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Published: Wednesday, 5/28/2014 - Updated: 2 years ago

Olander Park commissioners approve open swim race in 2015

Like this scene from a past Sylvania Triathlon at Olander Park, the lake will host an open race next year. Like this scene from a past Sylvania Triathlon at Olander Park, the lake will host an open race next year.
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Olander Park will hold an exclusive open swim competition next year to benefit Nature’s Nursery.

The Olander Park Commissioners have unanimously agreed to have Lake Olander as the destination for the July, 2015 Luck Ducky open swim event.

It will consist of a 5K open swim and one-mile swim race. The weekend in July was not announced.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Nature’s Nursery Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation Education in Whitehouse.

“If this is a swim fund-raiser, I’m in agreement they can do it next year,” Commissioner. Gail Abood said before the vote. “If we permit the Sylvania Triathlon, we do that to endorse athletic pursuits and the outdoors, so there shouldn’t any reason to deny this if it is encouraging physical exercise.”

Melissa Shaner of Happy Hours Event Management of Toledo proposed the event at the last Olander commissioners' meeting in April. Ms. Shaner also is on the Nature’s Nursery board.

She said the event would be managed similar to the annual Sylvania Triathlon. Hosted by the multi-sport management company Elite Endeavors of Sylvania. That water, run, and cycling race draws at least 500 athletes to Olander Park in Sylvania. The triathlon is scheduled for Aug. 10 this year. 

Ms. Shaner said next year‘s open swim event will be the first of its kind in the area, noting that Chelsea, Mich. and Cleveland host similar swim races. She expects to sign at least 100 swimmers the first year.

Officials discussed whether a fee should be assessed to event hosts, as employees assist with set up and cleaning the park afterward. Officials said that, if no overtime or additional expenses are incurred and if employees are performing basic duties, event sponsors will not be subjected to a fee. Officials noted the park also will remain open during this and other athletic events. Event sponsors will pay for on-duty lifeguards.

The event will feature a mascot symbolizing the race name, Rudy the Lucky Ducky, and animals for children to encounter. After the competition, swimmers and friends will have a barbecue.

The organizers hope to have the event sanctioned by the USA Triathlon, the governing body for triathlons in the United States, or the World Open Water Swimming Association, an organization which helps provide race logistics and insurance.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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