on Sept. 11, 2011.

Dave Barra, 48, from High Falls, N.Y., is a marathon swimming veteran whose exploits included crossing the English Channel in 2010.

Greg O'Connor, 44, from Natick, Mass., was recognized by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and World Open Water Swimming Association as the co-world record-holder for the fastest Boston Light Double, a 16-mile out-and-back swim in Boston Harbor.

Contact David Weinberg:

609-272-7186

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