SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – It was a day at the races for swimmers over at Belle Isle beach for the Motor City Mile that took place on Wednesday.

The event was held to raise money for breast cancer awareness.

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Abbey Aumiller, one of the swimmers, said the Detroit River was freezing and that it was anything but easy to swim.

(credit: Mike Campbell)

(credit: Mike Campbell)

“It was rough…the weeds were really gross,” Aumiller said.  “But it wasn’t so bad.”

Aumiller’s father, Joe, didn’t seem to mind the water temperature and said that while the current was a little choppy he would do it again. It was his 11th year participating in the event.

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Shawn Ryan, with Different Strokes swim shop in Livonia, said that this is the 14th year that the Motor City Mile has been held. He explained what’s involved.

“It’s an open water swim where we have participants participating in a half mile, 5k, and mile” Ryan said.  “The mile being the most popular event.”

Robin Vanderkaay of Detroit Swims, who also helped with the event, says that it’s a good opportunity for underprivileged kids.

“We’re teaching all of the kids in Detroit to swim,” Vanderkaay said.  “Because a lot of the kids don’t have access to pools.  And minorities have a greater incidence of drowning in the city.”

Vanderkaay is also the mother to former Olympian swimmer Peter Vanderkaay, who also participated in the race.

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