KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Marathon swimmers from all over the world came to the Tennessee River on Sunday to take on the U.S. Masters Distance Open Water Nationals, as part of Knoxville's third annual "Bridges to Bluffs" event.

The course began with swimmers jumping off the "Star of Knoxville" riverboat in the middle of the Tennessee River and then took swimmers downstream along downtown bridges, Neyland Drive, Cherokee Farms and Sequoyah Hills Park. 

Each swimmer had four hours to complete the 10k (6.2 miles) marathon distance. 

The release stated this is the equivalent of a runner completing a 26.2 mile marathon. 

“This event is the perfect opportunity to showcase the Tennessee River in downtown Knoxville as a venue in and of itself,” said Chad Culver, Senior Director of the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission. “Hosting Olympic athletes in this championship speaks to the quality of this competitive course.”

The release stated that the event sold all of the 115 available slots in under 24 hours and opened up a second cruise to accommodate another 60 swimmers. 

Each swimmer was accompanied by an escort on either a kayak or paddle board. 

According to marathon guidelines, the swimmers are not allowed to draft or hold on to the kayak or paddle board at any time. The release also states they are also not allowed to wear wet suits or other devices that would offer buoyancy. 

Proceeds of the event will go toward the West High School Navy Junior ROTC Program and Knoxville Open Water Swimmers. 

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