Tuesday, September 4, 2001/lk
For just the second time in 59 years, the Columbia Gorge Cross Channel Swim was cancelled Monday due to high winds and choppy water.
The Hood River County Sheriff's Department determined that the two-foot swells and 15-25 mph wind gusts constituted unsafe swimming conditions.
"A lot of people were disappointed that we had to cancel," said Craig Schmidt, executive director of the Hood River Chamber of Commerce. "But once people saw first hand what the water was like, they were appreciative of our decision."
More than 500 swimmers were expected to participate, some traveling from as far away as San Francisco.
"Some swimmers trained for months for this event, so we understand that canceling an event like this is a big deal," Schmidt said.
"It's unfortunate that this kind of wind showed up for this event and not the U.S. Windsurfing Nationals."
Swimmers will have to wait until next Labor Day to attempt the 1.1-mile Columbia River traverse.
"We're already planning for next year," Schmidt said. "Hopefully it will be calmer, but even the Chamber of Commerce can't control the weather."